Before figuring out where to buy slow cookers or a crock pot, did you know that they are different? Many consider them the same, but they are actually not.
Let’s start with this fact: all crock pots are slow cookers, but not all slow cookers are crock pots. Why is that so? It’s because “Crock-Pot” was actually a brand name of slow cooker, just like “Kleenex” is a brand of tissue. “Crock-Pot” is the registered trade name sold under the “Rival” brand, which is now owned by Sunbeam, a division of Jarden Corporation. The term just became a generic name used when referring to any type of slow cooker over the years.
The main difference of a crock pot with other slow cookers is how they disperse heat. A crock pot has heating elements on the bottom and on the sides. Meanwhile, slow cookers only have heating element on the bottom. This means that in crock pots, heat surrounds the food, bringing it faster up to a safe temperature; while in slow cookers, heat is concentrated on the bottom, which can cause scorching of food.
Both appliances have three parts. For the crock pot, it has a glass lid, a round or oval pot, and a round or oval heating element where the pot fits snugly into. The slow cooker, on the other hand, has basically the same, except that the pot usually sits on a hot plate that has many different temperature settings.
Crock pots are usually oval and round, and are made of ceramic or porcelain. They are generally heavier than metal slow cookers and more difficult to wash. They are also more prone to breakage when dropped. Slow cookers are more flexible and versatile in the kitchen because the pot can be removed and be used on top of a stove and the heating element can function as a griddle for frying foods.
Speaking of temperature settings, the crock pot only has two: high and low. Some also have a “keep warm” setting to allow the pot to warm before serving. Meanwhile, the slow cooker is typically numbered with one through five. Both use moist heat over a long period of time to cook food, but in slow cookers, the heat runs in cycles that turn on and off. In crock pots, temperature remains constant.
The crock pot is good at tenderizing less expensive cuts of meat that needs longer cooking time and lower heat setting. Because heat surrounds the food, it quickly reaches safe temperature. The slow cooker can also tenderize meat, but more slowly than a crock pot. This is why the US Department of Agriculture recommends slow cookers for soups and stews only or when the meat to be cooked is cut into small pieces, because a large piece of meat can spoil before reaching a temperature high enough for it to be completely cooked.
Now you know the difference, you can decide better what to buy for your kitchen. Your choices are basically slow cookers that are “crock pot” or not. For your family, always consider the best slow cookers and look for great slow cooker deals online or at the appliance shop near you.