How Are Slow Cookers, Crock-Pots, And Instant Pots Different?

You’re not the only one to question the difference between a slow cooker, a crock-pot, and an Instant Pot. They’re all extremely popular kitchen appliances that serve to make cooking less of a chore. Even while they have a great deal in common, some important characteristics set them apart.

Because no one likes to squander important counter space, we’re here to satisfy your curiosity and assist you in determining which cooker on the market is best for you.

What You Should Know About Slow Cookers

Slow Cooker
Close up of a slow cooker working on kitchen shelf

A slow cooker is a kitchen device with a metal pot and a bottom-mounted heating element. These appliances prepare a meal for a longer time than an oven or stove would. Furthermore, slow cookers frequently demand that any vegetables or meat be sliced into tiny chunks or cuts for even cooking.

What Can I Make with a Slow Cooker?

Slow cookers are perfect for cooking meals when you don’t have much time to prepare them.

Assume you have a long day ahead of you and won’t have enough time to prepare dinner for your family in the evening. Before you go to work in the morning, combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Set it on low and leave the meal to cook for four to eight hours.

Every recipe will be slightly different, so you can plan accordingly if you know the suggested cook time. The slow cooker’s beauty is that the only thing left to do is serve supper to your family when you get home!

What You Should Know About Crock-Pots

Crock Pot
Studio shot of Crock Pot isolated on white

Except for the name and certain somewhat updated functions, a crock-pot is similar to a slow cooker. Crock-pot is a slow cooker brand name, which became a commonplace term over time, and it quickly became interchangeable with any other brand of a slow cooker. A crock-pot is a slow cooker; however, a slow cooker isn’t a crock-pot.

Furthermore, crock pots have evolved through time to include a few features that slow cookers do not normally have.

Crock-pots cook in ceramic or porcelain pots instead of metal ones for starters. It’s difficult to say which is superior for cooking meals, but it’s a crock-pot feature.

Second, the slow cooker only warms from the bottom, whereas the crock-pot cooks from the bottom and sides. This allows for more equal cooking and eliminates the need to stir the dish often, allowing you to leave your dinner to cook throughout the day or overnight without needing to stir it.

Finally, unlike a slow cooker, a crock-pot can cook larger chunks of meat more evenly. Of course, this is dependent on the sort of slow cooker you have, as some are designed to cook larger pieces of meat.

So yes, despite the similarities, there is still a difference between a slow cooker and a crock-pot.

What Can I Make With a Crock-Pot?

Like a slow cooker, you can use a crock-pot in various ways. The crock-pot and slow cooker are excellent for vegetable and meat meals such as beef stew or vegetable soup. It is strongly advised that you shouldn’t place dairy items in the crock-pot to avoid curdling.

Crock-pots are also excellent for achieving a good sear. If you intend to cook huge chunks of meat, a crock-pot may be your best bet. It works well with pulled pork, short ribs, brisket, and pot roasts, all of which cook well in a slow cooker.

What You Should Know About Instant Pots

Modern multi cooker in the kitchen
Modern multi cooker in the kitchen

Instant Pot is a well-known multi-cooker brand known for appliances that save space and time. In 2010, the brand released its first product to assist customers with hectic schedules in getting dinner on the table quickly. Pressure cooking became more accessible to the common person due to this.

The Instant Pot is more efficient, quick, and multi-functional than the first two. While many people associate IPs with pressure cooking, they can also slow cook, warm, steam, sauté, and function as a rice cooker in addition to pressure cooking.

The main function, pressure cooking, cooks food faster by raising the water’s boiling point and trapping steam. They also include a stainless steel inner pot made to heat up rapidly.

What Can I Make With an Instant Pot?

We recommend using it for soups, steel-cut oats, rice, and soaking dry beans (all of which make the device ideal for meal preparation!).

What Makes the Three Different?

Portrait of young woman chooses a slow cooker in a home appliance store. Side view. The concept of consumerism and shopping
Portrait of young woman chooses a slow cooker in a home appliance store. Side view. The concept of consumerism and shopping.

Each gadget has the potential to reduce the time spent preparing nutritious, home-cooked meals significantly. Although there are some similarities, they are not the same.


While all three appliances save time, they do so in very different ways. Slow cookers and crock-pots are ideal for early risers, busy folks, and those who prefer to plan ahead. Toss the ingredients together during the morning and return home to a prepared supper that has been slow cooking all day.

On the other hand, Instant Pots are ideal for night owls and last-minute cooks who can utilize the pressure cook mode after work to have a hot supper ready in minutes.


Large countertop appliances are not for everyone. Instant Pots are normally available in three quarts, six quarts, and eight. Slow cookers and crock-pots come in a much wider range of sizes, from 1.5-quart to 8-quart.

You can buy up to 8-quart capacity Instant Pots, crock-pots, and slow cookers, but you can’t pressure cook with the Instant Pot more than two-thirds full. If you wish to prepare huge portions of your favorite recipe for large families or groups, slow cookers or crock pots are the better options.

Ease of Use

Instant Pots have more functionalities, which may be bewildering to someone who has never used a multi-cooker. It takes some getting accustomed to, but there are lots of internet recipes and instructions to help with the transition.

Traditional crock-pots and slow cookers feature a high-medium-low dial, which is considerably simpler and fairly restrictive.

It’s difficult to go astray with a one-pot meal of any kind. After all, the name implies that you chuck a bunch of stuff into a single jar and call it a day.

However, if you’re wondering which appliance is best for your kitchen decor, it all comes down to functionality and how much time there is on your hands.