Well you are probably as surprised as I was when I first discovered that there is actually a difference between crock-pots and slow cookers… who knew??
First of all, the term Crockpot was invented by the Rival Company when they relaunched this appliance that, before of getting famous, was being sold as a bean cooker appliance. Then the term spread out to many other types of slow cookers to an extent that nowadays slow cookers and crockpots are basically considered the same.
The first thing you need to know is that all crock tops are slow cookers, but not all slow cookers are crockpots. Crockpots are just another type of slow cooker
|Heating Elements sit both on the sides and underneath the crock||Heating elements are on the bottom but not on the sides|
|Made of three parts: Ceramic pot, glass lid and heating element that the pot fits in to. Also normally have only two to three settings of temperature||Also have three parts: glass lid, a heating element a pot (that could be metallic or ceramic made) and a heating element. Have more temperature control than crockpots and can have up to 5 different settings.|
|Uses Moist heat over long periods of time||Best recommended for hard to cook meals as it takes longer to bring the food to the right temperature/ Also uses moist heat but the heat runs in cycles which makes them not cook all parts at the same time.|
|Heats the food from all directions bringing it to a safe temperature quickly||Best recommended for soups and stews or recipes with meats chopped to small pieces due to potential risk of not cooking your meats to the right temperature and leave some bacteria alive.|
|Cooks your meals slowly at low temperatures between 170 and 280 degrees||Allows for use of the pot outside of the heating element like in the over or in the stove.|
|Direct heat from the crock pot and steam destroy bacteria|
|Excels at tenderizing post roasts/less expensive cuts of meat which require longer cooking at lower setting|
Once you see all of these difference is very easy to realize that both are great appliances but they also have different features that makes them more ideal for certain types of foods.
If you intend on cooking large portions of food at the same time, then a crock pot might be best choice, the fact that it heats your food from all the sides (except from the lid) gives you the pace of mind that even the heaviest chunk of pork will be perfectly cooked and brought to the right temperature making sure that you have killed all of the bacteria and cooked your meat to perfection.
If you are going to use the appliance in a more moderate way, like for personal or small family use then, a slow cooker is a better choice, not only these allow you to control best the temperature of your meals, but also they are generally fully metallic pieces that will last longer.
One of the Crockpots principal features are their pots made of porcelain or ceramic. We all know that ceramic is a very tough material that is excellent at preserving heat and cooking, sadly, they are less resistant to poor handling as the pot can easily break if it falls from your hands or countertop. By the contrary, slow cookers then to have a metallic pot that are extremely resistant to impacts and drastically temperature changes.
Crock pots usually have an option for browning your meats while the slow cooker recommend to first browning your meats for some minutes before adding it to the slow cooker to give them the perfect tenderness.
With crock pots, the overall cooking experience is minimized to the minimum effort, they make almost all of the job, except adding the ingredients, that the part you have to do and can be left unattended for long periods of time. As slow cookers don’t heat from all directions and the heat works in cycles, you have to check on your food more constantly to avoid burning or not cooking your meal right.
If you are looking to buy a crock pot or slow cooker I would suggest you definitely recommend getting a crock pot. Why? Because the fact that crockpots heat your meals from all directions this ensures that all of you ingredients will be perfectly cooked and won’t find any raw meats or hard vegetables. Using a crockpot ensures that all of the bacteria is killed and also gives you more freedom while cooking as you have less need to monitor the cooking of your meals. Also most of modern crockpots have timers, probes and many other features that gives you the possibility of setting the cook time, the temperature and even automatically turn a “keep warm” mode to keep your meals at serving temperature once finished
If you are interested in buying one, we have check out our Best Slow Cookers Guide!