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

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Slow cookers and electric roaster ovens are both great alternatives to a traditional range for cooking anything from soups to large cuts of meat. Although these two kitchen appliances can both help you when you're cooking dinner or preparing for a party, they aren't the same thing. 

People frequently confuse slow cookers and roaster ovens. However, They operate differently from one another. Whether you own each of these useful kitchen appliances or you're trying to make a decision between the two, here's what you need to know.

Roaster Ovens can make nearly any meal you can think of.

Roster oven 
A roaster oven can make many similar dishes and even function similarly to a slow cooker, but it operates differently. Like a slow cooker, a roaster oven uses indirect heat to cook food. However, instead of a stoneware interior, most roaster ovens use steel with an enamel coating.  

Roaster ovens can get much hotter than slow cookers, reaching temperatures of about 450 degrees. This allows for searing and other high-heat cooking techniques. However, this countertop appliance can also function at temperatures as low as 150 degrees for slow cooking.

These ovens are topically larger than slow cookers, allowing for the baking of meat such as a full turkey or chicken, as well as larger batches of soup or stew. Another reason that roasting pans are great for cooking meat is that their self-contained environment with a lid allows for the meat to baste itself over time, making it easier for you to cook. 

The process of self-basting saves you effort as well as energy, heat and time in the kitchen. Roaster ovens can come with timers, temperature controls and racks to allow for specialty cooking. 

Roaster ovens essentially work as a second oven. They can make almost anything that a conventional oven can but in less time and by using less energy. 

Roaster ovens are great for:

  • Poultry 
  • Meats 
  • Holiday dinners 
  • Entertaining
  • Desserts 
  • Muffins 
  • Large meals.

Slow cooker 
Slow cookers come in a range of sizes, abilities and styles, but all are designed specifically to cook food for a long period of time over low heat. Contrary to a stovetop where the food comes into close contact with the heat source, a slow cooker uses electric heating elements inside the appliance to indirectly cook the food. The interior of the slow cooker is made with stoneware that evenly distributes heat throughout the dish being prepared. 

Based on you model, you can set you slow cooker to cook for a predetermined period of time, add your ingredients and come back to a meal that's ready to eat. Slow cookers have multiple settings for heating or warming, but all are typically on the lower end of the temperature spectrum compared to an oven. Low temperature, slow cooking leads to food that is tender and rich. 

Slow cookers are perfect for making:

  • Chili
  • Soup 
  • Casseroles
  • Pasta 
  • Full dinners 
  • Dessert 
  • And thousands of other tasty dishes.