Instant Pot vs Slow Cooker: Which is Right for You?




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Are you finding yourself at a culinary crossroads, trying to decide whether the high-speed efficiency of an Instant Pot or the cozy allure of a Slow Cooker best suits your needs? Trust me, as someone who has spent countless hours in the kitchen exploring every gadget imaginable, I totally get it.

Each appliance holds its own charm and can be a game-changer in its own right—it’s like choosing between two trusted friends.

Whether you’re juggling work and family life while dreaming up what’s for dinner, or you dedicate weekends to perfecting your grandmother’s stew recipe — your everyday rhythm will likely tip the scales towards one choice.

The Instant Pot is a modern-day magic wand for meals that taste like they’ve taken all day when really, it was just a matter of pressing some buttons. Meanwhile, there’s something undeniably heartwarming about dishes that have taken their good old time becoming deliciously tender in a Slow Cooker.

Eager to find out which will earn pride of place on your counter? Prepare to embark on this flavor-filled journey with me!

Key Takeaways

  • Instant Pots have multiple cooking functions like pressure cooking and steaming, while slow cookers are best for all-day simmering of foods.
  • Slow cookers are more affordable and easy to use, but Instant Pots can cook meals faster which might save energy costs over time.
  • An Instant Pot is good for quick meals and busy lifestyles; a slow cooker suits those who enjoy traditional, slow-cooked flavors.
  • Size options vary with both appliances: Instant Pots range from 3 to 8 quarts, while slow cooker sizes cater to individuals or large groups.
  • Your choice should depend on your personal needs, whether you want speedy cooking or prefer the taste of food that has cooked slowly.

Slow Cooker vs. Instant Pot: What’s the Difference?

When comparing the two, it’s important to note that slow cookers are designed for long, slow cooking while Instant Pots offer multiple cooking functions and quicker cooking times. Sizes available also vary between the two appliances.

Basic functions

An Instant Pot does more than just slow cook. It’s like a multitool for your kitchen. You can quickly pressure cook, steam veggies, or even make yogurt in it. On busy days, you whip up meals in no time! A slow cooker is different.

It focuses on cooking food gently over many hours. Think of mouth-watering stews and tender pot roasts that simmer all day long.

The Instant Pot has a feature to act as a slow cooker too, but let’s be real—it shines when you’re short on time and need dinner fast. With the Instant Pot, you tap a button and can do other things while it takes care of the cooking.

But there’s something special about setting up your CrockPot in the morning and coming home to that rich aroma filling your house after it works its magic slowly throughout the day.

Cooking time

Moving from understanding the basic functions to the cooking time, it’s essential to note that an Instant Pot significantly reduces cooking time due to its pressure-cooking feature.

This means you can achieve meals in a fraction of the time compared to using a slow cooker. On the other hand, slow cookers are known for their long, steady cooking times which are ideal for traditional and slow-cooked recipes, letting flavors meld over several hours without needing constant attention.

The choice between the two largely hinges on your time constraints and how quickly you want your meals ready.

Sizes available

Instant Pots are offered in sizes ranging from 3 to 8 quarts, catering to different household needs. On the other hand, slow cookers also come in various sizes, from compact models suitable for individuals or couples to larger versions perfect for feeding a crowd.

It’s essential to consider the available kitchen space and specific meal requirements when deciding on the ideal size for your cooking appliance.

Choosing Between the Two: Factors to Consider

When deciding between a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, factors to consider include your cooking needs, dietary restrictions, and where you live. These factors will help determine which appliance is the best fit for your kitchen.

Cooking needs

Consider your cooking needs when deciding between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker. If you’re short on time and prefer quick, versatile meals, the Instant Pot’s multiple functions could be a good fit for you.

However, if you enjoy traditional slow-cooked flavors and need reliable, hands-off cooking for soups, stews or roasts, then a dedicated slow cooker might better suit your needs. The choice ultimately depends on your preferred cooking style and the variety of dishes you like to prepare.

Special dietary restrictions

Considering special dietary restrictions is essential when choosing between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker. For those with specific dietary needs or preferences, the versatility of an Instant Pot can be beneficial.

It offers functions such as yogurt making, steaming, and sautéing, allowing for a wider range of meal options. On the other hand, traditional slow cookers are great for recipes that require longer cooking times with minimal hands-on preparation and can accommodate various dietary restrictions without compromising flavor.

Both appliances have their strengths regarding special dietary requirements. The Instant Pot provides quick cooking for busy schedules while catering to diverse dietary preferences, while the slow cooker excels in creating flavorful dishes over extended periods that align with particular diet plans.


When considering which cooking appliance is right for you, it’s essential to think about the region where you live. For instance, if you enjoy preparing meals that are popular in your region and require slow cooking, a traditional slow cooker might be more suitable.

On the other hand, if you like experimenting with diverse cuisines and quick recipes from various regions, an Instant Pot could offer more versatility. The type of dishes commonly cooked in your area can heavily influence your decision on whether to go for an Instant Pot or a slow cooker.

Now let’s delve into the benefits of a Slow Cooker – Reliable for Slow-cooked Meals.

Benefits of a Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are reliable for slow-cooked meals, making them perfect for busy days when you can just set it and forget it. Curious about the benefits of using an Instant Pot instead? Keep reading to find out!

Reliable for slow-cooked meals

The slow cooker is reliable for tender, flavorful, and traditional slow-cooked meals. With simple time and heat adjustments, it’s easy to use and can be left unattended all day. The extended cooking time allows for the flavors to meld together, resulting in delicious and hearty dishes like stews, soups, roasts, and casseroles.

Additionally, the low temperatures of a slow cooker make it ideal for breaking down tougher cuts of meat while retaining their succulence.

As for healthier cooking options or retaining specific taste preferences more efficiently than an Instant Pot might allow when preparing certain types of dishes – such as those with bone broth characteristics – your investment into a dedicated unit will likely suit you better.

Easy to use

The Instant Pot is simple and straightforward to use, with clear settings for different cooking functions. It also has a user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate through the cooking options available.

In contrast, slow cookers are known for their simplicity and ease of use, requiring minimal supervision while meals slowly simmer throughout the day. Both appliances are convenient to operate and can help streamline meal preparation in the kitchen.

Considering these factors will help you determine which one aligns better with your specific needs and preferences when it comes to countertop cooking appliances. Now let’s dive into the benefits of a slow cooker.

Benefits of an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot has multiple cooking functions, allowing you to cook a variety of meals quickly and conveniently. Want to know which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out!

Multiple cooking functions

Instant Pots have an array of functions, being able to cook rice, steam food, and even sauté or brown ingredients. This versatility makes it a great all-in-one kitchen gadget for various recipes.

On the other hand, slow cookers are mainly designed for low and slow cooking processes, perfect for soups, stews, and braised dishes. Both appliances offer unique advantages in terms of cooking methods.

The variety of functions provided by the Instant Pot offers flexibility in preparing different types of meals quickly. However, the focused nature of a slow cooker offers reliability when it comes to traditional slow-cooked dishes that require time to develop rich flavors and tenderize meats.

Quick cooking time

When I’m short on time, I rely on my Instant Pot for fast and delicious meals. With its pressure cooking function, dinner is ready in a fraction of the time compared to using a slow cooker.

Plus, the Instant Pot’s versatility means I can sauté, steam, or even make rice in a flash—making it an essential kitchen gadget for quick and convenient cooking.

As home cooks like me know, the Instant Pot truly revolutionizes meal prep with its speedy cooking abilities. Whether it’s whipping up soups, stews, or tender meats in record time, this electric multicooker is a game-changer when every minute counts in the kitchen.

Which One is Right for You?

Consider your personal cooking needs and lifestyle to determine whether the slow cooker or Instant Pot is the best fit for you. Read on to find out more about each option and make an informed decision.

Pros and cons of each

When deciding between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker, it’s essential to weigh their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a side-by-side comparison to help you understand which might suit your culinary style and needs better.

AspectInstant PotSlow Cooker

Offers multiple cooking functions like pressure cooking, steaming, sautéing, and even yogurt making.

Specializes in slow-cooking, perfect for soups, stews, and tenderizing meats.

Cooking Time

Reduces cooking time significantly, ideal for quick meals.

Requires longer cooking times, which may be better for flavor development.


Has a steeper learning curve due to multiple settings and features.

Generally easier to use with simple settings for time and temperature.


Available in sizes up to 8 quarts.

Comes in various sizes, suitable for individual or family meals.

Speed & Convenience

Excels in quick, weeknight meals and can accommodate busy schedules.

Ideal for setting in the morning and coming home to a ready meal.


Pressure cooking can intensify flavors quickly.

Slow cooking allows for deep flavor development over time.


Quick cooking can retain more nutrients due to reduced cooking time.

Slow cooking at low temperatures may preserve nutrients better than high-heat methods.


Tends to be pricier due to its multi-functionality.

Often more affordable and a solid choice for budget-conscious cooks.

Whether you prioritize convenience for rapid meal preparation or cherish the set-it-and-forget-it simplicity of traditional slow cooking, the decision is yours. Each appliance brings unique benefits to the kitchen, so your preference will be the ultimate guide. I’ve found that an Instant Pot can revolutionize a hectic weeknight dinner routine, while nothing can replace the slow-simmered comfort foods from a slow cooker.

Personal preferences and lifestyle

Considering my personal preferences and lifestyle, I weigh the convenience of an Instant Pot against the traditional charm of a slow cooker. If I’m constantly on the go and value time efficiency, the versatility of an Instant Pot with its quick cooking times and multiple functions suits my busy lifestyle.

On the other hand, if I enjoy savoring rich flavors from slowly cooked meals and prefer minimal intervention during cooking, a dedicated slow cooker aligns better with my preference for traditional cooking methods.

When considering my personal preferences and lifestyle, the decision between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker boils down to whether I prioritize speed and multi-functionality or appreciate the more leisurely approach to flavorful meal preparation.

Cost comparison

Let’s talk about the cost comparison. Slow cookers generally have a lower upfront cost compared to Instant Pots, making them more budget-friendly for those looking for a simpler and economical option. However, it’s essential to consider the long-term savings on electricity bills since Instant Pots are designed to cook food faster than traditional slow cookers, potentially reducing energy usage over time.

Considering the variety of meals you prepare, your cooking preferences, and your lifestyle will help determine which appliance is worth the investment. Both have their merits; it ultimately comes down to what suits your needs best in terms of efficiency and convenience.


To sum up, the Instant Pot and slow cooker serve different cooking needs. Their practicality and efficiency vary based on personal preferences and lifestyle. Your choice between them impacts the meals you prepare.

Additional resources can help with further exploration. Take action based on your cooking style to enjoy delicious meals tailored for you.


1. What’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a Slow Cooker?

An Instant Pot is a type of electric cooker that can pressure cook food quickly, while a slow cooker cooks food slowly over many hours.

2. Can an Instant Pot be used as a slow cooker?

Yes, many Instant Pots come with a setting that lets you use it as a slow cooker.

3. Is cooking with an Instant Pot faster than using a slow cooker?

Cooking with an Instant Pot is usually much faster because it uses pressure to cook, but both are useful kitchen gadgets depending on your needs.

4. Which appliance is better for making stews and soups?

Both an Instant Pot and a slow cooker are great for making stews and soups; the best one depends on how fast you want to cook them.

5. Do I need more space in my kitchen for both appliances?

Each device takes up countertop space, so consider your kitchen size when deciding whether to get either or both pieces of kitchen equipment.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Best Chefs Knife Under 50

    Looking for that perfect chef’s knife, but the bank account is giving you a hard side-eye? Trust me, I’ve been down that road too! After digging deep into the world of kitchen cutlery (and slicing through way too many cliche knives), I uncovered some hidden gems. In this blog post, we’re going to delve into…

    Read more

  • Best Cutting Board For Japanese Knives

    Are you grappling with maintaining the razor-like sharpness of your Japanese knife on a regular cutting board? You’re not alone. It’s common knowledge amongst culinary enthusiasts that Japanese knives aren’t just everyday blades; they’re meticulously crafted works of art begging for appropriate care. The right cutting board can truly be a game-changer in preserving their…

    Read more

  • Best Blenders For Pureeing Food

    Ever had those moments where your kitchen blender just seems to give up when it comes to pureeing food? Believe me, I get how frustrating that can be. After spending many hours researching and assessing countless models available today, I’ve unearthed some truly stellar blenders. These champs, like the Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender and Ninja…

    Read more

Available for Amazon Prime