Home Articles Slow Cooker vs. Crockpot (4 Main Differences)

Slow Cooker vs. Crockpot (4 Main Differences)

What’s the difference between a slow cooker vs. Crockpot? It all comes down to branding, shape, heat settings, and cooking.

I often use the terms Crockpot and slow cooker interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same.

Cooking Pork on a Slow Cooker

Both kitchen tools use heat and steam to create melt-in-your-mouth meals while you’re out and about.

However, subtle differences in the design make these two kitchen tools different.

So, without further ado, let the battle of the slow cooker vs. Crockpot begin! (Spoiler: it’s a draw!)

Slow Cooker vs. Crockpot (What’s the Difference?)

Slow cookers and Crockpots achieve the same result: a low-fuss, tender meal. But there are a few differences between these two terms to keep in mind.

  • Branding: A Crockpot is a slow cooker brand, but not all slow cookers are Crockpots. The Crockpot brand revolutionized slow cooking at home. It was easy to use, and home cooks fell in love with this new way of cooking.
  • Shape: The nuts and bolts of Crockpots and slow cookers are the one thing they share. Both units use a central electrical heating element with a ceramic bowl to lock in moisture. But their shapes are different. Some are round, some are tall, and some are oval-shaped.
  • Heat Settings: All Crockpots come with two or three heat settings: low, high, and warm. But slow cookers are different. Some commercial-grade slow cookers use temperature settings for precision.
  • Cooking: All slow cookers and Crockpots use similar cooking methods. However, Crockpots include a heating element that heats the bottom and the sides. Most slow cookers only use a heating element on the base, which leads to less even cooking.
Beef Stew in a Slow Cooker

What Is a Slow Cooker?

The slow cooker was patented in the 1940s and hit the market in the 1950s. Original iterations of this new cooking method targeted working moms and home cooks.

The first iteration of the slow cooker was called the “Simmer Crock” in the 1950s. But as you may have guessed, it didn’t quite catch on.

Modern slow cookers come in all types. Some are a little more complicated than their original designs, and use temperature settings for more precise heating.

The biggest difference lies in the heating elements. 

Most slow cookers use a heating element on the bottom, which doesn’t offer as precise cooking as a Crockpot.

Plus, brands like Cuisinart use precise temperature settings, as well as features that brown, saute, and steam. They’re a little more complicated.

But the basics of slow cookers remain the same across various brands.

Stew in a Crock Pot

What Is a Crockpot?

A Crockpot is a brand of slow cooker the same way a Kitchenaid is a brand of stand mixer.

The brand Crockpot revolutionized the preparation of homemade meals in the 1970s.

Much of its popularity boiled down to clever marketing. Advertising spoke to homemakers and working mothers to prepare a family-ready meal with very little effort.

While slow cookers existed before the Crockpots, they weren’t as popular.

For a long time, the only brand of slow cookers in homes were Crockpots, hence the confusion.

So, why were Crockpots popular? They were easy to use and affordable. And they became a household staple.

What’s great about the humble Crockpot is it makes slow cooking at home effortless.

Plus, the heating elements along the side of the pot cook evenly and prevent sticking on the bottom.

Why the Confusion?

Most people use the terms Crockpot and slow cooker interchangeably.

The confusion stems from most modern slow cookers copying the design of the Crockpot.

So, the term Crockpot quickly replaced the term slow cooker.

Today, the confusion doesn’t cause any real problems, since most slow cookers use a similar design to the Crockpot.

Can You Use a Crockpot for a Slow Cooker Recipe?

Yes! You can absolutely use a Crockpot if the recipe calls for a slow cooker.

Remember, the nuts and bolts of Crockpots versus slow cookers are the same, with a few differences.

Whether you have a cookbook of slow cooker recipes or a list of tasty slow cooker meals, your handy dandy Crockpot works just fine.

Guinness Stew Cooked in a Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker vs. Crockpot (Which Is Better?)

Both work perfectly fine in most recipes.

For beginners, you can’t go wrong with a Crockpot. Even skilled home cooks rely on them.

With just two heat settings and a host of Crockpot-friendly recipes, it’s the easier choice.

Crockpots and slow cookers achieve the same goal. They cook a meal low and slow and delicious. You can go wrong with either one.

And there’s nothing better than coming home to that smell!

Slow Cooker Vs. Crock Pot

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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