The All Clad Slow Cooker comes with either a ceramic or aluminum insert.
If you’re like me and want to cook delicious, healthy, and hassle-free meals for yourself or your family, both are fantastic options.
Depending on your particular situation, though, one option may prove to be more helpful to you overall.
All Clad Slow Cooker: Ceramic vs Aluminum–At a Glance
The ceramic insert is less prone to dents and its natural non-stick coating makes it the safer option.
However, I prefer the aluminum insert because of its lightness and convection power.
If you are reading this to find the most budget-friendly option, I am here to tell you that they are the same price. So, you are free to look for specific features you like best about each option.
As I mentioned before, both insert options work well. But, if you want to learn the specifics about why I prefer the aluminum insert for my slow-cooking needs, continue reading the information below.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers have been popular kitchen implements for decades. They are often the appliance of choice for busy parents as they can help you save a ton of time in preparing homemade meals. Simply prep your food in the morning and let it cook in the slow cooker until dinnertime.
Slow cookers are especially useful in the colder months, when meals like roasts, soups, stews, and chilis, which require long cooking periods, are frequently eaten.
If you tend to shy away from meals that cook for hours, such as seared meats, then you may not be in the market for a slow cooker. However, if you enjoy a meal with a longer cooking process or want to branch out, you will likely benefit from purchasing this appliance.
Additionally, it is important to note that slow cookers are most useful for making large meals for multiple people, like families. So, if you usually cook for a crowd, this may be a valuable asset to your kitchen.
Slow cookers can take up valuable counter and cabinet space. So, it may be beneficial to ensure you have enough space to store the appliance before you buy it.
All Clad Slow Cooker Review
Now that we have been over the basics, we can start to discuss the All Clad slow cooker in detail.
Both the ceramic and aluminum inserts mentioned here are options to go with the same All Clad stainless steel slow cooker, which is also occasionally referred to as All Clad Crock-Pot. Here, I will review the slow cooker as a whole to give you an idea of its general features.
Stainless Steel Pot
The outside of the pot is made of stainless steel. The material is hefty and durable. I also really like the look of the stainless steel. I feel as though it gives the appliance a very sleek and modern look.
The pot has stainless steel handles on the outside that may be helpful when transporting the appliance. The handles are strong and are securely attached to the pot.
The pot comes in three different sizes, all measured by volume. It comes in a four-quart (3.79 L), a six-and-a-half-quart (6.15.L), and a seven-quart (6.62 L) size.
This appliance has plenty of neat features such as a digital display on the front that makes it easy to see important information such as temperature settings and cook times.
I find that the information on the display is very clear. The letters and numbers are large and easy to see and the display is not overcrowded with unnecessary information.
The appliance has five buttons to turn it on and off and adjust temperature and time. If you’re used to dials on slow cookers, it can take a second to get used to the buttons, but I found that I was able to learn the system pretty quickly.
You can set the slow cooker to cook for between four and 20 hours with a full cook cycle lasting up to 26 hours. You can set the temperature to be warm, low, or high.
When the cook cycle ends, it will automatically switch to a warm setting. This feature could be of service for someone like me who occasionally returns home later than planned but does not like cold food.
The transparent glass lid is one of my favorite features of the slow cooker. I love that I can check on my meal without interrupting the cooking process. The lid locks in moisture and heat but has holes at the top to keep proper ventilation.
The handle on the lid matches the pot’s stainless steel outside but has a silicone coating at the top making it cool to the touch. This feature may be handy if you have sensitive hands but can never seem to find an oven mitt.
All Clad Slow Cooker Inserts: Ceramic vs Aluminum Review
Now that we know all about the All Clad slow cooker, let’s discuss the specifics of the two different inserts: the ceramic and the aluminum.
The All Clad ceramic slow cooker comes in black. Similar to the outside portion of the slow cooker, the ceramic insert looks extremely sleek.
Like many ceramic products, the surface is nonstick helping make clean-up a lot easier. It is dishwasher safe, but sometimes with big, heavy kitchen equipment, I prefer to quickly handwash to save dishwasher space.
Speaking of weight, this insert is heavy. This may not be a surprise, as ceramic cookware is generally dense, but it is something to keep in mind when considering this option.
The density and hardness of ceramic cookware mean that this insert will not dent if it is accidentally bumped. However, the ceramic material is extremely fragile and can easily break or chip when dropped or knocked off a counter.
The All Clad slow cooker with the aluminum insert also comes in the color black. This black color comes from the nonstick coating applied to the aluminum. The coating makes the aluminum insert also very easy to clean. It is also dishwasher safe.
Since this insert is made of metal and not ceramic material, it is on the lighter side. For those who associate heftiness with quality, that may be a downside. However, it can make the insert a bit easier to carry around.
The insert’s lack of density and more pliable material does make it easier to dent. An accidental bump on the counter could leave a nasty mark. However, because it is metal, a drop may make a frightening noise, but will likely not cause the product to break or shatter.
Feature Comparison: Ceramic vs Aluminum Inserts
Both inserts have their triumphs and their pitfalls when it comes to durability. After lots of use, the coatings of both inserts may crack or wear off. This type of wear and tear is expected, but what are the effects of immediate damage?
The ceramic insert may shatter easily but is more likely to keep its shape through an occasional bump or tap.
The aluminum insert is more likely to bend and dent but is less likely to break when dropped on the ground.
Ability to Clean
Both have nonstick surfaces that would make them easy to clean with soap and water after every use. They are also dishwasher safe.
However, the ceramic insert is much heavier than the aluminum one, which may make cleaning a more difficult task.
Aluminum, because it is metal, conducts heat faster than ceramic materials. However, both materials retain their heat pretty well, meaning you probably will not have to worry about your food getting too cold.
It is important to note that the All Clad crock pot generally runs at a lower temperature than other similar brands. Therefore, if you are concerned about temperature, you may want a slow cooker with an aluminum insert that heats up faster than ceramic.
Before being placed on the market, cookware must meet specific safety standards. So, both inserts are doubtlessly safe for everyday use.
However, if you want to be extra cautious, you may wish to avoid coated aluminum for the potential risks when it degrades.
When aluminum is left exposed from its decaying nonstick coating, the aluminum can get into you food. Additionally, these coatings are crafted with Teflon, a product made with the compound PTFE.
Although the risks are low, if you want to practice an abundance of caution, ceramic products may be the way to go. They are naturally nonstick, so they do not contain a Teflon coating.
If your kitchen products tend to get jostled around or you are nervous about using an aluminum product, you may greatly benefit from the ceramic insert.
However, in my mind, the winner of this All Clad slow cooker ceramic vs aluminum showdown is the one with the aluminum insert. I love that the lighter material is so convenient for moving and cleaning.