Also called as crock-pot, slow cooker is actually an electrical appliance which is placed over the cooktop with a purpose to cook your food in lower temperature than that on baking, frying or broiling. For making soups, stews, pot roasts and various delicious recipes, slow cookers are the great kitchen appliances used in daily cooking needs across the world.
Since 1970s, slow cookers have been used widely. But later on, they have been disappeared for a while. But these days, they have made a comeback to your kitchens to save your time during busy schedules. Slow cookers come in handy for your slow cooking and they also look nice. These are the real time savers so you can do other things while they cook. These programmable machines have got all the bells and whistles and they can be cheap or costly according to the features.
They are the added convenience for your tight schedules and home-cooked meals. These are the small appliances evolved over time. These have more stylish looks and have timers.
What is the Best Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker basically has oval or round pot which is made of glazed porcelain and ceramic. The slow cooker also has metal or glass lid. The housing or unit is made of metal to hold the pot with electric cord or heating element that can be connected to the wall outlet. To give low pressure cover over the contents with condensation, the lid stays on the top. Crock or ceramic pot is both heat reservoir and cooking vessel. Slow cooker is more than just a pressure cooker.
You may find most slow cookers in different sizes ranging from 17 ounces (500ml) to around 7.5 quarts (7 liter). You shouldn’t fill the slow cookers to the top as most come with recommendations for filling liquid. It is up to the heat control.
Slow cookers provide great flavor and more even stewing and cooking of chuck, sirloin, and various roasts of pork and beef. Vegetables always retain their taste and food won’t burn most of the time.
You may choose to keep food warm or switch to medium, low or high heat settings in slow cookers. Some slow cookers come with power adjust settings or some provide constant heat to the contents within.
You can easily clean the cooker. Both crock pot and lids are dishwasher safe. Us a soapy detergent to wipe the housing and rinse and towel dry it.
A crock-pot or slow cooker can also save energy. You can save your hard-earned dollars with a 250W slow cooker as you don’t have to fire up your 4000W oven. This way, you can save up to 50% of energy. Use the leftovers for your lunch and save more.
Cook Healthy food
These days, people prefer home-cooked food more than restaurants, not only to save money and time, but also for health benefits that minerals and vitamins provide. Simply remove the fat off your chicken or meat. You also have no need to add oils or butter while cooking. Your food will remain non-oily with genuine flavors of celery, carrots, garlic, onions and other veggies.
The price of slow cooker is ranging from $30 to $200 according to the size, material, and features you want. You don’t have to spend on broilers, toaster ovens, as well as microwave. It can save 50% or more on groceries as you can bring home the cheaper cuts of meat. Enjoy the delicious flavors of fork tender with spices and vegetables. You can also prepare dried beans if you are vegan, diabetic or vegetarian.
Storing your crockpot in the refrigerator with lid is no brainer. Before heating up again, let it sit on room temperature to keep ceramic from breaking or cracking.
All you need to set the time you like for the cooker and it will be ready once you are prepared to consume it. You can effortlessly cook up granola, oatmeal, vegetables, desserts etc. in crock pots or slow cookers. Keep in mind that rice doubles its size after cooking. For example, 1 cup cooks up to 2 cups or more when cooked.
Best Buy Slow Cooker Reviews For 2018
In this guide, we have listed some of the top rated slow cookers to help you make an informed decision.
1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
The Cook & Carry Slow Cooker from Crock-Pot is made of stainless steel with timer to schedule your cooking and stay on the move. Unplug the slow cooker and take it to a family get-together or event and simply plug it again to get your food warm again.
The hinged lid locks easily with handles. You can remove its lid effortlessly with a top handle. The compression of the seal always stays in place so nothing will spill out on the way. Steam can escape if you want with vent hole. It comes with 6 pounds of capacity to hold ham, meat, or chicken to accommodate more than 6-7 people. Once you’ve cooked the food, the cooker can run up to 20 hours and turn the warmer mode on to keep your food hot.
It has stoneware oval bowl that you can take out and serve the dish in it. You can schedule it to cook from 6 hours on ‘high’ mode or 10 hours in low mode. You will get food hot and fresh when you get back to home. According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, stoneware is microwave and oven safe. But it is not safe on electric burners, gas or under broiler. The interior bowl and lid (made of tempered glass) is dishwasher safe. But clean the housing with warm water and detergent.
- Program cook time up to 20 hours. It automatically turns to ‘warm’ mode once your food is ready. So, food won’t burn
- Stylish oval stoneware is oven safe and easy to cleanup
- Saves energy and time
- Cooks food too hot
- Crock is poorly designed
2. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker is designed strategically to save you from weeknight stress with its great flexibility. For automatic cooking, it has three choices to cook family meal on your busy schedules. Enjoy the well-cooked roasted chicken, juicy pot roast or pork barbecue when you come back from work.
It’s up to your cooking method and what you cook. If you are cooking meats, click “Probe”. Set it to the temperature you like and it will shift to warm automatically once it reaches the temperature.
Select “Program” and set the time to cook chili or soups. It will turn warm automatically once it reaches the time set by you. Use Manual setting if you can monitor at home. You can set it to low, high, or keep warm and it will stay at desired temperature. Put in the thermometer probe and it will show the internal temperature on display. All in all, it is designed to fit your busy weeknights.
- Easy to carry heavy meals with easy-to-grip handles
- Slow cooker stays on even when power outage happens with its power interrupt protection
- Clip-tight lid keeps food from spillage
- Programming is the way too confusing
- Crock part is breakable
3. Crock Pot 6-quart Cook & Carry Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot is one of the reputed slow cooker brands and has evolved over the decades from making a single-bean cooker to a huge and wide range of cookware accessories and slow cookers to make cooking easier, smarter and more fun to meet various cooking styles these days. Crock-Pot is a perfect staple for busy families and it provides more wholesome, healthy meals.
The Cook & Carry Oval Manual Slow Cooker is another convenient staple for potlucks, get-togethers, travel, parties, or any time you need to move your home-cooked food warm and healthy. Its stoneware bowl is removable and is also used as a serving dish. For your desired cooking times, it has both low and high settings. It keeps food at good temperature at warm setting.
- Capable to accommodate up to 7 people
- Manual settings to set warm/low/high temperatures
- Stoneware and glass lid is dishwasher safe
- Easy to carry
- Doesn’t cook food evenly and too hot
- Top class lid is breakable
4. Instant Pot 3-Quart Duo Mini Multiuse 7-in-1 Programmable Slow Cooker
Instant Pot Duo Mini Multiuse slow cooker is more than just a slow cooker. In fact, it is a yogurt maker, programmable pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker, warmer, and sauté. This slow cooker performs the tasks of 7 kitchen appliances with its 11 smart programs, including Bean/Chili, Meat/Stew, Soup/Broth, Rice, Steam, Saute, Slow Cook, Yogurt, and Keep Warm. It does all such functions with just one touch.
It can cook up to 6 cups of raw rice (i.e. up to 12 cups of cooked rice). You can cook all varieties of rice like brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, wild rice, etc. with its rice cooker function. It also includes a lot of accessories like rice paddle, rice cup, steam rack, recipe book, and condensation collector.
If you remain busy along the week, you can set delay start timer up to 24 hours for delayed cooking. You will get your food cooked and ready when you get back from work. It keeps the food warm until you serve the plate.
- Performs tasks of 7 kitchen appliances
- User-friendly functions
- Temperature settings are easy to adjust
- Keeps pressure in safe range always in pressure controller
- Machine stops building pressure after a year or two
- Instructions are not that clear
5. Proctor-Silex 33043 4-Quart Slow Cooker
Proctor Silex 4-Quart Slow cooker is designed to ensure stress-free and simple process to cook delicious and healthy meals. Cook one-pot dishes with it, or 4lb chicken or small roast for a small family. You can cook weeknight dinners without any stress. It can adjust heat from high to low and automatically set your food to right temperature in “keep warm” function. It is easy to remove stoneware for refrigerator storage and easy serving. You can easily put the stoneware and glass lid in the dishwasher.
- Stoneware is removable and easy to serve
- Glass lid and stoneware are dishwasher safe
- Easy to cook 4-quart meals
- Comes with multiple heat settings
- Lid doesn’t fit well
- Cooks food too slow and burn it on high setting
6. Cuisinart PSC-350 3 ½ Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Get the 1-pot recipes you love ready and awaiting you with Cuisinart Slow cooker which is designed to tender meats and give delicious dishes. Make any meal suited for any event and even prepare your delicious desserts. This slow cooker is easy to serve and clean and use.
Accommodate your busy schedules and enjoy your favorite home-cooked, healthy meals thanks to this programmable, oval-shaped slow cooker. Your dinner will be ready when you get back to home and remove all your weekend stress with it. This slow cooker is best for pot roasts, soups, casseroles and other dishes with 3 ½ quart capacity, making it great for small family.
It includes four cooking modes (warm, high, low and simmer) and intuitive touchpad panel. It turns to ‘warm’ setting once the cook time finishes and dinner always stays ready and hot to serve.
- Housing is made of brushed stainless steel to avoid scratches and fingerprints
- Comes with four temperature settings
- Shifts to warm once timer ends
- Cooks too fast
- Parts are breakable
7. Focus Electrics West Bend 84905 Oblong Versatility 5-Quart Slow Cooker
West Band Oblong Versatility slow cooker is designed to cook food a lot faster if you need. It is a versatile slow cooker with unique design. This oblong-shaped cooker is made of metal with 5-quart capacity. It has glass top to help you monitor cooking process. It has Teflon lined container and dishwasher safe glass lid. All in all, it is more than just for slow cooking.
You can easily perform slow cooking with this slow cooker on low and high settings. In addition, you can also place its container on the stove to sauté before you place it in heating base to slow cook food.
- It is more than just a slow cooker. It is a multi-cooker also used to sauté or brown food and slow cook
- Container is oven safe and easy to cook all kinds of meals on one pot. Hence, it saves you from cleaning mess.
- Heat distribution is not balanced. It doesn’t result in even cooking like ceramic pot or stoneware.
How To Deep Clean Your Slow Cooker
When you are planning to clean your slow cooker, always remember that not all the slow cookers are equal. The slow cookers are a great help to kitchen as they can create wonders in a simple dish as well but it is also a fact that these come in a number of materials such as glass, plastic, aluminum and stainless steel etc. therefore if you want to deep clean your slow cooker make sure that you don’t give a similar treatment to all such materials.
In order to wash a slow cooker, all you need is:
- Dish washing soap
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Cotton cloth
- Scrub brush
The process to deep clean your slow cooker is as under:
- First and foremost you must unplug the slow cooker before cleaning. Also check if the cord needs repair.
- Wipe the exterior body of the appliance with a damp cloth using a little warm water mixed with mild dish wash soap.
- In case the marks on the exterior body are still prominent, use the mixture of baking soda and water to clean those stains.
- Then clean the bottom using the scrub brush as the crumbs could be sitting comfortably in this area as well
- Now clean it from the inside using the dishwashing soap. You can read the manual in case it can be washed in dishwasher as well.
- In case there are still stubborn food stains present in the inside of the cooker, fill it up with water and some dishwashing liquid and bring it to heat.
- Adding baking soda to the mixture would help in taking off those stains
- In case of tougher stains use ammonia.
- Clean the removable parts and dig into the tight places using the screwdriver.
- Remove the water and rinse it properly
- Now you can assemble all of its pieces and you are good to go again for your next cooking session.
Slow Cooker Caution and Instructions
- These are not pressure cookers.
- Before you start using slow cookers, read instructions.
- Check whether ceramic bowl is oven, microwave, and stovetop safe by reading instructions.
- Slow cookers are not used to brown meat. You will need a ceramic skillet unless you read in the instructions that your cooker can do it.
- Follow the instructions to fill the cooker and avoid overfilling it.
- Tight fit the lid on the cooker.
- If ceramic insert is exposed to extreme temperature changes, it may crack. So, don’t place hot ceramic pot in the refrigerator directly. Similarly, don’t put the chilled pot on the preheated base before letting it warm at room temperature.
- Cut your meat to small parts with ceramic knives for even cooking.
A crock pot or slow cooker is a very versatile kitchen appliance that can save a lot of time in your busy schedules. No matter you are vegetarian, vegan, or meat lover, you can cook delicious and yummy foods. Make sure to choose slow cookers with good warranty and read reviews above to make quick and informed decision. We hope you’ve enjoyed our buyer’s guide and best slow cooker reviews above.