Imagine throwing a few items in your slow cooker as you rush out the door for work in the morning. When you come home, the aromas from the slow cooker waft through the air and ensnare your sense of taste and smell. Walk on over to your slow cooker, and you'll find your meal ready and waiting for you to enjoy. When you're finished with your meal, you'll be able to clean up a single pot and not have to worry about cleaning up several pots and pans that were used during the cooking process.
The slow cooker has long been used with great success to create a variety of meals that are enjoyable and healthy. Throw some carrots, celery, potatoes and leeks in there, and then add some broth to make a delicious stew for when you return. Add a roast, and you're going to find yourself eating like royalty. Slow cookers can make a diverse selection of foods. You'll be able to make desserts, roasts, stews, soups and all kinds of delicious meals with the right slow cooker.
While the idea of a slow cooker is enticing, you'll only enjoy your experience if you get a slow cooker that matches your needs and personality. Because of this, we've compiled a list of the best slow cookers. Our list is sure to have the best slow cooker for your needs.
- Slow cooker features a secure housing that allows a cooking pot to heat slowly, making sure that all ingredients are cooked to perfection. They have tightly sealed lid at the top that prevents heat loss and also preserves taste, flavor and texture of the cooked food.
- Advancement and changes have made it possible for slow cookers to store food for hours without losing its nutrition value. This is where, people, especially working women find slow cookers quite alluring. They can pour the ingredients before going to work and when they come back, the fresh food is ready to be served. They can also store the leftover and use it for the next meal, and that saves time.
Since the launch of first model, slow cookers kept on gaining popularity. People love the quality of food cooked in a slow cooker. According to NDP Group, in 2014, more than 83% households in America were using slow cookers, and the usage was expected to rise with time. Moreover, the demand of the slow cookers today is twice than what it was in 1980.
Best Slow Cookers 2017
There are plenty of designs and don’t forget that there are plenty of sizes and other features accompanying these utensils. So, in order to save you from confusion, or making a false decision, we have some top rated slow cookers just for you. And there is every reason to go through our slow cooker reviews 2017, as these crock pots have been ruling the kitchen industry throughout this year.
#1 Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1
Cuisinart is a trusted brand, and this cooker offers exceptional value for the price. Slow cooker reviews often rate this model as one of the top-rated slow cookers available. One look at this cooker and you can see why so many people love this product. It offers one-touch operating convenience, an extra-large backlight to clearly see what you're doing and a non-stick pot that makes cleanup a breeze.
Construction wise, MSC-600 3-in-1 Multi-Cooker consists of a stainless steel exterior. There is a control panel showing all functions, along with a blue backlit LCD display at the front.
There is a removable cooking pot made of non-stick aluminium. Cooking pots of other similar models are made of ceramic material, which gives this model an advantage. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, is more durable and goes through less wear and tears. You can always renew aluminum. So, the cooking pot indicates, the slow cooker will stay with your for a lifetime.
You can see the glass lid on top, but what you cannot see is, it’s a Cool-Touch glass material. The handles are also made of cool-touch material, making it easier to lift the lid even when the food is being cooked. Cuisinart MSC-600 has a wider pot than other models and the product weighs 3-4 pounds more than ordinary slow cooker.
Cuisinart MSC-600 offers all functions that you have seen in any digital slow cooker. It automatically shifts to “Keep Warm” feature as soon as the food is cooked, or your meat reached optimum temperature. All the components and internal parts, including the steaming rack, are removable and can be cleaned effortlessly.
If you need more functions other than slow cooking, the best crock-pot offers two more. It can brown your meat and saute your veggies before finally shifting to slow cooker mode. There is a Cook Central for preps and can prepare desserts for you. It can also help steam your stuffed artichokes and veggies.
Cuisinart MSC-600 can be very slow, because it can stretch the cooking time up to 24 hours. On the other hand, if you need the meal quick, it’ll take just half an hour to do so. There are three temperature settings. You can choose from high, simmer and low. Another amazing feature of this best programmable slow cooker is the temperature range. It can reach up to 400oF.
#2 Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker is one popular model from the makers Crock Pot. It has been ruling the industry for a while now.
The top rated slow cooker offers a 6-quart size which is best for families with 6 to 8 members. Besides, there are some really impressive features to talk about.
First thing’s first, when you cook good food, you want to enjoy it outdoors, don’t you? For picnics and outdoor parties, this slow cooker is the best as you can carry your food in it. If you wonder why, take a look at the lid again. It’s a locking gasket lid that not only saves the taste and smell of the food during journey, but it will also prevent it from messing up. You can keep the food in the crock pot for up to 6 hours.
There is a digital timer, a heating base and a stoneware cooking pot. Cooking is fairly easy as SCCPVL610-S Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker offers just three steps to cook the food.
- Step 1: Simply put the stoneware onto the heating base and add all the ingredients.
- Step 2: Carefully cover the lid and plug your slow cooker to the power source.
- Step 3: Choose appropriate temperature and time from the menu, and wait till the utensil cooks your favorite recipe.
If you think you should stick with the pot to see when your meal will be done, you’re wrong. As soon as the food is cooked, the best programmable slow cooker automatically puts it on the “warm” mode. The slow cooker features 240-watt powerful DC motor that consumes just 120V. Finally, you’re getting 1-year limited warranty, with this amazing cooking utensil.
#3 Hamilton Beach 33967 Slow Cooker
If you’re too concerned about the price, yet you don’t want to compromise on the quality of the slow cooker, then Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe (33967) may be the best choice for you. And the utensil itself has quite a few features other than price.
To start with, Hamilton Beach 33967 Slow Cooker offers you three choices for automatic cooking.
- There is a “Program” option to enable you to set the cooking time according to your requirements. Once the cooking time is up, the slow cooker automatically converts to “Keep Warm” mode.
- Secondly, there is a “Probe” mode, handy for preparing large cuts of meat. You can prepare chicken, lamb chops and roasts in it. All you need is insert the probe then adjust the temperature of the meat to a particular level. Probe mode ensure that your meat shifts to Keep Warm mode automatically, once it’s cooked.
- Finally, Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker also has something for traditional cooks. It offers manual controls at your own temperature. Just choose the temperature from high, moderate and low. Cooking time will be adjusted automatically.
There is a thermometer probe which is becomes handy when you want to know the internal temperature. It keeps you updated with the temperature status, by means of LED display at the control panel. Another positive is its ability to tightly hold the food in position on long journeys. That’s possible due to clip-tight gasket lid. It also keeps the food from messing up.
Hamilton Beach 33967 Slow Cooker can prepare a meal for up to 7 adults at a time. Now, combine capacity with the cooking time (30 minutes – 20 hours) and you’ll find this slow cooker matching your needs.
#4 Hamilton Beach 33461
One of the elements that set this slow cooker apart from the bunch is the extreme portability of the cooker. It's not a small cooker, but it is an effective cooker that will have you enjoying your next meal on the go if necessary. This is the perfect cooker to bring along with you to your next potluck, and it provides all of the right options to ensure you present your meal in its best state possible.
The top-rated slow cookers have an automatic switch that moves from the cooking mode to a warming mode. If you're looking for the best programmable slow cooker, this is not the right cooker for you. While it isn't the best-rated slow cooker, this does have many features you would find in the best crock pot. The lid is made from glass, which means you're safe from toxins that can leach from plastics. The pot itself is made from ceramic material.
This is one of the best crock pots for traveling because it offers a very simple design. If you're bringing your food along in your crockpot, you want people to be able to easily control the settings. Cook the food at home, and then set the crock pot to a low setting for a few minutes to heat it up. Then, turn it to warm, and you'll be ready for a night of great food and fun. Cleaning is also a breeze with a hinged lid that stays up in the dishwasher.
#5 Hamilton Beach 33473
Hamilton Beach produces many top slow cookers, and you'll find that this slow cooker gives you excellent results every time. The meals are easily programmable, and you won't have to sit around waiting for your meal to complete. The top-rated slow cookers are designed to be safe to use unattended. This rice cooker is made from parts that won't degrade or breakdown. You'll enjoy a long life thanks to the stainless steel design and ceramic pot.
If you're trying to decide what the slow cooker for you is, you'll want to check out this option. It's affordably priced, and it will provide you with years of solid use thanks to the advanced design and heating element. It offers several options so you can customize your cooking experience, and you'll enjoy the ability to fit entire meals large enough for a big family.
The best slow cookers offer a wraparound design, and this slow cooker will do just that to help you get an even cook throughout. Whether you're cooking up a batch of soup or preparing a whole chicken, this slow cooker will give you the optimal cooking presets that are designed to ensure your food comes out perfect each time. When checking out slow cooker reviews, you'll find that the best products use stoneware, a latched lid and are capable of cooking for at least 12 hours. This unit meets all of those requirements and more.
#6 Hamilton Beach 33182A
The Hamilton Beach 8-quart slow cooker is one of the top-rated slow cookers for someone who wants a simple approach to cooking a meal. It doesn't have the options that the best programmable slow cooker has, and it is still one of the best-rated slow cooker options for people who need to travel with their crock pot.
This unit is designed for the individual who wants something simple and effective. It is capable of storing a large amount of food. If you need to feed many people, this option will give you the most value. However, it comes at the expense of more advanced features like a thermometer probe, clip-tight lid, single clip seals and programmable options. Provided you want the best crock pot that utilizes a simple design with minimal extra features, this is the product you should be looking for.
When it comes to producing large meals, this crock pot will make it possible to cook most anything your oven can cook. The crock pot offers a traditional dial that makes it possible to choose from low cook, high cook and warm settings to keep your food warm. Since the messiest parts can be thrown in the wash at the end of the day, this slow cooker offers old school charm with a modern design and attitude.
#7 Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S
As we get into the budget range crock pot options, there are still quite a few high-quality products to consider. The crock pot Cook' N Carry offers premium materials with a silver or red exterior and oval stoneware that is designed to allow seven or more people to enjoy a six-pound roast. The high, low and warm settings are ideal for individuals who want to make stew, sauce, chili and even a small roast.
When traveling, you're well protected with the lid-mounted locking system that will help you take your food on the road. The crock pot is a bit smaller than some of its more expensive counterparts, but it will work well for traveling. Since it's a bit more top-heavy due to its size, just be careful to secure the crock pot before driving away.
The latch is great for preventing spills while traveling and it covers the vent holes that should remain open during the cooking process. The stoneware is able to be used in the oven, and you can easily remove the stoneware from the crock pot. You'll also love the way the low and high setting on this crock pot work. The low setting and the high setting both use the same temperature of about 209 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is that with the low setting it will cycle on and off between heat and rest more slowly than the fast setting, which makes the low setting take longer to cook.
#8 Crock-Pot SCCPVC605-S
The Little Dipper is widely regarded as one of the best slow cookers for people who love to dip. It comes with a small 16-ounce warmer that works to keep dips warm throughout the night. This is a great feature for those who always wished the cheese or marinara dip would stay warmer for longer. As one of the top slow cookers for people on a budget, this slow cooker will help you get more accomplished in less time.
As one of the top-rated slow cookers, it will count the amount of time that the unit has been in operation. It will also allow you to warm for up to six hours before shutting off. This means you can cook your meals without worrying about how long it takes to get your family together to eat.
#9 Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS
Crock-Pot has been quite popular because of its unique slow cookers. In fact, it’s become synonymous to the name “Slow cooker”. This new programmable touchscreen cooker seems to take the legacy to new levels. Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6.5 Quart Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker in Silver looks quite attractive and spacious. That’s due to the polished stainless steel exterior. But it has more than attractiveness. Let’s see what it has on offer.
First and foremost, the slow cooker offers ½ quarts more than ordinary slow cookers, thanks to the oval shaped design. The cooking pot is a traditional Crock-Pot, made of stoneware. It is removable so that you can easily serve your meal without having to pour it in a bowl.
Another noteworthy feature of this slow cooker has been its control panel. It’s all touchscreen and it goes well with the overall design of the utensil. So the problem of stuck button or pressing to hard has been eradicated by this model. You can easily program your cooking time, although there are some built-in programs for common recipes.
Another excellent feature, and quite fairly, most demanded option has been the automatic keep-warm feature. That means, you don’t have to stand close to the pot waiting for the food to cook, as it shifts your cooked meal to warm without troubling you. That also means, that your food will not be overcooked.
Take a look at the handles at either side. They are made of metal and have a silicone stay-cool wrap, so that you can pick up the cooker from the burning stove anytime. No need for cloths or pads.
Stainless steel material is quite durable and a good conductor of heat. Moreover, the material is fairly easy to clean and wash. Since we’re talking about cleaning, the crock that will have your food, is also dishwasher safe. Plus, the glass lid at the top is also easy-to-clean. In short, you hardly spend time in washing and cleaning this amazing cooking utensil.
Well, slow cookers don’t often come with additional accessories and same is the case with this one. But the manufacturers are thoughtful enough to give you a smooth start by offering a bonus cookbook with the product. Lastly, and more importantly, you’re getting 1-year limited warranty with this purchase.
#10 Crock-Pot SCCPVL600-R
If you love to go out for picnics and throw outdoor parties, you may not be too interested in digital slow cooker models. All you need is a slow cooker that offers complete manual control, and this is the reason why Crock-Pot comes up with this amazing cooking pot.
Best thing about this slow cooker is, it falls within the budget of almost every household. On the other hand it gives quite a competition to other models, digital though. From the outside, the oval shaped slow cooker is 15 inch long, 10 inch wide and has a 15 inch high. The exterior has a stainless finish, so it’s quite durable and good for car rides.
Second noteworthy factor is the lid mounted locking system. And that’s why, it’s the best utensil to take your food outdoors. The secure fit lid is properly secured at each end offers tight seal, so that the meal inside cannot lose its freshness and taste. At the same time, it helps prevent the food from messing.
With 6 quart capacity, you can cook a meal for 7 – 8 people at once. It’s so spacious that you can prepare a six pound roast in it. You can set the internal temperature to high, low and warm depending upon your choice. There is an old-fashioned knob at the front with temperature indications. At these temperatures you can prepare anything, from chilies to stews, sauces to roasts, and more!
The stoneware is quite attractive. You can easily transfer it to the refrigerator or present your food on the dinner table in it. The stoneware and glass lid, both are dishwasher safe, so your time for cleaning will be reduced.
What’s the Difference between Ordinary Cooking and Slow Cooking
There is a fair difference between the taste and quality of the food cooked in ordinary pots and slow cooker. Because of the slow heat, the internal temperature inside the slow cooker changes very smoothly, extracting the accurate taste and flavor from every single ingredient.
Another advantage of slow cooker is, the food is heated not only from the bottom but from the sides as well. This makes the temperature of the food even from top to bottom. As a result, the food comes out evenly balanced.
In traditional pots, the food continuously loses its taste and nutrition in the form of steam, but slow cookers normally feature tightly held lids that keep the steam inside. So, the heat loss is minimal and the taste and flavor is preserved.
When it comes to cooking time, there is an apparent difference between the two processes.
- If a recipe takes 15 to 30 minutes in a normal pot, it will take from 1 to 2 hours in a slow cooker (on high) or up to 6 hours (on low).
- Recipes that take between half an hour and 1 hour in normal pans, will from 3 hours (on high temperature) to 7 hours (on low temperature) in slow cooker.
- If your recipe is already slow i.e. takes 1 to 2 hours in ordinary pan, then in slow cooker, it will up to 4 hours on high temperature and up to 7 hours on low temperature.
- For recipes that take up to 4 hours on stovetop, they will easily take up to 6 hours on slow cooker, on high temperature. If you set the temperature to low, the recipe will take up to 12 hours.
Benefits of Using a Slow Cooker
While there are many benefits to using a slow cooker, one of the greatest benefits is the ability to create healthy meals at home with minimal effort. A slow cooker also won't heat up your house in the same way an oven might, and you can avoid the potential nuking of your food in the microwave. Cooking your food slowly helps retain many of the nutrients, and your dishes will come out moist and perfectly cooked each time.
With a slow cooker, the entire temperature of the food rises and stays at a consistent heat for the duration of the cooking time. Many slow cookers use a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since meat is safe at 165 degrees, the slow cooker over the course of eight hours will bring your meat up to a safe temperature without drying it out or overcooking the food. Rather than charring your meat, you can enjoy a healthier and more convenient meal with a slow cooker.
The slow cooker will also help you save time. Imagine throwing all of your ingredients into the slow cooker and then playing with your kids, reading that novel or just relaxing in front of the television. This is all possible with a slow cooker, and with the easy cleanup, you won't feel like you're slaving away in the kitchen all day just to enjoy a nice meal when you get home at night. Slow cookers often come with probes that ensure your foods get to the right temperature, and you'll love the aromas that seize your household as the slow cooker works tirelessly to prepare your dinner.
Slow Cooker Safety and Maintenance Tips
While a slow cooker is safe to use at home, you'll be glad to know that it's one of the safest methods for preparing foods. The United States Department of Agriculture notes that a slow cooker will cook food slowly at a temperature of about 170 to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The low heat helps make your meats more tender and juicy, and the direct heat, lengthy cooking time and steam destroy potential bacteria. However, there is a rule that all chefs know, which is that you can't make unsafe food safe again. Make sure to properly refrigerate your food and handle it properly.
On the mechanical side of things, you should not put your slow cooker underneath a cabinet. When possible, put the slow cooker in the center of the room so that you are able to avoid contact with any elements that may catch fire. The slow cooker is safe, and despite some of the fear-mongering about slow cookers catching fire, this is extremely unlikely to happen if you follow the instructions on your slow cooker and use it as intended.
If the power goes out while you're away from home, you'll have to throw away the meal you've prepared. Even if it looks done, you don't know how long the food has been sitting and if it finished cooking.
Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Using Your Slow Cooker
Slow cooking is a bit of an art form, but it's also so easy anybody can get started right away making incredible meals. If you want to enjoy the best taste and texture, then you need to avoid these five common mistakes that people who are new to slow cooking inevitably make.
1. Don't Use Raw Meat
Sure, if you like, you can use raw meat and it will turn out fine at the end of the day. But, while you can use raw meat, it's always going to turn out a bit better if you sear your meat first. The browning process helps to give the meat more flavor and texture.
2. Adding Herbs Immediately
While you might not have a choice, adding herbs at the beginning of the cooking process will result in a browned herb that doesn't do what you intended. A better option is to boil some water with the herbs in the water. Then, add about 1/2 cup of that water to the crock pot to flavor your meal. When you get home, add the fresh herbs to your crock pot for a half hour and enjoy your meal.
3. Don't Remove the Lid
Removing the lid will reduce the heat of your cook, and it will let valuable moisture out of the slow cooker. Avoid the tendency to check, just trust the slow cooker to do its job and wait patiently until your meal is ready.
4. Use the Right Meat
If you're cooking meat in your slow cooker, it's important to include the right kind. The cheaper cuts are often the best ones for a slow cooker. Your steaks and tender cuts of meat are best made on the stove or barbecue. The inexpensive are less tender, so they won't fall apart so easily.
5. Ditch the Alcohol
Many people will use spirits like Vodka to bring out the flavors while cooking. This works on a stove top where the moisture can release, but this doesn't happen in a slow cooker. With a slow cooker, you'll end up with a taste that is more like pure alcohol. The alcohol can't reduce in the slow cooker, which makes it a poor choice for your recipes.
Now that you have read about the top rated slow cookers 2017, you’ve had a fair idea which one’s best for you. And you must have found these slow cooker reviews quite informative too. The reason is, with so many models in the market these days, you need to do a lot of thinking before choosing the best slow cooker for your kitchen. Therefore, we have considered each and every factor a customer should consider.
Even if you’re not satisfied with this list, and are looking for more, here are few things you should keep in mind while shortlisting your options.
- Consider the technical specs, such as functionality, power wattage, material construction, ease-of-use and durability.
- Consider what customers have said about the product. Why they adore it and what made them disappointed.
- Always keep your preferences in mind, whether you should go for a digital model or a manual model. How often you are going to use it and whether you use it at home or outdoors.
- Compare the benefits with your requirements. While price isn’t always the factor to consider, look for the benefits other than price.
- If you cannot make up your mind, or are stuck with two or three options, read slow cooker reviews by experts and see which model performs better.