Do You Call It a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot?

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

That thing that saves my weeknight dinners? I don’t call it a Crock-Pot®, or even the more generic “crockpot,” which technically isn’t a word, at least not according to spellcheck. I call it a slow cooker, because that’s what it is and I’m a stickler when it comes to words and not the least bit dogmatic when it comes to dinner.

While I won’t sashay around the internet with my red pen correcting everyone’s grammar, punctuation, and spelling — mainly because then they might start calling me out on my own myriad mistakes — I do notice the details. And words have meaning; we don’t get to decide willy-nilly what we want them to mean. Given that my slow cooker is made by KitchenAid®, I can’t in good conscience call it a Crock-Pot®.

What’s the difference between a Crock-Pot and a slow cooker, anyway?

Well, this used to be simple. All Crock-Pots were slow cookers, but not all slow cookers were Crock-Pots. (There may have been a few other differences, but the name was the main thing.) The Rival brand Crock-Pot, patented in 1940, was the original. It consisted of a ceramic or porcelain crock inside a heating unit. You know, a slow cooker, just with a special name that included the little ® symbol at the end. Just like other great products — including Band-Aid, Kleenex, Thermos, and Escalator (yeah, escalator! Who knew?) — there were knock-offs, and the brand name turned into the product name, no matter who made it. But if Rival doesn’t make your slow cooker? It’s definitely not a “Crock-Pot.”

But Is a Crock-Pot still just a slow cooker?

The answer to this one also used to be simple one. But the world is changing and so is Crock-Pot. They now make a multi-cooker, possibly to compete with the Instant Pot — or shall we say programmable electric pressure cooker — that so many people rave about these days. But will anyone need clarification if you mention your favorite Crock-Pot recipe? Probably not. They’ll just want that beef stew recipe you’ve been raving about.

Of course you can call it whatever you want! It’s yours. You can call it Martha the Magnificent for all I care. I call my Cuisinart a food processor, just so I don’t get into the habit of calling it a Cuisinart and then go buy another brand. What do you call your slow cooker? And does it even matter? Let’s talk about it!