Thermos Nissan Thermal Cooker

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Start your meal on the stove in the included pan, then when it's time to turn it down and let simmer, just take it off the stove and slip it inside the thermal container. Your meal continues to cook while you do other things, with no more stove fuel, no electricity, no burning and no more heat in the kitchen or boat!

This is a guest post by Cathy Dreaper of S/V Sea Souls, who wrote me about her wonderful thermal cooker and kindly agreed to let me turn her email into a post (I’ve changed it very slightly, mainly to add links and format for online reading). She had first become aware of thermal cooking with my posts about Thermos Cooking, but was looking for something a little larger.

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I have been following you for several years now and remembered that you were the first to bring my attention to Thermos cooking.  But I can’t remember where I found out about the thermal cooker about that same time.  For years and years, I was a crock pot cook for many reasons:

  • I don’t particularly enjoy cooking, but I like to eat good food
  • I like to have leftovers for the next day or for freezing
  • I could combine whatever I had on hand to make stews, soups, chili, etc.
  • It’s so easy and doesn’t heat up the kitchen (I’m from south Alabama so even in a house, a hot kitchen can be unpleasant)

When we moved aboard full-time, the crock pot had to go for the space it took up and because of using electrical power. The Thermos sizes you wrote about were smaller than what I wanted. When I read about this thermal cooker, I did some research and found that these are used frequently in other parts of the world, but here in the States, it seems our kitchen appliances MUST be electric to be good. At the time I purchased mine, it was not available in the US.  I had to order it from Canada, and it came complete with instructions and cookbook in an Asian language.  Now it is available on Amazon (link below).

In useThe price is stupid expensive, but I bit the bullet and got it.  I am so glad I did because I love it.

It comes with an excellent stainless steel covered pot with an induction bottom that fits perfectly inside the thermos.

The pot is great on its own even without using the thermos.  I start the cooking on the stove in the pot and when it’s time to turn the heat down, I cover the pot and set it into the thermos, and then close the seal.  It continues to cook, and the cooking times depend on what’s cooking.

No watching the pot, no watching the stove, no electricity and a lot less heat in the kitchen. You can use it to make soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, chili, rice and anything else that you’d normally simmer on the stove for any length of time.

When I bought mine, there were other sizes available, but I chose 4+ quarts because that was the size crock pot I had used.  I could always cook less in the larger pot, but I wanted the option of the larger amount.  It fit perfectly in a cubby because it is tall and thin rather than short and stout like the crock pot.

There are other brands on Amazon (and some are cheaper), but I chose the Thermos Nissan based on your testing published in The Boat Galley.

We have a freezer on board so when I use it, I always have extra to place in the freezer.

It is perfect for taking to a potluck as the contents remain very hot inside until opened, but the outside is cool and can be carried by the handle.

I thought others might also want the option of Thermos cooking in larger quantities.  Thanks for your work.  I look forward to every post and love the book (especially the no bake rum balls).

NOTE FROM CAROLYN: Another option for thermal cooking is the Wonderbag (read about it here). Yes, it is less expensive, but it takes up a LOT more space both to store and when in use, and it would be much harder to carry to a potluck.  Depending on your needs and budget, however, it is a reasonable option.

Many thanks to Cathy for sharing this info! That’s Cathy in the photo below.

Cathy-Dreaper

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Comments

  1. I have never heard of this. Sounds amazing.

  2. We have an Australian DREAMPOT. Works on the same principle. I havent used it as much as I should given the price..2 pots within the thermos outer pot. It does work well though but I’m more into stirfries in the tropics.

  3. Mike McCollough says:

    I have been practicing brown rice cooking in a thermos for the past week or so. Only the first batch I made came out cooked, actually mushy, with excess water. I have tried several different proportions, rice to water, to no avail. The major difference between the first batch and all the subsequent, besides proportions, was I laid the thermos on the side for the first batch. The rice is always warm and crunchy with a layer of water on top when I check after letting sit for around 8 hours. I boil water, place in thermos for 5 minutes, return water to boil, place rice in heated thermos and add boiling water. Any suggestions? Does the type/brad of brown rice matter?

    • I’ve learned that I have to actually start the rice cooking in the pan — boil for about 5 minutes — before putting it in the Thermos. Otherwise too much of the heat from the boiling water just goes to heating up the room temperature rice, and there’s not enough heat left to actually cook it. Here’s the full post I wrote on Thermos Cooking: http://theboatgalley.com/thermos-cooking/

      • Mike McCollough says:

        Dang it, I forgot that part, should have gone back and reread the article. I will incorporate and try again. Thanks

  4. BRILLIANT!

    Thank you.

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff
    http://www.creampuff.us

    ps – do you get a little stipend if we click the link on your site to purchase? I sure hope so for sharing such great tips as these.

    • For Amazon, yes, I do make a little on purchases through links (and, in general, I make a little on your entire order, not just the linked item). For other merchants, some yes and some no (it depends on if they offer a program). Two things though: it never costs more to buy through my links and I never recommend something just because I can make a little bit — I have to actually like a product!

      • Carolyn,

        That’s awesome! We plan to get one of these and will be sure to connect to Amazon via your site. Thanks for such a great tip!

        I think the best part about this is while on a trip, we tend to be on opposite meal schedules. One of us is eating breakfast while the other is eating dinner (because of watch schedules). With this, we can make soup and stew etc. and have it stay warm for the next person. And as you pointed out, great for pot lucks.

        Mark and Cindy
        s/v Cream Puff
        http://www.creampuff.us

  5. I ot one after I first read about it on TBG. It is G R E A T !!!!!

  6. sharon says:

    I use a Mr D… has some great recipes and means I can cook all in one go… lunch while starting dinner! http://www.thethermalcook.com/

  7. This sounds REALLY intriguing!! I’m going to do some recipe searches and see if this is something we want to add to Set Free. 🙂

  8. We just got one called the EcoPot. Came with an induction cooker that will run on an 800w inverter. Also has an inbuilt heater element to allow food to stay safe after 8 hours.

  9. I’ve been using a Shuttle Chef for just over a year and love it. In my opinion the food tastes even better than in a crock pot. I use it at home as well to cook casseroles, curries, stock, soup, frittata and CAKES. The cakes are fantastic. I’ve cooked cakes even when the boat is rocking and been surprised at how well they’ve cooked. It came with a very helpful recipe book and instruction book but it’s easy to use your own recipes once you’ve used it a few times. I bought it at a boat show in Australia where we live.

  10. I have been using Mr D’s thermal cooker for a couple of years. The savings on gas are well worth the initial investment and it makes great small loaves without the heat of the oven which is a bonus in hot climes. PS look up Mr D’s poached chicken recipe and amaze your friends at what can be prepared in a boat galley!

  11. I’m wondering why you can’t accomplish the same thing with a pressure cooker? Maybe it loses it’s heat too fast?

  12. Thank you for another excellent idea!

    I was wondering–are any or all three of these leak proof? Shuttle Chef, the Thermos Nissan, and Mr. D’s. I love that Mr. D’s can cook two items at the same time!

  13. It costs 173.00 + shipping in the US; in Canada (on Amazon.ca), it’s 404.00!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I think this would be perfect for RV and our new smaller boat!

  15. We make our own wonder bag as we need it by wrapping up the saucepan in a towel and then a big duvet. It works just as well, we have wrapped something at lunch time and it is cooked and roasting hot by dinner!

  16. We bought one last year and love it. It fits in our galley sink while we are under way. we use it to make chili or soup to enjoy on long passages. At home I cook beans in it. Still experiencing with it.

  17. I found that my pressure cooker can do the job of both a slow cooker and a microwave. It doesn’t really slow cook food, but the same recipes can be used with modifications to the cooking times, and come out about the same, and I can wrap leftovers in tin foil and put them on a pan to reheat in the pressure cooker. If I prepare casseroles ahead of time for a passage, etc., they go from frozen to ready to eat in the pressure cooker in about 20 minutes.

  18. Have one of these. Have never used it. Don’t have a clue when or how it would be useful!

  19. There’s something like this in the garage.

  20. Any time you have something that needs to be cooked for a long time — think soups, chili, spaghetti sauce, and so on. More details in the post!

  21. Love my Shuttlechef. Use it all the time on board and even when not on the boat. It makes the best rice…….?

  22. I have the Thermos Nissan Thermal Cooker and love it. Great on anchor in the Bahamas.

  23. What a great idea!

  24. I really havent seen the benefits to this thing, i do love the inner container. Ive used it for potlucks to keep things warm. Maybe i need to try it more. I use our pressure cooker the most

    • Different people have different styles of cooking. For example, I use a pressure cooker rarely — basically when I need something where the lid can’t come off or stuff slosh out.

  25. I’m researching these at the moment! Desperately trying to find one in my price bracket… I have a pressure cooker but like the idea of set and forget with a thermal cooker… just not the price here in Australia! Shuttle Chef is $499, Ecopot is $395 and Dream Pot is $254 – a lot of money to pay for something I have never tried before!

  26. Have you seen the new Let’s Make Sense of Thermal Cooking Cookbook. It covers all of the basics in retained heat cooking!

  27. Erica Wolfe says:

    I am a first time sailboat owner and am trying to know the pro and cons of thermal cooker vs. a pressure cooker. We will be sailing from Pensacola to Abaco. Long term we will be staying on our boat for 1-2 months at a time in Bahamas. Do you have any suggestions on where to start? Pressure cooker or thermal cooker first, or should I get both? Many thanks!

    • It really depends on your style of cooking. If you want to start something in the morning and have it for dinner (like a crock pot ashore), the thermal cooker is great. If you want to start dinner and eat half an hour later, it’s the pressure cooker. Both will save propane, but if you’re the type who mostly cooks skillet meals or grills, you’re not likely to use either one that much. It really comes down to personal style and how you cook.

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