Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, or Rice Cooker – But Which One?

Pressure Cooker Vs Slow Cooker Vs Rice Cooker

Most of us in Singapore don’t have the luxury of ample counter space! And hence, can’t afford to have 3 appliances sitting on the counter at once! Don’t forget other essential appliances like an electric kettle!

The good news is that many cooking appliances now do more than one job! Which unfortunately, also makes things more confusing than we would like!

Most of the time, their functions overlap too! But there is still a difference between using a rice cooker, pressure cooker and slow cooker! As we will break down below!

Rice Cookers

Let’s start with the obvious one. The simpler ones can cook rice in 15-20 minutes! More sophisticated models can take up to 40 minutes.

There’s usually an automatic keep warm function even with basic models. But basic models often lack temperature controls too.

Many Different Variations Of Rice Cooker
Many Different Variations Of Rice Cooker – photo by Cedric Sam from flickr


  • Simple operation and cleaning
  • Fast cooking
  • Steaming dishes while cooking rice is possible with the right accessories
  • Not expensive
  • No supervision/ intervention required


  • No browning/ searing
  • Basic models just have a two options (Cook and keep warm)

Slow Cookers

People who are busy for most of the day can fully appreciate the long cooking time of slow cookers (~2-10 hours)!

Because slow cookers only use low heat to cook. Of the 2-3 heat settings, the highest temperature is typically ~150°C. And the lowest around ~90°C.


  • Food cooked in a slow cooker can keep well (i.e. batch cooking)
  • No supervision required
  • Great tasting food
  • Inexpensive


  • Not suited to impatient or more spontaneous households (i.e. requires planning ahead)
  • Usually bulky
  • Does not brown/sear food

Pressure Cookers

You need a strong will to learn new recipes to make the most of these more expensive kitchen appliances.

However, they can drastically cut cooking time and you still get delicious flavors, similar to a slow cooker!

Popular Pressure Cooker Brand Instant Pot
Popular Pressure Cooker Brand Instant Pot – photo by marc50 from flickr


  • Time saver (e.g. Lamb shanks in an hour! Risotto in 20 minutes, etc)
  • Does not mess up the kitchen
  • Food nutrients preserved
  • Very versatile
  • Not super pricey


  • Not easy to clean
  • Can potentially burn your hand with steam
  • Food is not as delicious as with a slow cooker
  • You can’t leave it on its own the whole day
  • Intimidating for beginner cooks
  • Some trial and error needed for new recipes

Multi Cookers

If you like the idea of a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, a multi cooker may be able to do both! Many can function as a rice cooker too.

And it’s possible to find a multi cooker with air frying and baking options!


  • Extremely versatile (multiple appliances in one)
  • Pre-programmed menu options make it easy for novice cooks
  • Can cook fast (pressure cook) or slow (slow cooker)
  • Able to brown food (air frying/ baking)


  • Very expensive
  • Bulky
  • Many parts to clean
  • Requires supervision
  • Often not as good as the standalone appliance (e.g. bread maker or slow cooker)
Kitchen With Ample Counter Space
Kitchen With Ample Counter Space – photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Other Factors To Consider

1. Price

If you’re going to make your decision based on budget, you’ll only need to think twice before getting a multi cooker.

As the other appliances are more affordable (and similarly priced).

This is the average price range for each type of appliance in Singapore:

  • Slow cooker – S$40-90
  • Rice cooker – S$40-200 (There are the expensive IH rice cookers that cost S$400 too)
  • Pressure cooker – S$60-260 (Including traditional stove top pressure cookers)
  • Multi cooker – S$300-400
Traditional stove top pressure cooker
Traditional stove top pressure cooker – photo by kathemo from flickr

2. Size

It’s possible to find personal (1-2 pax) versions for each appliance type. But smaller appliances tend to have less functions too.

In general, electric pressure cookers and multi cookers tend to be much bulkier than rice cookers. Don’t forget the additional accessories that come with the multi cookers (e.g. extra pot, air fryer lid, etc)!

3. Ease Of Maintenance

All of them have their individual and shared problems in the long run:

  • Non stick coating coming off (e.g. rice cookers)
  • Ceramic pot/ glass lid is easy to break (e.g. slow cookers)
  • Gasket wears out (e.g. pressure cookers and multi cookers)
Cooking On A Stove Can Mess Up The Kitchen
Cooking On A Stove Can Mess Up The Kitchen – photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

4. Versatility

Here are the appliances according to what they are best at cooking:

  • Best for stew, beans, and soup -> slow cooker
  • Best for cooking big chunks of meat -> pressure cooker
  • Best for steaming rice, grains, thin slices of meat, and vegetables -> rice cooker
  • Best for saute/ frying/ baking (in addition to slow cooker and pressure cooker perks) -> multi cooker
Rice Cooker Mushroom Risotto
Rice Cooker Mushroom Risotto – photo by Vincci from flickr

This table shows some of the dishes you can make with these appliances:

DishesRice CookerSlow CookerPressure CookerMulti Cooker
Beef Stewn/aYesYesYes
Pot Roastn/aYesYesYes
Pork Ribsn/aYesYesYes
Bolognese Saucen/aYesYesYes
Pulled Porkn/aYesYesYes
Caramel Custardn/aYesYesYes
Chicken RiceYesn/aYesYes
Mac & CheeseYesYesYesYes
Red Bean Soupn/aYesYesYes
Rice Puddingn/aYesYesYes
Creamy Sauces (With Dairy Ingredients)Yesn/aYesYes
Couscous/ QuinoaYesn/aYesYes
Leafy GreensYesn/an/an/a
Fried Chickenn/an/an/aYes
Steel-Cut OatmealYesYesYesYes

Note: Mind that the table above really depends on the specific appliance model* you get. Also, “n/a” does not mean it’s not impossible. It’s just not as convenient or does not yield great results.

Pot roast from a pressure cooker
Pot roast from a pressure cooker – photo by Colin T from flickr

5. Learning Curve

Of the lot, rice cookers and slow cookers are the easiest to learn and require no supervision.

For pressure cookers and multi cookers, you may need a few tries to get a new recipe (e.g. ratio of water to ingredients, cook time, etc) right.

And depending on what you cook, some intervention may be necessary (e.g. sauté).

Bigger HDB Kitchen
Bigger HDB Kitchen – photo by zheng 正 from flickr


Here’s a little quiz to help you decide which appliance (Pressure cooker vs slow cooker vs rice cooker vs multi cooker) to go for!

  1. Do you spend most of your time at work? Yes -> Slow cooker
  2. Do you have a daily schedule that is predictable? Yes -> Slow cooker
  3. Are you willing to plan ahead? Yes -> Slow cooker
  4. Do you cook large batches of food at a time? Yes -> Slow cooker
  5. Do you want to have rice and a main dish cooked in the same appliance? Yes -> Rice cooker
  6. Do you eat rice every day? Yes -> Rice cooker
  7. Are you a connoisseur of rice? Yes -> Rice cooker
  8. Do you have limited counter space? Yes -> Rice cooker/ Multi cooker
  9. Do you cook meat often? Yes -> Pressure cooker/ Slow cooker
  10. Is cooking healthy a top priority for you? Yes -> Pressure cooker
  11. Do you have time to spare in the kitchen? Yes -> Pressure cooker/ Multi cooker
  12. Do you like to cook a variety of food and try new recipes? Yes -> Pressure cooker/ Multi cooker
  13. Is your budget more than S$200? Yes -> Multi cooker
  14. Do you bake occasionally but do not want to get an oven? Yes -> Multi cooker
  15. Do you want to brown your food without a stove or oven? Yes -> Multi cooker

We think it’s safe to say that for most of us (with full time jobs and a family), the combination of a slow cooker and rice cooker is most ideal!

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