Slow cookers and Crock-Pots are ideal for for anyone needing convenience without losing sleep that they will have a fine supper waiting for them when they have set the unit to cook. Who wouldn’t warm to the prospect of a well cooked braise with the meat literally falling off the bone, casserole or a stew ? The great benefit is a piece of kit like this needs little supervision because once the settings are made it is just a case of waiting for the alarm.
A number of Crock Pots and slow cookers are also multifunctional. It means that you can do away with lots of pots and pans because of this versatility. Most pots are 6 quart although larger sizes are possible and suited to the size of the serving required. A 6 quart pot should serve 7 people at least. Any larger suggests you have a larger number of mouths to feed. Look for ones which are dishwasher safe and have a non-stick cooking pot. If you are looking for single-serve models than there are plenty of good 1.5 Quart to 2 Quart versions about.
Many slow cookers should have a browning and sauteing function because that adds to the range of functions.
The problem for all us consumers is which one do we choose ?
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Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker
A rather neat and wait for it, portable model. That is unusual but it is a feature which is worth noting because it can be taken on long breaks, used for a barbecue, a party or what in the USA is called the potluck but what we might fashionably describe as a stew. The portability is possible because of the snap-and-fold handle. The lid is single clip and seals into its base. Can be dishwashed and comes with three heat settings. Many Amazon reviewers have never had a burnt offering and once the slow cooker is mastered will produce consistently cooked food.
One issue that appears though – the low heat setting may be misleading in strength as it heats up a bit too quickly which does not lend well to prolonged cooking. The other gripe and this is common to all crock pots opf a certain design is that the latch is at the front of the pot. Having finished the cooking, to open requires an oven glove to properly handle the lid on the unit to avoid steam scalding. It is however loved by many.
Volume = 6 Quarts or 7 Quarts
Crock-Pot SCCPVMC63-SJ 3-in-1 Multi-Cooker
A classic name in slow cooking and to be honest it was difficult to find one amongst the great number that would be a representative as they have such a high reputation. Highly versatile and used by many for cooking meals during the week and with a digital display. Easy to use and the pot interior is non-stick which in today’s kitchen is a must. Not as heavy either. The version on offer is of stainless steel which is ideal material for cookware.
The unit has a timer. Apparently, reviewers use it to warm rolls and other baked goods where it doubles up as a an equivalent small oven so that is useful. Many users find it simple and straightforward with a light dome that means it can be handled by those with issues picking up heavy objects. Good for saute chicken but a 6 Quart will not do a whole bird so forget the turkey unless it is in pieces.
Volume = 6 Quarts
Magic Mill 5-In-1, 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
Like the Crock-Pot, one with a non-stick surface pot for ease of cleaning. It is straightforward to use although with a few more buttons than some of the other counterparts. Good for searing meat which means the days of burning a chop or joint on the fire is now over and done with ! Again a good model for browning and sautéing.
Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker
At the other end of the scale comes this 1.5 Quart pot which is ideal for a single serving. There is a 2 Quart capacity model but in truth this one is ideal for a one-off supper or for left overs. Will do a pound of beef if the 2 quart is used.The pot comes in a number of colours and is of stoneware which is unusual. Has three heat settings which are low, high and a warming function. One of the most popular models on offer. The pot and lid are also dishwashable.
Volume = 1.5 Quart and 2 Quart
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
The all singing and all dancing slow cooker which can handle most situations. One of the most popular products for the price because it combines so many functions in one multi-purpose kitchen cooker. Lots of programs, lots of sophisticated bells and whistles and frankly beats most of the other appliances into a cocked hat when it comes to versatility.
Volume = 6 Quarts