A slow cooker is an electrical appliance with a metal pot that uses a heating element (at the bottom) to cook food.
A “Crock-pot” is a brand of slow cooker that was first developed in the 1970s.
It consists of a ceramic or stoneware pot that goes inside a crock with heating elements in the sides and base.
Both a slow cooker and a crockpot hold moisture down to create steam and cook food over a long time.
Both use pots that can be cleaned easily and have glass lids for easy access and visualization of the food.
They are over-the-counter appliances that have revolutionized the ‘one-dish technique and laid down a new “set- and forget” method.
Although they come from the same concept of slow cooking in one pot, there are few differences between a slow cooker and a crockpot that set them apart from each other.
Allow me to explain both crock pots and slow cookers in detail. It will help you to understand the differences easily.
What is a Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker is an electrical kitchen appliance that is used to cook food slowly.
It consists of a metal bowl, a heating element at the base, and a glass lid.
The metal pot sits on a base that has a heating element.
With a wide range of temperatures to choose from, slow cookers are used for a variety of cuisines.
New versions of slow cookers come with a timer and display a high, moderate, low, and keep warm setting.
As the heat comes from the base, the cooking takes place slowly over extended periods.
During cooking, a slow cooker heats up in cycles, powering on and off while the food gets cooked.
Slow cookers are not meant for cooking food that has less liquid. The food may get scorched as the base is the area of maximum heat.
For foods that turn sticky while cooking, you may need to occasionally stir the food.
A slow cooker is ideal for stews, soups, dips, broths, and dishes that require small chunks of meat or veggies. Small pieces ensure even cooking.
Advanced models of slow cookers have advanced options of cooking styles like steaming and sauteing. Some also come with metal inserts that help to sear the meat over a cooktop. They also offer computerized settings for change of temperature etc.
The slow cooker models are available in different sizes and shapes in the market.
With very few ingredients, you can whip up amazing meals, beverages, and desserts!
Slow cookers save a lot of money as they cook cheaper cuts of meat quite well.
It is like an extra friend allowing you to time your meals and taking care of your cooking.
What is a Crockpot?
A crockpot is a branded slow cooker. It contains a stoneware or ceramic pot that sits inside an electric pot with heating elements in the base as well as on the sides.
A crockpot is available in many designs- circular, rectangular, or elliptical.
The food cooks with heat from all sides. A crock-pot has a limited temperature range with a minimum of 200 F and the highest of 300 F.
The displayed temperature options are low, medium, and high.
As crock pots are essentially slow cookers, they cook food slowly throughout the day giving you delicious food at mealtime. The heat remains consistent at all times.
You can prepare your food anywhere from four to eight hours.
Many advanced features are available in the market giving you a timer for better control.
Crock Pots also have smart features like operating with the help of a mobile phone.
Both crock pots and slow cookers cook food the same way but by slightly different methods of heating.
All you need to do is put in the raw materials, set the functions, and forget about it until it’s time to eat.
You can be gone in the day for long intervals, spend your time wisely on other chores while the slow cooker or crock-pot does the cooking.
The Differences Between Slow Cookers and Crockpots
All crock pots are a type of slow cooker but not all slow cookers are crockpots. A crockpot is a branded slow cooker.
Let us understand the differences in detail
A slow cooker has a metal pot that sits on a base that encapsulates the heating element.
The heating takes place from the base. There is less radiant heat around the metal pot
A crockpot consists of a ceramic pot that goes into the heating system. The heating element is present on the sides and the base.
It is more like an oven with a ceramic pot that fits into the crock. A glass lid on top helps to seal and retain moisture inside.
Slow cookers have around four to five heat settings. Advanced models offer different cooking method options like sauteing, searing, steaming, etc.
The heating element cycles on and off to ensure long periods of cooking.
A crock-pot has two to three heat settings. One or two settings on the lower side (around 200F) and one higher setting that can reach up to 300F.
Some crockpots also come with a heating alternative in a lower wattage- a “keep warm” setting.
Unlike slow cookers, the heat is consistent and direct. Newer models come with a time duration.
Duration of Cooking
Slow cookers take up more time to heat food compared to crock pots as the heat is localized at the base whereas the heat comes from all sides in a crockpot.
As the heat distribution is all around, a crock-pot wins hands down when it comes to speed.
Brand / Trademark
The term “crockpot” is a registered trademark and was originally made by the Rival manufacturing company in 1970.
Because the term ” crockpot” is registered, other manufacturers use the term slow cooker. Slow cookers are also made by good brands like Cuisinart, GE, Hamilton, Breville, Beach, West Bend, etc.
You can also find cheaper versions of slow cookers and also crockpots that are available under the name of slow cookers.
Apart from the differences between a crock-pot and a slow cooker, it is important to remember that each appliance has a different heating time duration.
The old and new versions are different from each other. I would suggest reading the manual that comes along with each appliance carefully. Due to updates in technology, the same recipe that takes 10 hours in an old cooker might need only 7 hours in the new version.
Which One is Better- a Slow Cooker or a Crockpot?
Slow cooking in a cooker or a crockpot is a very healthy option to cook food. Direct heat is applied to the food for a long duration of time.
This process kills all germs and bacteria and ensures a healthy food preparation.
Both crockpots and slow cookers are cost-effective in the long run. You can purchase cheaper cuts of meat and they become tender easily.
When it comes to speed and even cooking, a crockpot is a better option as the heating takes place from the sides and the base. In a slow cooker, the heating takes place from the base and is lost on the sides.
If you like to play around with different temperature settings, a slow cooker will give you more temperature options. A crockpot mostly has two or three settings along with a keep warm setting.
A slow cooker works best for liquid stews and soups. Scorching and sticking of food is a common problem in slow cookers as the heat is concentrated at the base. I would advise against using slow cookers for less liquid food preparations requiring less liquid.
While both a crockpot and a slow cooker can be used to make a wide selection of dishes, uninterrupted cooking can be done with a crockpot. There is no sticking of food so you do not have to lift the lid to stir occasionally.
I hope I have been able to clarify the difference between a slow cooker and a crockpot.
The main difference lies in the way the heating takes place. While a slow cooker gets heat from the base, a crockpot gets heat from the sides as well as the base of the cooker.
While the pot inside a slow cooker is made of metal, the pot inside a crockpot is made up of ceramic. As the heat is distributed evenly and is consistent, food gets cooked faster compared to a slow cooker.
There are chances of scorching and sticking in a slow cooker so occasional stirring may be required. The lifting of the lid adds more cooking time.
While a crockpot has limited temperature control, a slow cooker gives you a wide range of temperatures to choose from.
In the end, it all boils down to your choice- the cuisines you prefer, the time you give, and the options you need.
I hope you choose the best and enjoy your one-pot meal. Happy cooking!
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