What’s The Difference Between a Crock Pot and a Slow Cooker?

Today on my Mommy of a Monster Facebook page I asked: Do you call it a slow cooker or a crock pot? because I know many people use the terms interchangeably. Almost everybody responded that they called it a crock pot. But what’s the difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker anyways? Is there a difference?

One responder said: I try to say slow cooker because Crock pot is the brand name. Slow cooker is what it is.

Another said this: Crock pot. Isn’t a slow cooker what is used for canning? I don’t think they’re the same thing.

Well to clear things up, I thought I’d share what I found out. Yep, there is a difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker.

What's the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker? Is there a difference? Head over to see what makes a crock pot different from a slow cooker.

What’s The Difference Between a Crock Pot and a Slow Cooker?

I found some great information about the difference between the two – here are some of them.

A crock pot is actually a type of slow cooker, so they are very similar, but not all slow cookers are also crock pots. A crock pot is a type of slow cooker with a stoneware pot that sits inside a surrounding heating element. A slow cooker is a usually metal pot that sits on top of a heating surface. Slow cookers often allow a cook to remove the pot and then use the heating surface below to fry foods on.

According to eHowThe history of slow cookers started with a bean cooker in 1970. The brand expanded its cookbook to include many dishes. The company redesigned its bean cooker by reshaping it, adding handles and a glass lid. It was given the registered trade name, “Crock-Pot,” which is now sold under the “Rival” brand name. Over the years, “crockpot” became a generic term often used when referring to any type of slow cooker.

So when we all call it a crock pot, it’s technically like calling all tissues Kleenex.

Difference Between A Crock Pot and a Slow Cooker

Crock Pots

What's the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker? Is there a difference? Head over to see what makes a crock pot different from a slow cooker.

Crock pots have heating elements on the bottom and sides of the crock (usually ceramic), with a glass lid, and a oval or round heating element that the crock sits in. Crock pots usually only have a high and low setting, as well as a “keep warm” setting. Crock pots cook at very low temperatures which allows you to use less expensive cuts of meat  that will come out tasting amazing and just fall apart after being cooked for a long period of time at a low temperature.

Slow Cookers

What's the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker? Is there a difference? Head over to see what makes a crock pot different from a slow cooker.

Slow cookers only have a heating element on the bottom. They consist of a glass lid, a pot, and a heating element (like a hot plate). Slow cookers have different temperature settings, notated by numbers one through five. Slow cookers cook meats and food more slowly than a crock pot unless the food is cut into small pieces, allowing the food to cook more quickly. The cooking heat doesn’t cook continuously like a crock pot – it runs in cycles, rotating on and off. And the heating element can be used as a griddle, which makes slow cookers more versatile in the kitchen.

So there you have it, and now you know the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker. A crock pot is a type of slow cooker, but a slow cooker isn’t always a crock pot.

And here’s a crock pot tip for you: Jason hates when I don’t brown the meat before putting it in the crock pot. But if you add butter and paprika to chicken before putting it in the slow cooker, it will create it’s own brown color while cooking.

I absolutely love my crock pot, and use it a lot. For crock pot recipes the whole family will love, check out my crock pot recipes here on my blog or my Crock Pot Cooking on Pinterest.


  1. This was interesting! I always just call it a crock pot. Amber recently posted..I Embarrassed My Son On WiiU ChatMy Profile
  2. Oh wow I always thought they're the same. Thanks for this :) Maureen@Scoops of Joy recently posted..Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile
  3. You know, I use my crock pot all of the time, though I've usually called it a slow-cooker . . . but, it's actually a crock pot. I actually woke up to brown chicken this morning, before putting together dinner for tonight . . . I thought about taking a browning shortcut with butter, but it's the first time I'm trying to recipe, and decided to actually pull out the frying pan, first. John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted..Where I accept High Heels & Training Wheel’s ChallengeMy Profile
  4. Kristin Filut says:
    HA! I think my mom had one of each! I only have a crock pot - which we use regularly for braising meat!
  5. While everything you said is true, I also find it a bit misleading. Crockpot is a registered trademark so any competitor to the brand has no choice but to market their product under the name of slow cooker. The vast majority of slow cookers sold today are "crockpots." Distinguishing between the two has become trivial. The only Crockpot recipe books you will find are from Rival because they own the trademark. Everyone else (including bloggers) should only be using the term "slow cooker."
    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by! You've got lots of great recipes on your blog :) I'm sorry that you feel my post was misleading, though I'm not sure where I was misleading anybody. You mention Crock-Pot being a trademark of Rival, as did I in my post. I also stated that all crock pots are slow cookers, though not all slow cookers are crock pots. You also mentioned that distinguishing between the two has become trivial; if that's the case, it seems that also means the words can be used interchangeably. Nowadays, crock pot or crockpot are common synonyms used by cooks to describe any slow cooker, which is what I believe you were saying...I totally get that. But Crock-Pot has become one of those brand names that has become a common word - I said when we all call it a crock pot, it’s technically like calling all tissues Kleenex. Or another example is calling flooring linoleum. Or pain relievers aspirin. Or more recently, app store. Hope this helps! I wasn't trying to make anybody call a slow cooker a crock pot, though it seems most of the people who responded do. I was just sharing some kitchen trivia :)
      • No worries. I think everything you said was correct. It just makes it seem like you should be calling everything a crockpot because some slow cookers are not crockpots. In fact, it's the opposite. Recipe developers and bloggers SHOULD be calling it slow cooker because of the trademark. But really, home cooks don't care. It's just confusing to them because they see crockpot recipes and slow cooker recipes and wonder what the difference is. You can't publish a book of crockpot recipes unless Rival hires you to do it! :) Don't worry, you are still awesome and stuff, an I've spent some time checking out your blog. Fun find!
        • Sounds like we are on the same page...just took the long way getting there LOL And two things...we are practically neighbors! I see you're in SD - I'm in Corona. Maybe we will get a chance to meet one of these days! Also, I'm prett much stalking you everywhere now. Glad we connected!
          • I'm just overly sensitive because I'm just wrapping up the editing for my debut cookbook....which happens to be Slow Cooking! :) I imagine we will meet one of these days!
  6. Sharon Christ says:
    I understand the difference between crockpot as a brand name and slow cooker as being basically a generic reference but my question would be as to the difference in the way they cook. Since the "crockpot" has heating all around and the slow cooker has heating from the bottom only, what would the adjustments in cooking different items need to be if any? I have 2 of the "crockpots" and 1 slow cooker and not sure if all types of recipes are interchangeable with the 2 types of cookers. Sharon