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Is the Crock Pot Express as good as Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot and the Crock Pot Express are two of the most popular electric pressure cookers on the market. Both aim to be a multicooker that combines the functions of several kitchen appliances into one convenient countertop unit. With so many overlapping features, is the Crock Pot Express just as good as the ever-popular Instant Pot?

Key Differences

While the Crock Pot Express and Instant Pot share a lot in common, there are some notable differences between the two models:

Cooking Programs

The Instant Pot has more built-in smart cooking programs – it comes with 14, compared to just 8 on the Crock Pot Express. The Instant Pot’s extra programs include cake, egg, sterilize, and ultra programs. This gives you more convenience if you want the multicooker to automatically adjust times and temperatures for certain dishes.


The Instant Pot has a more streamlined design with a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior. The Crock Pot Express has a matte black plastic exterior. The lids are also different – the Instant Pot has a quick-release pressure valve built into the lid, while the Crock Pot Express lid requires you to move the pressure release to the venting position manually.

Size Options

Instant Pot offers more size options. You can choose from 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart models. The Crock Pot Express only comes in 6-quart and 8-quart options.


The Instant Pot is more expensive. The 6-quart Instant Pot typically retails between $90-$120, while the 6-quart Crock Pot Express costs $80-$90.

Cooking Performance

When it comes to cooking food, how do these electric pressure cookers actually perform?

Pressure Cooking

Both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express work exceptionally well for pressure cooking. They speed up cooking times dramatically – you can cook dried beans from scratch in under an hour or prepare fall-off-the-bone meats and stews in a fraction of the usual time. There isn’t much difference between the two when it comes to their pressure cooking abilities.

Sauté Function

You can sauté aromatics, brown meats, or reduce sauces in both cookers before pressure cooking your dish. The Instant Pot seems to get a bit hotter and sear meats better than the Crock Pot Express, but both work well for quick sautéing.

Slow Cooking

Both can be used for slow cooking recipes on low or high heat. However, neither multicooker excels at slow cooking compared to a dedicated slow cooker with a ceramic vessel and lid that retains moisture better. But in a pinch, their slow cook functions do the job.

Rice Cooking

Cooking rice is hit or miss in both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express. Due to variability in heat distribution, rice can sometimes be undercooked in spots or scorched at the bottom. Using a rice cooker will provide more reliably perfect rice every time.

Yogurt Making

Only the Instant Pot has a yogurt program that allows you to turn milk into homemade yogurt. The Crock Pot Express doesn’t have this capability.

Ease of Use

An easy to use interface and convenient functions are also important when comparing these two multicookers.

Control Panels

The Instant Pot has a smooth dial and digital display, while the Crock Pot Express uses push buttons and a simple LED display. Some people may find the Crock Pot Express buttons slightly harder to press.

Preset Cooking Programs

As mentioned earlier, the Instant Pot offers more built-in smart programs – 14 vs just 8 on the Crock Pot Express. The extra preset programs on the Instant Pot provide added convenience.


Both cookers are straightforward to set up right out of the box. The lids lock into place in a similar fashion. One difference – the Instant Pot lid has a float valve that pops up when pressurized, while you need to turn the pressure release knob on the Crock Pot yourself.


All inner pots and lids can be washed safely in the dishwasher on both models. The Instant Pot may be slightly easier to clean around the rims due to its stainless steel finish.


Despite their many functions, both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express have a compact enough footprint to store easily on your kitchen counter or tucked into a cabinet. Neither multicooker takes up a ton of storage space.

Safety Features

Safety is also a top consideration when using a multicooker capable of high pressure cooking.

Pressure Relief Methods

Both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express have several mechanisms to release pressure safely. This includes quick release vents, floating valves, and lids that won’t open until all pressure is released.

Safety Certifications

The Instant Pot is UL and ULC certified, while the Crock Pot Express is UL certified. Both meet stringent safety standards for home use.

Overheating Protection

The Instant Pot will automatically switch to a keep warm setting if temperatures exceed safety limits. The Crock Pot Express has an overheating protection fuse for similar safety.

Lid Locks

Both multicookers have lids that lock into place while cooking and won’t open until pressure has safely normalized, preventing burns.

Float Valves

As mentioned earlier, the Instant Pot has an easy to see float valve that pops up to indicate pressurization. The Crock Pot relies on a pressure indicator on the lid instead.

Additional Functions

In addition to pressure cooking, what other convenient functions do these multicookers offer?


Both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express have a steam function perfect for steaming veggies, seafood, or eggs.

Delay Start

You can delay the start time on both models, allowing you to prep ingredients in advance and have the cooker start automatically later.

Keep Warm

The keep warm function automatically switches on after cooking is done, so your food stays hot and ready to eat.


Only the Instant Pot has a sterilize program, great for sterilizing jars, baby bottles, and more.


The included accessories, as well as the wide range of optional accessories, also set these multicookers apart.

Included Accessories

Instant Pot Accessories Crock Pot Express Accessories
Stainless steel inner pot Non-stick inner pot
Condensation collector Condensation collector
Steam rack with handles Steaming rack
Soup spoon Serving spoon
Measuring cup

The Instant Pot comes with a few more handy accessories like the soup spoon and measuring cup.

Optional Accessories

Both the Instant Pot and Crock Pot Express have a variety of optional accessories sold separately like air fryer lids, Silicone egg racks, glass lids, speciality cooking pans, stainless steel inserts, and more. The Instant Pot seems to have even more accessories and additional cookbooks/programs available.

Recipe Inspiration and Support

Having tons of recipes to reference and good customer service support are two other useful factors to weigh.


The Instant Pot has an overwhelming amount of recipes readily available online, in specialized cookbooks, and through the Instant Pot app. Since the Crock Pot Express is newer, it doesn’t have quite as many recipes circulating yet.

Community Support

The Instant Pot has developed an almost cult-like following online, with many Facebook groups, forums, blogs, etc dedicated to Instant Pot recipes and techniques. The Crock Pot Express community is smaller at this time.


Both companies provide 1-year limited warranties on their multicookers. The customer service experience tends to be positive for both Instant Pot and Crock Pot.


The Crock Pot Express offers very similar core pressure cooking functionality as the popular Instant Pot – but with fewer extras. The Instant Pot edges out the competition with more cooking programs, a more intuitive interface, sterilize function, stainless steel construction, and better access to recipes and accessories. However, the Crock Pot Express costs a bit less and still performs well. So is the Instant Pot worth the higher price? For most home cooks who love the versatility of a multicooker, the Instant Pot provides enough added value to justify the slightly higher investment over the Crock Pot Express.