Pressure Cooker vs. Crockpot

Our electric bills are horrendous.  Our house is all electric and we just use a lot of electricity — lots of hot water, we all take two showers a day; the dishwasher runs at least once a day, often twice a day and sometimes three times a day; I have two ovens and many times, both of them are going.  One of the not-resolutions-but-a-plan-I-had was to use the crockpot more this year and see if using the stove less would help the electric bill.

But, I love my pressure cookers so much more than I love my crockpots!  Even though I have several, this little 3.5 liter Kuhn Rikon is my favorite.  It’s perfect for a small roast, just enough dried beans for a couple of meals and cooking a whole small chicken.  I also have the 5 liter Kuhn Rikon.  (Don’t ask me why the 5 liter costs less than the 3.5 liter at Amazon!)  The 3.5 liter is about a 3.7 quart size and the 5 liter is about 5.25 quarts.

I also have a 6 quart Presto cooker.  I’ll do a separate post about the pros and cons of each.

For a while, I’ve been wondering if it takes more electricity to cook in the crockpot or in the pressure cooker.  Just off the top of your head, what would you guess?

This post is encouraging for those who are not confident using a pressure cooker;  this post is interesting about the cost of using a slow cooker.

This post is great and answered my questions.  It discusses the different methods of cooking leg of lamb.  They figured the cost of cooking it in the crockpot was 11.2 cents and the cost of cooking it in the pressure cooker was 4.5 cents.  Cooking it in the oven cost 23 cents.  Even though the cost was all I was concerned with in this article, the lamb cooked in the pressure cooker won the taste test too.

The cost savings for the pressure cooker vs. the crockpot isn’t going to change my mind about what method I’ll use to cook.  If I’m reading the article correctly, it saves about 7 cents to cook in the pressure cooker.  If I save 7 cents per day, then I’m saving a grand total of $2.17 per month.  I don’t think that’s going to make a noticeable difference in my electric bill.

These figures were based on electricity costing .10/kw hour.  I called Kansas City Power & Light this morning to see what we’re paying and during the summer, we pay a flat .10/kw hour.  During the winter, we pay .10 for the first 600 kw hours, then pay .05 for the next 1,000 kw hours and then it drops to .04/kw hour.  So, during the winter, my costs would be half of the figures referenced above.

The leg of lamb was cooked 4 hours and when I cook most anything in the crockpot, I cook it 6 or 8 hours so that would mean that my cost would be in the 16.5 – 22 cents range.  That’s still not enough to make me change my mind if I were planning to use the crockpot.

The savings of the pressure cooker vs. the oven is 18.5 cents or $5.73 for the whole month. But, during the summer, the oven heats up the house and that is a consideration.

I’m a bit surprised that the savings isn’t more.  Another and probably bigger consideration for most of us is the convenience or preference in cooking.  If you’re going to be gone most of the day and want dinner ready to serve when you get home, obviously the pressure cooker isn’t going to be your first choice.   I’ve always had better luck and seem to get better tasting food with the pressure cooker.  I will continue to use the crockpot some but I won’t feel like I have to do it in order to try to save electricity.  The pressure cooker will still be my preferred method for cooking.

I’ll do some more posts on pressure cooking over the next few days so if you’re interested . . stay tuned.


  1. 1

    Terri says

    Interesting. My first thought was that the crock pot would cost more than the pressure cooker. Can’t wait for your posts on pressure cooking. I’ve always been afraid of trying it, to many stories of cleaning beans off of the ceiling when I was a kid! Oh and hopefully you’ll share more iPad thoughts too! I got one for Christmas!

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    I’m with you taste as the determining facotr of how you cook a meal. I think there are better places to look to save electricity. We are in the middle of a remodel and one item we are getting is a recirculating pump for the hot water supply. No more running the shower or kitchen sink water down the drain (or in a pail) waiting for hot water to reach the faucet. This should save on the electric and water bill as well as being more earth friendly.

    Our new kitchen appliances and new washing machine should also save on power. Sometimes you need to spend money to save in the long run.

    How about a wrap or blanket for the hot water heater. We haven’t done that yet but will after the place is complete.

    I almost always do my laundry with cold water and I use my clothes line year round (lucky me in AZ)

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    Diane in CA says

    You are all electric? ouch… Time to get that gas kitchen going in the basement.. or you could use the microwave more.

    Your electricity is still cheaper than ours. 1st Tier 13¢.. and we only get 317 kwh.. Tier2: 15¢/95kwh, Tier3: 24¢/222 kwh, Tier4: 27¢/250 kwh?, Tier5: 31¢.. the more we use the more we pay..

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    I’m thinking from past experiences
    beans in the pressure cooker…2 hours
    beans in the slow cooker…about 8 hours.

    So…2 hours on the electric stove as opposed to 8 hours plugged into an outlet…I think the pressure cooker would be the more economical.

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    Please post pressure cooker recipes. I ended up getting one for Christmas (my hubby says I need to quit reading your blog…too many ideas) I made hoppin john and everyone loved it. We had your blackberry wine cake too. That was hit but I was also told that I forgot the chocolate. Chocolate is a favorite here….

    Bring on the recipes!

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    >>I’ll do some more posts on pressure cooking over the next few days so if you’re interested . . stay tuned.<<

    Oh goodie, because I am interested, and I will be watching. 🙂

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    Can you believe I’m married going on 44 years and have never had a pressure cooker?? For some reason, I was always afraid of them….guess someone told me a horror story about using one and it stuck with me. I’ll be watching your upcoming posts about them.

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    A crockpot uses very little electricity, whereas a stove uses quite a bit. Still, I wonder if you’ll notice a difference. Heating your house and your hot water are by far the biggest draws on power, depending on whether you use electricity for either of those things. (We use gas for both.) Also, your refrigerator takes a ton. If you have more than one refrigerator, as I do, then multiply a ton times the number of refrigerators you have.

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    Sallie McIntosh says

    My husband and I were married in 1960 and moved to Chicago. During the first months of marriage, while I was at work and he was working early shift, he decided to fix a pot of beans in the pressure cooker. He didn’t know anything about the pressure issue, so when I got home from work, he was cleaning beans off the ceiling. And the funny thing was that it had happened twice that day. The first time, he had just driven up to the local hardware and picked up another little pop off valve located in the top. Came home and put them back on the stove and did it again. We laughed over the years about that. Another funny thing he did: went to the laundry for me and washed my WOOL sweater and skirt. Paid a mint for it in 1959 or it seemed so at the time and came home to find it would actually fit a 3 year old. Dang, those dryers were so hot then, the snaps, buttons etc actually burned your hands when you took them out of the dryer.
    I just looked at getting one of those pressure cookers you recommended and there sure are a lot of different sizes on Amazon. I’m by myself now, he passed away about 6 weeks ago and thought the smaller one would be nice for me. Anyone with any thoughts on that? I think it is a 2.5 liter one.

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    I love my pressure cookers and crock pots. Yes I’ve got the old kind(been married 40 years). No biggie when the pop off blows off just makes a mess. Not dangerous like what most think. Try them you will love the speed they cook. Also if you can they make them for canning works great for that. I gave my big one away cause I don’t can anymore. It did loads of pints at a time and quarts too.Sorry but I just don’t have the fresh veggies like I use to have due to space. I really enjoy all your updates and all. Keep up the good work.
    wanda aka meme

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    I have a dumb question….how do you FIT a leg of lamb in a small pot like that? I need my largest roasting pan and I still have to saw the extending leg bone most of the time. Just wondering.

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    the “electric guys” here say think of the things that heat and cool all the time. Fridges, freezers, hot water heaters, central heat, central air. I don’t worry about my lights, they don’t use much electricity. arctic cold here right now–plugging in vehicles and tractors (block heaters for the engines) really suck the electricity! But being able to use the “outdoor freezer”–I find that pretty handy for cookies and things. My husband is always trying to buy me more popcorn tins, he knows I store cookies outside in the winter!

    Pressure cooker vrs crockpot. Hmm! Well, you have to plan ahead more for the crock pot! I don’t cook as much as I could in my pressure cooker, but have used one all my life. I didn’t KNOW most people don’t use one!