alternative to instapot

Seth McGinn’s CanCooker Jr. Review

Joe Lizer

Have you ever thought to yourself how nice it would be to cook food outdoors just as quickly as your wife’s Instapot?

Neither had I but now I wonder why I hadn’t. Seth McGinn’s CanCooker Jr has updated and improved the old-school method of cooking in a cream can, and at first glance, I didn’t think it was going to be a product that I would use very often but after putting it to the test, I’m very impressed.  It may look a little gimmicky but it has earned a spot in my cooking arsenal.

Before testing the CanCooker Jr, several people I knew talked about how awesome it was and how easy it was to use. Turns out they were right!  My wife and I had zero trouble cooking a delicious helping of chili with the CanCooker Jr. one evening after work.  The CanCooker Jr. saved us time and effort but still provided a great-tasting meal.

alternative to instapot

Seth McGinn’s CanCooker Jr

Seth McGinn’s CanCooker Jr is a smaller, more versatile version of the Orginal CanCooker.  This smaller unit is ideal for feeding small groups of seven people or less.  The CanCooker Jr. is a great investment for someone looking for a versatile, easy to use cooking device that’s perfect for making meals at home or deer camp, this product is for you!

Retail: $79.99

■ Holds two gallons of food
■ Feeds up to 8
■ Non-stick coating
■ Includes protective storage bag
■ Free recipe book included

How many people will the CanCooker Jr. feed?

The CanCooker Jr. is approximately 7 inches tall and 10 inches wide. This smaller size option is perfect for cooking for the family but isn’t designed to feed an army. If you need to feed more than eight people, try the Orginal CanCooker. The CanCooker Jr is rated to serve eight people or less and will hold up to two gallons of food! Feeding eight hungry people with the CanCooker Jr may be a stretch, but it’s great for feeding a family on a busy work day or after a long-days hunt.

How to use the CanCooker Jr.

The CanCooker Jr. is easy and simple to use, making it a great addition to hunter or busy family that enjoys a home-cooked meal.  Here’s a quick Hot-to:

  • Step 1 – Spray the inside of the CanCooker Jr with nonstick spray prior to using each time. The CanCooker Jr. has a non-stick coating so the spray is not necessary, but I found that it makes cleaning and cooking a little easier.
  • Step 2 – Add Vegetables (add spices as needed)
  • Step 3 – Add Meat (add spices as needed)
  • Step 4 – Add Liquid to begin cooking with steam!  Be sure to add at least 12 ounces and no more than 36 oz of liquid over the food and place it on a low to medium heat source.
  • Step 5 –  Cook Time:  It will take about 15 minutes for the CanCooker to steam. Once the CanCooker begins to steam you normal cook time is 45-60 minutes, depending on what you’re cooking.  For chili, my total cook time was much less because I browned the version burger before adding the rest of the ingredients and I didn’t have big chunks of vegetable to cook either.
  • Step 6 – Use caution when removing from the heat source.  The CanCooker and its contents are both hot!
how does the cancooker work

My 3 favorite things about the CanCooker Jr.

  1. The versatility of the CanCooker Jr to be used on practically any open flame. Stovetop, campfire, grill, or the CanCooker multi-fuel burner it doesn’t matter you can use it on them all.
  2. How easy it is to clean up. The nonstick coating on the CanCooker Jr works amazing! All you need is a little water and something to wipe it out. What would normally take me soaking my crockpot for half the day to then still have to scrub it took me 2 minutes with the CanCooker Jr.
  3. It really does take less than an hour to cook practically every recipe included in the CanCooker recipe book.

Things you should know before purchasing a CanCooker Jr.

Do I need to completely fill the CanCooker with food in order to use it?

You do NOT have to fill the CanCookers all the way with food. You will still need to add 12 ounces and no more than 36 oz. of liquid.  The liquid is the key ingredient when cooking with steam, so don’t forget to add some but don’t over-fill it!

What is the CanCooker made of?

The CanCooker Jr is made from 1060 FDA-approved aluminum. The CanCooker Jr has an anodized coating which is important as it means the actual aluminum never touches your food. (This material has the second-best heat transfer next to copper.)  The CanCooker also has a non-stick coating too!

What type of heat source can I use?

The CanCookers can be used on a stove-top, grill, open fire, and coals. It is important to use a low to a medium heat when using CanCooker products.

Life Hack:  f using on an open flame, CanCooker recommends you rub liquid dish soap or bar soap on the outside of the bottom and sides before placing it on the fire. The soot will stick to the soap and will aid in clean-up.

Can I use the CanCooker on a turkey burner?

Do NOT use CanCookers on a turkey fryer or fish burner. They are too hot and will damage the CanCooker, voiding the warranty.   An alternative heat source is Seth McGinn’s Multi-Fuel Burner and Portable Cooktop.

Can I use the CanCooker on an induction stove?

The CanCookers will not work on an induction stove.

Is the CanCooker a steamer or a pressure cooker?

The CanCooker Jr. is a steamer that uses the basic principles of a convection oven. The CanCooker Jr. produces a deep penetrating steam that cooks food to perfection. There is a small hole in the lid to ensure there is no pressure build-up while cooking. You can open and close the lid at any time.

How do I clean the CanCooker Jr?

The CanCooker Jr. is easy to clean. You can wash them with soap and water.  If needed, add an inch of water back to the can and bring it to a steam to help aid in the cleaning process. CanCooker does NOT recommend washing the CanCooker in a dishwasher.


    • Nonstick Coating 
    • Smaller Size than the Original CanCooker
    • Free recipe book
    • Versatile – Use it on the grill, campfire, or stove.
    • Portable
    • Quick and easy clean-up
    • Time saver


    • Price
    • Storage Bag

Three things that I haven’t tested yet.

  • I’m not sure how often I will use it at home during the summer. For my family, it feels like chili, soup, and stew kind of item. I expect to use the CanCooker Jr much more in the winter.  I love to grill during the summer months, but I’m looking forward to cold winter meals with a hearty chili or homemade vegetable soup from the CanCooker Jr.
  • The recipe book that CanCooker supplied seems a bit ambitious.  For instance, making cinnamon rolls and bread in it. I’m sure I will try this eventually but I’ll need to test this out for myself to be a believer.
  • The storage bag it comes with is super cheap and I do not expect it to last long. Especially after one or two camping or kayak trips.

Would I recommend the CanCooker Jr?

If I had to describe the CanCooker Jr to someone who has never used one, I would consider it the simple man’s Instapot. There are no electronics, valves, or other fancy things to break (unlike my wife’s Instapot.) This is a simple and effective design that’ll last forever and should prove to be a great investment and time-saver for years to come!  So, yes, you have my approval to buy one for your own!

Ready to buy?  Follow this link to pick up a CanCooker Jr. of your own!  You buy direct or at several online retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, and more.

Thanks to Joe for writing this unpaid gear review.  Hunting Gear Deals is funded by affiliate commissions. We may receive a small commission when you buy from our partners using the links provided. There is no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting us by using our links when making your purchases.

best gear review camp chef grill


Joe lives in Parkersburg, WV with his wife and two children. For his day job, Joe is a salesman with a background in management, however, his passion is volunteering.   Joe is a volunteer firefighter within his community and a pillar within his church.  The same church that Camron (the owner of Hunting Gear Deals) and Joe first met.  When Joe isn’t volunteering, you’ll find him preparing delicious meals for friends, family, and even strangers.  

Are you interested in getting free hunting gear in exchange for a detailed and honest review? Apply for our Review Corps here!