20 Slow Cooker Alternatives: Innovative Ideas for Easy Cooking

Last updated on July 4, 2023

Discover 20 fantastic alternatives to slow cookers that will open up new possibilities in your culinary journey while still delivering delicious, mouth-watering meals effortlessly.

Are you tired of the same old slow cooker meals? Do you want to switch things up and try something new? Look no further! In this article, we will explore 20 alternative ways to use your slow cooker that will leave your taste buds tingling. From desserts to drinks, and even non-food items, we’ve got you covered.

Not only are these ideas delicious and creative, but they’re also budget-friendly. So dust off that slow cooker and get ready to be inspired!

Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven slow cook

A Dutch oven is a versatile kitchen tool that can be used for slow cooking. It’s made of cast iron and has a tight-fitting lid, which helps to retain moisture and heat.

You can use it on the stovetop or in the oven, making it perfect for braising meats or simmering soups and stews.

To use a Dutch oven as an alternative to your slow cooker, simply brown your meat on the stove first (if desired), then add all of your ingredients to the pot. Cover with the lid and place in an oven preheated to 325°F (163°C).

Cook until tender – this could take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on what you’re making.

One benefit of using a Dutch oven over traditional slow cookers is that they are often larger than most crockpots, allowing you to make bigger batches at once.

Instant Pot

Instant Pot

It has several functions, including pressure cooking, sautéing, steaming and slow cooking. The Instant Pot cooks food faster than traditional methods and retains more nutrients due to its sealed environment.

It also has a delay start function which allows you to prepare meals in advance and have them ready when you need them. With the Instant Pot’s ability to cook rice, beans or even yogurt in addition to meats and stews it makes for an all-in-one solution for busy households looking for quick meal prep options without sacrificing flavor or nutrition value of their dishes!

Stovetop Simmering

Stovetop Simmering

To stovetop simmer, simply place your ingredients in a pot with enough liquid (water, broth or wine) and bring it to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it cook at low temperature for several hours until the flavors meld together.

This method works well for soups, stews and chili recipes that require long cooking times. You can also use this technique for tougher cuts of meat like beef brisket or pork shoulder that need time to break down their connective tissues.

One advantage of stovetop simmering is that you can easily adjust the seasoning as needed throughout the cooking process by tasting frequently.

Oven Roasting/braising

Oven Roasting

Roasting involves cooking food in the oven at high temperatures, while braising is a combination of searing and then simmering food in liquid on low heat. Both methods require some attention but can produce delicious results.

Roasting works well for meats, vegetables, and fruits that need to be caramelized or crisped up. It’s perfect for dishes like roasted chicken with crispy skin or roasted root vegetables with a sweet glaze.

Braising is ideal for tougher cuts of meat that need time to break down their connective tissues into tender bites. Braised beef short ribs or pork shoulder are classic examples of this method.

Both techniques require an oven-safe dish with a lid (such as Dutch ovens) so that the moisture stays inside during cooking.

Sous Vide Cooking

Sous Vide Water Bath

This technique ensures that the food is cooked evenly, retaining its natural flavors and nutrients. Sous vide machines are available at various price points, making them accessible to home cooks who want to experiment with this method of cooking.

Some popular sous vide dishes include steak, chicken breasts, fish fillets, vegetables like carrots or asparagus spears – all cooked perfectly every time!

Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

It uses high-pressure steam to cook food quickly and efficiently, making it perfect for busy weeknights. Pressure cooking also helps retain the nutrients in the food, making it a healthier option.

You can use a pressure cooker for soups, stews, roasts and even desserts. The best part about using this appliance is that you don’t have to wait hours for your meal to be ready; most dishes take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

When using a pressure cooker always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure that you release all of the steam before opening it up after cooking.

Double Boiler/Steamer Basket

Double Boiler

A double boiler consists of two pots: one larger pot filled with water and another smaller pot placed on top of it where the food is cooked. The steam from the boiling water heats up the smaller pot gently and evenly without burning or scorching.

Similarly, steamer baskets are perfect for cooking vegetables and fish while retaining their nutrients and flavors. Steaming also requires less oil than other cooking methods like frying or sautéing.

Casserole Dish/Cast Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Skillet Frying

They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors to match any kitchen decor.

One of the benefits of using a casserole dish or cast iron skillet is their ability to go from oven-to-table with ease. You can prepare your meal ahead of time, pop it into the oven when you’re ready, and serve it straight from the same dish without having to transfer food into another serving platter.

Cast iron skillets also have an added advantage as they retain heat well even after being removed from heat source which makes them perfect for keeping food warm while serving.

Rice Cooker/Multi-cooker Appliances

Rice Cooker

Many modern rice cookers come with multiple cooking functions, including slow cooking. These multi-cooker appliances allow you to prepare various dishes such as stews, soups, and even desserts in addition to perfectly cooked rice.

One of the benefits of using a rice cooker or multi-cooker is that they have an automatic shut-off feature once the food is done cooking. This means you don’t have to worry about overcooking your meal or constantly checking on it like you would with traditional slow cookers.

Another advantage of using these appliances for slow cooking is their compact size and portability. They take up less counter space than traditional crockpots and can easily be transported for potlucks or family gatherings.

Solar Ovens/Sun-powered Cookers

Solar Cookers

These devices use the power of the sun to slowly and gently heat your food, resulting in deliciously cooked meals without any electricity or gas.

There are many different types of solar ovens available on the market today, ranging from simple cardboard boxes with reflective lining to more advanced models made from durable materials like metal and glass. Some even come with built-in thermometers so you can monitor your cooking temperature.

To use a solar oven, simply place your ingredients inside and position it in direct sunlight for several hours (depending on what you’re cooking). You’ll need to adjust its angle throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.

Electric Skillet/Electric Wok

Electric Skillet Popcorn

They have the advantage of being able to maintain a consistent temperature over long periods, making them ideal for dishes that require low and slow heat.

To use an electric skillet or wok as a slow cooker alternative, simply set the temperature to low or medium-low and let your dish cook away. You can also adjust the temperature as needed throughout the cooking process.

One great thing about using an electric skillet or wok is that they often come with non-stick surfaces which make cleaning up after your meal much easier than traditional crockpots. Plus, their compact size makes them perfect for small kitchens where counter space is at a premium.

Air Fryer With Slow Cook Function

air fryer oven

Many air fryers come with a slow cook function, making them an excellent alternative to traditional slow cookers. The air fryer’s compact size and quick cooking time make it perfect for small batches of food or meals for one or two people.

To use the slow cook function on an air fryer, simply add your ingredients to the basket and set the temperature and time according to your recipe. The low heat setting will slowly cook your food over several hours, resulting in tender meats and flavorful stews.

One advantage of using an air fryer with a slow cooker function is that it doesn’t require as much liquid as traditional methods since there is no evaporation during cooking. This means you can use less broth or water in recipes without sacrificing flavor.

Clay Pot Cooking

Clay Pot Cooking

It’s a slow and gentle cooking method that allows the food to cook evenly while retaining its natural flavors and nutrients. Clay pots are porous, which means they absorb moisture from the food during cooking, making it tender and juicy.

To use a clay pot, you need to soak it in water for at least 30 minutes before using it. This will prevent the pot from cracking when exposed to high heat.

Once soaked, place your ingredients inside the pot with some liquid (water or broth) and put it on low heat on your stovetop or oven.

Clay pots can be used for various dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles or even bread baking! They come in different sizes so you can choose one according to your needs.

One of the benefits of using clay pots is that they retain heat well after being removed from direct heat source which makes them ideal for serving hot meals at dinner parties without having to reheat them again later!.

Baking in a Water Bath

Baking in a Water Bath

This method involves placing the dish you want to cook inside another larger dish filled with hot water and then baking it in the oven. The steam from the hot water creates an even, gentle heat that cooks food slowly and evenly without drying it out or burning it.

This technique works well for custards, cheesecakes, bread puddings, and other delicate desserts that require low-temperature cooking over an extended period of time. It also helps prevent cracking on top of baked goods like cheesecake by keeping them moist during cooking.

To bake in a water bath, simply place your prepared dish into another larger baking pan or casserole dish filled with about 1 inch of hot tap water. Then carefully transfer both dishes into your preheated oven and bake as directed until done.

Crockpot Liners for Easy Cleanup


These disposable plastic bags fit perfectly inside your slow cooker and prevent food from sticking to the sides or bottom of the pot. Once you’re done cooking, simply remove the liner and toss it in the trash.

No more scrubbing or soaking required! Crockpot liners come in various sizes, so make sure you choose one that fits your specific model of slow cooker. They are also affordable and can be found at most grocery stores or online retailers.

Using crockpot liners not only saves time but also makes cleaning up after a meal much less stressful – giving you more time to enjoy your delicious creation!


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