Rice cookers and crockpots are two small kitchen appliances that make cooking almost effortless.
Though they look similar and operate without supervision, there are significant differences in the way they work.
Here are some of the main differences between a rice cooker and a crock -pot.
As the name suggests, rice cookers are primarily built to cook rice. However, they can also cook a few other ingredients like lentils, vegetables, fish, and dumplings.
Some rice cookers come with a steaming basket to steam vegetables or other small ingredients while simultaneously cooking rice.
But the main thing to remember is that rice cookers use steam for cooking. They don’t offer any other options.
Crockpots are more versatile. You can prepare a wide variety of dishes in a crockpot. It uses the slow-cooking method of cooking.
Crockpots are typically used to make stews, soups, casseroles, and curries.
2. Cooking Time
Most rice cookers take less than thirty minutes to cook rice. It may take slightly more or less time depending on the brand and model.
Some rice cookers have additional settings for different types of rice and other ingredients.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t take as long as a crockpot to finish cooking a dish.
Crockpots are called slow cookers because they take a very long time to cook.
It will take you longer to prepare the same recipe in a crockpot than if you prepare it on the stovetop, pressure cooker, or other cooking appliance.
The average time to cook any dish in a crockpot is four to eight hours.
Related: Rice Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker
3. Mode of Cooking
Basic rice cookers have an on/off switch. They automatically shut down and engage the off switch when the rice is cooked.
However, most modern rice cookers also have a keep-warm function.
In this case, the rice cooker automatically switches to “Keep warm” mode when the food is ready.
Advanced rice cooker models have more settings.
These are usually set for different types of rice, like white rice, brown rice, short-grain rice, and long-grain rice.
A few models may also include porridge or dessert settings.
The settings on a crockpot are different from rice cookers. Most crockpots have a low and high setting. Some also include a medium setting.
The difference between each of these modes is the cooking temperature.
Depending on the mode you select, the crockpot temperature will be between 175°F and 215°F.
You can cook most ingredients using any of the cooking modes. But the cooking time will drastically vary according to the mode.
In the low setting, ingredients cook more thoroughly. So this mode is generally recommended to make dishes more flavorful.
Crockpots also generally have a keep warm function to keep the food at a safe temperature level till service.
4. Quantity of Food
Rice cookers and crockpots come in different sizes. The amount of food they can hold depends on their capacity.
Nonetheless, rice cookers are typically smaller than crockpots. They are ideal for small meals for a single person.
Commonly available rice cooker models have a capacity of 1 to 2 liters.
However, crockpots are usually much bigger. Crockpots usually range in size from 1.5 to 7 liters.
They hold a large quantity of ingredients and are better suited for bigger meals.
This appliance can be a lifesaver when you want to cook for a large family or when you are entertaining.
You can just toss your favorite ingredients, stir them together, and leave them to cook. The meal will be ready by the time you sit down to eat.
5. Material of Inner Pot
The design and look of crockpots and rice cookers are similar. For most brands, both appliances come with an outer casing with an inner cooking pot.
You will add the ingredients to the inner pot and insert it into the casing which is connected to the power cord.
But the material used to construct the pot differs for both these appliances.
The inner pot of a rice cooker is made of stainless steel or an alloy containing aluminum. However, crockpots usually have a ceramic inner pot.
Both appliances come with a tight lid that traps moisture and steam and lets the ingredients cook on gentle heat.
6. Performance Levels
The method of operation of a rice cooker is different from a crockpot. Rice cookers use more heat than crockpots to boil water in the inner container.
Quick boiling of the water helps to produce steam quickly that cooks the ingredients.
Meanwhile, crockpots use gentle heat to slowly cook the food. The heat level of a crockpot is comparatively much lower than that of a rice cooker.
Even on low heat, any crockpot recipe will take at least two hours to be cooked.
Related Reading: 7 Key Differences Between a Rice Cooker vs. Instant Pot
Both rice cookers and crockpots are convenient to use since you don’t have to be involved in the cooking process.
But if we strictly look at it from a convenience perspective, rice cookers are easier to operate.
Since they are built for simple recipes like plain or flavored rice, you will find the work getting over much faster.
Another factor is that checking on the rice cooker contents midway through the cooking process doesn’t cause many problems.
Though opening the lid will temporarily reduce the heat levels, it will quickly pick up once you replace the lid.
Crockpots are more versatile, and you can use them to prepare more complex recipes.
These recipes usually involve more attention to detail in terms of ingredient measures and mixing.
Crockpots take a long time to build constant heat. Manufacturers don’t recommend opening the lid and stirring or checking the ingredients during the cooking process.
This is because opening the lid each time increases the cooking time by as much as twenty minutes each.
This can significantly increase the time to complete the dish.
Here is a summary of the significant differences between a rice cooker and a crockpot.
|Purpose||Mainly used to cook rice. Can also cook lentils, porridge, vegetables, seafood, and dumplings.||Mainly used to make soups, casseroles, stews, and curries.|
|Cooking time||Typically takes 20 to 30 minutes to make rice.||Takes 4 to 8 hours on average to cook a dish.|
|Mode of cooking||On/off and Keep Warm options. Some rice cookers have separate settings for different types of rice and other ingredients.||Low/Medium/High Most crockpots have a “Keep Warm” option too.|
|Quantity of food||Smaller quantities 1 to 2 Liter capacity.||Holds large amounts of food 1.5 to 7 L capacity.|
|Inner Pot||Stainless steel||Ceramic|
|Performance||Builds heat quickly.||Slow heating. Cooks ingredients using gentle heat.|
|Convenience of use||Easy to use but not very versatile. Only suitable for simple recipes.||Very versatile device. Can be used for elaborate recipes.|