Dutch ovens and electric slow cookers are both good for long-cooked dishes like braised meats, stews, and chili. In a recent discussion, Chowhounds weighed in on the merits of each cooking vessel. Home cooks prefer the flexibilty of a Dutch oven, which can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, or even outdoors for campfire cooking, and for anything from baking to deep-frying. And sandylc notes how you can brown food and cook at a wide range of temperatures in a Dutch oven, something you can’t do in a slow cooker. You also don’t get much evaporation in a slow cooker, which results in sauces with less flavor, chowser notes.

On the other hand, if you “come home late and want a dinner ready to go,” a slow cooker is ideal, says chowser, who thinks a model with a timer that can switch the cooker to warming mode is important to avoid overcooking. Also, applgrl likes the fact that you can plug in the slow cooker outdoors to minimize cooking smells in the house. Foods like pulled pork and chicken stock work really well in the slow cooker. And it does a great job keeping mashed potatoes and cheese sauce warm during parties, applgrl says.

Discuss: Crock Pot versus Dutch Oven cooking

Photo by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com

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