TL; DR: In general, we prefer the Crock-Pot because there is more room for error, you can add ingredients at any time, and the nostalgia for chili kitchens is strong.
The instant pot versus the crock pot. Both small kitchen appliances make putting a hot meal on the table easier, but they are not the same. And as most home cooks know, countertop space is too precious to have both. Which one is right for you? We tried the Instant Pot and Crock-Pot to find out.
For testing, we made three recipes on each device, opting to use entry-level Instant Pot, Instant Pot Duo, and the flagship Crock-Pot slow cooker. We modify the cooking times based on a conversion table found online (For example, half an hour on the Instant Pot turned out to be four hours on high on the Crock-Pot) but we were able to make some successful dishes to find which cooker is the best of the best.
Instant Pot 101
The Instant Pot hit the market in 2010 so it is still relatively new. Technically defined as a multi-cooker, Instant Pot is recognized and loved for its convenience, versatility, and speed. It comes in a variety of sizes, from 3 quarts to 10 quarts, it is capable of cooking in many ways, but is best known for pressure cooking – put the food in and set the timer, then you can have a full meal in about fifteen minutes. That is what we tested. Cooking in a pot makes cleaning easier and perfecting cooking times allows for last-minute preparation and more consistent timing. Various models add different functions like the option to bake or sous vide, but the basic functions are: pressure cook, slow cook, rice / grain, sauté, steam, yogurt and reheat.
Clay pot 101
Crock-Pot has been a staple for chili lovers, Buffalo chicken sauce makers, and pot roast enthusiasts since its inception in 1971. Available in standard sizes 6 to 8 quarts, the Crock-Pot is designed to cook your food evenly for hours. allowing enough time for the flavors to get to know each other. Ideal for parties, tailgates, and after-work pick-me-ups, the Crock-Pot has almost achieved Americana status. It’s almost achieved generic trademark status – people call all slow cookers, even when they’re technically Hamilton Beach or Cuisinart, Crock-Pots. Crock-Pots recently came under fire after it was revealed that one of their slow cookers was the cause of the death of a major character on the show “This Is Us.” But the brand defended itself, noting that in its 50-year history, no incident like the one shown on the television show had been recorded in real life.
What is the difference between Instant Pot and Crock-Pot?
• Shape: The Instant Pot has a circular steel pot, while the Crock-Pot has an oval-shaped ceramic pot.
• Cooking method: Instant Pot uses high pressure steam in a sealed container; Crock-Pot is a covered dish surrounded by a metal container that gently heats the bottom and sides of the dish.
• Characteristics: They both have settings and accessories to expand your cooking options, but the Instant Pot definitely has more. Boiled eggs? There is a silicone tray for that. Sautéing? Press that button. The Crock-Pot is simpler and more straightforward, with its timer and three settings: high, low, and keep warm.
Test 1: soup
We did minestroneand it was amazing. I chopped veggies, popped cans and poured in broth, and then boom! Three hours later, soup. The slow cooker minestrone tasted tastier than the Instant Pot minestrone, Y It was an Instant Pot recipe. To shame. With Crock-Pot, the flavor of spices and vegetables was more noticeable in the final soup, while the Instant Pot tasted more like canned soup, bland with the need for more salt. Crock-Pot wins this round.
Test 2: Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
We made vegan mac n cheese. Prep was so much easier as there was no initial stir fry, just veggies, nuts, and broth were put in a pot. While I must admit I had already eaten two bowls of instant-Pot mac, and then watched a full movie, before I could try the Crock-Pot mac, from the slow cooker, the mac n cheese was somewhat salty. despite having the same amount of salt and had a better texture: the “cheese” sauce looked more like a cheese sauce than a wet soup. Crock-Pot also wins this round.
Test 3: Bake
There’s something to be said for the sheer joy of being able to use the Instant Pot to make brownies, even though they taste steamy rather than crisp. Crock-Pot brownies are fully cooked after about three and a half hours, and the texture is closer to what you would get from an oven, but these brownies are not quite as sweet or as sweet. This is strange since, again, the ingredients are identical. Neither can compare to baked brownies, which are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. In a surprise, the Instant Pot wins this round, although it is a Pyrrhic victory if there ever was one.
Overall, the Crock-Pot wins. It’s a simple tool, we like that you can open it mid-cooking to turn things around and we prefer richer tasting food that came out of it to the Instant Pot equivalent.
When it comes to ease, it’s nice to just put things on a plate, press a few buttons, and walk away, and both the Instant Pot and Crock-Pot satisfy that need for simplicity well enough.
Instant Pot doesn’t save as much time compared to the stove or oven. It takes a few minutes to build up pressure, presumably the same way an oven is preheated, but the difference is that the food doesn’t need to be in the oven already when the temperature starts to rise. But like we said, they are adored, and the five-star reviews on Amazon are many.
Clay pots became popular in the 1970s when more women entered the workforce. They would prepare meals in the morning and let them simmer while they were at work, so when they got home, they had a delicious meal ready to eat. Today, not everyone is ready for that kind of advance planning and time management,
Ultimately you need both or neither. Except for portability, these devices do not replace a range or oven. They are just nice to have around and very useful for specific meals and side dishes. If you love to cook, and particularly love preparing meals, both are great options.
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