Instant Pot

Could This Multi-Cooker Be the Next Instant Pot?

October 30, 2017

It’s official, the multi-cooker market has a new contender. What with the recent commotion around Instant Pots and their numerous uses, Crock-Pot, the company that brought us the famous electric slow cooker, is entering the ring.

A slow cooker, like a Crock-Pot, cooks food over a long period of time. People love their easy-to-control electric operating systems that render food tender and tasty over the course of several hours. Meanwhile, a multi-cooker, like the Instant Pot, is a slow cooker that is also a pressure cooker and a rice cooker and a steamer, yogurt maker, and warming dish—a jack-of-all trades for your kitchen counter.

Understandably, multi-cookers are popping up in kitchens everywhere. This year alone, a slew of cookbooks dedicated to Instant Pot recipes flew off of shelves (including one just released by Melissa Clark). And Crock-Pot, the company behind everyone’s favorite slow cooker, has taken notice. They released a new product to rival the Instant Pot called the "Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker."

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Priced at $79.99, Crock-Pot’s multi-cooker is available for purchase at, Target,, Best Buy, along with other national retailers. Instant Pot’s multi-cooker comes in at $84.95 on Amazon. While Crock-Pot’s multi-cooker definitely wins as far as price goes, does it match up in quality? For that, we will have to wait and see.

Is Crock-Pot too late to the game or just in time? Let us know where you stand in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • John
  • isw
  • Leslie
  • Steven Moshlak
    Steven Moshlak
  • mtncook
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


John November 22, 2017
Ok I just saw a commercial for the “Crocpot” version, my wife is scared to death of pressure cookers (giving our age away)!!! She loves to cook slow or fast. However she is cooking for my brother’s large family & us two. So my question to you all which is the best for the $$ & functionality.... If this helps your thoughts the only thing she wanted for Christmas is ALL the “Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks ”, that’s the way she cooks.... Thanks from a husband that will be full 😜
Cheryl November 22, 2017
I'm 61 and I was also terrified of using a pressure cooker. I have an old one sitting in my garage that I used maybe twice. The Instant Pot is not scary at all. The first time I was nervous though but there's no noise with the Instant Pot.
Diane December 21, 2017
Aloha John. I have been terrified of pressure cookers and didn't want to spend the buy in for an Instant Pot. Saw the CrockPot version on Amazon and for $49 I thought why not... long story short... OMG it is so easy to use and versatile. It has changed our weeknight meals from fast food to fast fresh food. I'd never made pot roast - it was the first dish I prepared - can't wait to make it again next week. Kalua pork falling apart. Fantastic - can't believe I waited this long. Thanks to the trusted name of CrockPot I waded in and happy I did.
isw November 21, 2017
After reading good comments here I looked at the IP Ultra more carefully. The documentation says ""Can be used for sous vide cooking with a temperature accuracy of +/- 5°F or 3°C”

Problem is, +/- 5 degrees is nowhere near good enough for sous vide (10 F will take a steak from raw to ruined); you need temperature control better than 1 degree C or 2 F for good results. So I asked them about it.
Basically, they said that the thing was not sous-vide capable and they were taking that claim off their documentation. Too bad. It would have been easy enough to do it right, but they chose not to.
Leslie November 21, 2017
I've had an Instant Pot for over a year and I LOVE it. I make yogurt once a week, cook all my beans in it, rice, grains, soup, you name it. Best appliance ever.
tamater S. December 22, 2017
Leslie, I'm glad to hear this. A few years ago, I bought one, (made by Deni) for $110.00, and it crapped out on me THE DAY AFTER THE WARRANT EXPIRED!!! So I'm waiting for awhile, and watching, as I don't want to get burned again.
Steven M. November 3, 2017
I have been real happy with my Power Pressure Cooker XL, from Eric Theiss. I am in love with it and have had it for four years. I use it at least two or three days a week. The fish comes out, fantastic. Stews and Chili? Can's say enough good things. Veggies, soups and hard boiled eggs? Does a great job.

Why fix it, if it works?
tamater S. December 22, 2017
Yaaaaay! See my post to Leslie, above. I hope now, that others who've bought the Poser Pressure Cooker XL, will report. I'm off this net search that one. Thanks, Steven.
mtncook November 3, 2017
I have a stove-top pressure cooker I use multiple times a week in which I cook rice and all the things anyone uses a pressure cooker. I also have a slow cooker, but I'm thinking of giving it to Goodwill because I use it so seldom. My issue with the Instant Pot (and I'm sure almost any other multi-cooker) is the difficulty of using it at altitude--I live at 9200 ft. My understanding is that the Breville multi-cooker has a button that makes it compensate for altitude, but it costs way more. I'll just stick with my stovetop and add 25% to the time in my head, thanx.
Rosemary S. November 3, 2017
I already have an Instant Pot but when I look at this one, it has a nonstick insert, which would be a no go for me. Instant Pot has a stainless steel one and I'm glad of that. I also think, but not completely sure, that the Instant Pot's high pressure is about 1 PSI higher than the Crockpot one.
grammag8 November 2, 2017
please do post your yogurt with crockpot! I am with a new toy but
no where else to store it and no space to display it! though it sounds like perfect for young brides!
Linda I. November 2, 2017
I have a Fagor Multi Cooker I bought from Amazon in 2009. I use it multiple times a week and it is still working perfectly - my favorite appliance!
It is a pressure cooker (dual settings), a rice cooker and a slow cooker. The best feature is 'browning'. The heat element in the bottom allows me to saute meat and vegetables, bring liquids quickly to a boil and reduce sauces without utilizing another saucepan or skillet. It is truly a one-pot cooker. I make yogurt, soft cheeses, puddings and cakes in it, also. When I have to eventually replace it, it will be with another Fagor.
mela November 2, 2017
FWIW, and in the interests of avoiding another appliance in the kitchen, for those of us who don't need/want more, an ordinary Crockpot makes consistently wonderful yogurt. If anyone wants specifics (I adapted Claudia Roden's stovetop instructions) I'd be happy to post.
GuidoBoston November 4, 2017
Hi Mela,
Yes, please post that!
mela November 13, 2017
Put 8 cups milk in slow cooker (organic or regular is fine, but not skim or 1 percent), cover, and heat on Low for 3 hours. Switch off and leave, lid on, for 2 hours. Then, and this is the Claudia Roden trick, put your little finger into the warm milk and count to 15. (A thousand and one, a thousand and two, etc.) If it's too uncomfortable to keep your little finger immersed to 15, let the milk cool a bit more. You should feel that counting to 15 is about as long as you could hold it there. If your finger is not getting a bit uncomfortable, turn the slow cooker on again for a few minutes, maybe 15, then test again.
Then, take 1/2 cup milk from cooker and place a small bowl with 1/2 cup store-bought yogurt and whisk together. (Astro Balkan, though not Astro Balkan 'Natural', is perfect if you're in Canada; if not, any yogurt that contains only bacteria and milk/cream/dairy will almost certainly work, though some are better than others. I have had poor success with one brand of probiotic yogurt - there was a lot of whey.) Add whisked milk/yogurt combo to cooker. Whisk again. Wrap in a couple of big fluffy towels and set somewhere that you won't have to disturb it for 12 hours. (I do overnight; count back the hours from when you want it to be ready.)
You're done. Place container in fridge for a couple of hours, then pour off any whey - I get no whey with this method - and decant into whatever containers you intend to store it in the fridge till using.
The only tricky bit is finding the right ingredients: milk and the commercial yogurt you use as a starter. Shelf-stable milk will not work. Some countries process milk differently than others. And different yogurts use different bacterial cultures, for different tastes and textures.
To find the right yogurt and milk for your taste, you might start with smaller quantities - 4 cups of milk maybe? I have now made it in two different slow cookers (thus the delay in posting) and the timing and technique worked in both.
This is actually pretty hard to do wrong; women in the middle east have probably been doing this for centuries with a heat source much less precise than your cooker. Trust yourself, and it, and good luck. I'm happy to answer questions.
Nancy J. November 23, 2017
Please post your yogurt recipe or I could look it up. You can PM me on Facebook or post here for everyone. Thanks I'll check back later. I like 100% whole organic milk. I've recently found recipes on how to make sour cream which I do love. But I didn't have any sour cream but did have a container of organic whole milk plain yogurt and was surprised at how much I didn't miss the sour cream. Thanks in advance.
mela November 23, 2017
Nancy, I've written it out in the comment above yours. 8 cups milk, 3 hours on low, 2 hours just sitting, then the little finger test - see above. Then mix 1/2 cup of the warmed milk with 1/2 cup commercial yogurt, whisk, add them to the crockpot, whisk again, wrap in a couple of warm towels and leave 12 hours, unwrap and put in fridge to chill for a few hours, decant.

If you are in the US, you will want to experiment with different milks and different commercial yogurts. Canadian organic milk works; American might not. The biggie is the yogurt though: look for one that's just dairy and bacteria. And the best flavor comes from 'balkan' yogurts. (Not Greek - though you can Greekify it at home very easily if you want.)
See my above comment for the pep talk too, and let me know if you have questions.
mela November 23, 2017
Just reread this, and don't know where 'warm' towels came from! It's early and I haven't had coffee. Any big fluffy towels that will keep your yogurt warm overnight (12 hours) is fine. It's still fine after 12 hours, but it starts to lose its tang.
Amy K. January 15, 2018
Thank you!!! I have always been curious about making my own yogurt but not interested in buying more "stuff."

isw November 2, 2017
Can the Instant Pot be set to any arbitrary temperature (say, 132 F or 147 F)? If it can, it'd be a nice sous-vide cooker; if it can't, I'll keep on looking.
Daniel H. November 2, 2017
The Instant Pot Ultra has a setting for just that purpose and I've used it for sous-vide cooking before and it maintains it temperature wonderfully!
Maria F. November 2, 2017
I am dying laughing about the lady who’s grandma was passed out drunk & her pressure cooker exploded! Did that really happen? I’m not making fun of her. I just hope it’s funny now that’s she’s ok. Also, I am dying for a sophisticated InstaPot cookbook. Any suggestions? If not, I may make it my mission to create one.
Rick W. November 2, 2017
Amazon has many fine Instant Pot cookbooks. They are everywhere. Some are even free (as ebooks).
Gabriella I. November 3, 2017
Try "Dinner in an Instant" by Melissa Clark
Rohn J. November 4, 2017
Melissa Clark has expanded her NY Times coverage of the InstaPot into a new cookbook, which shows off the full range of the device:
Luciemom November 2, 2017
Speaking of Instant Pot cookbooks, what are the best ones, along with good online resources. I joined an IP facebook group but most of the recipes are either gooey desserts or use canned soup, etc. Yuck!
drkate November 2, 2017
Wondering why the author didn't do a comparison? Maybe Consumer Reports has one.
Mari November 2, 2017
Laura Pizzaglia has an amazing website that deals with insta pots and pressure cookers. She has comparison charts and infographics. And very good recipes!
Heather Z. November 2, 2017
We already have the large Instant Pot, thanks to Amazon's Pi day deals. But unless Crock Pot has some really major improvements or is of substantially higher quality and ruggedness, I can't see them beginning to make a dent in Instant Pot's market share.

My daughter has a non-Instant Pot, and I have to say that I am very happy that we have the brand name product. It is very heavy duty. Not so with other brands.
Heather Z. November 3, 2017
Sorry, I meant Prime days.
Joseph L. November 2, 2017
Don’t you think their WeMo enabled crockpot is a more interesting story? The thing can be modified from your smart phone (change temp settings, start cooker, etc). I would also assume, that means you can operate it via Amazon Alexa, like other other WeMo enabled items. Just sayin’ ...
Cheryl November 2, 2017
I think the instant pot makes pork dry so I started using a Le Creuset and the meat is incredible, comparatively. Also, I don't understand why the bottoms are not flat in electric pressure cookers to make browning easier. I think they are good for fast broth but for meat, I haven't had much success.
Heather Z. November 2, 2017
Not sure, but I believe it has something to do with the whole pressure issue. That said, I do my browning in either the enamel cast iron pans or straight cast iron, then continue with the Instant Pot if time is of the essence. For one thing, a shallower pan is really best for browning.
Joey November 2, 2017
Hi hplcman,
Thank you for making my day. LOL
hplcman November 2, 2017
Hmmmm... I don't know about these things. Are they safe? My Grandma had a pressure cooker explode in her kitchen and spray blackberry preserves all over the place. Thank God she was passed out drunk in the living room or else she could have been hurt. Ever since I heard that story I just don't trust those things.
Matti N. November 2, 2017
Electric pressure cookers are much safer than the old stove top ones. If nothing else, it automatically shuts off.
darlene November 2, 2017
Well it probably exploded because she was passed out drunk and didn't turn down the heat. Pressie cookers are safe .. these electric ones are so easy .. turn it on and walk away
susan R. November 3, 2017
Rohn J. November 4, 2017
New ones have safety valvles that begin decompression after the time you set for cooking. Nice thing about that is that if you fall asleep drunk in the living room, when you wake up your boeuf bourgogne will be fork tender!
Julie November 2, 2017
I just looked at the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker and it's basically the same thing as the Instant Pot.
Matthew October 31, 2017
I was hoping for a comparison of the two. Or are they pretty much the same thing?