Instant Pot vs Crock Pot: What’s the Difference?

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Curious about the difference between Instant Pot and Crock Pot? Don’t worry because you’re not alone. Both of these kitchen appliance giants have carved a name for themselves, but for completely different functions and recipes. While they have a lot in common on paper, there are many key differences in the Instant Pot vs Crock Pot debate.

We’re here to help answer your questions and to show you what the differences are with Crock Pot vs Instant Pot. By the end of this you’ll know what the differences are and which is right for you (or, maybe you’ll want both!).

Instant Pot Duo Nova
Instant Pot Duo
Crock Pot Cook and Carry
Crock Pot 7 Quart

Important Information: Instant Pot

It wasn’t that long ago, in 2010 to be exact, when Instant Pot launched their popular multi-cooker line. Not only do these electric pressure cookers save cooking time, they also save space by combining multiple appliances. This also made pressure cookers more available to home cooks.

Now Instant Pot has inspired a massive following and includes over a dozen different Instant Pot pressure cookers along with Instant Pot air fryer ovens, slow cookers, and more. Perhaps their most popular model right now is the Duo Nova. Consider reading more about it here: Instant Pot Duo Nova vs Duo.

These multi-cookers are efficient, fast, save lots of space, and they’re actually fun to use. Plus, they can create a whole bunch of recipes, such as Instant Pot chicken wings, ribs, cake, and much more. When it comes to choosing between Instant Pot or Crock Pot, some things to keep in mind are:

Instant Pots have lots of functions. Instant Pots are known as pressure cookers, but they do so much more. Even the most basic units can pressure cooker, slow cook, steam, saute, cook rice, and so much more. As a pressure cooker, they cook food by rapidly boiling water and trapping the steam for fast cooking. Plus, their stainless steel cooking pots are safe and heat very quickly.

Is Instant Pot good for slow cooking? In case you missed it above, yes, Instant Pot can slow cook and it’s quite good at it. It could even replace a Crock Pot, but keep in mind that results might be different with Crock Pot or Instant Pot. Some people found that while the cooking times are similar, Instant Pot slow cooking tends to make food somewhat drier. That being said, a simple adjustment could fix this issue.

What can you cook in an Instant Pot? There are whole Instant Pot cookbooks and recipe books available. This is a highly versatile unit. While we recommend making meats, rice, soups, oats, and dried beans, this is only the beginning. You can make Instant Pot ribs, chicken, rice, and so much more! There’s a reason why these appliances have become so popular.

Instant Pot Duo Nova
Instant Pot Duo

Important Information: Crock Pot

While Instant Pot has quickly gained fame, Crock Pot is a far more established brand that began in the 1970s. Crock Pot slow cookers are some of the best around and they have amassed a loyal following through the years. In the Crock Pot versus Instant Pot debate, many people like how these appliances use insulating stoneware to maintain consistent temperatures for low and slow cooking.

While Crock Pot is the de facto leader with slow cookers, they have recently jumped on the multi-cooker bandwagon with their own models. We even compared these models in our Best Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Vs Ninja Foodi Vs Crock Pot. These models are very similar to Instant Pots. Traditional Crock Pots are only slow cookers.

Crock Pots are ideal for entertaining. One thing you’ll notice in the Instant Pot vs Crock Pot debate is that Crock Pots are easier to transport. They come with travel-friendly handles and latches to keep them sealed. While most Crock Pots are deep, there are casserole-shaped models with wider surface areas along with shallow edges. These are ideal for many recipes including fondues, chilis, and even hot sangrias.

What can you cook in a Crock Pot? While traditional Crock Pots aren’t as versatile as Instant Pots, a big point when considering Instant Pot versus Crock Pot, they are still highly versatile appliances. They are wonderful at searing meats and vegetables. They also excel at cooking larger pieces of meat, especially those with lots of connective tissue. There’s nothing quite like Crock Pot brisket, pulled pork, pot roasts, and short ribs.

Crock Pot Cook and Carry
Crock Pot 7 Quart

Instant Pot Vs Crock Pot: Which is Better?

You have to consider what you cook, what recipes you love, and how you want to cook those recipes. Some recipes work better with Instant Pot while others are better suited for Crock Pot. We’ll cover some of the most important details to help you choose between Crock Pot vs Instant Pot.

Cooking Time: Both of these appliances save time, but they do so in different ways. Crock Pots are great for those who plan ahead. You throw the ingredients in during the morning and come back hours later for a finished meal. The cooking isn’t faster, but there’s no prep time. Dump the ingredients and go about your day. Crock Pots are a set it and forget it appliance, one of the best.

Instant Pots are better for those who want to cook fast with the pressure cooker function. This cuts down cooking time and gets a hot meal on the table in just minutes. Both are delicious and reduce the time needed to make a meal, but one cuts down prep while the other cuts down cooking time.

Size: Which appliance has more sizes when it comes to Instant Pot versus Crock Pot? Instant Pots typically come in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart sizes. They also added a 10-quart size with the Duo Nova. However, Crock Pots have even more sizes ranging from 1.5-quart up to 8-quart.

Now, while it’s easy to say that Crock Pot is better because it has more sizes along with the smallest sizes for those with little countertop space, just wait a moment.

The truth is that 6-quart tends to be the best size for most people. This is good for families, those who like making bigger meals, meal prepping, and even entertaining. Both brands offer this size. So while it comes down to your individual needs, this is more of a tie between the two.

Ease of use: Much like how both Instant Pot and Crock Pot saved time in different ways, both of them are easy but in opposite ways. Crock Pots (slow cookers mind you, not pressure cookers) only have a dial for temperature and sometimes one for time. Just set the temp between high, medium, or low and wait for delicious food. It’s straightforward, but limited.

Instant Pots have a lot of buttons and functions. You’ll have to pick the appliance (pressure cooker, slow cooker, saute pan, etc), along with the Smart Program (rice, meat, poultry, etc), but then it goes about the cooking on its own. Plus, this is easier than using multiple appliances.

Both are simple to use, but it depends on how you like using your appliances. If you want something with only a few controls, then Crock Pot is better. If you like something with a control panel that gives you all the features at your fingertips, then Instant Pot is better.

Price: Traditional Crock Pot slow cookers are the more affordable of the two. They only have one function, but they usually cost about half or a third of what an Instant Pot costs. But, you’re getting many more appliances with Instant Pot, so that could be considered a better bang for your buck. If we’re talking about the Crock Pot pressure cookers, then the price is basically identical.

Safety: When used correctly and according to the instructions, both Crock Pots and Instant Pots are safe to be left alone. They have many safety features and are coming up with new ones all the time. For example, many people are worried about letting out steam with Instant Pots, so they made an easy release button.

Some safety precautions you should consider are:

  • Leave clearance along the nearest wall
  • Keep them away from sinks and other water sources
  • Make sure they’re on heat-proof surfaces (avoid wood)
Instant Pot Duo Nova
Instant Pot Duo
Crock Pot Cook and Carry
Crock Pot 7 Quart

Final Thoughts

So, which is better when it comes to Instant Pot vs Crock Pot? If you love slow cooking and simple appliances, then Crock Pot is the winner. If you’d rather have a ton of kitchen appliances like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more shoved into one unit, then Instant Pot is better.

Both are great. Let us know which one you choose.