Difference Between Slow Cooker And Rice Cooker

Buying kitchen appliances can be a confusing business. There are so many different appliances to buy for cooking, and at first I wasn’t sure where to start. To begin with I wanted to know the difference between a slow cooker and a rice cooker.

So what is the difference between a slow cooker and a rice cooker. The main difference between a slow cooker and a rice cooker is the amount and type of heat created. A slow cooker cooks using low, even heat over a long period of time. A rice cooker provides higher more rapid heat, bringing foods quickly to the boil, and then keeping warm until ready to serve.




So there you have it. The main difference between these two is clearly in how quickly food can be cooked. However, this then has an impact on the types of food that can be cooked and how we go about using these two kitchen appliances. I’ve gone into much more detail below about the differences between the slow cooker and rice cooker, and how to use these effectively. Read on to see what I found out.

Difference Between a Slow Cooker And Rice Cooker

So as I said above, the main difference between a slow cooker and a rice cooker is the amount of heat given out by both, and how quickly this heat is distributed. This will inevitably have an effect on how you prepare and cook food, and the types of food you will want to cook with both.

Difference in heat Settings Between A Slow Cooker And Rice Cooker

A slow cooker will usually have three heat settings of high, medium and low heat. What each of these heats should actually be in terms of temperature seems to differ between sources, but as a general rule of thumb the low heat setting should be about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and the high heat setting should be approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The medium heat will simmer somewhere in between these temperatures.

The reason for the temperature being as high as 200 degrees on the lowest setting comes down to food safety. Whilst you do want to be able to cook your food slowly, you do not want to be cooking it at a heat that becomes safe. Cooking food below 140 degrees Fahrenheit allows for bacteria to develop and grow in your food, and this is seriously unhealthy.



A rice cooker doesn’t generally come with or need the varying heat settings that slow cooker does. It works in an altogether different way, which is why cooking with a rice cooker is much quicker than using a slow cooker. Whilst the slow cooker is used to cook meals over a longer period of time, using a rice cooker to cook different types of rice and grains can and should be done over a shorter period of time.

Generally when cooking rice, the rice cooker will move through the following stages:

  1. The rice will be placed in water in the rice cooker.
  2. The rice cooker will then boil the water (this happens at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. All of the water is absorbed by the rice and begins to steam.
  4. When the water is absorbed, the temperature in the cooker rises.
  5. The cooker senses this change, and will switch to simply keeping the rice warm.

Difference In Size Between A Slow Cooker And Rice Cooker

Sizes of both slow cookers and rice cookers varying on what you need, and how much money you are prepared to spend. A slow cooker ranges in size from 1 quarts to 8 quarts. I found the idea of quarts quite confusing as it wasn’t a unit of measure I was familiar with. The guide below should help when deciding which size to buy:

  • 1 – 3 Quarts: Being the smallest slow cooker you can buy, this is best for people living alone or at most couples who just need to make enough food for one meal.
  • 4 – 5 Quarts: This would be an ideal size for a family of 3 to 4 people. It could also be used for a couple wanting to make enough food to make two meals for a couple.
  • 6 – 8 Quarts: This is an ideal size for a large family. You will be able to cook either a large family meal, or cook for less people leaving lots of leftovers.

The sizing of a rice cooker is quite different, being measured in cup sizes. Rice cookers normally come in sizes of between 2 cups and 10 cups, although you can buy a bigger 20 cup version, but this is normally for commercial use as it will cook a lot of rice!




The cup size of a rice cooker does not refer to the amount of rice it is able to make, but rather the amount of full cups of uncooked rice it can take. You can expect rice to roughly double in size once cooked, although this depends on the type and quality of the rice.

So a rice cooker with the capacity of 5 cups, should produce roughly 10 cups of cooked rice. Whilst the size of cups can vary, the standard size of cup for rice to be used in a rice cooker is 180 millilitres. Most rice cookers will come with a measuring cup.

Difference In Cooking Time Between A Slow Cooker and A Rice Cooker

The cooking time of a slow cooker will vary massively depending on what and how much you are cooking. This can be anywhere in between 2 and 10 hours, and you can then add on more time for keeping the food warm once it is cooked.

Cooking rice in a rice cooker will take much less time than using a slow cooker. Whilst some rice cookers have a quick mode to make rice in approximately 20 minutes, you should expect it to take between 40 and 50 minutes to cook rice in a rice cooker.

What Foods Should You Cook In A Slow Cooker And A Rice Cooker?

At first glance, it would seem that a rice cooker is just that, an appliance for cooking rice, and a slow cooker can be used for a whole variety of things. This is not quite the case, and I’ve listed just some of the things that both of these appliances can be used to cook.

What Can You Cook In A Slow Cooker?

Whilst this is absolutely not an exhaustive list, below are just some of the things you can use your slow cooker to cook:

  1. Chilli
  2. Pot Roast
  3. Stew
  4. Soup
  5. Curries
  6. Macaroni Cheese
  7. All Varieties Of Potatoes
  8. Stuffing
  9. Enchiladas
  10. Meatballs
  11. Spaghetti Bolognese

As I said, this is just a few of the things you can make using your slow cooker. I’ll return with some recipes ideas once I’ve spent some time perfecting a few dishes in mine.

What Can You Cook In A Rice Cooker?

Rice cookers are more versatile than they first appear. Obviously you can use it took all varieties of rice, but below are some suggestions for other things you can cook using your rice cooker:

  1. All varieties of rice (obviously)
  2. Quinoa
  3. Steamed Fish
  4. Steamed Vegetables
  5. Hard Boiled Eggs
  6. Chicken
  7. Pork Roast
  8. Porridge
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Risotto
  11. Soups And Stews

So as you can see, the list of other things you can make in a rice cooker definitely extends way beyond simply using it for cooking rice.  The beauty of this is that it will take much less time than a slow cooker, although setting your slow cooker on to cook slowly while you are out at work is definitely a bonus you do not get with a rice cooker.

Related questions

Are Crockpots and Slow Cookers the same thing?  An actual Crockpot is a brand name for a particular type of slow cooker, whereas a slow cooker is the general term for all types of slow cooker. Both a slow cooker and a Crockpot will have a glass lid, pot and heating element.  A slow cooker will normally have a metal pot, whereas a Crockpot will have a ceramic pot.

Can a rice cooker cook meat?  Amongst other things, yes you can cook meat and fish in your rice cooker. Depending on the size of your rice cooker, you should be able to cook a whole chicken or pork roast.

Can I use my pressure cooker as a slow cooker?  Yes it is possible to use your pressure cooker as a slow cooker. However, due to the vast difference in temperature and cooking method, this will take practice and experimentation to get right.

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