The idea that thermal cooking is based on has been around for centuries. Heat it up once then put it somewhere insulated to keep cooking for hours! Simple.
This kind of cooking is so useful can be seen all over the world in one form or another. Whether it is those creative cooks in the Azores who use the underground heat of their nearby volcanoes, or the forefathers (and mothers) of the modern thermal cooker who used hay boxes, this is defintely not something new.
However, it did have a resurgence a few decades ago, especially in Asia, where such low temperature and long cooking lends itself to such methods. However, lucky for us, thermal cookers also became popular enough to make their way into western kitchens and became available online.
If you are going to buy a thermal cooker you do need to be aware that there are some slight differences to standard pressure cooker, or long cooking (eg. crock pot) times and volumes.
You can try it out for yourself, and make a few mistakes before you get it right. Or, I totally recommend this book from Cindy Miller that can quickly help you get a handle on how to do Thermal Cooking. It will help you speed up the learning curve and get better results, faster!
Top Thermal Cookers Available Online
If you are in the market for a thermal cooker there are actually a few great models available online right now. So, in this post, I thought we should take a look.
Each of these is similar in construction:
- A stainless steel pot to cook in
- An outer vacuum sealed pot to place the inner pot in for thermal cooking
- A lid to seal in the heat and keep it warm enough to cook for hours
The prices and sizes vary a bit, so make sure you get one that is large enough for your needs (depends on the size of dishes you are cooking, of course).
1. Tayama TXM-70CFZ Energy-Saving Thermal Cooker (7 quart)
This thermal cooker from Tayama is a worthwhile investment. It is one of the cheapest per volume on this list, and has the capacity to make food for 4 people (or more).
It has a simple, yet induction ready stainless steel inner pot, and a vacuum sealed outer. The outer pot has a lid that clips shut, which is not 100% sealed but will help keep the pot hot and cooking for 6-8 hours.
It’s simplicity is it’s strength, and something that is important for such a cooker.
There are smaller versions, if you don’t need this kind of capacity.
2. THERMOS Shuttle Chef 2.8L
We all know Thermos for their amazing coffee and tea, well, thermoses that keep our drinks warm on those long cold days. Well, now they have taken that vacuum sealed technology and applied it to a thermal cooker.
This is a Japanese domestic market product, so excuse it’s great to see it available in the US too. It is well designed, with the inner pot nestling nicely in the outer thermos pot, with the handles big and easy to grab. Those same handles also integrate well with the lid, which then sits between them.
It also comes with a fun range of outer colors, which adds a little pizzaz to an otherwise dull appliance (and the boring gray of most of the competition).
3. TIGER NFH-G450 Thermal Slow Cooker (4.75 Quarts)
Tiger makes a variety of sizes of thermal cookers, that also seem to be very well designed.
The inner pot is easy to take out and back in again with raised handles. The lid raises back and out of the way, but does not need to be removed. Which is handy. It does not 100% seal (actually, none do that I have seen) but it does clip down when pushed, which helps seal the heat in for cooking.
It comes in the good old stainless steel or a red color. Nice to have choice.
4. Homemat Thermal Cooker (3.5 & 5.5L)
The last option from Homemate has a very impressive and modern design that I absolutely love.
The handles, like on all other pots, are easy to get at for the inner pot. So great to see here too. However, Homemate take it a few steps further with a clip down lid (again not unique) and also some smart carry handles on the top. This is a nice addition because often these pots are used on the go, or at the very least, need to be moved from where you prepare them, to where they sit for the next…hours.
It also looks stylish with the white trim on the top.
The only downside I can see is that there is only one size: 5.5Liters.
Which Thermal Cooker For You?
Honestly, they are all pretty simple and similar. You can’t really go wrong.
The biggest question and decision you have to make is – how big? The 5L (or quart) and above are for really big meals, say for a family of four. So, use that as a benchmark and take it from there.
In the end, it will open up a new world of cooking to you and save you more time than you may know what to do with!