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7 Safest Non-Toxic Slow Cookers (& What to Avoid)

7-Safest-Non-Toxic-Slow-Cookers-Main
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Picking a slow cooker isn’t just about convenience. It’s about safety, too! Some slow cookers can leak chemicals into your food.

Older or decorated ceramic pots might have lead in the glaze, which can leak if scratched. Non-stick pots with PTFE/PFAS coatings can also release harmful chemicals under high heat.

Safer choices include Prop 65-certified ceramic or PFAS-free ceramic-coated models. These offer reduced risk but still need care to maintain their integrity.

The safest option? Stainless steel! No coatings, super durable, and no leaching risk.

This guide explores these safer options, highlights buying tips, and reviews the top 7 safest slow cookers for healthy meals.

Let’s dive in!

What Makes a Crock Pot Non-Toxic?

Primarily, a non-toxic crock pot uses an inner pot that does not contain or leach lead, cadmium, or PFAS non-stick chemicals. Aside from chemical safety, it should be durable and easy to maintain.

Here’s a quick overview of what to avoid, better options, and the safest crock pot material:

Non-Toxic-Crock Pot-Criteria-Infographic-2

Avoid: High(er)-Risk Glazed Ceramics

  • High Lead Risk: Old, handmade, and brightly colored ceramics can leach lead.
  • Wear and Damage: Scratches and microcracks increase lead leaching, especially with acidic foods.

Usually, properly made and undamaged glaze prevents lead leaching.

But, the FDA warns: “If the pottery is not manufactured properly, this lead can leach into food and drink that is prepared, stored, or served in the dishes.

Slow cookers raise the risk of lead poisoning further. Food simmers in the ceramic for long periods, often with acidic foods.

These conditions can leach lead into food, accumulating in the body and potentially lead to severe health problems.

High-Risk Crock Pots to Avoid:

  • Old or Unknown Crocks: Especially from relatives, thrift stores, or garage sales. No idea who made them, when, or if they’re safe.
  • Handmade/ Imperfect Crocks: Uneven shapes or glaze flaws suggest poor manufacturing, potentially causing lead to leach.
  • Scratched or Cracked Crocks: Even new ones can become risky if they have scratches or cracks, often from metal utensils.
  • Bright Red/Orange/Yellow Crocks: These often have more lead.

While many brands sell “lead-free slow cookers,” this just means they couldn’t detect lead through leach testing.

Lead can still naturally occur in the material and leach from damaged glaze. Other additives like coloring agents might also leach.

Only reputable US brands meeting strict Prop 65 lead guidelines get my recommendation. While no lead is safe, these have the least amount. More on safe options coming up!

Avoid: Non-Stick Coated Inserts (PTFE/ PFAS)

Non-stick slow cookers with PFAS coatings have health and environmental drawbacks:

  • Harmful Chemicals: The coating (Teflon) contains PFAS chemicals like PFOA, linked to health problems. “PFOA-free” versions often use GenX, which poses similar dangers.
  • Overheating Risks: While unlikely, overheating can release these chemicals into your food and air.
  • Pollution Problems: Making and disposing of these chemicals pollutes the environment.
  • Short Lifespan: The coating wears out quickly, exposing aluminum and needing frequent replacements (wasteful!).
  • Aluminum Concerns: Scratches expose aluminum, which can leach into food, potentially impacting flavor and raising long-term health concerns (though research is ongoing).

I only recommend non-stick crocks with PFAS-free ceramic coatings, but these still have aluminum and wear-and-tear issues. More on them next!

Better – Not Best – Crock Pot Materials

  • Prop-65 Certified Ceramic: Stricter lead limits but requires careful maintenance to avoid glaze damage.
  • PFAS-Free Ceramic Non-Stick: Easier to clean but can chip and expose aluminum, requiring gentle care and frequent replacements.

Prop-65 Certified Ceramic

These crocks seem great—affordable, various sizes, and perfect for slow-cooking denser meals as ceramic holds heat well.

But there’s a catch—their safety can become a concern over time, so they aren’t my top pick.

Here’s why I recommend them with caution:

  • Prop 65 Certified Only: Look for well-known brands with Prop 65 certification (lower lead limits).
  • New and Flawless Only: Only use these if they’re new and free of cracks or scratches.
  • Handle with Care: Avoid metal utensils and harsh scrubbing, as damage reduces safety. They can also break if dropped.

The extra care required, their fragility, and the potential leaching risk during long cooking times make them my least recommended option.

Ceramic Non-Stick

Ceramic non-stick seems like a win-win. Easy cleaning like traditional non-stick, without the health and environmental concerns of PFAS? Sounds great!

And unlike ceramic crocks, damaged surfaces have no lead leaching risk.

But, there are still drawbacks:

  • Delicate Like Teflon: These coatings still demand gentle care (no metal utensils) to avoid chipping and losing their non-stick magic.
  • Shorter Lifespan: The non-stick power will weaken after a few years, requiring replacement more often.
  • Aluminum Concerns: Scratches can expose the aluminum core, which can leach into acidic foods during long cooking times.

The key here is to look for true ceramic non-stick with “PFAS-free” clearly stated. PFOA-free doesn’t necessarily mean PFAS-free.

Best Overall Slow Cooker Material: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel wins the slow cooker safety race! Here’s why it takes the top spot:

  • Safe and Long-lasting: No coatings, lead, or aluminum means no leaching risks. It’s also super durable for years of worry-free cooking.
  • Easy Care: No need to coddle a special coating – stainless steel is dishwasher safe and cleans up easily.
  • Get the Right Steel: 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel is ideal. This type resists rust and corrosion, making it an excellent long-term investment.

While nickel and chromium can leach from stainless over time, the amounts are minimal and generally safe unless you’re allergic.

Side note: Dedicated stainless steel slow cookers are rare, so consider a pressure cooker/slow cooker combo like Instant Pots. These offer greater versatility and speed, limiting potential nickel and chromium leaching.

Now let’s look at the seven safest slow cookers available today and see how they panned out in our reviews:

7 Best Lead-free Slow Cookers Reviewed & How We Picked

BrandInner PotOperationCost
Wolf-GourmetStainless; 7-qt ovalProgram$584.50
Instant Pot Duo PlusStainless; 6-qt roundProgram$136.15
Instant Pot DuoStainless; 6-qt roundProgram$99.99
CrockPot Cook&CarryCeramic; 6-qt ovalProgram$67.35
CrockPot ManualCeramic; 7-qt ovalManual$40
Dream CookerCeramic nonstick; 6-qt roundProgram$250
GreenLife Cook DuoCeramic nonstick; 6-qt ovalProgram$51

We prioritized stainless steel options for their safety and durability despite their higher cost and lack of easy non-stick cleaning.

To cater to non-stick lovers, we included two PFAS-free ceramic-coated options.

We also reviewed two stoneware crocks for their affordability and superior slow-cooked results.

Given the concerns with stoneware and ceramic-coated crocks, we selected only the safest brands:

  • CrockPot Brand Stoneware: Prop-65 certified with no leachable lead found. XRF scans show less naturally occurring lead than Vitaclay’s unglazed stoneware.
  • GreenLife and Our Place Ceramic Non-Stick: Reputable brands with 100% PFAS-free coatings. (Not just “PFOA-free”)

We also ensured affordable options for each pot material so everyone could find a lead-free crock pot regardless of their budget.

Stainless Steel Pots

The Wolf 7-Quart Slow Cooker is a top-tier choice for families seeking a safe, durable, and versatile appliance.

Despite its higher price, it delivers outstanding value with reliable performance, ease of use, and longevity.

It’s perfect for those serious about slow cooking.

Wolf
  • Material Safety: Made from uncoated, polished 18/8 stainless steel, free of lead, cadmium, and PFAS. It’s FDA-certified and eco-friendly.
  • Ease of Use: Programmable with six modes: Manual Slow Cook, Meal Timer, Program, Rice, Sauté/Sear, and Sous Vide. The controls are simple but you may need the manual at first.
  • Performance: Provides consistent, even cooking without burning and maintains perfect temperatures with its self-adjusting heater.
  • Cleaning: The pot’s mirror polish aids in preventing sticking, making cleanup easier. Both the pot and glass lid are dishwasher-safe.
  • Durability: Rugged stainless steel housing and handles, with replacement accessories available. 5-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 7-quart inner pot, 27.5 lbs, 14.5″ D x 19.75″ W  x 17.9″ H
  • Price (when published): $584.50

In-Depth Analysis:

The Wolf Gourmet Multi Cooker boasts a tri-ply 18/8 stainless steel pot with an aluminum core, ensuring faster, more even cooking. An oven-safe glass lid with a silicone seal allows for easy meal tracking.

Wolf’s user-friendly interface is designed for ease of use. It has fewer buttons than an Instant Pot but offers more automation than manual cookers.

The LCD and knob combo lets you set cooking modes, time, and functions, including manual slow cook (low, medium, or high heat up to 24 hours), meal timer (food finishes at your chosen time), program/ temperature probe (for precise internal temperatures), rice, sauté/ sear, and sous vide.

We found this unit slow-cooks better than other steel options like Instant Pot. Thanks to its self-adjusting heating system, it provides consistent temperatures and reliable results. We haven’t noticed any major scorching or burning, even when cooking for 10 hours. However, the exterior and lid handle can get quite hot, so use oven mitts.

Although not “non-stick,” the pot’s mirror polish helps release food from the surface. Sticking isn’t an issue for most meals like stews or meats. The only concern is rice, which sticks more than in non-stick pots. That said, there’s no coating to worry about scratching when spooning food out or cleaning.

Designed with a full stainless steel exterior, including the handles, the cooker is built to last. If anything breaks, you can order replacement cooking pots, temperature probes, sous vide racks and knobs.

With a 7-quart capacity, it’s perfect for families. However, the Wolf’s size and weight (27.5 lbs) make it less suitable for those with limited space or strength. You’ll want to leave this on the counter, not move it around.

Priced at $584.50, it’s an investment but offers excellent value for its quality and features.

  • Safe 18/8 stainless steel insert and glass lid – oven and stovetop-safe up to 450°F
  • Sturdy, professional-grade construction and sleek design, suitable for long-term use
  • 7-quart capacity feeds up to 8 people
  • Programmable settings offer set-and-forget automation without a confusing interface.
  • Better-performing slow cooking function than Instant Pots
  • Automates perfect results with meat using the included temperature probe for precise internal temperatures
  • Removable sous vide rack included
  • Dishwasher-safe insert
  • Generous 5-year warranty
  • Lid does not lock for transport
  • No other sizes available
  • Very high price point
  • Heavy and bulky, cumbersome to move and store
  • The simple interface may be confusing compared to those with food-specific settings like Instant Pot

The Instant Pot Duo Nova Plus is a versatile and safe choice for families and couples, combining multiple cooking functions in one appliance.

Despite a few minor drawbacks, it offers great value and convenience.

Instant-Pot-Duo-Plus-Stainless-Steel-Multi-Cooker-1
Instant Pot
  • Material Safety: Made from uncoated, polished 18/8 stainless steel, free of lead, cadmium, and PFAS. It’s FDA-certified and eco-friendly.
  • Ease of Use: Intuitive control panel with pre-programmed, food-specific buttons. Timer Delay for up to 24 hours in advance and Keep Warm function for up to 10 hours.
  • Performance: Nine functions, including pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming, sautéing, and making yogurt. The microprocessor ensures precise cooking by adjusting time and temperature automatically.
  • Cleaning: The pot’s mirror polish aids in preventing sticking, making cleanup easier. The pot, glass lid, and accessories are dishwasher-safe.
  • Durability: Rugged stainless steel exterior, though the plastic trim is prone to cracking.  But replacement parts are available. 1-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 6-quart inner pot, 12.4 lbs, 12.2″ D x 13.39″ W x 13″ H
  • Price (when published): $136.15

In-Depth Analysis:

This Instant Pot features a removable stainless steel pot and lid with a silicone seal, just like the Wolf Gourmet. No plastic touches your food. Plus, unlike cheaper pots, the triple-layered design ensures even cooking throughout.

This model is user-friendly, even for new cooks. It can slow or pressure cook, and you can set the time, temperature, or pressure based on your recipe. It even has automated presets for rice, beans, grains, eggs, steaming, etc.

Just pick your mode on the touchpad and press start. The Instant Pot takes care of the rest, automatically adjusting the cooking time and temperature for perfect results. When your food is done, it switches to “keep warm” for up to 10 hours before shutting off for safety.

We found the unit to perform well in most settings, though it doesn’t match the slow cooking abilities of CrockPot or Wolf. The rice and oatmeal functions can be finicky, sometimes causing sticking and scorching. Everything else is solid, and adding oil to the pot with rice can prevent most sticking.

The unit’s housing feels solid, but treat it gently. The steel is thin, and the plastic parts (base and lid edges) could crack from abuse. Luckily, Instant Pot sells replacement parts like pots, lids, seals, and even the steam release system.

With a 6-quart capacity, it’s perfect for families, though large for singles unless meal prepping. It’s lighter and takes up less space than the Wolf Gourmet, making it easier to move and store.

You can also get the Duo Plus in a 3-quart or 8-quart version or with a ceramic non-stick pot.

At $136.15, the Duo Plus offers a lot for your money. While its slow cooking might not be the best, it makes up for it with a wide range of functions, making it a great all-in-one kitchen tool.

  • Safe 18/8 stainless steel inner pot with an aluminum core to enhance heat conduction and retention
  • 6-quart capacity feeds up to 7 people
  • Highly versatile, combining nine cooking functions (slow cooking included) with automated set-and-forget food settings
  • Significantly reduces cooking time when pressure cooking
  • Equipped with ten safety mechanisms like overheat protection, pressure regulator, and auto locking lid, and more
  • Includes a spoon, power cord, steaming rack, detailed instructions, and over 800 recipes to get you started
  • Available in a 3-quart version (great for singles) and 8-quart (perfect for entertaining)
  • Dishwasher-safe insert
  • 1-year warranty
  • The included instructions can be a little confusing regarding the settings
  • Lid and sealing ring can be cumbersome to clean
  • Rice and saute functions are finicky, and sticking can occur
  • Less effective at slow cooking than more dedicated options like Wolf and CrockPot.
  • Sluggish customer service response

The Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 is an excellent choice for those on a budget seeking a versatile and safe kitchen appliance.

Despite minor drawbacks, it offers great value, convenience, and performance.

Plus, its slow cooking function works better than the Duo Plus above.

Stainless-Steel-Slow-Cooker-on-counter
Instant Pot
  • Material Safety: Made from uncoated, polished 18/8 stainless steel, free of lead, cadmium, and PFAS. It’s FDA-certified and eco-friendly.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly controls with a large display and simple plus and minus buttons. Delayed start function up to 24 hours in advance and automatic keep-warm function.
  • Performance: Seven functions including Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer. Features 13 automated programs for different food types.
  • Cleaning: The pot’s mirror polish aids in preventing sticking, making cleanup easier. The pot, glass lid, and accessories are dishwasher-safe.
  • Durability: Rugged stainless steel exterior, though the plastic trim is prone to cracking.  But replacement parts are available. 1-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 6-quart inner pot, 11.8 lbs, 12.2″ D x 13.38″ W x 12.48″ H
  • Price (when published): $99.99

In-Depth Analysis:

Like the Duo Plus, the Duo 7-in-1 features a tri-ply stainless inner pot, inner lid, and silicone seal. It also includes safety features like burn and leaky lid protection and auto-shutoff.

Yet, despite its lower cost, this Instant Pot lets you set it and forget it with seven modes, including slow cook, pressure cook, and more. For simple slow cooking, you can adjust your temperature (low, medium, or high) and cooking time using the + and – buttons.

Or, automate the process entirely with 13 various food programs. For instance, slow cook ribs by selecting the “slow cooking” mode and the “meat” program, and the pot does the rest. You can even delay the start for up to 24 hours, and a keep-warm mode ensures your food stays fresh until you’re ready to eat.

We tested all the functions, and while the Duo Plus is better overall, this model wins for slow cooking. However, the “burn” warning can be a bit sensitive with thicker sauces or stews, so you might need to stir more often.

Food usually won’t stick unless you cook rice or use the sauté function. And adding a little oil can help prevent this.

Despite a durable steel housing, use care to avoid cracking the plastic parts (base, handles, lid edges). Luckily, you can order replacements if needed, and the 1-year warranty covers any early issues.

The 6-quart size is ideal for families of up to seven. For smaller or larger families, 3-quart and 8-quart models are available.

At $99.99, the Duo 7-in-1 offers fantastic value for its versatility. It’s our top pick for shoppers on a budget who want a stainless steel slow cooker.

  • Safe 18/8 stainless steel inner pot with an aluminum core to enhance heat conduction and retention
  • 6-quart capacity feeds up to 7 people
  • Highly versatile, combining nine cooking functions (slow cooking included) with 13 food-specific, set-and-forget settings, like poultry, bean, meat, yogurt, rice, saute, and more
  • Better-performing slow cook setting than the Duo Plus 9-in-1
  • Equipped with ten safety mechanisms like overheat protection, pressure regulator, auto locking lid, and more
  • More compact than the above 9-in1 Instant Pot despite the same capacity
  • Dishwasher-safe insert
  • Includes a steam rack, power cord, and over 800 recipes to get started
  • 1-year warranty
  • Lid and sealing ring can be cumbersome to clean
  • Sluggish customer service response
  • Prone to sticking on the rice and saute settings
  • Finicky burn alert sensor
  • Some may find the multitude of functions complex, leading to a learning curve

The Crock-Pot Cook and Carry is perfect for families who like to travel with their slow cooker.

Its user-friendly design, reliability, and locking lid make it a top choice for affordable (and safe) ceramic slow cookers.

CrockPot
  • Material Safety: Glazed ceramic inner pot meeting Prop 65 limits for lead and cadmium. Zero PFAS coatings. Glass lid with silicone seal.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly controls with a single button for temperature ( High, Low, and Warm) and arrows for time (30 minutes to 20 hours). Automatic keep-warm mode. Less confusing than other models, but instructions could be more clear.
  • Performance: Heats reliably with a side-wrapping heating element for even cooking.
  • Cleaning: Removable glazed ceramic pot and glass lid. Both are easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, though hand washing the pot is best for safety.
  • Durability: Rugged stainless exterior for longevity. Durable plastic base and integrated handles, though possible to crack from abuse. Replacement parts are available. 1-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 6-quart inner pot, 11.9 lbs, 17″ D x 11.8″ W x 9.8″ H
  • Price (when published): $67.35

In-Depth Analysis:

While stainless steel is preferred, the original CrockPot remains the most effective. The Cook & Carry features a glazed ceramic pot that meets strict Prop 65 safety standards. It cooks more evenly than stainless steel or aluminum, making it perfect for tenderizing thick meats.

The Cook and Carry uses simple controls for set-and-forget cooking while remaining user-friendly.

It features a single select button for temperature modes (Low, High, and Warm) and arrows for adjusting the cooking time from 30 minutes to 20 hours. Low and High both reach 215℉ but cycle heat differently, cooking faster or slower. Upon completion, it automatically switches to keep warm mode (165℉ – 175℉). Another benefit is its locking lid for spill-free transport.

This Crock-Pot heats evenly and consistently, thanks to its side-wrapped heater and ceramic heat distribution. However, this model runs hotter than others, so you might need to adjust cooking times slightly.

The ceramic pot’s smooth glaze makes cleaning easy. Food rarely sticks hard, and the pot is dishwasher-safe. But, to protect the glaze, it’s best to soak the pot and hand-wash it with a soft sponge.

The unit itself features a solid steel exterior, integrated handles, and rubber feet. While the feet could be grippier, the overall construction feels solid. Remember that ceramic can crack from sudden temperature changes, so avoid sitting a hot pot on a cool counter without something in between. Replacement parts are available if needed.

The 6-quart capacity is ideal for families, easily fitting a whole chicken or a 6-pound roast. And its oval pot fits long pork loins better than round options like Instant Pot. Lighter than the Wolf model at 11.9 lbs, it’s easy to move (but needs some counter space at 17wide).

Priced at $67.25, it offers excellent value with its capacity, safety, portability, and ease of use.

  • Prop-65-certified ceramic inner pot—less naturally occurring lead than other brands
  • Efficient, even cooking without scorching. Heat-retaining ceramic keeps food hot after turned off.
  • 6-quart capacity feeds up to 7 people
  • Set-and-forget automation in a more straightforward, less-confusing format than Instant Pots
  • Dishwasher-safe pot and lid
  • 1-year warranty
  • Highly portable, with a locking lid using stainless steel clips for mess-free transport
  • Available in a 7-quart model as well
  • Affordable at under $70, much cheaper than Wolf and Instant Pots
  • Runs hotter than other options, so you may need to experiment with shortening cooking times
  • Demands care not to scratch the glaze and ensure safety
  • Ceramic pot can crack from extreme temperature swings and drops
  • Heavier pot than stainless steel and aluminum options
  • It’s the widest unit on this page, so ensure you have the counter space
  • Lid can leak if not secured carefully
  • The bottom feet are prone to coming loose from heavy sliding

Crock-Pot’s manual slow cooker is a top choice for those wanting a reliable, simple, affordable slow cooker.

Its basic controls and ceramic pot ensure excellent performance without digital settings, making it a long-lasting appliance.

Crock-Pot-Manual-Ceramic-Slow-Cooker
CrockPot
  • Material Safety: Glazed ceramic inner pot meeting Prop 65 limits for lead and cadmium. Zero PFAS coatings. Glass lid with silicone seal.
  • Ease of Use: Simple manual knob control eliminates confusion but lacks timer delay and auto keep-warm modes. Requires an external kitchen timer and manual shutdown.
  • Performance: Basic manual controls with Low, High, and Warm settings. Heats evenly with a side-wrapping heating element.
  • Cleaning: Removable glazed ceramic pot and glass lid. Both are easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, though hand washing the pot is best for safety.
  • Durability: Rugged stainless exterior and simple manual design. No digital controls to fail, ensuring long-lasting reliability. Plastic base and integrated handles can possibly crack from abuse. 1-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 7-quart inner pot, 12.5 lbs, 16.9″ D x 11.8″ W x 10.4″ H
  • Price (when published): $40

In-Depth Analysis:

Like the Cook & Carry, this Crock-Pot features a ceramic pot meeting Prop-65 safety standards. It also has a tempered glass lid with a silicone seal to keep moisture in and plastic out. However, the lid doesn’t lock for travel.

This Crock-Pot is all about no-nonsense slow cooking. It skips the fancy features for simple, reliable operation. Instead of failure-prone digital controls, it uses a basic temperature knob.

While it might lack bells and whistles, this model excels at slow cooking. The manual controls are straightforward, with Low and High settings (both reach 215°F but cycle heat differently) and a Warm setting (170°F). The tradeoffs include no timer delay or auto-keep-warm modes. So, you’ll need an external kitchen timer and someone home when the food finishes.

Thanks to its side-wall heater and ceramic pot, we found beef stew and whole chickens cooked beautifully in this model without burning. Cleaning is easy, too, thanks to the smooth glaze (as long as you don’t overcook and scorch food).

The housing itself is well-made with a steel exterior, but the plastic handles aren’t as strong. The three-legged design can also be a bit wobbly when the pot is full. Ensure it’s on a stable surface before filling the pot so you don’t need to slide the unit.

With a 7-quart capacity, this Crock-Pot is ideal for families and entertaining. It can fit whole chickens or 7 lb roasts. And despite its higher capacity, it’s only 0.6″ taller and 0.6 lbs heavier than the Cook and Carry.

At $40, this Crock-Pot is a steal, offering exceptional value per dollar.

  • Prop-65-certified ceramic inner pot—less naturally occurring lead than other brands
  • Efficient, even cooking without scorching. Heat-retaining ceramic keeps food hot after turned off
  • 7-quart capacity feeds up to 8 people
  • Nearly identical footprint to the Cook and Carry with an extra quart of capacity
  • Simple manual controls ensure a long, reliable lifespan (the unit only breaks if the heating element burns out)
  • Slow cooks food beautifully
  • Dishwasher-safe lid and insert
  • 1-year warranty
  • Includes an instruction booklet with recipes to get you started
  • Very affordable yet high-performing. Excellent value
  • The exterior gets hot, which can be hazardous if you have small children at home
  • Leg design lacks stability when the pot is full
  • Short electric cord – may need to use an extension cord
  • Manual design provides no automation, which is less ideal for those new to slow-cooking
  • Runs slightly hot, though not as hot as the Cook and Carry. May need to adjust cooking times for delicate recipes
  • Demands care not to scratch the glaze and ensure safety
  • Ceramic pots can crack from extreme temperature swings and drops
  • Heavier pot than stainless steel and aluminum options

PFAS-free Ceramic Non-Stick Pots

The Dream Cooker is a top-tier choice for non-stick lovers seeking a safe and stylish slow cooker.

Its customizable settings and easy operation make it versatile, while its eco-friendly design lowers pollution.

Despite its higher price, it offers excellent performance and convenience.

Our-Place-Ceramic-Non-Stick-Dream-Cooker
Our Place
  • Material Safety: Aluminum inner pot with ceramic non-stick coating. Stainless steel inner lid and silicone sealing ring. PFAS, lead, and cadmium-free. Safety lock, auto steam release, and seven other safety mechanisms.
  • Ease of Use: Streamlined LCD touchscreen panel for easy operation. Automatic keep-warm setting.
  • Performance: Four cook modes (Pressure cook, Slow cook, Sauté/Sear, Keep warm) with customizable time and temperature settings. Preheats quickly and cooks evenly, with aluminum’s heating speed and a temperature sensor system.
  • Cleaning:  Inner pot is not dishwasher-safe but easy to clean with a quick wipe and rinse. Avoid metal utensils to maintain the non-stick coating.
  • Durability: Sturdy, high-quality construction for optimal lifespan. Coating lifespan strongly depends on gentle cleaning habits. 1-year warranty.
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 6-quart inner pot, 12.9 lbs, 13.3″ D x 12.4″ W x 15.2” H
  • Price (when published): $250

In-Depth Analysis:

The Dream Cooker uses a fast-heating aluminum pot coated with PFAS-free ceramic non-stick. It won’t release toxic fumes and is more eco-friendly than Teflon, releasing 60% less CO2 during production.

This versatile multi-cooker skips the complicated presets. It’s similar to the Cook and Carry but higher-tech and more versatile.

An LCD touchscreen lets you control cooking mode, time, and temperature with ease. Choose from pressure cook (1 min – 2 hours), slow cook (30 min – 12 hours), saute/ sear (1 min – 1 hour), and keep warm (30 min – 12 hours).

After choosing your mode, use the + and – buttons to adjust time and temperature (Low, Med, and High). Once your meal is complete, an automatic keep warm setting activates.

In use, this model preheats (very) quickly and cooks surprisingly well. Despite its aluminum pot lacking ceramic’s heat retention, the unit’s temperature sensor adjusts heat for optimal cooking. It removes all the guesswork in manual slow cooking.

But one of the Dream Cooker’s main strengths is its cleaning ease. Like the Always Pan (among my most-used skillets), food rarely sticks and often needs a simple wipe down. The key is avoiding metal utensils and hard scrubbers to keep the pot easy-cleaning.

The unit’s base and the lid’s top are plastic (they don’t touch food), but everything feels sturdy and well-made.

With a 6-quart capacity, the inner pot fits up to 9 cups of rice and 6 lb whole chickens, great for families. It’s also good for singles and couples. You can use the sauté/ sear mode for quick meals like burgers, especially in summer when you hate using the oven.

At $250, it’s on the higher end for a non-stick slow cooker. But, when you want non-stick, and you want the best, this is it. For those on a budget, I recommend Greenlife below.

  • PFAS-free, non-stick coating for easy cooking and cleaning without toxins
  • Intuitive touchscreen interface for ease of use, not overwhelming
  • Four cooking modes with a temperature sensor system automate perfect results, adjusting heat for set-and-forget operation
  • Heats very fast
  • 6-quart capacity feeds up to 7 people
  • Equipped with nine safety mechanisms, including a pressure Limit Valve, Safety Lid Lock, Lid Detection Switch, stay-cool exterior to prevent burns, and more
  • Significantly reduces cooking time when pressure cooking, great for busy bees
  • Includes a condensation collector and a detachable power cord for easy storage
  • High aesthetic appeal and available in four vibrant color options
  • 1-year warranty
  • Our Place is a sustainability champion. They use recycled materials and biodegradable packaging.
  • It lacks a recipe book, which could help guide new users through the different functions at first
  • Depending on your cabinets, a height of 15.2″ may be a bit large for some countertops
  • The automatic steam release beeping can be annoying for some (you can hush the unit by hitting the manual steam release button)
  • Expensive for a non-stick slow cooker
  • Note that the round inner pot can make fitting long pork loins difficult
  • Must use care not to damage the coating when cleaning; not dishwasher-safe

GreenLife’s Cook Duo is a top choice for those on a budget seeking a safe, effective, non-stick slow cooker.

Its simple programmable controls, reliable performance, and stylish design offer excellent value and convenience.

GreenLife-Cook-Duo-Ceramic-Non-Stick-Slow-Cooker
GreenLife
  • Material Safety: Aluminum inner pot with Thermolon ceramic non-stick coating. Glass lid and silicone sealing ring. PFAS, lead, and cadmium-free.
  • Ease of Use: Simple controls with a Mode button for temperature settings and arrows for time adjustment. Delay Timer allows you to set the unit to start cooking up to 10 hours in advance.
  • Performance: Programmable interface with Low, Medium, and High settings. Cook times range from 30 minutes to 20 hours, with an automatic keep-warm mode for up to 4 hours and an automatic shutoff for safety.
  • Cleaning: Glass lid and inner pot are removable and dishwasher-safe, though hand washing the pot is best to prolong the coating. Effortless to clean by hand.
  • Durability: Aluminum housing with integrated, stay-cool plastic handles for durability and comfort. Could be sturdier, but solid for the price. 2-year warranty
  • Capacity, Weight, and Size: 6-quart inner pot, 9 lbs, 11.5″ D x 15.28″ W x 10.04″ H
  • Price (when published): $51

In-Depth Analysis:

Like the Dream Cooker, GreenLife’s slow cooker features a non-stick aluminum pot coated with a PFAS-free ceramic coating. But this unit differs with its glass lid for easy food monitoring and low cost (under $60!).

Its controls are user-friendly, similar to the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry. It offers more automation than manual models but keeps things simpler than the Instant Pot. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Press the “On” button
  • Use the “Mode” button to choose Low, Medium, or High heat
  • Set your cooking time (from 30 minutes to 20 hours)

Upon completion, it switches to keep warm (up to 4 hours) and then shuts off for safety. A Delay Timer function allows you to set the unit’s start time up to 10 hours in advance.

This model cooks food evenly and well, though we found the Low heat setting runs a bit too low. High and Medium work fine, with Low rarely causing issues. Just something to keep in mind!

It’s vital to avoid abrasives when cleaning, as the ceramic coating can scratch easily. For stubborn residues, soak the pot in soapy water before using a soft sponge to ensure a long lifespan.

The unit’s housing feels sturdy for the price, but it’s lighter than models with stainless steel exteriors. However, this doesn’t impact performance.

Despite the same 6-quart capacity as the Cook and Carry, it’s lighter (9 lbs) and easier to maneuver, ideal for smaller kitchens. Plus, its oval inner pot better accommodates long pork loins and ribs than the circular Dream Cooker.

At $51, this model offers excellent value for a slow cooker with an actual ceramic non-stick coating. Other low-cost options exist, but lack GreenLife’s commitment to 100% PFAS-free coatings. Many other “ceramic” options still use undisclosed PFAS chemicals.

  • PFAS-free, non-stick coating for easy cooking and cleaning without toxins
  • 6-quart capacity feeds up to 7 people
  • Effective stay-cool handles. They’ll get warm, not hot
  • It fits on tight counters more easily than the wider 6-quart Cook and Carry, ideal for smaller kitchens and easy storage
  • Set-and-forget automation in a simpler, less-confusing format than Instant Pots
  • Delay Timer function to cook meals with minimal supervision and auto shutoff for safety
  • Available in nine stylish color options
  • Very affordable
  • GreenLife uses 65% recycled aluminum, powers its factory with 30% solar energy, and filters/ reuses its industrial wastewater.
  • Generous 2-year warranty
  • Lid does not lock for transport or perfectly seal, though this is designed to let the lid self-vent.
  • The Low setting runs a bit cold, so you may need to experiment by letting food cook longer.
  • Relatively flimsy housing compared to higher-end options. Avoid dinging the exterior when moving the unit (paint can chip).
  • Must use care not to damage the coating when cleaning; not dishwasher-safe

How to Pick Your Non-Toxic Slow Cooker: Buying Considerations

Finding the right slow cooker can feel overwhelming with so many options.

This guide will help you navigate the features and considerations to pick the best model for your needs:

Manual vs. Programmable:

  • Manual: Simpler and more durable, with basic settings (Low, Medium/Warm, High, Off). Great for those who prioritize longevity and a straightforward cooking experience.
  • Programmable: Offer set-and-forget automation, like the Dream Cooker or Wolf Gourmet. Note, more features can mean more potential issues over time.

Budget:

  • Manual: Affordable ($30-$40)
  • Programmable: Wider range, from basic features ($50-$100) to high-end, multi-functional models ($300+).

Here’s a tip: Mid-priced programmable options with user-friendly features are ideal for most home cooks. Consider the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry, Instant Pot’s Duo 7-in-1, or GreenLife’s Cook Duo, all falling within the $50-$100 range.

Cooking Pot Size:

  • 3-Quart: Ideal for singles or couples.
  • 6-quart or 7-quart: Perfect for families of 3-6 people.
  • 8-quart to 10-quart: Best for large gatherings.

Pro Tip: Don’t fill your slow cooker more than ¾ full for optimal cooking results.

Round vs. Oval Cooking Pots:

  • Round: Works well for most foods.
  • Oval: Perfect for long cuts of meat (e.g., pork loins). Look for oval pots if you frequently cook these types of cuts. Some models with oval pots include Wolf Gourmet, Cook & Carry, and GreenLife.

Cooking Pot Durability:

  • Ceramic Non-Stick: Easiest to clean but least durable.
  • Pure Ceramic: More durable than non-stick ceramic but still susceptible to cracking.
  • Stainless Steel: Most durable option.

Pro Tip: Choose units with minimal plastic components for longevity.

Cleaning Ease:

  • Stainless steel: Dishwasher-safe but may need scrubbing if handwashing.
  • Pure ceramic: Hand-wash only to protect the glaze; slightly easier to clean than stainless steel.
  • Ceramic-coated inserts: Easiest to hand wash, not dishwasher-safe.

Weight/ Ease of Handling:

  • Aluminum pots are lightest.
  • Stainless steel is heavier than aluminum but lighter than pure ceramic.
  • Pure ceramic is the heaviest and most cumbersome to maneuver.

Warranty:

  • A strong warranty typically indicates higher quality.
  • All models listed in this guide have at least a 1-year warranty, with Wolf Gourmet offering the most extended warranty (5 years).
  • Look for brands with user-friendly warranty claim processes and clear customer support information. Be wary of slow cookers with short warranties (under 1-year) and limited customer support.

Additional Considerations:

  • Countertop Space: Measure your available space to ensure the slow cooker fits. Length and width are noted for each model above.
  • Transporting Food: If you plan to bring your slow cooker to gatherings, consider a model with a locking lid for safe transport. The Instant Pots (#2 and #3), Cook & Carry (#4), and Dream Cooker (#6) all have lockable lids.

(Most important) Prioritize Your Needs and Values:

Is it ease of cleaning? Longevity? Safety? The best food result?

  • Pure ceramic crock pots generally produce the best cooking results due to their even heat retention. But, they can break and potentially become unsafe when heavily worn out.
  • Stainless offers the most safety and longevity but lacks the slow cooking results of stoneware.
  • Non-stick ceramic is the easiest to use and clean, though it lacks the heat retention and cooking results of steel and stoneware.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of slow cookers?

  1. Time-Saving: Prepare your ingredients, set the cooker, and return to a ready meal.
  2. Easy to Clean: Only one pot to clean after a long day, simplifying kitchen chores.
  3. Energy Efficient: On hot days, slow cookers are more comfortable and efficient than ovens, running unnoticed without heating up your home.
  4. Nutrient Retention: Slow cooking preserves nutrients that might be lost in other methods, like boiling, as they remain in the pot and infuse back into the food.
  5. Enhanced Flavor and Texture: Food absorbs spices better over long periods, enhancing flavor. Steam tenderizes meat, improving the texture of even cheaper cuts.
  6. Health benefits: Reduced production of AGEs – harmful compounds linked to arthritis, kidney disease, and other health issues. Cooking meats at high temperatures accelerate the formation of these glycotoxins.

How to tell if a slow cooker is lead-free or PFAS-free

To verify the safety of ceramic crock pots, ensure they meet or exceed strict Prop 65 lead limits.

Here is a quick way to check for this information:

  • Online search shortcuts: Use “Control+F” on PC or “Command+F” on Mac to search terms like “Lead,” “FDA,” or “Certified” on the manufacturer’s website or product page. This will highlight any mentions on the page.
  • Amazon search trick: If browsing on Amazon, scroll down to “Looking for Specific Info?” and use the same keywords to highlight safety information quickly.

And here’s a quick way to check if a ceramic-coated pot is PFAS-free:

  • Repeat the above steps, but search for “PFOA,” “PTFE,” “PFAS,” or “Ceramic.”
  • If the product does not explicitly state “PFAS-free,” it may still contain some proprietary Teflon coating despite the PFOA-free or PTFE-free labels.
  • Choose slow cookers that clearly state “PFAS-free” to ensure the safest option.

Learn more on how identify unsafe crock pots (or dishware): How to Tell if Dishes Have Lead (Actionable Guide)

Are ceramic slow cookers safe?

Ceramic slow cookers are generally safe if they comply with Proposition 65 limits for lead leaching. Many modern brands, such as CrockPot, ensure their ceramic inserts are tested and certified for safety. Another vital safety consideration is the condition of the glaze; damaged or chipped glaze can potentially release heavy metals into food.

How do I clean and maintain a non-toxic crock pot to ensure safety?

Use gentle, non-abrasive cleaners and soft sponges for safe and easy cleaning of your non-toxic crock pot. Avoid dishwashers for stoneware and non-stick ceramic pots. Opt for wooden or silicone utensils instead of metal to prevent scratching the surfaces.

Recap

The best non-toxic crock pots are designed to keep your family’s meals safe and chemical-free for many years.

The two that don’t meet these criteria include:

  • Old, non-certified glazed ceramics and non-stick coatings with PTFE/ PFAS. These materials can leach harmful substances, especially when damaged.

Safer options include:

  • Prop-65 certified ceramics and PFAS-free ceramic-coated models. These options reduce risks but require careful maintenance to ensure safety.

Stainless steel is the safest choice overall. It’s durable, coating-free, and free from harmful substances, ensuring many years of safe slow cooking.

Aside from prioritizing healthy and safe materials, consider what features you value most. What’s the point of getting a lead-free slow cooker if you hate using it? Factors like manual vs. programmable operation, pot size and shape, available space, ease of cleaning, and food results are all vital considerations. 

You can enjoy healthy, delicious, and easy meals without worry by prioritizing safety and your specific needs.

Happy slow-cookin’

P.S. Slow cooker safety is irrelevant if you serve that fresh meal on a lead-leaching dish. So, check out our Safe Dinnerware Guide for the safest mealtime possible.

Picture of Adam Heck
Adam Heck

Hi there! I'm Adam, author and founder of TGL. Since 2016, I've produced and sold non-toxic kitchenware throughout the US. Today, I'm using my passion and experience in sustainable product manufacturing to help families avoid unsafe reusable foodware. When I'm not writing, you'll find me hiking or camping throughout Appalachia!

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