Crock Pots vs. Slow Cookers – yep, there’s a difference!

Hey bloggies, it’s Monday (sorry for the reminder 😉 )!

Ah well, so be it, if you can’t avoid ’em then why not make the best of ’em!

So this morning I woke up and made another lovely batch of oats – back to basics w/ my pb & naner combo 🙂

Then it was off to work to get crackin’ – fyi peeps in Richmond can’t drive in (1) rain (2) snow (3) wind (4) bright sun — as I discovered once again today.  What gives people?!

Anywho, since we all know that I have been obsessed with using my newly discovered slow cooker (it was my grandma’s that my mom gave me a while back and I forgot I had it!) I thought I’d take today to do some fun facts.

I have been doing  some research on the differences between ye ol’ slow cooker vs. the conventional crock pot

And yep, there sure is a difference (who knew?!)

Sometimes crock pots are called slow cookers, but a true slow cooker (with the heating element underneath) is not called a crock pot.

Crock pots


  • Heating elements are on both the bottom and sides of the crock
  • Consist of 3 parts: a glass lid, a ceramic or porcelain round or oval pot, and a round or oval heating element that the pot fits snugly into
  • Uses moist heat over long periods of time to cook foods, usually high/low setting only
  • Heat surrounds the food bringing it more quickly up to a safe temperature
  • Cooks foods slowly at a low temperature – generally between 170o and 280o F
  • Direct heat from the crock pot, lengthy cooking, and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make a crock pot cooking a safe process for cooking foods
  • Excels at tenderizing post roasts/less expensive cuts of meat which require longer cooking at lower setting

Slow cookers

slow cooker

  • Heating elements are on the bottom, none on the sides
  • They also have 3 parts: a glass lid, a pot, and a heating element however the setup is generally a pot that sits on a hot plate and has many different temperature settings, usually notated by numbers one through five
  • This causes the cooker to heat the food more slowly, and is recommended  for soups, stews, etc. where the food is small cut (brings it up to temp faster)
  • Also use moist heat over a long period of time to cook food, however heat runs in cycles, rotating on and off therefore the heating element does not surround the pot and cook from the sides (and is not continuous)
  • USDA recommends this type be used for soups/stews only or where meat is cut into smaller pieces due to potential safety concerns with low level heat coming only from bottom bringing a large piece of meat up to high enough temp before spoiling
  • Can also use most heating elements as a griddle and use the “pot” in the oven/on top of stove – so this is more dual purpose/versatile

So what’s the bottom line?

Online research leads me to this conclusion:  If you’re purchasing one of these small electrical kitchen appliances, a crock pot may be recommended in lieu of a slow cooker. Either way, they both offer the benefits of a quick and easy dinner preparation, convenience, and low cost healthy meals.

My personal thoughts are that if you are looking to slow cook large chunks of meat, then the crock pot is probably best for you.  However if you mainly use it for dishes like  (1) smaller chunks of meat – i.e. the chicken I have been cooking lately or (2) soups/stews – i.e. chicken chili, then the slow cooker may be a good fit.

Hope that was helpful to you friends, I did a bunch of research before getting started using our slow cooker to ensure that I didn’t food poison The Man & myself (not so romantic…) 😉 haha

I think my next purchase for the kitchen is going to be…. drum roll…. a CROCK POT!!! 

I think The Man would appreciate the occasional slow cooked large chunk of meat ha (twss) 😉

And in the ‘spirit of the slow cooker’ (new song idea?), here was the leftover White Chicken Chili for lunch today – not quite as picturesque however still deelish!


Plus these guys followed me to work… they are such pests.


Alright bloggin’ fanatics, gotta get back to work!  Tonight’s agenda includes

  • hangin’ with Cindy, she always whips me into shape!
  • cookin’ with beets, acorn squash and yep, more chicken!

See everyone back tonight (p.s. Monday work blues will be ov-ah by then whoop whoop!)

50 responses to “Crock Pots vs. Slow Cookers – yep, there’s a difference!

  1. I had no idea what the difference was. I have a crock pot and am loving it lately!

    What is twss?!?!

  2. savoringsarah

    We have the same problem with drivers where I live! Crazy!! 🙂

    Good to know info on crock pots vs slow cookers. We used to have a CROCK POT and I used it all the time until one day the bottom FELL OUT with hot chili inside.

    So that’s an item on my need-to-purchase list 😉

    Happy Monday!!!

  3. foodieinthecity

    My mom lives in Dallas now but lived most of her life here in MN. So now when it even snows one flake the whole city shuts down. She doesn’t get it and neither do I, lol.

    Leftover chili is the best. It usually tastes even better the next day!

    • haha sounds like Richmond. if it snows (i.e. 1 flake) you may as well reside yourself to your home bc you are getting nowhere… ever. The sunlight really bothers the folks around here too, esp since my commute downtown is directly east so it can be brutal – but hello, sunglasses people haha!!!

  4. LOL this is perfect timing! So I guess what I need to ask for for Christmas is a CROCKpot. Who knew they were different? Thanks for the info! 🙂

    People in Indy can’t drive in rain or snow, either. It could snow, like 1/4 of an inch and you just have to tack on an extra 30 minutes to your commute!

  5. See you in four days!!!! Can’t wait to come home! Can you believe i’ve been gone for two months already…..unbelievable!

    love you 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been wondering about exactly this…

  7. Durh! I had no idea there was a difference either. Thank you for that educational nugget 🙂

  8. I really don’t think any one can really drive anymore. They are not the much better here in NC> HAHA. Thanks for the tips on crock pot and slow cooker. I had no idea!

  9. I honestly never knew there was a difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker — you are such a wealth of knowledge!

    not gonna lie, I’m not the best of drivers.. so I can’t judge 😉

  10. I’ve been meaning to use my crockpot for the longest time!! And thanks for the Monday reminder;-)

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  12. Hey — not to be picky, but your definitions are not quite accurate. “Crock-Pot” is a registered trademark, essentially a brand name, for a particular manufacturer’s appliance even though here in the U.S. we tend to use it to describe all similar appliances.
    What you’re trying to define are “slow cookers” and “electric roasting ovens.” Slow cookers are typically deep cooking vessels with shallow lids and heating elements within the walls of their bases, while roasting ovens tend to be shallow but wide vessels with high/domed lids and are heated from below. Check out the official Crock-Pot website ( and the official Nesco Roaster website ( for more details.

    • Perhaps my sources are innaccurate, and I understand that “Crock-Pot” is the registered term for a particular brand, however in my research I found that in loose terms it was a crockpot (not “”) vs. the slow cooker that differed based on number of heating elements.

      Crock pots have heating elements on both the bottom and sides of the crock. Some slow cookers have heating elements on the bottom, but none on the sides.

      Crock pots, can also be called slow cookers, but not vice versa.

      I appreciate the comment, and don’t want to be giving innaccurate information to anyone, however I found many noted sources with this data…?

  13. Great idea this. It is always difficult to thin of varied things to cook especially for a hungry family and some of the ideas here and elsewhere on your site have given me some great ideas so thak you!

  14. There’s definately a difference in my book. And I just wrote a blog post about using a slowcooker while travelling on a tourbus. You couldn’t do that with a crock pot as there’s no stove 🙂

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  21. I appreciate this so much. I was wondering why when i put my crockpot away and used the bigger Crockpot brand slow cooker, my roasts never i mean never turned out right. Now im cooking with both the way you have explained and the food is perrrfecto. Thank you.

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  23. THANK YOU! I knew there had to be a difference or they would not be called two different things. With two different prices I might add. I have asked many cooks and dept store people and nobody could tell me what you just have, so again…THANK YOU!

  24. Sorry, but I still don’t get it…and trying to find the right one is very frustrating!?…What if u want to do both…big whole hams and/or soups and chili’s, which I do, in which case, do i have to purchase both?? I love cooking one pot meals and freezing them for two reasons…1 I am single and 2 I don’t enjoy cooking and working so hard for just one person…so if I can learn and understand how these two essential pieces of equipment operate then I will be good to go…Also, when purchasing/shopping for these kitchen aids, they do not specify heating elements ie, bottom/&sides they just simply state crock-pot/or slow-cooker/or both or just one…Ugghh!!…I don’t have time to read every review…so can someone just put it in plain english then point me to the best reviewed ones to buy…Tanks allot!!

  25. Here’s where I’m confused:
    my old crock pots had tight fitting lids. You were not supposed to lift the lid during cooking process.
    This last oval -shaped crock pot by Rival that I purchased has a notch in the porcelain bowl to allow the provided serving ladle to rest in the bowl with the lid on. However, during the cooking process, this leaves a gap where the ladle would go thereby not creating a “tight seal” during the cooking process.
    I thought a tight seal was the premise of cooking in a crock pot.
    And yes, it IS a crock pot and not a slow cooker.
    any thoughts?

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  27. From the Crook-Pot uk site:
    In general, what is the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker?
    There is no such thing as a crock pot. Crock-Pot® is the brand that invented the slow cooker. Crock-Pot®, the original slow cooker. We have many different models to serve individual needs including an array of sizes, programming and features.

    The other brands of slow cookers do not perform like the original slow cooker – Crock-Pot® slow cookers. With the thick heart of stone that “cooks all day – while the cook’s away®.” Buy the real one, the original, the same brand of slow cooker your Mom and Grandma used; you will most likely know the difference.

  28. Sorry to say that, but Crock-Pot is a make of slow cookers. Check their website. They make slow cookers and rice cookers.
    This whole article seems to be misleading at least. It’s like a difference between rexel and document sleeve etc..

    Or am I utterly wrong?

  29. MarthaInPhilly

    So let’s this straight. Can crockpot candy be cooked in a slow cooker?

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  32. Glad to read differences! Thx!

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  35. How come you don’t reference your sources? Your crock pot/ slow cooker comparison should be referenced as it came almost verbatim from another website.

  36. Well I will say that we have a West Bend slow cooker from the ’70s that belonged to my mother that she used all during my growing up years. I have used that thing for years now to cook roasts, chickens, soups, stews, etc. Never had an issue. We love it but it is aging and are planning on purchasing a new version…hopefully it will function as well as our current appliance. While I have never used the base as a griddle, which is one of the selling points, I have used the pot on the stove which is great when you want to saute onions or do some initial cooking. I would recommend it over the “crock pot” style slow cooker.

  37. Thanks, you are the best…you seem right there with us! I want to make some mexican beans with bacon, cilantro, onions, garlic, and two diced plantines….not bananas and green. Think I will go with the slow cooker this time. I am in Panamà with the Peace Corps and I learned a new word – concept for driving. Pana-Sec…that’s a second that is less than a second for drivers in Panamà stopped at a red light. A Pana-Sec is the time it takes for the light to change from red to green before the drivers start laying on the horn! Pana-Sec…

  38. Thank you!! you just helped me figure out what the heck i had in my kitchen and if I could slow cook meat in it. Lol

  39. Edward J. Costa

    Amazing! You’re too funny! Thanks for the clarification on the cookers/devices. It’s been a while I’ve wanted to know the differences! I really appreciate you taking the time to post this!

  40. Edward J. Costa

    I meant “too funny” about the little guys following you to work — they are my absolute favorite food! Mmmmmmm dark chocolate — goodness gracious, where would I be without “dark chocolate” and those ones “Hershey” are just the best — ever visit Hershey park or take your kids? It’s a blast to remember for a life time and then some!

  41. africainsideme

    what crock pot would you recommend? Also it seems to me from reading your wonderful comparison that the crock pot does both large and small cuts, while the slow cooker is best for only small cuts. So, to simplify, get the crock pot.

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  43. Best explanation of crockery differences! Cooking up the sides is the key element. I now only buy Crockpot brand. My daughter has a Crockpot same size as my Brand X. We cooked the same meal side by side. Hands down Crockpot was the winner. Thank you kindly.

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