Instant Pot Versus Crock-Pot
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Curious to know the differences between a Crock-Pot slow cooker and an Instant Pot pressure cooker? I get asked this question sometimes when we post Instant Pot recipes, so today I’m pointing out some key differences between these two popular kitchen appliances.
How They Cook
Slow Cookers and electric pressure cookers can produce similar end results, but they cook in entirely different ways.
Crock-Pot slow cookers cook at a consistently low, steady heat for hours at a time. On the low setting, it takes about 7-8 hours for it to reach just below the boiling point at 209 degrees, and 3-4 hours on the high setting, according to crock-pot.com.
Instant Pot pressure cookers create an airtight sealed environment that locks in steam, builds extreme pressure and raises the boiling point of water to 250°. This is why they can cook meals up to 70% faster than conventional methods.
The Instant Pot’s exterior housing is fully insulated with two layers of air pockets between the cooking inner pot and exterior. It’s fully sealed when under pressure.
Essentially, slow cookers are electric pots with stoneware inserts. They typically have a heavy lid that holds in heat and moisture which minimizes evaporation, but is not fully sealed when cooking.
Energy Efficiency/No Cooking Smells
Pressure cookers use up to 70% less on energy because of the significantly less cooking time. They also don’t put off as much heat on the outside when touched compared to a slow cooker and there’s really no cooking smells in your kitchen due to the lid being sealed with an Instant Pot.
While most slow cookers have HIGH and LOW, and WARM cooking functions, the Instant Pot has 14 different cooking features such as Soup, Poultry, Sauté/Simmer, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, etc.
When using a slow cooker, we typically have to plan ahead of time and put ingredients inside before leaving the house for the day. With the Instant Pot, you can usually cook a meal in under an hour without standing over the stove or oven. So if you’re a last minute dinner procrastinator like me, this can be a lifesaver! ☺️
While both kitchen appliances are easy to use, the Instant Pot does require a little extra effort at first. Learning how the machine comes to pressure, cooks, and then how to release the pressure takes a time or two to feel comfortable. Once you have the hang of it though, it’s very simple and manageable!
Crock-Pot slow cookers have a price range around $30 to $150 for many 6-quart models, and an Instant Pot can range between $99-$250.
Which do I prefer?
I personally love BOTH and will keep using them to make yummy meals for my family! I feel like the Instant Pot helps me out especially for last minute meal prep, and saves me money from deciding to eat out last minute. The Crock-Pot slow cooker is a simple classic I will always use.
They both are so versatile and I enjoy trying different recipes in each appliance!
Need Easy Instant Pot Recipe Inspiration?
Check out these simple and delicious Instant Pot recipes we’ve shared previously.
- 30 Minute Pressure Cooker Ribs
- Baked Potato Soup
- Homemade Baked Potato Soup
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Hamburger Stroganoff
- Quick Pressure Cooker Potato Salad
- Cook Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Together in Under an Hour
- Weeknight Mongolian Beef
Looking for delicious Crock-Pot recipe ideas?
Here are some of our favorite tried and truly winning Crock-Pot recipes.
- Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cowboy Supper
- Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice Bowls
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake
- Easy Slow Cooker Pot-roast
- Slow Cooker Sausage & Corn Chowder
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin & Ground Turkey Chili
Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! To see all of Lina’s DIY/Crafts created just for Hip2Save, click here.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my instant pot!! I still have both a slow cooker and instant pot and they both have their usefulness…the quickness in preparation of the instant pot is winning in my kitchen. 🙂
That’s great! I agree 👍 Thanks for sharing!
Love my instant pot but I definitely experience cooking odors when I do a quick release which is what I do rather than let the pressure naturally release. My 4 year old hates when I use it to cook because he is sensitive to smells and it can make the house smell for awhile.
Use a towel seems to help divert steam and less smells go they your house or release outdoors I do this with lobster and things like that
So, what is the difference between an instant pot and a pressure cooker?
Instant pot is a popular brand of plug in electric pressure cooker
I’ve had my instant pot and I love it especially now that my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and it’s so nice to make her macaroni and cheese with gluten free noddles
I just order my instant pot 7 in 1 for $79 in amazon a couple minutes ago . Not cheap like the deal before from Kohl. But still a good deal. I waiting for it so long 🙂
So if I am planning to purchase an Instant Pot, which one? There are many sizes and styles? And what’s a good price? Black Friday a good time? Just looking for tips on getting the best deal. I can wait for a deal. It just want to know when I see it. Lol. Thanks all!
Black Friday is when I bought mine and got it nearly half off!
I bought one this week at Aldi for 39.99
We went with the 8 quart and are very glad we did. The extra size lets you do any recipe out there for the quick pot. We made the mistake of buying a small air fryer. A few days later we bought a large one. We use both extensively, ie, one for fries and one for meat or veggies so everything is done at the same time.
I also LOVE the instapot as I often forget to set my croc in the morning. My absolute favorite thing about the instapot is that it cooks meals to perfection. If you have long work days/commute, a croc tends to overlook certain things.
I’m a vegetarian. Is it worthwhile to get an Instapot for non-meat recipes?
Yes!!! We are vegan and eat a lot of beans. It cooks dry beans perfectly. We also use it for quick stews/chilis and steamed potatoes.
Making vegetable type soups like that baked potato one is so quick and easy. You can make rice, pastas, and beans easily also!
Thank you for this informative article. I always wondered if I would find the instant pot useful.
I have been wondering that the difference is! This article was well written and full of information. Thank you!
Aldi has a pressure cooker coming up for sale for 39.99. I am thinking of buying it….has anyone used it before??
Haven’t used that one, but I’d but it. It s a great price, and will cook as well as a more expensive one.
I’ve used stove top pressure cookers in the past. As long as you cook with gas, you can cook safely with stove top cookers.
People are afraid of the old ones, because people have heard that they can blow up. As long as you bring cooking pressure up to seeing a gentle roving of the pressure value, it won’t blow up. Always start out slowly, until your sure you see the gentle continued rocking.
You’ll love your cooker.
That’s where I got mine . So glad I did so far everything that I have cooked in it it great ! Best Buy ever ! I hope you get one .
Yes from Aldi and I love it.
This is a very informative article. Loved it and now that I am more educated I am entertaining the idea of buying one. Would’ve liked knowing about a good brand!!
Get home from work, throw dinner in the instant pot, go for a run, get back and dinner is ready! Instant pot is a game changer!
How big of instant pot would you suggest a family of four have?
The 6 we will be just fine. I have family of 5 and can feed us and still have leftovers
* 6 qt
The 6 quart may be fine but you would fall in love with an 8 quart.
We have shrunk to a family of 2 and are glad we bought the 8 quart model.
Instant Pot is FLAMAZING. I make Greek yogurt in it once a week, and it’s such a passive activity. There are TONS of websites out there dedicated to IP recipes, so it’s not like you’re venturing into the unknown. And so many recipes have been converted from stovetop, oven, or even crockpot cooking.
You can make pork chops with an onion glaze, you can make rice, you can make BROWNIES, cheesecake, oatmeal… you can make beans in 45 minutes without soaking them first.
If it’s a little intimidating at first, think of those function buttons (“Porridge,” “Yogurt,” “Soup”) as being like the preprogrammed buttons on a microwave—like “Popcorn” or “Defrost”. You don’t *have* to use them; they just tell the IP to cook at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. The “Manual” button is the one you’ll ultimately wind up using the most.
Something that I haven’t see mentioned here it’s that the Instant-pot have Slow Cooking option.
So in essence the Instant-pot can substitute a Crock-Pot but it’s expensier
Yes Instant Pot does have a slow cooking option. I have only used it to reheat something and have heard it does not cook at the same temp/speed as a slow cooker. I’d love to hear if our readers have tried cooking on the slow cooking function in the Instant Pot!
It does have a slow cooker option but once you learn how to use it (not hard) I don’t think you will use the slow cooker option very often.
so all of u that are on this website for the instant pot, likes it or not, and where is the best place to get one for cheap, but worth the price, and is it worth it for a family of 5….?
It is worth it, especially if you don’t want to spend all of your time cooking. I recommend the 8 quart model. Found best price on Amazon.
Wow! Instant pot sounds great with all these glowing reviews. I’m thinking about purchasing one now. How does it do with large pieces of meat? I use my slow cooker for making carnitas and pot roast and it comes out delicious. But seems like the Instant Pot might be more versatile.
do you put frozen meat/chicken in both of them? I’ve never used neither and I would like to use one but that’s always been my concern.
Love the comparison.
I am wondering whether there is a difference in terms of preserving the nutriments of the food ingredients? It sounds to me as if the pressure cooker, which cooks quickly and at high temperatures, might kill off the essentials more than a low cooker; any knowlegde on this? Many thanks!
I have both. The crock pot I have now is a lot more versatile than the Instant Pot. Instant Pot is great for hard cooking eggs. They come out perfect every time. There is definitely a learning curve involved with the IP – I am an experienced long time cook and still find myself scratching my head at some of the ‘directions.’ Too many and I will skip it! Or if a crock pot recipe calls for me to remove lid after x hours and do this or that – they get skipped too. Isn’t that the why the crock pot was invented? I prefer the set it and forget it type recipes that can be easily found for the crock pot – especially those THREE (usually on hand) ingredients ones!