To answer your question bluntly, an induction hob is a modern technology cooktop that can be used to cook food and liquids at different temperatures and power levels.
You can boil, simmer, fry, sear, and cook a variety of cuisines quickly and comfortably with just a few settings.
Slow cookers use slow heat over a long period to cook food (mostly liquid like soups, broths, stews, curries, etc). You cannot boil, fry or sear in them.
They come as simple plug-in electronic devices.
They are designed similar to a rice cooker and are also called ‘crock pots’. All you have to do is load your dish, set your temperature and time, and leave it alone for hours.
In this article, I will cover the difference between an induction hob and a slow cooker, and the pros and cons of each.
What is a Slow cooker?
If you have ever craved comfort food and those simmering broths that slow cook for hours blending in juices of meat and veggies, look no further.
Slow cookers are well insulated and use power quite efficiently. Once your set time is up, the slow cooker will automatically switch to keep warm settings.
They are rated at a maximum of 200-300 watts that improves their energy efficiency compared to any of the electronic hobs.
They are a blessing especially for those working as you can put the food on it in the morning and come back in the evening to a delicious ready meal (and don’t forget equally delightful aromas).
It is guaranteed to have you jumping with glee.
What is an Induction Hob?
Induction hobs are the most advanced cooking technology available in the market. They are excellent hobs for saving time and energy.
Induction is your robotic maid/ friend and takes care of your cooking food for you. All you have to do is place your ingredients in induction-friendly cookware and enter temperature and time settings.
It frees you from the need to hover around and allows you to multitask. Once the dish is done, they shut down/keep warm, or switch off the setting automatically. It is a boon for quick cooking.
You can choose from single portable ones or three, four, or five-burner inductions depending on your need and budget.
Induction Hob vs Slow Cooker – What’s the Difference?
Now let’s dive in and have a look at some of the differences between a slow cooker and an induction hob
A slow cooker can work for many hours at one go. It is designed to be insulated and well protected.
You can set it up in the morning and come back at night without worrying about the cooker breaking down.
However, the maximum number of hours of operation on an induction hob is four hours on average at one go.
If you use them consistently for the maximum allowed hours every day there are high chances of the induction hob overheating and breaking down.
Do not forget that the minimum wattage of power for any induction hob is 200W and that can cause the food to burn or stick over a prolonged period
As the name suggests, a basic slow cooker is designed to cook at slow temperature settings for many hours.
Many advanced slow cookers have an option of high, medium, and low but the power level and heat remains low compared to induction
Induction can be used for a wide temperature range. You can quick thaw, boil, sear or simmer down within seconds.
A nice dutch oven pot combined with sim temperatures of the induction can replicate a slow cooker.
However, there is a time limitation for induction and high chances of the hob overheating and shutting down while the food remains undercooked.
A slow cooker consists of an inner cooking pot that is usually made of porcelain or ceramic.
The outer pot is mostly metal with an electric heating element inside it on the base and halfway on the sides.
The lid on top seals the contents inside from the atmosphere. It is usually made of glass.
The liquid gets condensed and falls right back into the food so you can rest assured that no flavor escapes from this cooker!
Different models have different types of lid locks and rubber seals, latch straps, etc that help in firmly locking the lid.
You can choose your heat settings according to cuisine preference. Most cookers come with a medium, low, high, and keep warm setting.
An induction cooktop works on the principle of electromagnetic induction.
It generates heat inside the cookware itself. It consists of an electromagnetic coil that generates a magnetic field and causes a resistive electric current to flow in the cookware itself.
The coil is covered on top with a smooth ceramic glass surface having one or more burners.
You can operate the induction with the help of control buttons that are used to set time, temperature, power, and other actions.
Let us now look into the benefits of having a slow cooker vs the benefits of having an induction hob
Advantages of a Slow Cooker
With the help of a slow cooker, you can combine your ingredients, set cooking time and temperature, and keep it for hours unattended while the food gets slow-cooked.
Due to even and slow heating over a long period, you do not need to stir or worry about sticking/burning.
Slow cookers offer a fantastic option for healthy cooking as the nutrients do not escape and get preserved inside the dish unlike other techniques like frying, boiling, and baking.
It is economical and comes in a wide price range suiting the needs of all classes of customers.
Depending on your needs, the slow cooker is available in different capacities ranging from 500ml up to 7 liters.
You get to come home to ready-to-eat meals without bothering about cooking after work. You can also carry your ready-to-eat meal at a friend’s place or while traveling.
Slow cooking gives an excellent taste since all the juices from raw veggies/meat blend quite well enhancing the taste.
You can also go ahead and save money by purchasing cheap tough meat pieces. Rest assured they will turn out to be soft, tender, and yummy with many hours of slow cooking
As the cooker works on the principle of gentle heat, it will ensure energy efficiency and less power consumption for your home.
Some slow cookers come with cool digital technology features like delayed settings, computerized control via smartphone, and even laptop!
Advanced cookers also have computerized settings where you just need to fill in the commands for multiple operations including time management.
Advantages of an Induction Hob
An induction hob is very energy efficient. With the help of electromagnetic induction, heat is generated directly inside the cookware so the wastage of energy is minimum.
An induction hob gives you instant results. You can boil, power boost, simmer within seconds. The time taken to cook a good meal is also reduced compared to any other cooktops.
You can control the power and temperature settings with precision. Offering a wide range of temperature and power settings, you can cook all sorts of cuisines.
You get to multitask as an induction cooktop takes care of your cooking.
You can delay cooking and enter a specific time setting, you can pause, you can enter the time till which cooking is required and it takes care of all of this for you.
It automatically shuts down so you do not need to keep an eye and switch off the hob.
Induction comes with many smart features that prevent undue accidents by shutting down if the food spills, burns, or gets overheated.
Not to forget the blessing of child lock for those with kids and pets at home.
There are many advanced features available in the market that eases up cooking on the induction. You can enter, control and switch it off with help of wifi, mobile, etc.
Disadvantages of a Slow Cooker
Heat degeneration over a long period can cause loss of certain nutrients and vitamins.
Opening the lid from time to time causes loss of moisture and heat. It also increases your cooking time so I wouldn’t advise it.
Do not add fresh herbs in the beginning as you will not find them by the time food is done. Instead, add them in the end as a garnish a minute or two before serving.
You cannot fill the cooker up completely. You can only fill it halfway or three-quarters according to the instruction given regarding your specific cooker.
Overfilling can cause overflow and uncooked food while underfilling leaves a lot to be desired.
Disadvantages of an Induction Hob
You cannot cook in any cookware. An induction hob requires induction-compatible cookware that is ferromagnetic for it to start working.
Glass, copper, aluminum is not compatible with this hob. Also, the dimensions of the base should match the burner diameter. The base also needs to be smooth and flat.
The maintenance cost of an induction hob is quite high. Being a complicated machine, it needs an expert with a deep understanding of its features.
The purchase cost can also be high depending on the features and dimensions you choose. A five-burner induction also needs a lot of space. Installation can be a little time-consuming.
High settings can cause the cookware to vibrate creating irritating sounds.
Tips on Using a Slow Cooker
When you want to add cream, milk, or cheese, do it in the last half an hour, or else it might curdle
It is a good idea to thaw frozen food before tossing them inside the slow cooker.
As the evaporation of any liquid does not take place from the slow cooker, adjust water content accordingly.
Layer your food so that the ones that will take a lot of time are at the bottom while those requiring less time are on top.
If you are cooking pasta, do it in the high heat settings taking the least amount of time required to make it soft.
Never slow cook the pasta for a long time. Add it 20- 30 minutes before the liquid and it will come out perfectly done.
For an awesome taste, sear your veggies and meat before tossing them into the cooker
Do not cook dried beans in the slow cooker unless you have soaked them overnight and then boiled them for 10 minutes before tossing them inside the cooker minus the boiled water.
It contains a toxin and can easily upset your digestive system.
Tips for Induction Cooking
Maintain an even temperature. Monitor the temperature changes as induction can get hot really quickly.
Clean up your induction after every use. It is easy and quick and will prevent grease and dirt and spills from becoming hard.
Choose induction-friendly cookware that matches your induction burner dimensions. For a perfectly done meal, make sure the cookware is flat and smooth at the base.
Keep magnetic items away from the induction to prevent any undue interactions. Keep it at a safe distance from the hob.
While an induction cooktop will take care of all sorts of cooking for you, a slow cooker will give you slowly cooked liquid soups, broths, stews.
While induction can work for specific hours, a slow cooker is designed to go on longer ( practically the whole day).
If you are traveling or work for extensive hours having no time to cook, it is wise to invest in a slow cooker.
However, if you like to experiment with different food techniques and want quickly prepared meals- an induction hob is what you need.
A single induction burner is also portable enough but will require you to carry some cookware along.
I hope I have been able to help you get an idea about the difference between an induction hob and a slow cooker.
If you are looking to purchase either of the two, going through the benefits and cons of both can help you decide. I have thrown in few tips on using them. All the best and stay safe.
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