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.
Top Best Slow Cooker Reviews
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, as these crock pots have been ruling the kitchen industry throughout this year.
#1. Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer
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.
The three-in-one cooker refers to the three different modes that you can set it to cook. The cooking modes are fully programmable. Select from saute, steam and slow cook to get the right level of heat for your intended activity
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.
The glass lid includes a handle that stays cool even after cooking for hours. This is essential for safe cooking, and it will make it easier for you to add food during the cooking process to make exceptional meals.
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.
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) Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
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.
If you’re planning a picnic party with your family members, don’t forget to load SCCPVL610-S in your bag pack. The best rated crock pot offers a 6-quart size which is best for families with 6 to 8 members.
Inside the unit, is a removable oval stoneware piece that can be removed and placed on your table for a stylish upgrade to your dinner. The programmable digital control makes it possible for you to cook from 30 minutes to 20 hours. This is long enough to cook most any entree. You'll be able to fit a six-pound roast in this slow cooker if you like.
One exceptional aspect of this slow cooker is the removable stoneware that is included with the product. The stoneware can be placed in the oven and microwave, which are both places where the pot itself cannot go. This gives you an added layer of versatility to ensure that you're able to get the best cook possible.
#3. Hamilton Beach (33967A) With Temperature Probe
The Hamilton Beach Set N' Forget slow cooker has a lot of features that you would normally only find on higher priced units. The temperature probe lets you know exactly when your food is ready. You'll know the exact temperature of your food since it displays on the outside of the unit. The system allows you to program when you want to start cooking your food. This unit should provide you with years of use, and you'll be able to enjoy the simple automated cooking that this unit provides.
If the power goes out while this is cooking, it can recover provided the power outage isn't too long. This is a nice feature that will prevent an occasional loss of power from destroying your carefully prepared meal. Even higher end units don't always come with this feature. The unit also offers a clip-on spoon to ensure that you don't lose your utensils.
The clip-tight lid features a gasket lid, so you won't have to worry about your contents spilling over during cooking or traveling. While the unit is a bit heavy, you should have no problem transporting your cooking around with you thanks to the large easy-grip handles on the side of the unit. This unit offers remarkable utility, and it's large enough to cook a small roast or a dinner for a medium-sized family.
The settings allow you to select from probe, program and manual. If you select the probe option, it will stay on until the probe registers the desired temperature. The program option allows you to set the cooking time. With the manual option, you can set it to high, low or warm to use it like a traditional crock pot. The probe and program settings will automatically switch to the warm setting when it's finished cooking.
#4. Hamilton Beach (33473) Slow Cooker, 7-Quart
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.
#5. Crock-Pot (SCCPVL600S) Carry Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
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.
#6. Proctor-Silex (33043) 4-Quart Slow Cooker
This may be the best crock pot for a young couple or a college student. In both cases, the owner will be able to cook meals for small, intimate gatherings. Put in a three-pound roast and you'll be good to go at the end of the day. The best crock pots offer convenience and a time-saving design. While this unit offers minimal features, it is designed to help you get the most from your meals.
This is one of the top crock pots that are available for people who want to enjoy a full meal. The unit only comes with the basic settings, including warm, high and low. When it is done cooking, the unit won't automatically switch to the warm setting. Additionally, it's not possible to put the unit on a timer. Although, the low setting is fairly effective at cooking all day long so that you can enjoy a meal at the end of the day.
The unit doesn't have a rubber seal to keep liquids from escaping while traveling. It may get a bit messy if you need to take the entire crock pot with you on your next outing. For the price, this unit offers an exceptional design that really can't be beaten. You'll enjoy a well-made crock pot that cooks your food for you while you're away. The stoneware is also safe to put in the oven, but it's not recommended to heat the stoneware in this manner.
#7. Crock-Pot (SCV700SS) 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
The unit offers a lot of features, and this makes it one of the top rated crock pots in its price range.
With a 7-quart crock pot, you can cook a lot of food. This crock pot offers a traditional design, and you'll be able to cook stews, roasts, meats and other food items with ease using the intelligent design of this product.
It does exactly what you need, and there are no complicated settings that make this a chore to use. When it comes time to serve dinner, you'll have enough food to serve more than eight people. The low setting works well if you plan on leaving it on while you're at work. The high setting is perfect for cooking up a quick meal for the family.
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.
While choosing a slow cooker is a daunting task, it's important to remember that the best slow cooker is one that fits your needs. If you never cook meat, you won't need a slow cooker that comes with a temperature probe. Think about what it is you plan to make with your slow cooker, and then pick the best option for your budget.
Higher end slow cookers tend to have more safety mechanisms that will allow you additionally peace of mind to ensure that your slow cooker is safe to use. The best slow cookers will also make it possible to take the cooker along with you, and they will often use interlocking lids with rubber seals to protect your food and car from spillage.
Choose the slow cooker that will give you the most enjoyment. If you like to mess with settings, then go for a more advanced model to get the perfect cooking time. For those of you who prefer a set it and forget it approach, then a crock pot may be the best option for you.
Don't hesitate, start cooking delicious meals in your slow cooker by ordering your slow cooker today. You won't regret the decision to make a small investment that pays for itself through increased time and energy.
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.