HomeBuying GuidesKitchenHow To Buy The Best Slow Cooker

How To Buy The Best Slow Cooker

Looking to buy the best slow cooker? Check out our guide below and you’ll be well-placed to select the correct one for your needs.

The epitome of low-maintenance cooking is the slow cooker. Put the ingredients in the pot, turn it on, and wait for it to cook. All you can think about is how amazing that meal is going to be. Some slow cookers, on the other hand, offer characteristics that make them better suited to your needs than others. You’ll want those requirements completed in order to be satisfied with your purchase.

The greatest slow cookers maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking process. The warm setting must maintain the temperature of your meal without allowing it to continue to cook. You’ll want a large enough capacity to meet your family’s needs, as well as a removable inner pot that’s easy to clean and a long-lasting design.

Some slow cookers offer programmable functions that you might find useful. Continue reading if you want a more in-depth look at these appliances. Consider one of our highlighted models if you’re already convinced you know what you want.

THE METHOD BY WHICH WE TESTED SLOW COOKERS

We put our slow cookers to the test for 12 hours in our test kitchen.

The ingredients for a savoury pot roast with orange were packed into each model.

We evaluated four performance categories as the meat cooked: temperature, finished dish, “keep warm” function, and mobility.

The “Keep Warm” feature

A slow cooker must have the ability to keep cooked food warm without overcooking it.

Temperatures between 57°C and 68°C are optimal for keeping foods warm.

We checked each unit’s temperature after it switched to “Keep Warm” (automatically or manually) at one and two hours to see if it met our standards.

Temperature precision and consistency

Braising is how slow cookers make food. Braising is a low-temperature, slow-heating process for breaking down tough meat fibres and weakening vegetable cell walls.

Meat that is juicy and vegetables that are tender are the best results.

The temperature in a slow cooker should not increase above 82°C. Otherwise, the outer layer of beef would overcook to a stringy, flavourless dryness, while the inside piece will not have cooked long enough to achieve its optimum creamy softness.

Wattage of a slow cooker

Temperature readings were taken at the BestReviews lab at intervals of one hour, two hours, four hours, six hours, and nine hours from the start.

During the cooking stage of the test, we kept track of how quickly each product heated up and what temperature it stayed at.

Taste and look of the finished meal

We examined the meat and other components for the appropriate fork tenderness at the end of the test period.

At an internal temperature of 68°C to 77°C, each piece of beef was considered done.

We checked for doneness by ripping apart meat fibres with a fork where different portions of the cut registered at different temperatures.

Unfilled slow cooker weights

The colour of the beef on the outside and inside, as well as the condition of the accompanying ingredients, were used to evaluate the appearance of each pot roast.

The surface of perfectly braised meat is brown and the inside is pink.

The mouthfeel, texture, and whether the meal provided a satisfying blend of flavours were all factors in determining how good each finished dish tasted.

Mobility

Once a dish has been prepared in a slow cooker, it is frequently moved to another area, such as a table or buffet, for serving.

We looked studied the sturdiness of the handles, the temperature of the housing, the integrity of the lid, and whether liquids were likely to escape from the insert when it was moved.

Other characteristics

Other features and functions were also discussed.

Some versions, for example, allow you to sear or sauté food before slow cooking.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A SLOW COOKER

Capacity
Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 1.4 to 8 litres. Select the appropriate size for your home.

In general, a 3.7-litre model will suffice if you’re cooking for one to three people.

Choose a 3.7- or 4.7-litre slow cooker for a family of four.

If you frequently cook for large people, search for a slow cooker with a capacity of at least 5.7 litres.

Shape
The majority of slow cookers are round or oval in shape. Both forms are functional, but the ideal selection for your kitchen is determined by the types of meals you prepare most frequently.

If you frequently prepare stews, soups, or beans, both round and oval slow cookers will work well. If you plan to use your slow cooker primarily to cook whole chickens, ribs, brisket, or other large portions of meat, an oval shape is likely to be the preferable choice.

When preparing a meal in a slow cooker, it’s critical to keep the cover on, thus a clear glass lid is ideal.

A glass lid allows you to monitor the development of your food without having to take it out.

Plastic and other opaque covers make it difficult to see inside when cooking, thus they should be avoided.

Insert

The insert of a slow cooker is the removable pot in which you mix your contents.

The majority of slow cooker inserts are made of ceramic or porcelain, however others include a metal cooking pot.

Although all of these materials carry heat efficiently, ceramic and porcelain are typically easier to clean.

Handles The exterior of a slow cooker becomes heated when it’s in use, but the handles should never get hot.

Look for a slow cooker with broad, cool-to-the-touch handles that are also strong so you can easily transfer it to serve supper.

Controls

Only a manual dial or knob control is available on certain slow cookers, allowing you to set the appliance to low, medium, or high. Because they don’t have timers, you’ll have to keep an eye on your dinner and switch the stove off as needed.

Other slow cookers include programmable controls as well. You may not only set the slow cooker to low, medium, or high, but you can also set a timer for it to turn off at a specified time. These slow cookers often offer a “keep warm” setting, so your meal won’t be chilly when you return home after it’s finished cooking.

Extra options

You may wish to purchase a slow cooker with additional cooking modes, such as browning, sautéing, roasting, or steaming, depending on how you plan to use it.

Slow cookers with these extra settings are normally more expensive, but they can save you from having to clean numerous pots and pans at the end of the night if you’re creating a more complex cuisine.

WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SLOW COOKER

Before adding your ingredients, preheat your slow cooker. Allowing it to warm up for 20 minutes or so before adding your ingredients can make a great difference in the final outcome.

In your slow cooker, utilise fatter, harder meats such short ribs, pig shoulders, chuck roasts, and lamb shanks. Pork tenderloin, for example, is a lean meat that might dry up.

Overcrowding a slow cooker is a recipe for disaster. Fill it only halfway or two-thirds full.

In a slow cooker, dairy products tend to break down, so add milk, yoghurt, sour cream, or other dairy products in the last 15 minutes.

When checking on your slow cooker, don’t lift the lid. The heat will escape, reducing the cooking time. Only check on your meal about a half-hour before it’s done.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker | Removable Easy-Clean Ceramic Bowl | 3.7 L (3-4 People) | Black | [CSC078]
  • Perfect for casseroles, curries, and chilli, plus soups, pot roasts and even desserts
  • 3.7 litre capacity - ideal for couples, small families and batch cooking
  • Removable stoneware ceramic bowl - ideal for serving at the table and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
  • 3 Heat settings: low, high and keep-warm
  • Oven-safe bowl - great for browning a roast or a cheese-topped dish
SaleBestseller No. 2
Morphy Richards Slow Cooker Sear and Stew 460012 3.5L Black Slowcooker
  • Hob proof cooking pot to sear and slow cook in the same pot
  • Cooking pot and glass lid dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Toughened glass lid to monitor cooking
  • Shatter proof cooking pot for peace of mind
Bestseller No. 3
Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow Cooker 6.5L 461011 Red Slowcooker
  • Sear, stew or slow cook in the same pot
  • 6.5L capacity, serving 8-10 people or perfect for batch cooking.
  • Lightweight and durable, dishwasher-safe aluminium cooking pot
  • Low, medium and high cooking settings
  • Transparent, toughened glass lid for monitoring cooking
SaleBestseller No. 4
Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow Cooker 460016 Black and Rose Gold
  • Sear and Stew in the same pot, to enhance the flavour
  • Cooking pot and glass lid dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Toughened glass lid to monitor cooking
  • 3.5L capacity, serves 3-4 portions. Not suitable for induction hobs
  • Dishwasher safe lightweight non-stick cooking pot
SaleBestseller No. 5
Morphy Richards 461013 6.5 Litre Ceramic Slow Cooker, One-Pot Solution, Silver
  • Dishwasher safe pot and lid - Makes meal times even easier
  • Removable ceramic pot - Can be used as a serving dish
  • Toughened glass lid - Transparent to monitor cooking
  • Three cooking settings - Ensure your meals are ready when you are
  • 6.5 Litre Capacity - Serves 10 starters or six main portions comfortably, ideal for families
Bestseller No. 6
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker | Removable Easy-Clean Ceramic Bowl | 1.8L Small Slow Cooker (Serves 1-2 People) | Black | [CSC080]
  • Perfect for casseroles, curries, and chilli, plus soups and even desserts
  • 1.8 litre capacity - ideal for small households
  • Removable stoneware ceramic bowl - ideal for serving at the table and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
  • 3 Heat settings: low, high and keep-warm
  • Oven-safe bowl - great for browning a roast or a cheese-topped dish
Bestseller No. 7
Daewoo SDA1788 6.5L Slow Cooker | Stainless Steel | 3 Heat Settings | Dishwasher Safe Pot & Lid | Power Indicator | Useful Carry Handles | Raised Feet | Manual Temperature Control | 300W, Grey
  • VARIABLE COOKING CONTROL - This slow cooker features 3 different heat settings - Cook at a high or low temperature or even keep already cooked food warm
  • INDICATOR LIGHT - This slow cooker has an inbuilt indicator light so that you can easily see what the status is of your slow cooker
  • REMOVABLE STONEWARE POT - We built this slow cooker with convenience in mind - We've made the stoneware pot removable for easy and mess-free cleaning
  • SEE-THROUGH TEMPERED GLASS LID - Enjoy perfect food every time you use this slow cooker - With a see-through lid you can keep and eye on your favourite meal while it is being cooked or reheated
  • STYLISH DESIGN - Made from robust and durable stainless steel, this slow cooker is ideal for any home kitchen - With a 6. 5L stoneware pot, you can cook meals easily for family and friends
SaleBestseller No. 8
Morphy Richards 461021 6.5L Easy Time Slow Cooker
  • Removes the Guesswork - You select the time, it selects the heat setting
  • Easy Time Selection - Use the dial to set the cooking time required
  • Auto Keep Warm – Meal is ready when you are
  • Count Down Indicator – Easily see how much cooking time is left
  • Over-ride / manual heat setting - For if you need to amend the cooking time
SaleBestseller No. 9
Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker 23200, 3.5 L - Stainless Steel Silver
  • Ideal family size slow cooker, cooks up to four portions of food
  • Three heat settings, high, low and keep warm
  • Glass lid to view food whilst cooking
  • Removable, dishwasher safe pot and lid for easy cleaning
  • Cool touch handles on main body
SaleBestseller No. 10
Crock-Pot Lift and Serve Digital Slow Cooker with Hinged Lid and Programmable Countdown Timer | 4.7 Litre (up to 5 People) [CSC052], Black
  • Digital Timer - Set cooking time from 30 minutes to 20 hours. Auto keep-warm means your dish is ready when you are.
  • Hinged lid - Makes serving and stirring easier. Reduces worktop mess.
  • Dishwasher safe bowl &lid - For easy cleaning.
  • 4.7 Litre ceramic bowl - Ideal for families. Removable so you can serve at the table. Oven-safe.
  • 3 Heat settings - Low, High & Keep-Warm for delicious dishes, from soups and stews to pot roasts and desserts.

Slow Cooker FAQS

How does a slow cooker work?

The three primary elements — the base, the crock, and the lid – work together to distribute heat evenly. The heat rises from the base, where the coils are, to the top of the crock. Most slow cooker crocks are composed of thick stoneware, glazed ceramic, or even nonstick metal, so heat is distributed evenly. Finally, the cover traps heat and steam inside the slow cooker, allowing it to reach and maintain the proper cooking temperature. Almost like a built-in baster, the lid continuously catches steam and returns it to the meal.

What are the benefits of a programmable slow cooker?

Programmable settings allow you more control over slow cooking while also providing a slew of other advantages. Not only can you leave the house while your slow cooker cooks, but you can also set it to cook for a specified amount of time or until it reaches a specific temperature if you use a probe, making it easier to leave the house while it cooks and return to a great dinner. It works in a straightforward manner: choose a heat setting (low or high) and a number of hours or an interior temperature objective. The slow cooker automatically stops cooking and switches to warm when the cooking time is up or the selected temperature is reached, keeping your food at the perfect temperature until you’re ready to serve.

Is it safe to leave a slow cooker on when you’re not home?

A slow cooker is safe to use whether you are not at home or overnight because it was designed to be left on and unattended. The slow cooker may be left on for lengthy periods of time without using much energy because it requires so little power—roughly the same amount of wattage as one and a half 100 watt light bulbs. Always take precautions by reading the instruction manual and following all safety precautions.

Can you wash the base of a slow cooker?

If you’re unsure how to clean the base of your slow cooker, don’t worry—simple! it’s Before you begin cleaning your slow cooker, ensure sure it is switched off, unplugged, and thoroughly cool. Wipe the base with a warm, soapy rag inside and out, then let it air dry. Always follow safety precautions, such as never submerging the entire base in water; this could damage the electric wiring. Consult the Use and Care handbook that came with your slow cooker if you have any additional questions about it.

What’s the difference between round slow cookers and oval-shaped slow cookers?

What matters most about the shape of your slow cooker, whether round or oval, is what you plan to cook in it. Larger, more horizontally shaped meats, such as chickens, chuck roasts, or pot roasts, are better served in an oval dish. Slow cookers that are taller and rounder are excellent for soups and stews. When determining which shape is best for you, keep in mind the number of people you’ll be cooking for and the amount of storage space you have in your kitchen.

Can you make rice in a slow cooker?

Rice should only be cooked in a slow cooker when a recipe calls for it or when it’s part of a dish like chicken and wild rice soup, according to our experts. Otherwise, rice requires a specified amount of time to simmer and a high level of heat—not the low and slow design found in many slow cookers. If you want to make rice more quickly, invest in a rice cooker, which is specifically designed to cook rice, quinoa, and other grains.

What size slow cooker is right for me?

This is a difficult topic to answer because it is dependent on a number of circumstances. What’s the total amount of food you’re preparing? And how many people are we talking about?

Smaller slow cookers (about 3 quarts) are suitable for 1-2 serving meals or serving warm dips and spreads at a gathering. Slow cookers with a capacity of 4-6 quarts are ideal for families or when you need to cook a whole chicken for weekly meal prep. Slow cookers with a capacity of up to 10 quarts are ideal for feeding a crowd or batch cooking. You may find that you need several slow cookers — one tiny for appetisers, one medium for weeknight dinners, and one huge for parties and potlucks.

Why is there a hole on my slow cooker lid?

This opening allows steam to escape and prevents the crock from overheating. During the cooking process, your slow cooker traps steam, which is one of the reasons your food is so juicy, but releasing a little steam keeps the internal pressure stable. Don’t worry if your slow cooker’s lid doesn’t have a little vent. Some types are built with a tiny gap between the lid and the stoneware to allow steam to escape.

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