What is a Thermal Cooker & How Does it Work?
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Oh. My. Goodness. If you don’t know what a Thermal Cooker is yet, you are definitely in for a treat.
This is really a powerful kitchen appliance that most people have never heard of.
Honestly, Thermal Cookers are my go-to item. Even over crock pots, even over instant pots. Why? Oh, so many reasons.
I was a crockpot gal for years – I still am in a lot of ways. But then my husband introduced me to a Thermal Cooker.
“A what?” I asked.
He sat it on the counter and I looked at it strangely. No cord or plug. No buttons. No dials. Hmmm. Can’t be worth much.
But, boy, was I wrong. Once he explained it to me and I gave it a go I knew I would never turn back.
And you know what? I. Love. My. Thermal. Cookers. (Yes, I have a few of them! Ok, I just counted, I have 6 of them. 🙂 )
You’re going to want to understand the magic of thermal cookers. It’s a new concept, but I tell you, once you grasp how easily they work you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without one for so long.
They have been a real lifesaver for me in my kitchen and have really given me more freedom in my cooking. Not kidding one bit.
I want to tell you why I love them and also how they work.
This is a pretty hefty post with lots of great information. Here’s what’s covered:
- What is a Thermal Cooker?
- Ways to Use a Thermal Cooker
- Top Reasons Why You’ll Love Your Thermal Cooker
- A Simple Breakdown of How to Use a Thermal Cooker
- Some Important Things to Be Aware Of
- Thermal Cooker Recipe Book with Help in How to Use it
- Different Sizes of Thermal Cookers
First of all, What is a Thermal Cooker?
This, my friend, is a thermal cooker:
Simply put, it is a cordless, non-electric, portable version of a crockpot.
It’s simply a stainless steel pot that goes inside a thermal outer pot.
And they are as cool as can be.
Ways to Use a Thermal Cooker
Just as the name implies, a thermal cooker cooks with thermal heat. In other words, whatever temperature you bring your food to in the inner pot is retained by the properties of the thermal outer pot.
Hang on with me…. it took a bit of explaining from my husband for me to grasp this new concept. I promise that when it clicks for you, you’ll be glad you kept listening!
I will explain down below HOW a thermal cooker works, but for now, I want to tell you why I love them. Imagine this:
SOoooo many ways and places and reasons and events you can use your thermal cooker:
- Use them for your regular family dinners
- Use them to take dinner to other people
- Help provide lots of food for big events
- Use them on campouts (oh my, I can’t say enough about how handy they are on campouts!)
- Take them on picnics
- To the lake
- Tailgate parties
- To the beach
- After your kid’s sports tournament
- Disneyland – yup – save money by making dinner in the AM, going and playing all day, come back to the hotel to a nice hot meal
- To new neighbors
- You name it…
- Anywhere you can go, it can go.
Anywhere you can go, your thermal cooker can go with you.
Cooking your food wherever you are, unplugged.
Because they not only cook your food perfectly, they also keep your food warm for several hours, and they don’t overcook your food.
I can make food in my thermal cooker in the morning, leave it alone on the counter (remember, it doesn’t have to be plugged in) and come back at dinner time and it’s ready to go. Or I can make it in the afternoon, leave it, and come back at dinner and it’s ready to go.
I can take food in a thermal cooker to a new mom, or a sick friend or a new neighbor, any time of the day, and they can eat dinner whenever they feel like. It’s ready when they are.
Top Reasons Why You’ll Love Your Thermal Cooker:
1- Thermal cookers are highly portable. They are non-electric – that means you can take them anywhere and the food will still keep cooking.
2- You don’t have to worry about your food overcooking. It won’t happen.
3- Eat whenever you’re ready. You can eat your meal and then leave the remaining food in the thermal cooker for people who need to eat later, and the food is still perfectly ready for them.
4- You save fuel, which is a plus in many situations. It only takes enough fuel to bring your food up to the desired initial heat, then you simply let the thermal cooker keep cooking the food for you without any more need for fuel.
-An added point here – can you imagine the great blessing thermal cookers would be to countries/peoples who have limited fuel, or extremely expensive fuel? Talk about a truly beneficial appliance that needs to get out to the world through humanitarian efforts.
5- I can start dinner at any time of the day. I can make a meal for a neighbor any time of the day, take it to them and give them instructions to just let it sit on their counter and they can eat it anytime they are ready. No fussing about cook time, or juggling a busy schedule to cook food at certain times. I make the food when I have time, take it to them when I have time, and they can eat it whenever they want to.
6- Food items don’t fall apart. The food retains integrity, no matter how long it’s been in the thermal cooker.
7- Highly nutritious meals. Because of the short amount of time spent on the stovetop, and since all the cooking and heat is retained inside with no evaporation, all the goodness stays inside. It entraps flavor, minerals, and nutrients; generates less odor, grease, and smoke in the kitchen. Never overcooks and cleans up easily.
8- Frees up space on your stovetop. OK, this is a huge plus at big family gatherings like at Thanksgiving and Christmas and family birthday parties, for example. Imagine being able to have things cooking while not taking up space on your stovetop. YES. I can have mashed potatoes cooking in one thermal cooker that is over sitting on the counter, the Catalina Chicken cooking in another thermal cooker that is also over sitting on the counter out of the way, and that leaves me all the burners available on my stovetop for other things. Hallelujah.
This is a picture of the meal I cooked for my son’s birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago. I had three thermal cookers sitting on my counter, each cooking different things that I started at different times of the day at my leisure. One had cut up potatoes in it for mashed potatoes, another had green beans cooking in it, and the third had Catalina Chicken cooking in it. THAT MEANS MY STOVETOP HAD THREE EMPTY BURNERS that would have had to have been used if I hadn’t been using thermal cookers.
9- Have breakfast ready when you get up. You can put things like 9-grain cereal, steel-cut oats, etc in your thermal cooker right before bed, and wakeup to fully cooked, totally warm and ready to eat for breakfast. Never overcooked or dried out. (Basic recipe: 2 1/2 cups of grain and 4 cups of water.)
10- Keeps hot food hot and cold food cold. Yep. You read that right. If you put something hot in it, it will retain that heat. If you put something cold in it, it will keep that cold temperature. Think of taking cold pasta or potato salad to a picnic and having it stay the right cold temperature without having to cart it in a cooler with a bunch of ice.
12- It’s safe to leave unattended because there is no power or pressure needed to cook. The thermal cooking process requires no further supervision or monitoring. Food can be cooked while you are traveling or socializing at a tailgate party. You can cook with the pot anywhere, anytime and it’s safe to use indoors or out.
13- It saves money because with the convenience of taking thermal cookers with you wherever you go, you save money by having an awesome meal ready to go in crazy situations – like if you’ve been at your son’s baseball tournament all day, or you’ve been traveling and arrive at your destination hungry but don’t want to spend money eating out. It also saves money because after the heated food has been placed inside the outer vacuum pot there is no extra energy needed to maintain the heat or cold for the next 6 to 12 hours.
14- Excellent Preparedness item. Imagine you and your family have gone through a natural disaster, and have little or no access to city fuel. If you have a camp stove and the fuel to run it, you can still cook meals for your family and others like a champ in your thermal cooker. Since it only requires little fuel to bring the food up to the necessary temperature and since it keeps on cooking for hours without any more fuel, it really conserves fuel.
15- Saves time because you’re not constrained to your house/electricity to cook your meal. You can plop your meal in the thermal cooker and take off to your activities – come back and eat when you’re ready, or take the meal with you.
16- The outside of the outer pot stays cool. That means kids can touch it and won’t get burned. It’s also a benefit when you go places and cart the thermal cooker with you in your vehicle. (When you do travel with it, you’ll just want to make sure it is placed securely in your car so it doesn’t tip or that the lid doesn’t get bumped open.)
How a Thermal Cooker Works
Now I’m not going to get into the science of it all, I’m just gonna talk like one mom to another, so here it goes…
There are two parts to a thermal cooker-
- the inner stainless steel pot with its lid
- and the outer thermal container with its lid
The outer pot of the thermal cooker is insulated and uses the thermal mass of your food from the inner pot to continue the cooking process.
You heat up your food in the inner pot, and then put it in the outer pot to continue cooking.
So, unlike a crockpot that requires continuous power to keep the crock hot to continue cooking your food, once you add a hot inner pot to the outer thermal pot of the thermal cooker, it retains the heat of the food and uses it to continue the cooking process.
Pretty simple. Yet ingenious.
Here’s a Simple Breakdown of How to Use a Thermal Cooker
You take out the inner stainless steel pot and fill it with your food items – like soup or stew, or roast, or chicken dinner – and put it on your stovetop and heat your food up to a good rolling boil.
Let it boil for 1-20 minutes – depending on what type of food you have in it (more on this detail down below).
Then you put the lid on the inner pot, turn off your stovetop, use a hot pad to pick up the inner pot by its handle, and put in into the outer thermal container.
Then you close the lid on the outer thermal container.
And move the handle forward to “lock” the lid shut. (Note that it’s not a tight/secure lock.)
Voila. Dinner will be done soon.
Some Important Things to be Aware Of
How full should I fill the inner pot with food?
The longer it takes a particular food to cook, the fuller your pot will need to be to gain the maximum thermal mass.
Certain foods take longer to cook than other foods.
For example, pinto beans take a long time to cook. So be sure to have your pot full.
But things like rice don’t take long to cook, so it would be ok for the pot to not be all the way full.
So here’s the rule of thumb: For a thermal cooker to stay hot longer, the pot must be fuller.
How long must my food boil on the stove before putting the inner pot into the outer pot to continue cooking?
The type of food you are cooking determines the length of boiling time.
Meals with meat in it need to boil for a few minutes longer than ones without.
Meals with smaller cuts of meat can boil for just a few minutes while meals with larger cuts of meat will need to boil for up to 25 minutes.
NOTE: Always use thawed meat and food items. Never use frozen meat or food items, as they will lower the temperature in your thermal cooker. (See the 6 Important Things to Remember When Using Your Thermal Cooker here.)
As you cook more and more with your thermal cooker, you’ll get the hang of things and know what to do. I would also highly recommend getting this Thermal Cooker recipe book for more detailed instructions for specific recipes.
What part of the thermal cooker goes on the stove?
Only the inner pot is to be used on your heat source. Never put the outer thermal pot on the stove.
Cleaning of your thermal cooker:
Cleaning the inner pot: You can hand wash or use the dishwasher like any other pot.
Cleaning the outer thermal pot: Never submerge. Never in the dishwasher. You simply get a clean wet cloth and wipe it down, inside and out as necessary.
Thermal Cooker Recipe Book with Help in How to Use it
There’s a gal who has put together a really awesome recipe book that shows how to use a thermal cooker in all sorts of ways. I have this recipe book and it really is great. My husband knows the gal who wrote it, Cindy Miller, and she’s pretty amazing.
You really don’t need new recipes to use in a thermal cooker, what you really need is just a basic understanding of how it works and you can use almost any recipe that you already have in it. But you might also like to get this recipe book because in it you will be amazed to realize all the things you can do in a thermal cooker that you may have never thought of before.
It’s called “Let’s Make Sense of Thermal Cooking Cookbook”
There are Different Brands of Thermal Cookers
There are a few different brands of thermal cookers out there, such as Tiger, Tayama, Sunpentown, Saratoga Jacks, and Thermos, and we’ve tried out most of them. Our two favorite brands are the Saratoga Jacks brand and the Thermos brand. In fact, we are good friends with the folks who provide the Saratoga Jacks brand.
I now only use the Saratoga Jacks brand and the Thermos brand. They are the only two types that we’ve kept after all of these years. We are just impressed with their quality and performance.
And out of these two favorites of mine, the Thermos brand is my absolute favorite, hands down.
The Thermos brand is just a super high-quality item. The inner stainless steel pot feels solid to the touch, meaning it’s well made and not thin (18/8 stainless steel pot that ensures longevity, quality, and excellent food delivery.) I also prefer the handles on the Thermos brand for ease in carrying.
So, since the Thermos brand is my absolute favorite after using other brands, it’s the one I recommend.
The Different Sizes of Thermos Thermal Cookers
The smallest is the Thermos 1.5 L
It’s a very popular size. Being just 1.5 liters, it’s great for lunches and 1-2 person meals. Because it is smaller than the other thermal cookers it won’t have as much heat mass, therefore it won’t keep your food hot as long, although still long enough to totally reap the benefits of thermal cooking. While the larger Thermal Cookers can retain a temperature of about 160 degrees F even after 8 hours, t he food inside the 1.5 L pot can retain a temperature of about 160 degrees Fahrenheit even after 4 hours. Still a very handy item.
This is the one I use most often:
Thermos CC-4500 4.5 L
This is a great size for regular family meals as it can serve between 6-10 people. Super handy.
And just so you know, there is another color of this same size Thermal Cooker:
The Thermos RPC-4500 4.5 L
The CC-4500 and the RPC-4500 are initially the same Thermal Cooker. The CC is a US version that is black and silver, and the RPC is an international version with a brown and light bronze-ish color. They both perform equally well.
And, the double whammy:
The Thermos RPC-6000 6L with TWO inner pots (3 liters each)
OK, this one is a really cool thing. You can cook TWO items in it at once. Like a chicken recipe in one pot and rice in the other. Voila, chicken and rice made in one Thermal Cooker.
AND, you can order a single tall 6L pot to go with this RPC-6000. It comes in handy when you have large recipes to make…
Then there’s the biggest of them all:
The Thermos KPS-8000 8 L
THIS is the one I LOVE at big family gatherings like Thanksgiving and such. It’s the one I use to make a bunch of mashed potatoes in. It’s SO cool to be able to peel and chop up the potatoes earlier in the day, bring them up to a boil for a minute or two in the inner stainless steel pot, then put it in the outer thermal pot, close it, and let it sit on my counter the rest of the day while I’m doing other things.
**Note that Thermos brand thermal cookers are imported and the packaging and materials inside are geared for the Asian market as Thermos has not localized these cookers for the US market. However, part of the recipe book is in English and the simplicity of use doesn’t require much instruction.
So, Friend, What Do You Think?
Are you impressed yet? 🙂
To help you more, I’ve written a few other posts about Thermal Cookers to help you really get the idea of how great and useful they are:
I can pretty much guarantee that if you get a Thermal Cooker (or several of them like I have!) and learn how to use it well, you will love it and be so grateful for the benefits it brings to you!
Oh, the magic of thermal cookers! Once you grasp how easily they work you'll wonder how you've lived without one for so long. Learn what a thermal cooker is and how it works.
12 Best Thermal Pots (Review) In 2020
The Best Thermal Pot
Thermal pots are portable appliances that do not depend on a continual supply of gas or electricity. After an initial burst of 10 or so minutes, an inner pot full of uncooked food is slotted into an outer pot. Then, after the lid on both inner and outer pot are firmly shut, the internal heat of the uncooked food will gradually cook itself from within, because the walls of the outer pot are completely vacuum insulated.
One of the many benefits of cooking in this way is that you can eat your meal whenever you are ready because it will keep your food in piping hot, not disintegrated, for several hours. You thus save money on fuel, be it electric, propane, gas, or other, and are able to get on with the many other activities and duties you probably need to fulfill.
It can be transported due to its size and weight, and usually has convenient carry handles which means it is great in the car, perhaps taken to a ‘potluck’ or Thanksgiving. Unlike other appliances, your thermal pot will not degrade the food to mush, but it will retain its shape even after hours. Minerals, nutrients, flavors, and shapes are also retained because no evaporation or outward conduction is taking place. It also generates less grease, smoke, and odor once you eventually open it up and enjoy it. It also never burns the food and is easy to clean!
Your stovetop is also liberated from pots and pans because the best thermal pot can go anywhere in your kitchen, such as on the counter. It can also be perfect for the preparation of steel-cut oats or 9-grain cereal, which can be prepared before you go to bed and perfectly edible and delicious when you open it up for breakfast the next morning.
It also functions as a cooler, so that potato salad, cold pasta, or yogurt can be stored in it and no ice packs or other shenanigans are required. It is even able to preserve the integrity of ice-cream, which makes it the ideal accompaniment to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
1. Tayama Therma TXM-70XL Energy-Saving Thermal Cooker
Capacity: 7 Quart
Saves 80% of electricity or gas
Suitable for cooking for groups
Food stays warm even after six hours
Reduce stovetop cooking time to 10-15 min.
The Tayama TXM-70XL Energy-Saving Thermal Cooker is an efficient time-saving appliance. Its ‘heat-retention’ technology is both safe and saves energy. You only need to use your stove for 10 minutes, and then let the internal dynamics to do the rest without an ongoing heat source. Not only is it impossible for you to overcook the food by accident, but you can also preserve the natural flavors and nutrients of the food, without it getting annoying evaporated. The inner pot first needs to be around 80% filled, not less, in order for maximum heat retention to occur (extra air reduces this). For this reason, you should not keep checking it until it is completely done. Although you can leave the food to cook by itself, you should not go beyond the 6-8 hour mark, since after that time the temperature will naturally start to decline. You can, however, reboil the inner pot and your food, if you want to cook it beyond that amount of time.
Cooks by using heat accumulated inside
Not spilling, burning, or boiling dry
Removable Lid for easy cleaning
Manufacturer’s warranty must be requested
Inner and outer pot are thin – don’t retain heat well
2. Thermos Brand Thermal Cooker
Excellent heat retention
5 Years Warranty
The inner pot is dishwasher safe
The ideal cooking system for baked beans, rice, sauces, soups, stews, and more. Thermos Brand Thermal Cooker has a two-piece structure that permits fantastic responsiveness to your cooking, including highly efficient temperature retention, flavor retention, and easy portability. It’s 1.5 liters, the bottle-shaped design is generous and allows you to walk away from it and get on with other things. Its outer lid screws tightly on to the body to create a perfect vacuum seal. It comes with two recipe books, bilingual (Japanese & English) for your convenience. When you use this appliance you are part of a much older heritage than you might think. The Japanese expertise and Chinese workmanship make this stainless steel container robust and reliable, as you use it over many years to come.
Double-walled insulation – no heat conduction possible
Infrared radiation is reflected
No heat loss by convection
Instructions and cookbook in Chinese
When a tiny plastic part on the smaller unit breaks the entire unit useless
3. Tiger Vacuum Insulated Non-Electric Thermal Cooker
8.0 L(8.45qts) stainless steel inner pot
Tempered glass lid
Washable inner pot and outer container.
Temperature retention 163.4 degrees F +
Removable lid for easy serving
Compatible with induction heating method
Includes recipe book
Efficient a cooker used to simmer food (not cook it)
Handy User Manual
This made in Japan capacious 8.0L(8.45qts) inner pot can be easily be put on your stove top, brought to the boil then set in the outer container. The vacuum insulation of Tiger Vacuum Insulated Non-Electric Thermal Cooker is powerful yet the outside is cool to the touch, and keeps food piping hot at 163F for 6 hours, saving energy and not burning it. The inner pot uses stainless steel and aluminum to create a layered effect, while the tempered glass lid excellently retains the heat inside. You only need to set it at a low-temperature, and flavors will be wonderfully preserved and brought out. No additional heat source is needed once it has reached its optimum temperature.
Can be used in place of a slow cooker.
Because of its relatively light weight, it easily lifts into thermos pot even when full
The lid cannot hold the heat and can bend after a short number of uses
The bottom of the inner pot can burn, inside and outside, after a short time
4. Sunpentown Thermal Cooker
6 Liters Capacity
Stainless steel inner and outer pot
Keeps cold or warm for up to 8 hours
Cooks 10-30 minutes after heating
Sunpentown Thermal Cooker needs just ten minutes of initial ‘stove time’ and then does the rest itself, thus saving you cooking time, cost, and energy. All you need to do is put the relevant ingredients into the inner pot, cover it, boil for around ten minutes, then remove from the heat source and place it in its outer thermal pot. A convection effect is created in which steam circulates inside and goes on for another thirty minutes, staying hot for up to eight hours. Your dish is effectively cooked in its own juices and internal steam, allowing nutrients to be maintained. Even when comparing this with a pressure cooker, it is 30% more effective.
Unbelievable – just like a slow cooker
Good construction, lighter than it looks
Manufacturer’s warranty must be requested from customer service
Lid would not close right in order to retain the temperature
5. Thermos Vacuum Heat Insulation Cooker
30 x 24 x 17.5cm, (12 x 91/2 x 7 inches)
Resilient aluminum cooking pot lid
Container body is made from phenol resin
Weighs 2.3 kg (1.1 pounds)
This vibrant red Thermos Vacuum Heat Insulation Cooker is an excellent way of cooking food at minimal effort. Once the initial heat has been turned off, the internal dynamics of the cooker will do the rest, so that you can enjoy sumptuous, flavorsome food without having to slave over it for hours, personally. Its proportions are 30 x 24 x 17.5cm, (12 x 91/2 x 7 inches) while it weighs in at 2.3 kg (1.1 pounds). It has a resilient aluminum cooking pot lid, while its main cooking pot handle knob is made from stainless steel. Its container body is made from phenol resin while its beautiful, vibrant red color is composed of acrylic resin paint. Meanwhile, its ability to cook enough food for five people makes it ideal for hosting and entertaining family or friends.
Vibrant red color – acrylic resin paint
Cooks enough food for five people
Minimal product information online
6. Thermos Shuttle Chef Vacuum Insulation Cooker
Includes 4.5L stainless steel inner pot with tempered glass lid.
Size: Approximately 12.20 inch in depth, 10.43 inch in width, 9.45 inch in height
Weight: Approximately 6.8 lb
Maximum diameter of Inner pod: 7.87 inch
This Japanese vacuum insulation cooker, the Thermos Shuttle Chef Vacuum Insulation Cooker 4.5L, is clear stainless steel and has a tempered glass lid. It is over twelve inches deep, over ten inches wide, and around 91/2 inches high, so is perfect for cooking a range of delicious dishes, but can easily. be transported somewhere else, for convenience or for a potluck or ‘bring-a-dish’ dinner. Weighing in at 6.8 lb it is not flimsy or lightweight and is able to provide enough food for a mid-sized gathering. It has that Japanese sense of heritage and quality, which you will love.
No burn, no mess, slow cook, no fuel
Sturdy, capacious, cooks for a whole party
Though it’s made in Japan, all instructions are in Chinese
The inner pot material is not stainless steel, except the bottom of the pot
7. EDGING COOKWARE Enameled Cast Iron Thermal Cooker
Cast iron with a glossy enamel finish
White, non-stick enamel interior
Exceptional heat conduction,
Superb heat retention
Efficient heat distribution
Enamel cast iron is evenly heated
Can be used to marinate, cook, and store food
Compatible with induction, gas, electric, and ceramic glass cooktops
This EDGING COOKWARE Enameled Cast Iron Thermal Cooker is a heavyweight champion of cooking, boasting excellent conduction of heat, superb heat retention, and an easy to clean non-stick enamel interior. It spreads the internal consistency and is equally adept at marinating and storing food, alongside the usual expectation for it to cook. It goes just as well on glass cooktops as it does on electric or gas stoves. Meanwhile, its two handles are very easy to clean, with no ‘blind side’ which can make some other models harder to clean. Unlike aluminum, there is no fear of metallic ingestion, ceramic being just about the safest and most hygienic substance on the market. It is a serious thermal cooker for serious, food-loving homeowners and even chefs.
The two handles are convenient to use and easy to clean
Very heavy – 13.11 pounds!
8. Empress Thermal Insulated Magic Cooker Pot
Keeps food warm for up to 8 hours
3-ply thermal aluminum sandwich bottom
Food is cooked evenly, regardless of heat source
Retains maximum heat from its brief contact with fire
Allows food to continue cooking until done
The Empress Magic Cooker is able to create delicious meals with virtually no external, continuous heat applied. It will not burn, dry, or boil your food to oblivion, but will use its internal dynamics to gently cook food after a brief period of initial heating has finished. After your ingredients have been added to the inner pot, you simply need a brief period of stove-top (or other) heating, before transferring everything into the main pot, after which time you cover it all up and leave it to cook. Once it has arrived at its desired temperature it will then keep your food warm for up to eight hours. Not only can it cook food, but it can also serve as a rice cooker, ice bucket & ice cream maker, cooler, warmer, and yogurt maker, so you are effectively getting five appliances for the price of one!
5 appliances in 1
No gas, electricity, or potentially dangerous cords needed
The color scheme and design won’t suit everyone
Aluminum parts not as resilient stainless steel or ceramic
9. Tayama TXM-70CFZ Energy-Saving Thermal Cooker
Saves 80% of electricity or gas compared with regular cooking
Suitable for dinner parties and family gatherings.
Great for picnics, camping and outdoor Travel use
Food stays warm even after six hours
Reduce stovetop cooking time to only 10-15 minutes
The Tayama TXM-70CFZ is a thermal cooker which has great energy-saving attributes and is designed to help busy people who just want the machine to take up the burden of cooking their food. It has highly efficient “heat-retention” technology which is also safe and easy to use. After just ten minutes of initial heating, the thermal cooker will do the rest, never overcooking, always preserving and enhancing the natural flavors and nutrients of the foods in question, with no evaporation detracting from your ingredients. Its inner pot should be filled to about 80% capacity, so that heat can be adequately maintained, and it should not be opened or checked on in order to aid this process of maximum heat. Your cook is fine to be left for eight hours, ie. a working day, so that you can enjoy it when you come home from work. If you want to extend this then you can simply reboil the inner pot again, and then place back into the outer pot so that the heat will be further extended.
Cooks food automatically using heat accumulated inside
Time-saving and energy saving
Never worry about spilling, burning, or boiling dry
Removable Lid for easy cleaning
Overcooked and soggy food because it never stops cooking
The rim of the inner pot can split
10. Zoie + Chloe Vacuum Insulated Food Jar & Thermal Crockpot Cooker
Double-wall vacuum insulation
Food cold or warm for 12 hours
Doubles as personal vacuum insulation and thermal cooker.
Comes with telescoping stainless steel spoon.
Perfect size for a hearty meal.
Durable stainless steel interior and exterior.
Stays cool to the touch with hot liquids
Condensation-free with cold
This highly original and aesthetically pleasing Zoie + Chloe Crockpot Cooker employs a double-wall vacuum insulation system whereby food is kept either cool or warm for up to twelve hours. It comes with some recipes, so you can start to prepare for lunch in the morning, and it will be quietly going about its cooking process unbeknownst to you. 25oz (750 ml) is a generous amount of room, in this more compact size of the design, so that multiple people, adults or children, can be served at one sitting. It is very easy to clean and has a wide mouth which makes filling and extricating food very hassle-free. Its lid also functions as a serving bowl, and there is a telescopic stainless steel spoon included, for your convenience. Even when hot liquids are inside it has a ‘cool touch’ exterior and remains condensation immune from colder contents. Both exterior and interior are made from premium stainless steel, which is safer and more durable than aluminum, and less prone to rust.
Easy-to-fill wide mouth is also easy to clean
Generously sized lid doubles as serving bowl
Cleaning the inside of cap problematic; can lead to smells
The inner lid has a defective valve
11. Tiger Non-Electric Thermal Slow Cooker
4.5 L(4.75qts) stainless steel inner pot
Tempered glass lid – highly durable
Washable inner pot and outer container
Removable lid for easy serving
This Tiger Non-Electric Thermal Slow Cooker is extremely hardy and durable, able to be used outdoors or indoors. It ample 4.5L(4.75qts) inner pot is briefly heated via a heat source such as a stove-top, then after reaching boiling-point placed into the outer container. This outer container is made from stainless steel and will thoroughly cook your food without any external heat source being applied, its outer body remaining cool while the insides are extremely hot. In fact, it can maintain the food at 154F for 6 hours, saving you energy and personal preparation time. It cannot overcook or burn your food, benefits from the expertise of Japanese craftsmanship, and its dimensions are 9.6L x 9.1H x 13.1W, weighing 7.3lb.
Compatible with induction heating method for inner pot
Includes recipe book
Rust spots can develop on the inside of the inner pot.
Does not keep the food hot enough
12. Thermos Carry Thermal Cooking Pot
No electricity required
Thermos double-wall vacuum insulation
Can keep hot food above 160F for over 8 hours after boiling
4.5-liter capacity (4 3/4 Quart)
Must lift handle to unlock lid.
The Thermos Carry Thermal Cooking Pot is simple and easy to use and can enable you to take food with you, as well as keep it on your counter. There is a useful handle that makes it easy to transport, while its dimensions of 9 x 9 x 9 inches mean it will easily sit in the car. It can maintain cold food or warm food in that condition for up to six hours, while its retention of both flavor and temperature is second to none. It is adept at cooking rice, soups or stews, as well as many other things, eg. Jambalaya. Its inner pot is made from stainless steel, while its outer container is vacuum insulated, preserving your food in an unburnt and unscorched condition. Even vegetables will retain their nutrients and freshness, due to its vacuum seal. Its 4 3/4 Quart (4.5 Liter) capacity means you can cook for a group of people, while its sturdy, robust appearance creates a confident and no-nonsense approach to great cooking.
18/8 stainless steel inner pot – dishwasher safe
Works like a non-electric slow cooker
Best used for keeping things warm, not for cooking
Features To Consider With Thermal Pots
The best size is generally the largest size, due to the fact that you have the flexibility to cook for smaller or larger groups of people, as you wish. 4 to 5 liters is more than enough room to prepare a delicious dish for family or friends; however, to achieve the optimum amount of heat retention you’ll need to keep it about 80% full, so it’s perhaps not going to be quite so effective if you want to cook for just one or two.
Smaller 1 or 2-liter thermal pots are still very useful, especially if you’re regularly cooking for jus one or two of you. However, with its insulated thermal technology, you will still get the advantages of thermal cooking, even though its heat mass won’t be as longlasting. You can generally rely on retaining a temperature of 160 degrees F for up to four hours, but this, of course, falls short of the eight hours that large models can provide
Number Of Inner Pots
A thermal cooker has both an inner pot and an outer container. The inner lid tends to be made of stainless steel and has a lid, whereas the outer is a thermal container that also has a lid. The difference is that this outer pot is insulated, and so it uses the heat from the inner pot to prolong the cooking process. Unlike a crockpot, no continual outside heat source is needed, for the two pot design means that no heat can get either in or out, but internally the food is being cooked by its own pre-existing heat. Clever stuff!
The food must first be brought to boiling-point before you may place that very hot inner pot into the outer pot of the thermal cooker. The lids of both pots are then put on, and from then on the remaining heat will do the rest of the cooking job, without any further direct heat being needed from outside the pot. There is no heat which is lost by reflection, while the double-walled vacuum means that no conduction is possible. Even infrared radiation is reflected back into the food, and the result is that the food retains its heat marvelously, even after a number of hours.
Ease Of Use
Having a fuller pot will help you to achieve the optimal thermal mass; most pots suggest having them 80% full, at a minimum. Certain foods that take longer to cook, like pinto beans, will require you to have the pot even fuller. Rice, on the other hand, doesn’t take that long to cook, so it isn’t so crucial to have a fulsome pot. Any dish with meat in, by contrast, requires the pot to be fuller. By the way, never put frozen food or meat into your thermal cooker; this will affect the heat retention; always ensure you have thawed it out first. Some models will come replete with their own recipe books included in your purchase, but if not there are plenty available online. You don’t need to be a top chef to use it correctly, and it will soon become one of your favorite kitchen products.
Unlike with traditional oven cooking or stovetop cooking, your food will not become burnt or overcooked when using your thermal pot; the liquid does not dry up. No external heat source, gas or electric, is required since a camping-stove or even natural fire will do as good a job. You can set it up initially, but it will only need around 10 minutes and will then get on with the job of cooking internally, due to its unique structure. It can also be used as a cooler, keeping foods cool for up to eight hours. It’s the perfect accompaniment to potlucks, camping, picnic, etc. because it is neither particularly heavy not large, so easily fits into the passenger seat or passenger seat footwell.
Ease Of Cleaning
It is only the outer pot which is going on the heat source, be it gas, electric, or campfire. The outer pot is never heated in this way. Therefore, it will behoove you to pay the most attention to the cleaning of this inner pot. Generally, it’s fine for it to go in the dishwasher; most are made from some kind of stainless steel so that should be fine. The outer pot, on the other hand, should never be submerged or put in the dishwasher. Instead, it should be thoroughly wiped down with a wet cloth, both inside and out. When you compare the amount of washing and cleaning that your normal utensils require, the thermal pot is a really hassle-free option.
Thermal Pot FAQ
Q: What is a thermal cooking pot?
In a nutshell, a thermal cooker is a cooking appliance that cooks food over an extended length of time (like a crockpot), without requiring any continual heat source like gas, electric, or butane (you only need an initial burst of about 10 minutes). Instead, it relies upon vacuum insulation which effectively locks heat in an inner pot and works in tandem with an outer pot to utilize the food’s own heat to cook itself from within. This encourages the food’s flavors to stay within, stops vegetables and meat from disintegrating, and prevents burning. With a bare minimum of power (just 10 minutes or so), the thermal pot can be left to get on with the process of cooking, over many hours, freeing you up to do other things.
Q: How does a thermal pot work?
The widespread usage of the thermal pot goes back to 1990s Asia, in which the use of two stainless steel pots was widely used. Essentially, the inner pot is heated to the boiling point, then placed in a fully insulated outer pot. Heat is still released from the food but remains trapped within, and so over an extended amount of time, it cooks itself from within. When you buy a thermal pot, it can range in size from 8 to 16 inches in diameter and is usually around 10 inches tall. Due to the hollow empty fully insulated thermal wall, the concept is not dissimilar to that of a Thermos flask; however, because of its larger size, and the fact that you will keep it fairly full, this ensures that the food is slowly cooking for several hours, at which point it will stop cooking and gradually lose heat if left for too long. It’s ideal for preparing food for a group of people, transporting food to an event, or setting up and leaving on while you’re at work.
Q: How do you use a thermal pot?
You need firstly fill the thermal pot with the relevant ingredients, ie. fill the inner pot and put on a heat source for a certain amount of time; usually 10 or 15 minutes should suffice but it could depend on the precise food being cooked. The lid is put on the inner pot after it is taken off the heat source. This is then placed carefully inside the outer thermal pot, and this further lid is then shut and locked into position. You then just store the whole thermal pot somewhere convenient, like your counter, and leave for the relevant period of time (see thermal pot recipes online for precise cooking time for various dishes). You then simply open up both lids, and voilà – it’s ready to be consumed! No power cords are required during the cooking process, which is a real bonus. In times of timings for general foodstuffs, something like beef brisket would require 3.5 hours, chicken stock 2 hours, rice just 30 minutes. The cook will remain in a ready-to-eat condition for up to 8 hours, though, so you don’t need to be rushing back to open it all up and can dine at your convenience. If a certain dish takes longer to cook you can simply boil the inner pot again, and start the process all over again.
Q: How does ECO pot work?
ECO pots also cook food without necessitating any extra power. It’s pretty similar to how one operates a regular thermal pot; however, it also uses something called thermosteam technology, which is an industrial-grade low conductive insulator is used, so that the cooking process is even longer, ie. the food will stay hot for longer, while this patented Thermoplas does its work in a way which will require even less input from fossil burning fuels. In essence, it does what a thermal pot does but over a longer period of time, thus saving you even more energy.
Q: Can you cook rice in a thermal pot?
In a word, ‘Yes’. Regular steamed White Rice needs to be boiled for 2 minutes, then left in your thermal pot for 30 minutes. Add 2 or 3 cups of cold water to 2 cups of uncooked white rice, after thoroughly rinsing the rice. Then, after bringing to the boil let the thermal pot do the rest. You can also combine the rice with soup or stew by placing a small pot of rice inside the inner pot full of uncooked stew, thus killing two birds with one stone.
To cook steamed brown rice you have normally needed to alter the cooking time somewhat, because of the fact that brown rice grains soak up more water and dry more rapidly. However, using the thermal pot all you need do is add just half a cup more water than you would do with white rice. It’s as simple as that!
Q: What are the benefits of a thermal pot?
As well as the insights you have read in the introduction above, here is a list of the benefits put in a succinct way, for convenience:
- The extended cooking time or ‘slow cooking’ means you will receive a flavorsome, healthy dish with tender meat, but without the expense and waste of electrical or other power being continually employed.
- It is ideal for camping, because you don’t have to rely on electric but can use any heat source, even for a short amount of time, and the thermal pot will do the rest.
- Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced because of the reduced usage of gas, even though like slow cookers, the thermal pot is working for hours on end.
- The end product in terms of your food that of good texture, shape, and flavor. Unlike some cooking devices, it won’t just turn the whole thing into mush.
- It is child-friendly and house-safe, in that you don’t have to worry about a boiling outer rim, and there is no potentially dangerous stove top gas or electric being employed (once you close both lids).
- It keeps the temperature hot, ready for you to enjoy, within a given time-frame of (usually) several hours.
- It allows you to go to work or be out all day, allowing the thermal pot to cook by itself. It is perfect for a busy, time-poor lifestyle.
- Reduces your utility bills and saves on propane, if camping, so in the long run will pay for itself.
- It gives off less heat than traditional cooking, so doesn’t add to your discomfort, especially in summer months.
- Doesn’t contribute to a room’s humidity because both lids effectively seal in any heat.
- Could be very useful on a boat, where you can leave the thermal pot and enjoy fishing or snorkeling.
- Ideal for taking to family gatherings or ‘potlucks’ – it is cool to the touch and often has a convenient carrying handle.
- Also functions a cooler so is a convenient way of transporting salads, jello, or other things which need to be kept cool.
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If you need a device that doesn't depend on a continual supply of gas or electricity, check out our list of the best thermal pots in 2020.