The Best Slow Cookers for Irrestistable Home-Cooked Meals
Slow cookers have been around for centuries, but not quite the way we envision them. Back in the day, a simmering cast iron pot full of food was the best way to tenderize tough meat. Later on, purpose-made Dutch ovens were all the rage with their capacious pot-like bottoms and high-hat tops. You could effectively say these were the first modern version of a slow cooker. They could cook enough food for a very large family and as long as the stove top was kept heated, they would keep on cooking. Slow cookers also go by the name of crock pots. These units are self contained with either a built-in heating unit that surrounds the entire crock or a heated base the crock rests on. They all heat up to a minimum of 200 degrees with some heating higher for faster cooking but even the lowest temperature is easily hot enough to kill salmonella bacteria.
Since slow cookers are considered family cookers, these selections of the best slow cookers in 2021 will have at least a 4 quart capacity since the larger the crock, the more efficient it cooks since less heat is lost over the long run. This occurs because more ingredients inside store heat instead of releasing it. Smaller crocks bleed heat, so they run longer on the heating cycle and waste energy to compensate. Each of these slow cookers will give you a superior cooking ability since they evenly heat your food and maintain a precise temperature throughout, and all of the crocks themselves will be removable unlike outdated designs where the base and crock is one solid unit. Lastly, all of these slow cookers will feature a minimum one year, limited manufacturer’s warranty, unless otherwise stated in the description,
Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot 8-Quart Countdown Slow Cooker
Bella Multi-use Slow Cooker
Westinghouse WSC801RD 8-Quart Metallic Slow Cooker
Detailing the Best Slow Cookers of 2021
The Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Stay Or Go Slow Cooker can be taken anywhere thanks to a latch over the top to keep tasty contents sealed inside until you reach your destination. It’s great for pot-luck lunches, parties, get togethers at friends, or anytime you want to take your cooking with you. The folding side handles make carrying easy while the dial control has simple warm/low/high settings. The crock, latch and lid are dishwasher safe, and unlike our other options, the lid is hinged to keep the cover in place no matter where you’re headed.
If having a programmable slow cooker is your thing, than check out the Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S Countdown Slow Cooker with Stove-Top Browning, the easiest to use programmable option on this list. The Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S Countdown Slow Cooker has a removable, dishwasher-safe crock while the heated unit itself surrounds the entire crock for even-heating while your food cooks. The crock can be removed to brown, sauté, or sear on a regular stove, and then placed back into the base unit for final cooking. This unit features a countdown timer that goes off when the food has been cooked as well as programmable for any time setting. Say for example you want your meal done in four hours; simply set the timer and it will automatically adjust to the correct temperature to have your meal ready when the timer goes off.
Just like the slow cookers of yesteryear, the Bella BLA13898 Diamonds Collection Manual Slow Cooker, 6-Quart is a no frills unit that still cooks as good as higher-end options. This retro-looking slow cooker has no bells or whistles. Instead, it just has a straightforward three-setting rotary dial with low and high temperature functions along with a warmer mode to keep food heated while serving. This is the lowest priced unit here, yet the crock is removable and dishwasher safe. If all you want is a basic, easy-to-use slow cooker, your search ends here.
If there was going to be a most bang for the buck category, this versatile slow cooker combo takes the cake. The Westinghouse WSC801RD Metallic Slow Cooker comes with a big eight quart main crock and a smaller crock to heat up such things as sauces or dips and you can even melt chocolate too. The controls are a simple dial control with low, high, and warm settings. All day cooking is set on low, half day cooking is set on high, and when serving, set to warm. The mini-crock is just a preset-temperature plug-in unit which warms up side-dishes so they’re ready to serve when needed. Both crock pots are removable from the base, and they come in metallic red to add little pizzazz to wherever they’re placed.
A slow cooker is a great and easy way to bake a delicious and tasty meal for you and all your close ones. It uses gentle heat over a pretty long time to cook the meal. This will help you make the food in the morning and leave it heated up during the day.
But there are various slow cookers available, how can you pick the most suitable one? Some of the slow cookers on the market can even cost you up to three times as much as the cheapest models. So in order to save money and pick an adequate slow cooker for your needs, be sure to follow this guide. We will briefly explain what you need to consider before buying a slow cooker. Read on!
What Are the Most Important Tips for Using a Slow Cooker?
- Don't remove the lid to avoid heat loss;
- Be sure to follow your manufacturer's manual for further guidelines on cooking times and temperatures;
- Don't use abrasive pads to scrub the tough residue in the stoneware;
- Only follow recipes that are written explicitly for slow cooking;
- The inner pot must be at room temperature before you begin cooking;
- Add all the ingredients at the start so that you can do other things after;
- Most of the dishes cook the best when you use the "Low" option;
- If you don't have a lot of time in the morning, prepare all the ingredients the night before.
Things to Consider
The capacity of the slow cooker can range from 1.5 to 6.5 liters. The capacities fall into the following categories:
Small (1-2 people):
1.5 to 3 liters
Medium (2-3 people):
3 to 5 liters
Large (4 or more people):
5 to 6.5 liters
If you're a big family of more than four people, then we suggest that you look for a capacity of around 6-liters. But if you're cooking only for one or two people, then choose a 3-liter slow cooker.
Material of pot
The pot is where you put all the ingredients and where the process of slow cooking begins. There are two types of pots that are mainly used in slow cookers - metal and ceramic.
The metal pot can be mainly found in slow cookers that gave a sauteing feature. They are pretty light, easy to clean, and allow you to prepare a meal in one pot. And the ceramic ones are the most ideal for heat retention once the cookers hit the cooking temperature. They are pretty heavy, cook evenly, and simple to clean.
Most of the slow cookers come in two shapes:
it is a lot cheaper than the oval slow cookers and has a smaller footprint;
- this shape is larger and has more room to fit in bulky food.
If you want to use the slow cooker for cooking a chicken, you should probably stick with an oval shaped one. If you plan to bake only soups or curries, then the round slow cookers will do the job perfectly.
Ease of Use
Slow cookers are one of the most straightforward kitchen appliances to use. They're particularly excellent for beginners, busy people, and big families. However, some are more straightforward to use than others. So be sure that you pick a slow cooker that will be the easiest for you to operate.
What is the Price Range of the Slow Cooker?
The price really depends on many things, for example, the brand, features, capacity, etc. Prices for the most common slow cookers range from $50 to $160. But it can be even costly if you are looking for slow cookers with many additional features.
What Are The Most Important Features Of The Slow Cooker?
It is pretty simple, but a light is a great visual indicator that signals you that the slow cooker is operating. The indicator light is pretty helpful because the slow cooker takes a lot of time to warm up, and without it, you won't be able to know when the cooking has started.
The timer is a pretty handy feature if you are going to be away from the cooker for longer than the recipe says. So once it reaches the cooking time, the slow cooker automatically switches to the "keep warm" option. So your food will be ready once you get back without getting burnt.
Cooking on auto means the device begins on high and drops to low for the rest of the cooking time. Auto cook is a feature that's usually found only on premium slow cookers.
Stoneware pots tend to be a little bit heavier than aluminum ones. Aluminum pots have a non-stick coating, which is a lot more straightforward for you to clean. On the other hand, stoneware pots can be put in the oven, allowing you to reheat food quickly.
We suggest that you go with a transparent lid. Most of the slow cookers already have them. The transparent lids will allow you to monitor the cooking process without constantly opening the cooker closely.
How Did We Choose The Best Slow Cookers?
When picking the best slow cookers, we have gone through many critters to select the best ones. So here are some of them:
Ease of use:
how easy it is to assemble and use
can you cook various dishes with the slow cooker?
will the price suit the average customer?
Quality of material:
what are the material and the development of the machines?
Does it have genuine and positive reviews?
Slow cookers have been around for ages, but nowadays, they come with a few more features than they used to. If you want to make quick and easy meals at home that are also healthy and delicious, then investing in a good slow cooker is something to consider.
We hope that you'll have all the information you need to pick the best slow cooker that is ideal for your kitchen after viewing our detailed slow cooker reviews and extensive buying guide.
Slow Cooker FAQ
Can you put a slow cooker in the oven, microwave, or dishwasher?
You should never put the base of the slower cooker into the microwave, dishwasher, or oven. However, the pot (the part where you fill in the ingredients) may be able to go in. It all depends on the brand and the type of model. Ceramic pots usually are safe to use in the oven or microwave. However, check the manufacturer's user guidebook for the best answer to your question.
Is a 3.5 L Slow Cooker Big Enough?
The 3.5-liter slow cooker is equal to a 3-quart slow cooker. This size would suit three people for standard and easy dishes, but don't expect any more from that.
Is A Slow Cooker Just For People Who Work?
Although the slow cooker is the most ideal for people who are out of the house all day, a slow cooker is also helpful when you have friends or relatives over and want to spend time with them, rather than cooking in the kitchen.