Slow Cooker Buying Guide REPACK
All Slow Cookers perform the same function: they cook food on a very low heat. Most cookers have two heat settings for cooking, but then they vary - considerably. This guide to buying a Slow Cooker helps you decide which features you want to narrow down your choice.
slow cooker buying guide
I've had a slow cooker for years - decades actually - and at times it's been in weekly use and then there are years when it comes out at Christmas for mulled wine and maybe for chicken stock - or maybe not.
I wanted a digital timer and a 3.5l cooker with a glass lid. I also wanted a metal dish so that I can brown the meat in it. So I bought a Morphy Richards slow cooker that does all that and that I like the colour of (brushed steel).
If you have a ceramic pot or your metal one doesn't clean easily, you could try slow cooker liners, which cut down on the washing up. They're also useful if you're cooking a joint or a whole chicken so that you can get it out of the pot easily!
The slow cooker can be left safely unattended so it suits busy people who have little time to spend in the kitchen preparing healthy nutritious meals for themselves, partners, and family.
The fancy looks of your slow cooker are another feature to be considered at this time so that it can match the decor of your kitchen etc. Some of the low-end cookers are fancier than high-end cookers.
You may consider that you need more than one size slow cooker. There are options available without purchasing more than one appliance. There is an appliance available that has interchangeable cooking inserts.
A whole roaster chicken will fit comfortably in a 6-quart slow cooker. If space is an issue and you feel that a 6-quart slow cooker is too large you can use it as small as a 4-quart cooker. All you have to do to make the chicken is to cut the chicken into pieces. You will have plenty of room if the carcass is removed as well.
A 3.5-liter slow cooker equals approximately equal to a 3-quart slow cooker. This size would suit 2-3 people at most for simple dishes. If you are considering cuts of meat something larger or alternatively an oval shape would be a better choice.
A 6-quart slow cooker is great for large pieces of meat, chickens, and even lamb shanks. If you are preparing meals for 1, 2, or even 3 people I would suggest purchasing a smaller slow cooker.
The lifespan of a slow cooker is around five to ten years. But if you see there is an issue with it heating up, has other problems, or it no longer fits your needs, this small appliance is such an affordable one that it's easy to replace."}},"@type": "Question","name": "Can you put raw meat in a slow cooker?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Slow cookers are created to put raw meats in them. Don't hesitate to put raw or frozen chicken, beef, or pork in the slow cooker. This appliance is designed to save time and cook food while you're busy or away.","@type": "Question","name": "Should you sear chicken or beef before putting it in the slow cooker?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "There are some recipes that recommend searing or browning meat before placing it in the slow cooker. It is believed that this step helps keep the moisture locked in, thus making the meat more flavorful and savory."]}]}] .icon-garden-review-1fill:#b1dede.icon-garden-review-2fill:none;stroke:#01727a;stroke-linecap:round;stroke-linejoin:round > buttonbuttonThe Spruce The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook NewslettersClose search formOpen search formSearch DecorRoom Design
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Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home.Subscribe The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook About UsNewsletterPress and MediaContact UsEditorial GuidelinesHome ImprovementSkills & SpecialtiesElectricalAppliancesHow to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot ByMariette MifflinMariette MifflinMariette Mifflin is a product tester and expert in housewares and appliances. A writer on home products for The Spruce for over 10 years, her expertise is also featured in "HomeLife," "House & Garden," and the Chicago Sun-Times.Learn more about The Spruce'sEditorial ProcessUpdated on 06/16/22Fact checked by
A slower cooker or Crock-Pot is a small electrical cooking appliance with a stoneware insert that cooks food at a low temperature for a long period of time. It's the perfect vessel for making one-pot meals, stews, soups, and more.
The lifespan of a slow cooker is around five to ten years. But if you see there is an issue with it heating up, has other problems, or it no longer fits your needs, this small appliance is such an affordable one that it's easy to replace.
Slow cookers are created to put raw meats in them. Don't hesitate to put raw or frozen chicken, beef, or pork in the slow cooker. This appliance is designed to save time and cook food while you're busy or away.
There are some recipes that recommend searing or browning meat before placing it in the slow cooker. It is believed that this step helps keep the moisture locked in, thus making the meat more flavorful and savory.
In addition to testing large slow cookers, we also tested smaller 4-quart slow cookers; they are handy for recipes scaled for two, though we found in our recipe testing that this size of slow cooker is quite versatile and can actually be used for many of the other recipes throughout this book.
This slow cooker made juicy and tender chicken, turkey, and pork, and chili and caramelized onions were rich and evenly cooked. Testers preferred its bright, intuitive control panel, with tactile buttons and cheerful beeps that alert you to changes. Cool-to-the-touch handles were a bonus, too.
This guide is regularly updated with new models that have been tried, tested and top-rated by BBC Good Food's reviews experts. Those featuring earned it based on their performance during rigorous, impartial product testing. Included is a selection of new releases and firm favourites that continuously hold their position against new brand models. We will only ever feature slow cookers that prove to be good value for money.
There is much to love about a slow cooker. The ease of arriving home to a hot meal ready to eat is a convenient luxury that simply makes life easier. With these hands-off appliances, there is no need to stand over the pot stirring, as slow cookers apply an even heat and don't get hot enough for the food to catch.
The best slow cookers also help you to get the very best out of cheaper cuts of meat. Cooking at low temperatures for a long period can tenderise the meat and enhance the flavour. Slow cookers are also less energy intensive than conventional electric ovens, and therefore more economical. Finally, they offer a healthier, low-fat way of cooking and often preserve more nutrients than other methods such as baking, boiling and frying. For inspiration, check out our collection of healthy slow cooker recipes.
This is a newer, more sophisticated step-up from Ninja Foodi's 6-in-1 multicooker, packing in nine functions for performing key kitchen tasks, plus a couple for fun. We're talking slow cooking (which is very user-friendly) searing/sautéing, air-crisping, grilling, dehydrating, baking/roasting, yogurt-making, pressure cooking and steaming. It has a modern-feel with intuitive controls and an outer casing that only gets warm to the touch, rather than excessively hot. It's the ultimate kitchen gadget.
Despite the price and its relatively cheap steel outer, the Daewoo is a front-runner for its ability to cook gently, creating deliciously tender meat chunks for beef stew and softened vegetables overnight without singeing around the inside. This is a 160W slow cooker with the capacity to feed a family of four, or two with leftovers the next day.
This slow cooker is a fabulous option for the home cook who loves experimental techniques and gadgetry. With an option for sous vide cooking as well as a temperature probe, this model is so much more than a slow cooker. It did a fantastic job on our slow cooker test though; the locks kept the lid firmly in place and our beef stew had been nicely reduced, though the meat was ever so slightly dry.
If you want to splash out, then this would be a smart design to go for as this multi-cooker does a lot more than most, from dehydrating to airfrying. In our slow cooker tests it shone, maintaining an outstanding 99.27% of moisture during cooking. 041b061a72