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Instant Pot vs Crock Pot: Differences, Uses, and More

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Choosing the right equipment for your home cooking can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have the space for all the fancy equipment companies keep making these days. A quick google search will lead to hundreds, if not thousands of results, but if you’re looking for a hands-off appliance ideal for busy people like you, then you might want to start with choosing between an instant pot and a crock pot.

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between an instant pot vs crock pot is, you’ll find out more as you read this blog. They’re both popular kitchen additions that let you cook with less effort and less fuss. Despite the fact that these two appliances have a lot in common, such as allowing you to plan ahead your meals, they have key differences and features that set them apart.

What Should I Know About Instant Pots

The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker brand that is well-known for its time-saving features. This innovative equipment is quick, efficient, and made to be versatile. It’s a type of electric pressure cooker, in which it cooks meals faster by raising the boiling point of water and trapping steam inside by using a locking lid. 

Aside from pressure cooking, they can also slow cook, steam, warm, sauté, or act as a rice cooker. Some models even come with extra features such as a cake maker, egg cooker, sterilization (for baby bottles, etc.), and even sous vide.

They come with a heat-conductive stainless steel inner pot that is dishwasher safe. There are plenty of multi-cookers and electric pressure cooker in the market, but an Instant Pot is unique in the way that it is built to do almost everything.

What is a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot?

Slow cookers or crock pots prepare meals slowly over a low temperature. Because of this, crock pots have a longer cook time and cook things slowly. Instead of stainless steel, its inner pot is usually made of glazed ceramic. This appliance is ideal for making one pot meals in advance or for keeping food warm throughout the day. You can start cooking by morning and still have a delicious warm meal by dinner time.

A crock pot uses a constant temperature and cooks food slowly by heating it over time, which is drastically different from how an Instant Pot or pressure cookers work. This gadget is generally cheaper, though it has some expensive models with additional features such as a temperature probe. 

While an instant pot can cook all slow cooker recipes, a crock pot can’t do the same. Some Instant Pot recipes call for high-pressure cooking, which is the opposite of what slow cooking is. Despite this, crock pots still remain one of the most popular kitchen appliances.

Is an Instant Pot the Same as a Crock-Pot?

Not entirely. Slow cookers have been available since the early 1950s, but the crock pot was originally introduced in 1971. Women were starting to work outside the house at the time, however, they were expected to still have dinner ready in the evening. The crock pot allowed them to prepare meals before they left home, ensuring that it was ready for dinner time when they return from work.

The Instant Pot, on the other hand, made its debut in 2010. This electronic pressure cooker is known for being an all-in-one kitchen equipment. Pressure cooking is its most common feature, though it is also widely used as a substitute for crock pots.

Both are hailed as countertop multi-cookers, and it makes sense. From short ribs with diced tomatoes to stuffed peppers, you can cook plenty of recipes using these kitchen appliances. The best part? You can leave the kitchen and do other important things while your food cooks.

Can an Instant Pot be Used as a Crock-Pot?

An Instant Pot can theoretically replace a crock-pot, though the end result might come out different. While many people think of instant pots as pressure cookers only, this gadget can also slow cook, steam, warm, sauté, and serve as a rice cooker. You can cook crock pot recipes in an Instant Pot and can even speed up the cooking times if you want.

Keep in mind, however, that these recipes are made for cooking in low heat, and therefore might not taste the way it should be when cooked in an instant pot.

Instant Pot vs Crock Pot Performance

In terms of cooking performance, the Instant Pot may seem to be the better choice. However, both appliances can cook tender meat like beef and pork ribs. This is using the high heat function on the crock pot and high-pressure mode on the Instant Pot.

They deliver almost the same result when simmering meat dishes. However, the Instant Pot seems to take longer in terms of slow cooking. Both can cook rice perfectly, though making yogurt in an Instant Pot delivers greater results than making one in a crock pot. While making yogurt requires lower heat and should’ve cooked better in a crock pot, the Instant Pot comes with a pre-programmed function built specifically for that cooking method.

Both can cook food perfectly, though a crock pot does better when it comes to soups, stews and food that requires longer cooking time like pulled pork. An Instant Pot is the ideal multi cooker for quick cooking and for recipes that need electric pressure cookers.

Instant Pot vs Crock Pot: Which is the Best Kitchen Appliance?

Both appliances have the same amount of defining features that can help make kitchen work easy, however, not everyone can afford (in terms of kitchen space and budget) to have them both. Consider the meal you usually prepare to determine which appliance is ideal for you. There are several factors to consider to see if certain features of an Instant Pot or crock pot may be more useful.

Available Time

While both appliances help you save time, they do so in different ways. A crock pot is ideal for those who are early risers and prefer to prepare their meal ahead. You can simply combine ingredients in the morning and return home to a warm dinner that has been slowly simmering in the slow cooker all day.

Instant Pots are ideal for last-minute cooks and night owls, since the pressure cook feature can be used to prepare meals in minutes. You can steam rice and prepare a delectable side dish as soon as you get home, leave it to cook as you relax, and enjoy a delicious dinner with your family once the food is cooked.

Ease of Use

Since you’ll be using these appliances frequently, it is important to determine if you’ll be able to use them easily. Instant Pots offer plenty of additional features, which can be confusing to someone who has never used a multi-cooker before. It takes some getting used to. Fortunately, there are lots of internet recipes and tutorials to assist you. Just type keyword in google and you’ll be able to use your Instant Pot in no time.

Traditional crock pots, on the other hand, only have three settings, which are high, medium, and low. This makes it considerably easier to use, but it’s also rather limited. If warm meals after work are your only goal, then a slow cooker is ideal for you.

Price

Because they can only slow cook, crock pots are unquestionably cheaper, while Instant Pots are on the more expensive side. The most basic multi-cooker Instant Pot starts at approximately $60, while crock pots can go as low as $15. While budget is an important factor to consider, make sure you actually go with the appliance that your kitchen needs the most.

Final Note

If you’re still wondering which appliance is ideal for your kitchen, note that meals that are pressure cooked are the best for those who have less time in the morning, while slow-cooked meals are ideal for individuals who don’t mind waking up early to prepare their much-deserved dinner. It all comes down to the features you need and how much time you have beforehand. Read our blog on the things to consider before buying an Instant Pot.

Another great appliance worth a look at is a rice cooker. Check out our site for rice cooker reviews and guides.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does slow cooker taste better than Instant Pot?

While an Instant Pot cooks far more dishes than a crock pot, in terms of flavor, a slow cooker delivers greater results. An Instant Pot is basically a pressure cooker, and anything involving slow cooking isn’t the best for this gadget. A souped-up crock pot can keep itself warm for hours and still retain its flavors, while an Instant Pot dish may start to lose its flavor once it’s been kept warm for more than four hours.

Are instant pots and slow cookers safe to use?

Yes, generally, they are safe to use. Both appliances have built-in safety precautions and are made with materials for cooking. Because they’re built to be left alone as they cook, there’s little to no risk of these appliances overheating.

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Ji-hyun

Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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