CrockPot vs Instant Pot: What’s the Difference?


I can not count the number of times a day I get an email asking what is better, the CrockPot vs. Instant Pot.

(also, side note, maybe I should hire someone to answer emails for me?)

The Instant Pot is the new craze -- should you get one? Is it better than a crockpot? If you only have to buy one, is it better to have a crockpot or an instant pot?

The Instant Pot is the hot new craze.

It is EVERYWHERE.

I do not have an Instant Pot.

I have not used an InstaPot or any other type of electric pressure cooker —-

and that is because I am L.A.Z.Y.

and that is truly the fact of the matter.

I’m lazy in that I :

1) don’t want to learn new things because I’m old and stubborn and stuck in my ways

2) I like that I can put the crockpot on in the early morning and push a button and ignore it

3) I am a meal planner so I don’t need to cook my beans or meat super fast — I get dinner going in the early morning when I’m still highly caffeinated and coherent

4) no one has sent me one for free to try out and I’m Scottish and don’t want to buy new kitchen gadgets just for the sake of buying new kitchen gadgets

BUT.

According to Erin (seen up above hugging her Instant Pot), 200,000 PLUS Instant Pots were sold this past Black Friday IN ONE DAY.

So obviously I am missing something and I’m wrong. 

What’s The Difference Between a CrockPot vs Instant Pot?

Slow cookers typically run over a longer duration of time at lower temperatures, while instant pots are sealed devices and typically cook at higher temperatures.

Both slow cookers and electric pressure cookers can produce very similar dishes but operate in entirely different ways.

Slow cookers  cook in a relatively low temperature (at approximately 79°C–93°C or 175°F–200°F range) over a long period of time. Meanwhile, electric pressure cookers run at much higher temperature (over boiling point at 115°C~118°C or 239°F~244°F).

This difference in cooking mechanism results in drastically different cooking time. Typically an electric pressure cooker makes a dish under an hour, whereas the minimal cooking time for a slow cooker is 4 hours. An Electric pressure cooker saves about 75% electricity comparing to a slow cooker making a similar dish.

Apart from the difference in cooking temperature, there are two other physical differences

  1. Insulated housing
    Slow cookers typically do not have insulated housing, whereas electric pressure cookers do. This contributes to energy efficiency advantage to electric pressure cookers.
  2. Sealed cooking
    A electric pressure cooker is fully sealed under pressure, letting out no steams and no smells. This is not the case for slow cookers. This makes electric pressure cooker a winner in keeping the kitchen clean and the house smell free.

One disadvantage often cited against slow cookers is that vitamins and other trace nutrients are lost, particularly from vegetables, partially by enzyme action during cooking. When vegetables are cooked at higher temperatures these enzymes are rapidly denatured and have less time in which to act during cooking.

Another disadvantage of slow cookers is that they don’t heat the food at a temperature high enough to remove common toxins (for example in raw kidney beans, and some other beans). On the other hand, electric pressure cookers are very good at detoxifying food, owning to its higher than boiling point operating temperature.

My Thoughts:


I would love to see the actual science about the 75% electricity savings claim…. from what I understand a low draw (think nightlight) is better than a quick large draw (think blender).

I think the “lost” nutrients thing is bunk. From everything I have ever read (and trust me I DREAM about this kind of thing!! ) since the slow cooker seals and everything “rains” back down into the pot you are not losing vitamins. 

There’s no where for them to go! (whereas in a dry oven or on the stovetop with no lid things could evaporate away)

The Instant Pot will also cause the moisture to “rain” back down into the pot — so in this case they are exactly equal, but I do think that the marketing is misleading.

The Raw Kidney Bean thing — yes. This is a for real thing and something I’ve written about before. Raw red beans need to be brought to a rapid boil for at least 10 minutes before being added to the slow cooker to kill a naturally-occurring potential toxin.

A Slow Cooker that is DESIGNED to be a Slow Cooker works better as a Slow Cooker.

I know, I know, I know. There is a “slow cooker” feature on the Instant Pot — but it will not work as well as a slow cooker as it does as a Pressure Cooker.

That is because it’s in the shape of a cylinder (like a coffee can) and not oval like a traditional slow cooker. Slow cookers heat evenly, from the sides and the bottom, and are made to be left alone for hours upon hours.

Pressure cookers work GREAT as pressure cookers. But in my not so humble opinion, when you get too many things in one appliance they don’t all work as well as you think they should.

So. Should You Get An Insta Pot?

If you are not a meal planner and don’t like the idea of getting your dinner ready before you leave the house for the day then it might be a very valuable cooking tool.

The food will taste the same and will have the same texture as it would if you used a slow cooker.

Your food will cook faster.

That is it. It’s no better, no worse, no anything —-

BUT THE INSTANT POT HAS A SLOW COOK FUNCTION!

yes. But from all the anecdotal testimonials I have found it doesn’t seem to cook as a slow cooker as well as it does as a pressure cooker.

BUT THE INSTANT POT CAN COOK YOGURT!

BUT THE INSTANT POT CAN COOK RICE!

BUT THE INSTANT POT CAN COOK OATMEAL!

🙂

So. All in all, my best advice would be:

if you like kitchen gadgets and you like being part of a trend then you should totally buy one.

Otherwise, stick to your tried and true and very-well-tested crockpot slow cooker.

BUT I ALREADY HAVE ONE AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE IT!

Okay. Then this is my best suggestion:

learn from an expert (that is not me!) My friend Erin, has an Instant Pot / Electric Pressure Cooker resource she made just for you.

How To Use An Instant Pot 101

Because Erin is awesome, if you sign up I do get a tiny bit of the sale.

I’ve known Erin for 8 years and trust her judgement and her teaching. (also, she’s just as (if not even more so!) frugal as I am.

So…. what are your thoughts? Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you like it?
Am I way off base and it’s the best thing in the history of the world and I’m missing out?

🙂

xoxo happy slow cooking (or instant potting…) 😉

steph

Instant Pots are the hot new rage, but are they really better for your family then a CrockPot Slow Cooker?





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Post Author: MNS Master