Up until recently, I was hesitant to commit to a slow cooker. My kitchen space is very limited, and I wasn’t sure that I could find a machine that didn’t contain lead or other heavy metals that might leach into my food.
And then I heard about the VitaClay Chef.
The VitaClay features an unglazed clay pot that is free of aluminum, lead, and non-stick coatings, so no chemicals will come into contact with your food. Clay has traditionally been used in cooking because the it imparts a specific flavor to food that can’t be reproduced in a traditional crock or metal pot. It’s known for bringing out great flavors and preserving nutrients for healthier meals.
A unique feature of the VitaClay is its double-lid design that creates micro pressure cooking, which results in 60% more cooking efficiency. This saves up to 50% more energy, when compared to traditional slow cookers. It also means your meal will be ready faster! (This is extra convenient if you’re juggling work, or a baby, and forget to start dinner early in the day…) If you don’t want your meal ready for a few more hours, there’s an easy delay function that will automatically start the cooking process whenever you please.
I chose the 8-cup model for my home, which is capable of creating:
- Stews & Soups
- Tender meats
- Steamed vegetables
- White rice, brown rice and sticky rice (plus a reheating feature)
So far, I’ve used mine to prepare my Curried Butternut Bisque, which was so quick and easy!
I simply threw all of the ingredients into the clay pot (except for the almond milk, which I added at the end) and allowed it to cook for 2 hours– which is the equivalent of cooking for 4 hours in a conventional slow cooker. When time was up, the vegetables were perfectly cooked and ready to be pureed with an immersion blender. So easy! The Vitaclay will automatically switch to “warm” mode when the cooking time is up, so your food will remain at the perfect serving temperature until you’re ready to eat.
I’ve also used it to make fresh coconut yogurt!
I blended up the meat and water from a few young Thai coconuts, along with the contents of a few probiotic capsules, then let the machine do all the work! (The VitaClay comes with instructions for making other types of yogurt, as well as numerous other recipes!)
Overall, I’m very pleased with the VitaClay, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone else looking for a non-toxic multi-cooker. It’s made my busy life just a little easier!
Disclaimer: Thanks to your Facebook recommendations, I contacted the VitaClay company and received the above machine as a complimentary sample to review. As always, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, and will only share products on this blog that I’d be happy to use in my own home.
Questions and Reviews
funny….decided last night I wanted to make coconut yogurt……how do you do it w/out a slow cooker or yogurt machine (I could borrow my mothers if need be).
Blend the coconut meat and water with probiotics in your vitamix and let sit on counter for 4-6 hrs depending on your indoor air temp. Place a lid loosely over the container while sitting in the counter. Then secure lid and place in fridge. I would add soaked almonds and make a coconut almond yogurt. There is no need to cook the yogurt.
I heard with these that the flavor of what you cook stays in the clay even after washing. Some say that makes your food taste better over time of using the machine. However, I don’t think (knowing that) that I would want to use the same machine to make yogurt AND do normal cooking in. I have a Hamilton Beach slow cooker that I use all the time. When I researched buying mine they were one of the only brands that said the pot would not leach chemicals into the food. It is a coated pot. I prefer this because I have made yogurt in mine and if I forget to do a deep cleaning of my unit prior to making yogurt, my yogurt will taste like whatever I made in it last. With a non-coated pot I imagine there would be no avoiding that. Curried yogurt doesn’t appeal to me. I would love to hear if this proves not to be an issue with this machine. However, I would likely stick with my Hamilton beach slow-cooker when you compare features, safety AND price. Mine has wonderful features and is safe to use but didn’t cost much at all.
So far, that hasn’t been my experience. I made coconut yogurt after making the curried soup, and my yogurt didn’t have any flavor from the previously cooked dish.
How is it to clean up since it’s unglazed? Does it eventually get darker over time like a pizza stone would?
i just got one of these last month. i like it but wish that it was more of a slow slowcooker mostly for my bone broth. (it only does 4 hour increments). it’s easy to clean as the terracotta is smooth.
Thanks for the info Megan, I’m in the market for one of these!! Is it large enough to cook a whole chicken in? I like to cook chickens and make broth in my slow cooker.
I wish they sold an even bigger size! The 8-cup model doesn’t seem like it would be big enough for a whole chicken.
Great post. I have wondered about this particular cooker. Is there any way you can provide measurement and ratios of coconut meat to probiotic powder?
Many thanks for a great site!
I have a question about slow cooking…when for example you prepared your curried butternut bisque, did you add the onions and the garlic to the vitaclay after browning them in a skillet?
I feel like the perk of using a slow cooker is that you don’t have to do any extra work– so I just throw it all in the slow cooker at once and let it cook! I’m sure browning the onions first might make it have a more complex flavor, but it was still delicious without taking that extra step.
Makes sense! Let us know what else you are experimenting in it! Do you think the vitaclay could be used as a tagine? I have always wanted to cook a stew in a tagine and was wondering if the clay pot in the vitaclay would make the food taste the same as a tagine.
Hi. I love your site. I was about to purchase this and then read the negative reviews on Amazon and now I’m not so sure. Can you comment on some of the recurring themes among the negative reviews and if you’ve seen the same problems? I’m looking for a rice cooker as well as a sorta-slow cooker and something to cook oatmeal/breakfast, etc. (I have a regular 6qt crockpot for larger things.) Trying to figure out if this is worth $105 or something else would be better. Thanks!
I received the VitaClay for Christmas! I can’t wait to make healthy, delicious meals with it.
I bought the 8qt Vita Clay Slow Cooker after reading Megan’s review. I love it and have used it many times over the past couple of month’s. Amazon just forwarded a question to answer from a person considering purchasing the slow cooker. She questioned the top being made of aluminum and the possibility of the steam entering the clay pot through the holes in the lid?? I thought I would ask as I have no idea how to respond. Thanks
I was so eager to use mine when it arrived, so I was a bit disheartened to see that it appeared to either be a used return or a floor model – which I was willing to overlook.
Much to my frustration though, when I tried it for the first time, following the rather confusing instructions to set up delayed cooking (as that was the main reason I bought it – so I could set it up to cook quinoa porridge in the mornings) no matter what I did the delay feature would not work.
Before I lug this thing back to UPS, I am hoping that you can provide clear instructions on how to use the delay feature, so I can give it one more try.
Thanks in advance for your help!!
This answer probably won’t help you a year later 🙁 but I figured I would comment since I had the same issue with mine, in case someone else is in the same boat. I called the company and they said their was an issue with the manufacturer changing the settings on certain models and not telling them about it. She walked me through it, so I am sure they could do the same for you. It needs to be set to the desired END time not the desired start time.
Have you use the Vitaclay for long hours of cooking? I work 8 hours a day plus the commute will be 10 hours. Can the vitaclay be use for that long time?
hi! i bought the vitaclay mutlicooker today. on the box it says that it can steam, but i don’t see anything on the cooker or in the instruction manual about steaming. how do I steam with it?
I’ve actually never tried steaming with it! I’ll let you know if I figure it out.
Same question about the steaming feature!
How has it held up? Lots of reviews say the pot cracks or the touchpad stops working within a year of regular use. What has been your experience?
Hi. Do you still recommend this machine? Any concerns with it that you can see? Thanks!
Are you able to make bone broth in it for 24 hours?
I don’t think the timer lets you cook for 24 hours– this model is very similar to a pressure cooker in the fact that it cooks foods twice as fast as a traditional slow cooker, so you probably wouldn’t need to cook it for a full 24 hours anyway. But, I’ve never tried making bone broth in it, so I can’t tell you for sure! I also have an Instant Pot, and that pressure cooker makes amazingly thick and gelatinous bone broth in less than 24 hours, too.
The BURNING PLATE of the VitaClay Chef is made from aluminum. The rest is ok. The smell of the aluminum or vapors can leach into your food. This company is a fraud!
I was wondering if you have a preference between the Vita Clay and the Instant Pot slow cooker. I have been searching for a non toxic slow cooker and they seem to be the best 2 for being non toxic on the market. However I wondered with the Instant Pot cooker with its aluminium disc if that could stay leach lead into food or is a concern?
I was very happy with both, however my Vita Clay inner pot did eventually break (a con of using clay) and the model I got always seemed to be out of stock when I tried to purchase a replacement pot. That’s actually why I went ahead and bought the Instant Pot this year, and I have to say I use it much more often than I did the Vita Clay. What I like better about the Instant Pot is that the pot is bigger overall, so I can make a larger batches and if you eat meat I think you could probably cook a chicken in there, too. I use the sauté function a lot in the Instant Pot, so I only have one pot to clean when I’m done making soup. I also prefer the stainless steel pot as it seems to hold onto the flavor of the previous thing you were cooking a little less than the clay pot. I’m not too concerned about an aluminum heating plate, since the food only touches stainless steel, although I do think using no aluminum is always better!
Right now I’m very happy with the Instant Pot, but I would also be willing to try the Vita Clay again in the future. If the pots were easier to replace, I would have stuck with it!
Thank you so much for replying and for the helpful information! I think I will go ahead and order an Instant Pot!! Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
I would be cautious…i looked into and actually bought one of these cookers and returned it. Made in China out of Clay that probably has a moderate to high lead content. and we all know about Chinese quality assurance practices…which are non existent….ie lethal melamine in our dog food
Please send me more information on the safety of your crock pots and where to purhase it.
Do you have any concerns about the cooking element on the Vitaclay? The 2parts that cook the food, don’t know what material they are. Just curious since clay is porous.
That didn’t worry me too much, since my food was only in contact with the clay pot. But, I should also mention that my clay insert cracked a few years ago and it was difficult to replace at the time, so I bought an Instant Pot instead, and that uses a stainless steel liner.
Hi, thanks Megan for reply.
The company does provide replacements for the clay part, as far as I am aware. They also make a bigger size which is 6quarts. It also has only a clay lid top. This may be good since the other ones have another lid with aluminum on the interior. My concern was that the inner clay lid had holes for steam & I didn’t want aluminum getting into the food. Do you think this would be of concern? The heating element is aluminum also & they say clay is porous so I was worried about that too.
It looks like Vitaclay is not lead free at all – contrary to their claims.