Slow cookers already have a long history, but the old slow cookers were not the same as the modern slow cookers. At the very first beginning, people used a cast iron to hold food to simmer and that might be the best way to make even tough meat tenderized. Later on, Dutch ovens became very popular due to their high-hat tops and large pot-like bottoms. In some sense, you can say they were slow cookers because they were similar to the modern slow cookers. They had a large capacity and were able to contain and cook a large amount of food for even a large family. Once one oven was placed on the stove top to be heated, it went on cooking. Slow cookers are also called as crock pots. Crock pots have 2 ways to heat themselves. Some have a built-in heating element which surrounds the entire cock, while the others have a heated base that allows the crock to be rested on. They can be heated to a minimum of 200 degrees. Some can offer a higher temperature for a fast cooking. However, even the lowest temperature is able to kill salmonella bacteria. Therefore, slow cookers don’t mean low temperatures.
The reason we need a slow cooker is that we need to cook for our family. Therefore, we choose the best slow cookers for you and they can satisfy your requirements.
- Larger Capacity – They are all at least 4-quart capacity. The larger capacity also means high efficiency, because large crocks can store more ingredients which can store more heat and heat cannot be easily lost. Compared with larger crocks, smaller crocks may lose heat easily, so they need to run longer to cook food. And this will waste much energy.
- Cook food evenly (precise temperature control) – Another reason we select them is that every of them will offer you a great performance. They will cook your food under a precise temperature. They can heat your food evenly.
- Removable design – Unlike old style crock pots, their bases and crocks can be removable. This design means you can easily clean your crock separately.
- A least 1-year warranty – All of them offer at least 1-year warranty, so you don’t need to worry about their quality.
Best Slow Cooker
Westinghouse WSC801RD 8-Quart Slow Cooker with matching 0.6-Quart Sauce Warmer
This Westinghouse slow cooker is an 8-quart cooker. Unlike other units, it has 2 separate crocks. This design is very useful. The large crock can be used to cook a main meal, while the smaller crock can be used to heat sauce, keep gravy warm, or melt chocolate/butter. The removable feature allows you to easily clean it. They are all dishwasher safe.
Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Stay Or Go Slow Cooker
This Hamilton slow cooker is a 7-quart cooker and it is also the only slow cooker that is very portable. The cover latch will not allow any ingredient to spill out, because it secures tightly. And the hinged lid can make the cover always placed in the right position. It has 3 temperature settings.
Bella BLA13898 Diamonds Collection Manual Slow Cooker
This is a larger slow cooker and the capacity is 6-quart. It has a removable crock, a glass cover and a base. It even offers 3 essential temperature settings and you can easily set the temperature by using its dial. Plus, it is also very affordable.
Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S 6-Quart Countdown Slow Cooker
This best crock pot is programmable, which means you can program the accurate time in when you need it to cook for you. Of course, the cooker is also removable and can be used to brown food even on a stove top. You can first heating the crock on your stove top to quickly be heated and then move the crock back into its base for slow cooking. It is also very easy to clean. The base could be wiped by a damp cloth to clean and the crock could be cleaned in your dishwasher.
West Bend 84905 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker
This best slow cooker has a heated base and a removable crock. With its rotary dial, you can easily control the temperature. It allows you to choose up to 5 different temperature settings. The base can be wiped to clean with a damp cloth. The crock is also very easy to clean. You can clean it by hand or just throw it into your dishwasher to wash. It is dishwasher safe. What’s more, you can place the crock on any stove top to heat. Therefore, you don’t need to buy a Dutch oven any more.
Slow Cooker Buying Guide
The best slow cooker has the following features:
- Easy-to-use, intuitive controls: Slow cookers are simple devices. The manual or digital controls should be simple and intuitive that you only have to push a button to operate the appliance.
- Sturdy and adaptable insert: The slow cooker insert should be safe for use on a dishwasher to make cleanup easy. Some models can also be used inside a refrigerator, an oven, and on a stovetop. This makes it easy to cook and store. Stoneware inserts are sturdier compared to metal inserts featuring non-stick coating. But, you should remember that all models are still prone to peeling and cracking.
- See-through cover that mounts properly: The cover should mount properly to prevent heat from escaping the slow cooker and allow food to reach the correct temperature. The cover should be see-through so you can check how the food is cooking without having to open the cover.
- Durable handles that are heat-proof: One common complaint of slow cooker owners is that the exterior can become too hot to touch. This is unavoidable, but heat-proof handles allow you to bring dinner into the dining room without getting burned.
- Automated warning indicator: Programmable slow cookers should have a feature that keeps the food warm after it is cooked. While this feature does not come with manual slow cookers, it should be something to look for in the appliance if you will leave it unattended for a long period of time.
- Added features to make it adaptable: A number of slow cookers have numerous cooking modes, including steam, roast, and sauté. While these modes are not needed for basic slow cookers, you may need them if you are cooking complicated dishes since they allow you to cook without using other pots and pans.
Things to consider
What are the dishes you will cook? Oval slow cookers are ideal for cooking large slabs of meat, including chicken or a whole roast. In contrast, cooking soup, chili, pasta, and stew require a round slow cooker.
How big is the slow cooker you need? Smaller households require a small slow cooker that has a capacity of less than four quarts. This model is good enough for a small number of people. Families with at least four people may require a slow cooker with a capacity of at least four or five quarts while big groups require a model with a six-quart capacity. You should also think about the space available in the kitchen. Large capacity models occupy a big space, which means counter or storage space should be big. But, results may not be ideal if the food you cook is too much or too little no matter what unit size you have.
Will you bring the slow cooker around? Bringing a slow cooker around is a good idea if you regularly attend neighborhood get-togethers to ensure the food remains warm at the event. You should make sure the cover locks properly into place to keep the food from spilling. The portable slow cooker should also feature an easy-to-grip handle and a power cord that retracts.
Are the cover and inserts replaceable? Many slow cooker owners have a common issue with their units, the glass cover and inserts are prone to damage. Due to this, you have to check if the cover and inserts are replaceable or would you need to buy a new one in case they break.
Can you monitor the slow cooker all the time? Slow cookers are favored by busy families since they do not have to monitor them all the time. But, you would still want to follow guidelines in food safety by avoiding food to remain unattended at a low temperature for an extended period of time. The Food and Drug Administration says the risk of bacteria increases when temperature goes under 140 degrees. A programmable model with a long timer is best for people working long hours since it allows them to use the ”keep warm” function after it’s cooked. It also ensures the food remains warm and prevents overcooking.
This is our list of top 5 best slow cookers. For every family, a slow cooker is a must-have small kitchen appliance. If you need to buy one, you can choose one of them.
If you are interested in using a slow cooker to cook food for your family, these slow cooker recipes may help you: