The Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 is a high performing appliance that will likely please anyone that purchases it. However, it just barely missed out on our Editors' Choice Award because the meat it cooked in our testing was ever so slightly less tender than that of the Instant Pot DUO60 and the Breville The Fast Slow Pro. So if you're a vegetarian you might as well save a little money and get the Crock-Pot instead of the Instant Pot, but for carnivores that extra money is well worth it.
Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 Review
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, good cooking performance, easy to use and clean
Cons: Meat lacks a bit of tenderness
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Offering pretty much everything you could want in a pressure cooker, minus overly tender meat, the Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 is an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or infrequent meat eaters that aren't that fussy about their chicken.
Performing at or near the top of every one of our tests, the Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 just barely missed out on being the top scorer in our testing because of some minor shortcomings when it comes to cooking meat.
The Crock-Pot offered one of the best user experiences in our testing, earning it a top score in this metric.
The Crock-Pot uses a very similar interface to the Instant Pot models, with specific buttons for each cooking preset, and then plus and minus buttons to adjust the temperature, time, and pressure. This made dialing in whatever setting we wanted very easy, and we think most will be able to figure the Crock Pot out without even looking at the manual (though there's no shame in doing so - we did). The dials of the Breville do make adjusting temperature and time a bit more streamlined than using plus/minus buttons, but we didn't find the plus/minus buttons to be limiting or annoying in any way.
Another thing that we love about the Crock-Pot, and that it shares with the Instant Pot, is the dual-sided lid storage system. The Crock-Pot's lid can be stored upright in either of the pot's handles, making it friendly for both righties and lefties. It also means you don't have to put the wet lid on the counter when you need two hands to serve or stir.
Like all of the cookers we tested, the Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 produced tasty food no matter what we threw at it. It only had some small relative shortcomings in meat prep that prevented it from earning a top score.
Whether they be grains, beans, or meat, we thoroughly enjoyed the food we made with the Crock-Pot. We also found the saute function to be quite effective, allowing us to make lots of 1-pot meals. Our only very minor complaint was that its meat wasn't quite as tender as the meat made in the Instant Pot and Breville Fast Slow Pro. This difference was barely noticeable in juicier meat dishes like corned beef, but for things like ribs the Crock-Pot's offerings were slightly more reluctant to fall off the bone. They still tasted great, just not quite as good. Bottom line, the Crock-Pot will more than likely please your palate, unless you're picky about your meat.
Ease of Cleaning
Here again the Crock-Pot was at the top of the leaderboard in our cleaning tests. Like all pressure cookers the nook where the lid latches on can be a bit hard to clean, but otherwise it's about as easy as it can get.
The only slight complaints we have about cleaning the Crock-Pot are that its lid has a couple of areas that are hard to get dry, and that the nonstick nature of the pot makes us reluctant to put it in the dishwasher. However, these issues are easily remedied by leaving the lid in a drying rack for a while to make sure it dries, and hand washing the pot (which we found to be relatively painless). If you want something that can go in the dishwasher you may prefer the stainless steel pot of the Instant Pot models, though you're more likely to get some burnt onions stuck to a stainless pot.
The Crock-Pot offers pretty much all of the cooking presets you could want, including the all-important saute function.
A Full List of The Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1's Cooking Functions
Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Rice/Risotto, Yogurt, Slow Cook, Steam, Poultry, Dessert, Soup, Multigrain, Brown/Saute, Pressure Cook
The Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 offers almost all of the cooking performance of the Editors' Choice Winning Instant Pot, but for $20 less. For vegetarians the $80 Crock-Pot is a great deal, but if you like to eat a lot of meat it's probably worth spending an extra $20 on the Instant Pot.
The Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1 is our top recommendation for vegetarians, but meat eaters may want to spend a little extra on a machine that can keep ribs a bit more tender.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata