1. Home

What's the Difference Between a Slow Cooker and Roaster Oven?


What's the Difference Between a Slow Cooker and Roaster Oven?

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker

Photo © Mifflin
Question: What's the Difference Between a Slow Cooker and Roaster Oven?
Roaster ovens look very similar to crock-pots or slow cookers, are they the same type of appliance?
Answer: Roaster ovens do look like large rectangular slow cookers or Crock-pots® and their functions can be similar, it really depends on the design of the roaster oven. While some are designed mostly to roast foods, meats and poultry as you would roast them in a range oven, many models now have a good range of temperature settings so you can also slow cook, as well as bake or roast. A roaster oven therefore cooks like a range oven and an increased range of temperature settings widens the use possibilities. On the other hand, a slow cooker or Crock-pot®, has only one function - to cook slowly.

Slow cooking involves cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, often three times or more the length of time you would roast those foods in a stove oven. This is preferred for tough, cheaper cuts of meats because slow cooking tenderizes and produces very flavorful results. A large roaster with slow cooking abilities, is ideal for large batches of chili, stews or soups, as well as chickens, roasts and turkeys.

Slow cookers or Crock-pots® are great time savers; you can put in your meal ingredients in the morning and return from work to a scrumptious meal that's ready to enjoy. You can also cook outdoors on a covered patio or porch as long as you have access to an electrical outlet. Some roaster oven models have optional buffet servers to keep side dishes warm at the buffet table. Being able to slow cook larger amounts in a roaster oven, offers more cooking possibilities.

Roasting involves cooking at a higher heat until done. There are several benefits to using a roaster oven for a turkey that could otherwise be roasted in the oven. There are energy savings over oven roasting and cooking results are usually tastier and meat is more tender because of the heat transfer and self-basting design of the roaster oven. It also leaves the range oven for the rest of the meal and an electric roaster will not likely heat up the kitchen like a range will, in the heat of summer. You can cook quite an assortment of foods in a roaster oven and they are ideal for large batch events and socials.

When choosing a roaster oven, buy a size that fits your family's needs, but keep in mind that if you already have a 5 qt slow cooker, buying a larger roaster oven may be more adequate especially for the holiday turkey or other large meal items. Expand the roaster's potential with handy accessories such as buffet servers and gather recipes and tips from the manufacturer's site. Also ensure that the model you are buying has a good range of temperatures, including lower settings of 200 and 300 if you want to slow cook or keep warm, as well as roast. A roaster oven with baking function can easily become a second kitchen oven when needed, or serve as a primary oven for the RV or cottage.

Read Review of Nesco Roaster Oven
Read Slow Cooker 101 - From Buying to Care, Use Tips

Compare Prices

Read More About Appliances:

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.