Slow cookers vs air fryers! As a home cook, you know that having the right appliances can make all the difference in creating delicious, healthy meals for your family. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose which one to invest in.
That’s why we’re here to answer the burning question on everyone’s mind: can you use your air fryer as a slow cooker? We’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of using an air fryer for slow cooking, so you can make an informed decision on which appliance is right for you.
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, this guide is for you. So grab a cup of coffee, put on your favorite apron, and let’s get cooking!
Can You Use Your Air Fryer as A Slow Cooker?
Yes, an air fryer can be used as a slow cooker, but it requires making adjustments to its cooking features. Although both appliances are used for cooking, they work differently. An air fryer uses hot air to cook food, while a slow cooker uses low heat over a long period.
Slow cookers are best for dishes that require a longer cooking time, such as stews, soups, and roasts. Air fryers, on the other hand, are better for dishes that require a shorter cooking time and a crispy texture, such as chicken wings and french fries.
How does slow cooking work in an air fryer?
Slow cooking is a process that involves cooking food at a low temperature over a long period of time. This method of cooking is different from traditional cooking methods, which typically involve higher temperatures and shorter cooking times.
Slow cooking is often used for tougher cuts of meat or for dishes that require a longer cooking time to develop complex flavors.
An air fryer can be used as a slow cooker, but it requires some adjustments. The temperature range of an air fryer typically ranges from 200°F to 400°F, which is lower than most slow cookers. Additionally, air fryers are designed to cook food quickly, which means that they may not be ideal for slow cooking.
To use an air fryer as a slow cooker, you’ll want to adjust its cooking features so that they match those of a slow cooker. This may involve lowering the temperature and extending the cooking time. Some air fryers also have specific slow-cooking settings that can be used to achieve the desired results.
When using an air fryer as a slow cooker, it’s important to keep an eye on the food and adjust the cooking time as necessary. You may also want to use a separate slow cooker liner or dish inside the air fryer to prevent the food from sticking or burning.
Finally, be sure to add enough liquid to the dish to prevent it from drying out during the long cooking time.
What’s the difference between a slow cooker and an air fryer?
Slow cookers are highly energy-efficient appliances, using only 1 kWh when cooking on high for four hours and 1.4 kWh when cooking on low for eight hours. In contrast, air fryers use 0.7 kWh when cooking for 30 minutes, while traditional large ovens use 0.6 kWh when cooking for one hour.
Despite this, air fryers are considered to be roughly as energy efficient as large ovens. While slow cookers are the clear winner in terms of energy efficiency, air fryers offer a faster cooking time and are still a relatively efficient option compared to traditional ovens.
The cooking methods used in a slow cooker and an air fryer differ in how they heat up food. Slow cookers use steam to cook food, while air fryers use hot air circulation. Slow cookers rely on convection to circulate heat and cook food slowly over an extended period of time.
This method is ideal for tenderizing meat and allowing flavors to meld together. On the other hand, air fryers use conduction and convection to rapidly circulate hot air around the food, resulting in a crispy and crunchy exterior.
This method is perfect for cooking foods that would typically be fried, such as chicken wings or french fries, without the added oil and fat.
Air fryers and slow cookers are both versatile kitchen appliances that can be used to prepare a wide variety of dishes. While they share some similarities in terms of their ability to cook food, there are also some key differences between the two appliances.
Air fryers are best suited for cooking foods that are traditionally deep-fried, such as french fries, chicken wings, and mozzarella sticks.
These appliances use hot air to circulate around the food, creating a crispy exterior without the need for a lot of oil. Air fryers can also be used to cook other types of foods, such as vegetables, fish, and even baked goods.
Slow cookers, on the other hand, are better suited for dishes that require long, slow cooking times, such as stews, soups, and roasts. These appliances allow you to set the temperature and cooking time and then leave the food to cook for several hours, resulting in tender, flavorful dishes.
There are some dishes that can be prepared in both appliances, such as chicken breasts, pork chops, and even some types of vegetables. However, the cooking method and time will differ, so it’s important to choose the appliance that is best suited for the specific dish you want to prepare.
In conclusion, air fryers and slow cookers are versatile kitchen appliances that offer different cooking methods and are best suited for specific types of dishes.
Air fryers are ideal for cooking crispy, fried foods with little to no oil, while slow cookers are perfect for dishes that require long, slow cooking times.
Both appliances can be used to prepare a variety of dishes, but it’s important to choose the appliance that is best suited for the specific dish you want to cook.
A slow cooker is a simple and convenient kitchen appliance that allows you to cook meals with minimal effort. With just a few ingredients, you can prepare a delicious meal that will be ready when you return home.
On the other hand, an air fryer requires more preparation time and attention. You need to carefully measure and season the food and constantly monitor it during the cooking process to ensure even cooking.
While an air fryer may be quicker, it requires more effort and attention, making a slow cooker the better option for those seeking simplicity and convenience.
Slow cookers and air fryers have different maintenance requirements.
For slow cookers, after each use, remove the ceramic insert and wash it with hot, soapy water. You can also put it in the dishwasher. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth and dry it thoroughly before storing.
If there is food stuck on the heating element, you can use a soft-bristled brush to remove it. Do not use abrasive cleaners or steel wool, as they can damage the surface.
For air fryers, after each use, wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth and remove the tray, pan, and basket to wash with hot, soapy water or put them in the dishwasher. If there is food stuck on the heating element, wipe it with a damp cloth.
Do not use soapy water on the heating element. Also, turn off the power before cleaning to avoid an electric shock. Both slow cookers and air fryers require proper maintenance to avoid unpleasant smells and prolong their lifespan.
In summary, the main difference between the two cooking methods is the way they circulate heat, resulting in different textures and flavors of food.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of slow cooking with an air fryer?
Using an air fryer as a slow cooker has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages is that air fryers can save time and energy while still producing tender and flavorful dishes.
Air fryers are designed to cook food quickly and efficiently, meaning that slow-cooking dishes can be ready in a fraction of the time it would take in a traditional slow cooker. Additionally, air fryers offer features like temperature control, which can help ensure that dishes are cooked to perfection.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using an air fryer as a slow cooker. Air fryers have smaller capacities than traditional slow cookers, meaning that they may not be suitable for cooking large batches of food.
Additionally, some air fryers may not be able to maintain a consistent temperature for extended periods of time, which can result in uneven cooking or undercooked food.
Overall, while air fryers can be a convenient and efficient way to slow cook, it’s important to consider their limitations before using them as a replacement for a traditional slow cooker.
What accessories do I need for using an air fryer as a slow cooker?
To use an air fryer as a slow cooker, there are some accessories that can come in handy. It is crucial to check if the air fryer has a slow cooking feature. This ensures perfectly slow-cooked meals.
There are accessories that come with an air fryer that allows for a variety of cooking techniques. These accessories include a rotisserie rack, a grill pan, a grill rack, and even baking dishes. Finally, parchment paper liners are designed to keep food from sticking to the bottom, which is also a useful accessory.
How to use an air fryer as a slow cooker
Using an air fryer as a slow cooker is possible, but it requires some adjustments to the cooking features to match those of a traditional slow cooker.
Here are some steps to follow in order to use an air fryer as a slow cooker:
- Choose an air fryer that has a slow cooking feature: Some newer models of air fryers come with a slow cooking function. These models are ideal for slow cooking as they have the necessary settings and features to cook food at a low temperature for an extended period.
- Adjust the temperature: Slow cooking requires cooking food at a low temperature for an extended period. Therefore, you will need to adjust the air fryer’s temperature to match that of a slow cooker. Set the temperature to 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit for slow cooking.
- Adjust the time: Slow cooking takes a longer time than other cooking methods. Therefore, you will need to adjust the cooking time to match that of a slow cooker. Set the cooking time to 4-8 hours depending on the recipe you are using.
- Use a slow cooker recipe: Slow cooking requires specific recipes that are designed to be cooked at a low temperature for an extended period. You can use your favorite slow cooker recipe, but you will need to adjust the cooking time and temperature to match those of the air fryer.
- Use a separate container: Air fryers are designed to cook food in a basket or tray, which may not be ideal for slow cooking. Therefore, it is recommended to use a separate container, such as a ceramic or glass dish, to slow-cook your food in the air fryer. This will allow the food to cook evenly and prevent it from sticking to the basket or tray.
- Add liquid: Slow cooking requires moisture to prevent the food from drying out. Therefore, you will need to add liquid to your recipe. You can use water, stock, or wine depending on the recipe you are using. Add enough liquid to cover the food but not too much so that it becomes soupy.
- Cover the dish: Covering the dish with foil or a lid will help trap the moisture and prevent the food from drying out. This will also help the food cook evenly.
In summary, using an air fryer as a slow cooker requires adjusting the temperature, and time, and adding liquid to your recipe.
It is also recommended to use a separate container and cover it to prevent the food from drying out. By following these steps, you can slow-cook your favorite recipes in an air fryer and enjoy the benefits of evenly cooked and tenderized food.
However, it’s important to note that air fryers are not designed specifically for slow cooking and may not produce the same results as a traditional slow cooker. Therefore, it’s essential to experiment and adjust the cooking time and temperature to achieve the desired result.
Why you should Consider buying a slow cooker/air fryer Combo
If you’re looking for a way to save counter space and money, while also having the convenience of switching between slow cooking and air frying, then a slow cooker/air fryer combo is definitely worth considering. With this appliance, you’ll have the versatility to cook a variety of meals using different methods, which can save you time and effort.
The benefits of having two appliances in one are numerous.
- You’ll save counter space, which is especially important if you have a small kitchen.
- You’ll save money by not having to buy two separate appliances.
- You’ll have the convenience of being able to switch between slow cooking and air frying depending on the meal and desired cooking method.
With a slow cooker/air fryer combo, you’ll have the option to slow-cook meats, stews, and soups for hours while you’re away from the kitchen.
This can save you time and effort because you won’t have to monitor the cooking process as closely as you would with a traditional stovetop or oven. On the other hand, you can also air fry vegetables, chicken, and fish for a quick and healthy meal.
In conclusion, a slow cooker/air fryer combo is a great investment for anyone who wants to save space and money while having the convenience of two appliances in one.
You’ll have the versatility to switch between slow cooking and air frying depending on the meal and desired cooking method, potentially saving you time and effort. Consider the benefits of this appliance and decide if it’s the right choice for your kitchen.
Which air fryer has a slow cooker?
There are specific air fryer models that can be used as slow cookers. The Instant Pot Duo 13-in-1 Air Fryer and Pressure Cooker Combo and Ninja FD302 Foodi 11-in-1 Pro, are some of the air fryers that have a slow cooking function.
These models have various features that make them suitable for slow cooking such as adjustable temperature, timer, and a large cooking capacity.
What are the benefits of using an air fryer as a slow cooker?
1. It is much more versatile and easier to use than a traditional slow cooker
Air fryers are more versatile and easier to use than traditional slow cookers when used for slow cooking. Unlike a slow cooker, air fryers can air fry, grill, rotisserie, toast, broil, sear, or bake and cook pizza all in one appliance. This allows for more cooking options.
Additionally, air fryers are easier to clean and store than traditional slow cookers. However, it is important to note that these types of air fryers are usually much bulkier than the traditional air fryers that first came on the market.
2. It can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, meat, fish, and bread.
An air fryer can cook a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, meat, fish, and even bread. The Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone is a great example of a multi-functional air fryer that can also crisp, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate foods.
However, air fryers aren’t great for saucy dishes as the liquid can seep through the gaps in the grill plate. On the bright side, air fryers can also be used as a slow cookers, allowing you to cook tender meats and stews in the same appliance.
3. It has a more modern design
While air fryers and crock pots serve distinct types of meals, the modern design of air fryers can actually be beneficial when used as a slow cooker.
The air fryer’s compact size and efficient heating mechanism make it a great option for slow-cooking smaller portions of food, without taking up too much counter space.
Also, some air fryers come with a variety of cooking functions, including a slow cooking setting, making it a versatile appliance for all types of cooking.
4. It can cook food faster than a traditional slow cooker
An air fryer can cook food faster than a traditional slow cooker because it circulates hot air around the food. This process creates a crispy exterior while cooking the food evenly and quickly.
An air fryer uses less oil than traditional frying methods, making it a healthier option. The faster cooking time is beneficial for those who are short on time but still want to enjoy delicious, crispy food.
5. It has a smaller footprint than a traditional slow cooker
An air fryer with a smaller footprint can be an ideal choice for those who are looking to cook for one, or for those who have limited counter space in their kitchen.
Compared to most air fryer models that have nearly a 6-quart capacity, this model can only hold half that, which means it takes up less room on your counter and fits perfectly in a dorm room, apartment, or RV.
The smaller heating volume also provides some benefits, such as browning the food items more evenly. In addition to being an air fryer, it can also be used as a slow cooker due to its smaller size.
This means it can be used to slow-cook meals for one or two people without taking up too much space in the kitchen.
Overall, investing in a smaller air fryer can be a wise choice for anyone who wants to save space, cook for one or two people, and still enjoy the benefits of air frying or slow cooking.
6. It has more advanced temperature and timer settings
Air fryers have more advanced temperature and timer settings than traditional slow cookers. These settings allow for precise control over the cooking process, which can benefit slow cooking.
With an air fryer, you can set the temperature and cooking time to suit the particular dish you’re making, resulting in perfectly cooked food every time.
The ability to cook at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time makes air fryers a versatile tool for slow cooking.
How does the air fryer compare to a traditional slow cooker?
Air fryers and slow cookers have different energy usage rates and cooking times. While slow cookers use between 200 to 800 watts per hour, air fryers use an average of 1500 watts per hour but for shorter cooking times.
Slow cookers take 6 to 8 hours per meal, while air fryers only take 30 minutes to an hour. Slow cookers are more energy-efficient for longer cooking times, while air fryers are more efficient for shorter cooking times. Ultimately, the choice between the two appliances depends on personal preference and cooking needs.
Can you use a Ninja air fryer as a slow cooker?
Yes, the Ninja FD302 Foodi 11-in-1 Pro is a versatile all-in-one appliance that can be used as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, air fryer, roaster, and more.
Can you make stews in an air fryer?
Unfortunately, stews cannot be made in an air fryer. Air fryers are best used for cooking food that needs to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, such as chicken wings and french fries.