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Can you slow cook in an air fryer?
Yes. An air fryer and a slow cooker are vastly different. But, simply adjusting the cooking features can allow you to slow cook in an air fryer. Newer models, such as the Hamilton Beach 2-in-one air fryer, double as slow cookers. Air fryers have a heating element and a fan that rapidly distributes air. Vents ensure that food is cooked evenly. The process is much quicker than using a slow cooker. A slow cooker cooks food at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.
Slow cookers have been traditionally popularized by the brand name “Crockpot.” This type of cooking device does one thing really well, and that is to tenderize the meat to the point where it would literally fall off the bone.
How to slow cook using an air fryer?
Most newer models of air fryers come with a variety of cooking functions. Simply follow these steps:
Prepare the food in an oven-safe dish. Newer models can often hold dishes with a 4–6-liter capacity, and sometimes more.
As mentioned before, the newer models should have a setting that allows for slow cooking. Select the smart menu on the device. This menu offers several cooking techniques, such as slow cooking, grilling, broiling, reheating, warming, crumpet, and even baking.
Preset the device to slow cook.
The slow cooking feature should offer two cooking options. Either cooking at high heat or at lower heat. Select the appropriate heating technique. The air fryer cooking options include cooking at high heat for eight hours or cooking at low heat for 10 hours.
How does slow cooking work in an air fryer?
Start by cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. This kick-starts the cooking process. Set the temperature at 400 °F for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, drop to a much lower temperature and cook over a longer period of time, usually eight to 10 hours, before serving. This is known as low and slow cooking. This process allows the flavor to develop in the food.
You will usually find slow cookers cook food at a very low temperature that is generally ranging between 170 to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. This is done over several hours.
The consistently low heating temperature helps prevent any loss of water and ultimately helps to retain moisture during the cooking process.
What’s the difference between a slow cooker and an air fryer?
The main function of a slow cooker in the kitchen is to slowly cook and create extremely tender food and meats. In contrast, an air fryer’s main cooking function is to make food crispy without the use of excessive oil.
A traditional large oven uses 0.6 kWh when cooking for one hour. Air fryers use .7 kWh when cooking for 30 minutes. In terms of efficiency, the air fryer is roughly at the same level as a large oven. A large slow cooker that cooks on high for four hours will use 1 kWh. And, when cooking at a low temperature for eight hours, it will consume 1.4 kWh. In terms of energy efficiency, the slow cooker wins hands down.
An air fryer is designed to cook food much faster, at a higher heat, while a slow cooker is designed to cook food at a much lower heat over a longer period of time.
This is where newer models of air fryers take the lead. A slow cooker can only slowly cook food using two methods. But air fryers have advanced substantially in the cooking department. Take the PowerXL Air Fryer Grill 8 in 1, for example. This appliance is able to air fry, grill, rotisserie, toast, broil, sear, or bake and cook pizza all in one appliance. This makes the air fryer a much more versatile appliance than the slow cooker. Keep in mind that these types of air fryers are usually much bulkier than the traditional air fryers that first came on the market.
Slow cookers range from $35 to $120, depending on the brand. A multipurpose air fryer is more expensive at $120 or more, but in line with a single-purpose air fryer that goes for $99.
There is a tie between these appliances. Both are very easy to use. An air fryer may require more attention depending on the food being cooked.
An air fryer can be cleaned using a damp cloth and warm soapy water. A slow cooker can be cleaned using baking soda and water. Both appliances are relatively easy and quick to clean.
What are the pros and cons of slow cooking with an air fryer?
Some advantages include healthier cooking methods, the fact that it’s easy to use and clean, that it’s safer to use, and that it takes up less space. On the other hand, the disadvantages include, the inability to cook for very large families and food that may dry out or burn if not used correctly.
Tips and accessories to use when slow cooking with an air fryer
Before attempting to slow cook in an air fryer, be sure to check that the air fryer offers such a feature. This ensures perfectly slow-cooked meals. There are useful accessories that come with an air fryer that allows for a variety of cooking techniques. Examples include a rotisserie rack, a grill pan, a grill rack, and even baking dishes. Some of the top air fryers on the market include a slow cooking feature. Parchment paper liners are designed to keep food from sticking to the bottom.
Should you buy an air fryer or a slow cooker?
Multipurpose air fryers can perform the function of a slow cooker as well. It’s better to invest in a multipurpose air fryer as a long-term investment.
If the type of food you would enjoy is tenderized meats, then we would suggest that you buy a dedicated slow cooker. Slow cookers do have an advantage over air fryers thanks to the fact that they can consistently run at low temperatures for an extremely long time.
They are also incredibly durable and frankly could last a lifetime. We found our slow cooker for nearly a decade now and it’s still running strong. Our slow cooker creates an amazingly tender meal that exhibits intense flavors from the meat and spices.
So the question for you is, why not get both?
Consider buying a slow cooker/air fryer combo
Air fryers have made rapid strides in the appliance industry. Most air fryers are advanced enough to perform multiple functions and provide a variety of cooking methods. Though they may be bulkier, these devices offer a great return on investment (ROI) over the long run.
If you happen to have a very small kitchen and countertop, then it would probably be a good idea to buy a slow cooker. These things look like regular pressure cookers or rice cookers, but at the same time, you have the option to crisp your food or slow cook it.
It’s a wonderful combination of both and even though.
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