Crock-Pot Takes on Instant Pot With Two New Multi-Cookers
Electric pressure cookers—which, if you're new to the game, use a combination of heat and pressure to cook your food extra fast while still allowing it to maintain its flavor (and most of its nutrients)—have become a full-on thing lately, thanks to the super popular Instant Pot. They can make everything from creamy, steel-cut oatmeal to braised pork to chana masala. There are cookbooks and Facebook groups and apps devoted to them. One guy even figured out how to make wine in a pressure cooker. (The trick? Using the yogurt setting on your Instant Pot.)
Last year, slow-cooker giant Crock-Pot entered the pressure cooker fray with the Express Crock Multi-Cooker, a six-quart, $70 device offering many of the same features as the Instant Pot (the six-quart cooker from Instant Pot's less expensive "Lux" line is $80, for comparison). And now, they've launched two new sizes to compete with Instant Pot's lineup—the Four-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker Mini ($69.99), which is perfect for tiny kitchens, and the Eight-Quart Express Crock XL Multi-Cooker ($99.99), which can feed ten or more people at once.
Like their six-quart sibling, both new Crock-Pot pressure cookers can slow cook, brown, sauté, or steam (the mini version also has a boil function), and come equipped with one-touch meal settings (meaning, you can press a button to make things like meats and stews, beans and chili, or rice and risotto). There's no "porridge" button, like on the Instant Pot, but that "dessert" button makes up for it.
There are a couple of other key ways the Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker differs from the Instant Pot. For one, Crock-Pot comes with a non-stick bowl, while Instant Pot's is stainless steel (so, cleanup is easier). And, reviews say that the Crock-Pot comes to pressure a few minutes faster than the Instant Pot. The only downside to that extra speed? Since, at this point, most pressure cooker recipes are made with the Instant Pot in mind, you may need to deal with a little trial and error.