Crock-Pot VS Instant Pot

On August 25, 2017 by Kelcey Flynn

Everything you NEED to know about the Crock-Pot versus the Instant Pot!

Watch us as we talk about the similarities and differences in these two appliances, how to do freezer cooking for both, and have your questions answered.

See the details in this direct comparison video!

Freezer Cooking Essentials

Slow Cooker

Pros

(Brand example: Crock-Pot)

  • Fewer Functions: This can be a pro for those that are overwhelmed by the too many buttons and uses.
  • Convenient: You can put your meal in and walk away until a later time in the day, usually hours later, and do other things.
  • Easy: Slow cooker meals are usually easy to throw together for cooking that day or freezing, not labor intensive.
  • Time: They have helped us save time in the kitchen for YEARS!

Cons

  • 1 Function: They only serve one function.
  • No Cooking from Frozen: You can not safely cook frozen meals in the slow cooker, you must first properly defrost them.
  • It takes a LONG time: You have to wait hours for your meal to be ready.
  • Meat Texture: Meats can often turn mealy or dry.

Slow Cooker Meal Plans  Slow Cooker Recipes

Pressure Cooker

Pros

(Brand example: Instant Pot)

  • Lots of Functions: Rice cooker, saute’, slow cook*, yogurt maker and pressure cooker.
  • Convenient: You can put your meal in and walk away until a later time (minutes instead of hours) and do other things.
  • Easy: Instant pot meals are usually easy to throw together for cooking that day or freezing, not labor intensive.
  • Cook from Frozen: You can cook frozen meals in them without defrosting, as it comes to pressure it defrosts the meal, using the liquid to cook the meal and the meal is above 140 degrees in less than 2 hours so you are safe to consume them.
  • Tender Meat: Meats and meals are often more tender, not mealy or dry as they are being cooked with steam/pressure allowing them to retain moisture.
  • FAST Cooking: Meals are ready in MINUTES! (Example: Whole FROZEN chicken from start to table in under 1 hour, even with pressure time).

*The electronic pressure cookers such as Instant Pot can be a slow cooker too!

Cons

  • Multiple Functions: There are a lot of buttons and functions and for those that like simple machines, this can be a steep learning curve. When taken step-by-step or function by function it is much easier.
  • Old School Concept: Years ago our mothers and/or grandmothers likely owned a stovetop pressure canner or cooker that has given pressure cookers a bad rap. These devices are not your grandmothers pressure canner and are much safer and easy to use than those.

Instant Meal Plans   Instant Pot Recipes

How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes into Instant Pot Recipes

Compare with similar Instant Pot recipes.

Check other recipes whether around the internet, in a cookbook, or on our site to look for a similar set of instructions. That will help you with all steps: prep, cooking and pressure release.

Overall, reduce cooking time.

A good rule of thumb is about 8 hours on Low, 4 hours on High in a Slow Cooker = 25-30 Minutes Manual in the Instant Pot.

Natural Release for even more “slow cook” time.

Naturally releasing the pressure will allow your original slow cooker recipe to sit and cook just a little longer, molding flavors and tenderizing meat. However, if you’re in a hurry, a quick release will do just fine!

Determine whether you will cook from frozen or from thawed.

Remember, you cannot cook meals in a slow cooker from a frozen state as it sits in the “danger temperature zone” for too long. You can only cook meals from frozen with an Instant Pot or other programmable pressure cooker.

Resources from Video:

Videos Related to Instant Pot:

Featured Menus:

More Instant Pot resources:

Instant Pot Tips and Tricks 101 - FB  Transform Freezer Cooking with an Instant Pot  

  50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals  

Crock-Pot VS Instant Pot - similarities and differences in these two appliances and how to do freezer cooking for both.

13 Comments

Join the discussion
    1. Hi Norma — you actually shouldn’t use slow cooker liners in the Instant Pot. With Pressure Cooking, it gets really hot in there and it could ruin your Instant Pot bowl. Hope this helps!

  1. I haven’t looked at the instant pot up close and in person. Is it big enough to do canning with quart jars? It has to replace what I use for canning because I don’t want more stuff. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nancy — that’s a great question! I use my Instant Pot for canning. Unfortunately, I can’t fit the quart size jars in there, so I use the pint jars. It works like a charm though, wouldn’t go back! Hope this helps. ~OAMM

      1. The USDA does not recommend using an electric pressure cooker for canning as it cycles, meaning the temperature will go up and down to keep the pressure constant. This may mean the temperature may drop below the recommended temp while canning and all bacteria may not be killed. Only stovetop pressure canners should be used.

        1. That’s correct. Current electric pressure cooker models do not operate at high enough pressure for pressure canning. We’ve heard there is a new Instant Pot model coming out that does operate at a high enough pressure for canning, but I don’t believe it’s out yet.

  2. Using a crockpot or other slow cooker one can add extras as things cook. One can’t do that with an instant pot. Also if doing a large corned beef, pot roast, turkey it has to be cut up to cook. How is this any saving and its presentation does not look wonderful?

    1. Can you do a turkey in a slow cooker? I thought that was dangerous because the turkey would not get to a safe temperature fast enough. As for presentation, I have seen several ways to present a large roast, poultry or corned beef that involve them already sliced up and still look lovely. As a matter of fact, my MIL always pre-slices anything she brings to the table: ham, turkey or roast, and her presentation is always lovely.

      1. Great tip on the presentation! A turkey can be done safely in the slow cooker, but it needs to be fresh or thawed (never frozen) and sized appropriately to cook through at a safe temperature.

  3. This is biased. Look at the cons of the instant pot. There are only two mentioned, price is not mentioned, and each of the two are followed by an excuse. Seriously got paid to say that, didn’t you?

    1. We have no sponsored or monetary relationship with the Instant Pot brand. We are simply partial to the Instant Pot as it is the one we have found to be most tried and true of the pressure cooking appliances we have tried. Even though we are partial to it we write all of our recipes and resources to be able to be prepared in any programmable pressure cooker, and we offer a wide variety of slow cooker recipes as well so that everyone can choose the cooking method that works best for them.

    2. I have used a pressure cooker for over 20 years and got a Fagor electric pressure cooker a couple of years ago. I love my pressure cookers! I do not use a slow cooker for many reasons. I generally do not have a lot of time to prep a slow cooker dish in the morning for it to cook all day, but I generally have the time in the afternoon/evening to put something in the pressure cooker. Also, my husband is not comfortable with a slow cooker being left on and unattended for hours at a time. I know I was making some boiled peanuts and left them in the slow cooker for the entire day and night. When I cleaned it out, the glaze on the ceramic pot had crazed and spiderwebbed. I read that is common with the ceramic inner pots for a slow cooker and I had to throw it out. As for cost, pressure cookers have saved me far more money than slow cookers have and have more than paid for themselves! Finally, my family does not care for stews, souls and casseroles (and it kills me because I love them all), and most recipes in a slow cooker seem to be one of those. I can put wings, ribs, a roast or chicken, with skin on, in the PC and be done within an hour. If I want to crisp up skin or wear something, I can just set it in the over or a frying pan for a few minutes. I have done a whole chicken in the PC from start to finish in one hour and it was so juicy!
      No, I do not get paid to praise Instant Pot because I do not even own one. Mine is a Fagor. The only one I would hesitate to recommend is the Power Pressure XL. I had one and returned it because of quality issues and felt if I was going to pay that much, I would buy a better brand, which was pretty much the same price. I get that slow cookers are cheaper than PCs, but if you won’t use it, it’s a waste of money.

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