In today's fast-paced lifestyle, slow-cooking is the way to go. You can use a slow cooker to make hearty, healthy, homemade meals without spending hours in the kitchen! After you prep the meal, you can sit back and relax while the pot does the work.
A Dutch oven is a slow cooker used on the stovetop or inside the oven, and a crock pot is an electric slow cooker and used on a countertop. Both cook at low temperatures over long periods. No matter which one you use, the process is more or less the same:
Brown the meat
Add the vegetables
Add liquid and let it simmer away
Dutch ovens and crock pots are both great for one-pot cooking and an excellent way to tenderize tough meat cuts.
The pot's liquid usually becomes a delicious and nutritious gravy as it retains all the nutrients from the ingredients.
Pros and Cons of Two Great Slow Cookers
Once you've decided to invest in a slow cooker, the next step is to choose one suited to your needs. Here is a basic comparison between the two pots:
One of the biggest pros of using a Dutch oven is that it is durable and robust. These nifty kitchen gadgets can last for decades if you maintain them well!
The maintenance is basic and depends on whether the Dutch oven is a cast-iron or enameled cast-iron.
A cast-iron Dutch oven has to be seasoned regularly. This means lightly oiling it and baking it for around an hour at an oven temperature of 375°F. A small task for decades of cooking enjoyment!
A good quality crock pot will also last a while. However, because it is electric, there's a higher risk of it failing.
Dutch ovens reduce liquids into lovely thick sauces whereby food made in a crock pot will be thinner. To reduce liquid manually, you have to remove the crock pot's contents and reduce it on the stovetop.
A Dutch oven is a pot that requires a stovetop or oven to generate heat to cook the food inside.
A crock pot is a countertop cooker powered by electricity to slow cook your soups and stews. This means a crock pot gives you the flexibility to use the stovetop and oven for other dishes.
Crock pots are also excellent for keeping dishes warm, so they're a great addition to the table at family gatherings and holiday meals.
When you use a slow cooker for cooking a meal for a whole family or group of friends, size is important. No matter which slow cooker you choose, it should be able to accommodate plenty of servings.
Crock pots and Dutch ovens both come in a range of sizes, from around 1 to 13 quarts.
If you're cooking for only 2 people, a 1 to a 3-quart pot is usually adequate.
The bigger the crowd, the larger the pot should be! Both types of slow cookers are great for all kinds of recipes!
Can a Crock Pot be Used as a Dutch Oven?
Yes, just like you can use a Dutch oven instead of a slow cooker, you can swap it around.
A crock pot is an excellent substitute for a Dutch oven if you have a lot of food to cook and limited cooking space.
A Dutch oven is an ideal replacement if you need to cook your meal faster.
When it comes to recipes, a crock pot to Dutch oven conversion is simple. After all, the crock pot was invented based on the Dutch oven. Both cook food slowly on low heat, and both locks in the moisture to make super juicy meats, and flavorful veggies.
Where the difference lies between the two, is in regulating the temperature.
Crock pots have two settings: high and low.
Dutch ovens rely on the heat source to regulate temperature. This makes the cooking process a bit quicker with the oven.
A good rule of thumb is reducing the cooking time in a Dutch oven to slightly less than half that of a crock pot. Try this method:
Preheat the oven to 210-225°F as you braise the meat
Bring the ingredients to a boil.
Then cook it in the oven until the meat is fork-tender.
So, Which Slow Cooker is The Best?
If you love slow-cooked food and you are happy to use your stovetop or oven, a Dutch oven is a great slow cooker to invest in. It is durable, versatile and comes in various sizes. Besides, it is easy to clean and can be used to serve food as well.
If your space is limited or you're cooking for bigger crowds, you should consider a crock pot. Because it's free-standing, you can use your stovetop and oven for other things while you're using the pot.
In terms of durability and reduction, the Dutch oven is a clear winner.
When it comes to convenience, the crock pot is slightly more convenient, but only if you're cooking for a crowd. Capacity-wise, they're on par.
Whichever one you choose, slow cooking is the way to go for both convenience and flavor.