Crock-Pot vs. Oven
Nearly every home has an oven, and it’s sort of the unquestioned go-to cooking appliance. It has been for centuries. But Crock-Pots give you an outlet for effortless, delicious food without heating up your whole house. Crock-Pots are probably underused, but in the end, they each have their chance to shine.
Most people buy a crockpot so they can set it and forget it. Nothing is easier than starting a roast and heading to work, knowing dinner will be done when you get home. Modern slow cookers even turn off after a certain amount of time, with a warming function to keep the food edible.
Obviously, you can’t leave your oven on all day while you’re at work or running errands. Even if an oven has a trusty off feature, the food can still burn and catch fire. It can also take a while for an oven to heat up to the desired temperature, whereas you don’t really have to preheat a Crock-Pot. For ease, the Crock-Pot definitely wins.
Crock-Pots are easier, but what about cooking time? “Crock-Pot” is a brand name, just like when people say “Kleenex” instead of “facial tissues”. The device is actually called a slow cooker – emphasis on slow. Cooking times for a slow cooker can reach into eight or more hours, depending on what you’re making. A three-pound roast may cook for six hours before it’s completely cooked through.
An oven beats a Crock-Pot for the cooking time because while it may take 15 minutes to heat up an oven to the right temperature, the food will be completed much quicker. The same three-pound roast may take as little as an hour and a half when cooked in the oven, meaning it’s on the plate faster and in happy bellies.
Crockpots are also known for making food that’s moist and fall-off-the-bone good, and it’s a well-earned reputation. Most foods cooked in a slow cooker comes out without much drying out. As long as you keep plenty of liquid in the appliance, you’re golden. This can be achieved without any extra cooking assistance. You don’t need a cooking bag, unless you’re just looking for easy cleanup once the food is done.
An oven can create moist food, but it takes a little more work. If you want to lock in moisture, you usually have to resort to two-step processes. You might consider braising – searing, then cooking slowly. You might also take out roasting vegetables halfway through to add extra oil. The bottom line is, you’ll be expending extra effort. The alternative is a cooking bag, which adds to the list of stuff you need to make a meal. Still, both appliances have the ability to make delicious, moist meals.
Size is a big issue. Anyone who has tried to make a large family meal knows you can’t throw a turkey into a slow cooker – at least not an average one. Most crockpots have a limited size, which is ideal for smaller families, but good luck if you need to make a large meal.
An oven has plenty of space that allows you to cook a turkey and then some. During holidays, it may be possible to fit a full-size turkey and a casserole into the same oven without issue. That’s certainly something that cannot be accomplished using a slow cooker.
All in all, it depends on what your needs are. There are definitely instances when an oven is still necessary. But if you’re cooking for a smaller family and have plenty of advance notice, there’s no reason a slow cooker can’t be your go-to cooking method.