You might have wondered about the different appliances in your kitchen, and what is the best one. So, what is the difference when it comes to an air fryer vs crock pot?
The answer is relatively simple: air fryers excel at creating food quickly and easily with little to no oil. Crock pots on the other hand are the kings of low and slow cooking, helping to create tender meat in stews and casseroles.
Keep reading to learn more about an air fryer vs crock pot in your kitchen.
What Does an Air Fryer Do?
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air circulation to cook food. It works by rapidly circulating hot air around the food, similar to a convection oven, to create a crispy exterior while cooking the inside.
The air fryer typically consists of a heating element and a fan, which helps distribute the hot air evenly. The heating element heats up the air inside the fryer, and the fan circulates this hot air around the food, cooking it from all angles.
Unlike deep frying, which requires submerging food in oil, an air fryer uses only a small amount of oil or sometimes no oil at all. The hot air cooks the food and creates a crispy texture, mimicking the results of deep-frying but with significantly less oil.
What Does a Crock Pot Do?
A crock pot, also known as a slow cooker, is a countertop kitchen appliance used for slow-cooking food over a long period of time at low temperatures. It consists of a removable stoneware or ceramic pot that is surrounded by an electric heating element.
The primary function of a crock pot is to simmer food slowly, allowing flavors to develop and ingredients to tenderize over several hours. It operates at a lower temperature compared to traditional stovetop or oven cooking methods.
What Should I Use an Air Fryer For?
Air fryers are perfect for anything that you would normally put in a conventional oven or deep-fat fryer. The list is endless, ranging from fries and chicken, all the way through to veggies and even cakes!
Many air fryers also have different functions that can facilitate various results. For example, some models have a dehydrate setting for drying out various foods, and others have a roast setting perfect for meats and potatoes.
Pros of an Air Fryer
- Healthy cooking with little to no oil needed.
- Quick cooking times, with most food being ready in 30% less time than an oven.
- Easy to use and to clean up.
- Energy efficient, using half the electricity needed by a conventional oven.
- A versatile range of cooking options.
Cons of an Air Fryer
- Limited capacity, especially for larger batch cooking.
- Unsuitable for some foods, such as those with a wet batter or a predominantly wet and runny texture.
- Food needs to be monitored at least once or twice during the cooking time to ensure an even cook.
What Should I Use a Crock Pot For?
Crock pots are ideal for preparing stews, soups, chili, roasts, and other slow-cooked dishes that often involve moisture. This is because the lid of the slow cooker traps this liquid in and prevents it from escaping during cooking, helping foods such as large pieces of meat to stay moist.
They are particularly useful for busy individuals or those who want to prepare meals in advance. The set-it-and-forget-it nature of crock pot cooking allows you to go about your day while the food cooks ready for dinner time.
Pros of a Crock Pot
- Convenience: once all of the ingredients are in, the crock pot can be left to its own devices to cook the food.
- It’s energy-efficient, despite having a longer operational time it still uses less electricity than an oven.
- Great for tough or cheap cuts of meat thanks to the low and slow cooking method.
- High capacity perfect for batch cooking.
Cons of a Crock Pot
- Food takes a long time to cook, so not ideal for a quick bite to eat.
- Limited to a smaller repertoire of foods compared to an oven or an air fryer.
- There is normally only a low or high setting, meaning less customization and control over temperature.
Similarities Between Air Fryer vs Crock Pot
Healthy food cooking
Both air fryers and crock pots excel at creating healthy dishes. An air fryer is perfect for creating quick meals that require little to no oil, while a crock pot can help you to create hearty meals over the course of the day.
Both air fryers and crock pots are of a similar size on the whole, meaning that they both take up the same amount of space on your kitchen counter.
Both energy efficient
Compared to a conventional oven, both crock pots and air fryers both use considerably less energy. Although an air fryer uses more energy than a crock pot, it’s worth remembering that it is operational for less time.
Differences Between Air Fryer vs Crock Pot
Different cooking times
One of the key differences between an air fryer and a crock pot is the time in which they cook food.
Air fryers are designed for quick cooking, often beating an oven’s cooking time for the same food item.
Crock pots on the other hand are designed to cook food over a long period of time, usually between 4 – 10 hours depending upon the meal.
Crispy vs moist
The desired result when cooking will also affect whether an air fryer or a crock pot is the best tool for the job.
Air fryers are fantastic when it comes to creating a crispy exterior to food while keeping the inside at its ideal texture, such as crispy and fluffy fries.
Slow cookers are brilliant at keeping food moist and tender, such as when creating pulled pork or brisket.
While a crock pot only has one real function, an air fryer can help you to create a whole host of dishes using different temperatures and settings. This means that the air fryer can be used for more things and will likely see more use in your kitchen.
Air Fryer and Crock Pot Combo
There are some companies that have merged together the functionality of a slow cooker and an air fryer together. These are often seen more as multi-cookers and include appliances like the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1, the Hamilton Beach 2-in-1 air fryer slow cooker, and the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.
If you find yourself in need of an appliance that has the best of both worlds when it comes to an air fryer vs crock pot, then going down the multi-cooker route may be the best option for you.
In conclusion, air fryers and crock pots both have their uses, whether you want quick, crispy food, or tender morsels that you have to wait a little while for. So, while we are biased when it comes to the whole air fryer vs crock pot debate and would go for the more versatile air fryer, there are still a lot of merits to a crock pot, too.