Almost every house invests in a slow cooker to enjoy the benefits of entirely hands-free cooking. This appliance, though convenient, requires electricity to run.
This question is likely nagging those on a budget or environmentally concerned folks—what is the energy consumption of a slow cooker? Are you doling out extra pounds for a high bill, or are you destroying the environment in the process of enjoying slow-cooked meats?
Let’s find out!
About Slow Cookers
The modern slow cookers came into existence thanks to Irving Nachumsohn. This American electrical engineer had a knack for problem solving. His invention was a way to beat the summer heat and put meals on the table.
However, way before the invention of the slow cooker, various concepts of this cooking method were prevalent across different cultures. It was traditionally used by Jewish families in Vilnius, Lithuania, to prepare a type of stew called cholent. Irving picked up this idea and applied it to his subsequent invention.
The patent for the slow cooker was approved in 1940, but it hit the markets only in the 1950s.
Modern slow-cookers made a comeback in recent years, thanks to the culinary revolution of slow-cooked meats. One of the appeals of the slow cooker is that it does not require culinary training to operate. Even amateur cooks can use it with ease.
The slow cooker has inspired a compilation of thousands of recipes specifically designed for the appliance. These recipes are popular because they save time and energy in the kitchen and work well for even the busiest of people.
The Working Of A Slow Cooker
A slow cooker is packed with three main components—an outer casing, an inner container, and a lid. Its outer casing houses electrical coils that are responsible for cooking your food. Its ceramic inner container is for you to dump your food in, and the lid is to prevent heat from escaping while your meal cooks.
Once you switch on the slow cooker, the coils start to heat, slowly warming up the food. The appliance is entirely insulated, which means the heat is trapped inside the crockpot. It heats up slowly, reaching temperatures up to 150°C.
With the lid tightly placed over the appliance, the releasing heat steams up the food and adds flavour to the dish.
Since bottom layers of food cook quicker than the top layers, most recipes use a layering technique. This technique places food that takes longer to cook on the bottom and others on the top.
The energy efficiency of a slow cooker is also dependent on how you use it. If you constantly remove the lid to take a peek at your food, you are increasing the cooking time. As steam escapes, the slow cooker consumes more energy to retain the heat. Additionally, even the simple act of upping the heat setting affects its energy efficiency.
How Much Energy Does A Slow Cooker Consume?
The amount of energy consumed by a slow cooker is dependent on several factors, such as the temperature setting, the size of the appliance, and the time of cooking.
Most modern slow cookers use somewhere between 0.7 to 1.44 kWh energy during an eight-hour use. This is much less compared to other appliances such as electric stovetops. This energy consumption is almost equivalent to how much electricity a light bulb uses.
If run on a low setting, slow cookers will consume anywhere between 70 and 150 watts. Whereas, on a high setting, they will use 150 to 250 watts. Of course, the wattage depends on the size of your slow cooker and the duration of your run time. The bigger your crockpot, the more energy it will consume.
Despite the seemingly complicated math, slow cookers cost very little in terms of energy consumption and are a better alternative to high-energy consumers like ovens. The average energy consumption of electric ovens is 2.2 kWh. This is twice as high as a slow cooker with a lesser cooking duration.
If you run a slow cooker eight hours a day, it will only cost you 18p a day and £65.70 for the entire year.
Additionally, the modern appliance comes with a built-in temperature sensor that switches the slow cooker to a warm mode once it hits the desired temperature. This sensor helps conserve energy.
The Benefits Of A Slow Cooker
A slow cooker makes for an excellent investment. It offers a wide range of benefits.
Slow cookers are very convenient for busy folk. They provide you with an option to put all your ingredients into one pot with minimum effort and get a delicious slow-cooked meal hours later.
You can also cook a lot of recipes and meals with this single appliance with minimal use of oil.
If you do not have the option to stand for hours in a kitchen and prep meals, slow cookers provide you with a certain level of respite. They save hours of meal prep time by slow-cooking a meal in a single pot.
Ease Of Use:
They are quite easy to use. You do not need any level of expertise to whip up dishes. As long as you can read and follow the instructions, you can try out most of the slow cooker recipes.
They are also quite easy to clean.
The energy consumption of this appliance is minimal.
Since a slow cooker uses very little electricity, you do not have to worry about getting an inflated bill because of its use.
The Bottom Line
Slow cookers are all the rage nowadays. They add a certain flavour profile to your food that is absent in conventional methods of cooking.
Slow cookers come with a variety of benefits. They are cost and energy efficient. If you wish to maximise this efficiency, invest in a programmable appliance of the right size.
Slow cooker energy consumption is relatively lower than your other cooking devices. In fact, it is likely the most energy-efficient appliance in your kitchen. It cooks your food beautifully over an extended period of time with the least amount of effort.