A slow cooker, or colloquially known as a crock pot, is a kitchen appliance that uses the benefits of slow-boiling food. Simmering at lower temperatures extracts flavours from meats and vegetables without burning it. It is one of those tools that enable you to set-it-and-forget-it and your food will be ready in a few hours.
The best slow cookers allow you to serve less expensive cuts of meat that may be tough to chew, reduce the chances of burning your food, as well as help free up the stovetop in the process.
Are you ready to buy one yet? Yes? Make sure to read our slow cooker reviews to see our top 10 recommendations!
Top 10 Best Slow Cookers Comparison
|Product Name||Bowl Material||Capacity||Timer?||Our Rating||Price|
|Stainless Steel||6 L||Yes|
|Ceramic Stoneware||5.7 L||Yes|
|Coated Stainless Steel||2.2 L||Yes|
What Is a Slow Cooker?
The modern slow cooker hasn’t changed much in its design since it was popularised in the 1970s. Most have an oval pot and a lid made out of porcelain or glass. An electric heating element heats it up.
A slow cooker is more than just simmering food; it is a replica of a low-pressure seal. If you are interested in investing in your first one, then the factors that will be most important are the overall size of the pan and its capacity. The modern versions have revolutionised from a constant heat source, with programmable temperature settings that will simmer at low, medium, or high heat.
Parts of a Slow Cooker
- The cover will typically be made of glass, but some models may have reinforced plastic to seal the moisture in.
- The actual “crock.” The oval chassis from ceramic, porcelain, or steel is where the actual cooking will take place.
- The base is fixed to a heating component. You want to pick a one that not only heats up the bottom of the pot, but also the sides. This type of heat application ensures that dish is evenly cooked, which is of particular importance if you are searing meat.
Confusing the Slow Cooker with Other Kitchen Appliances
The design of a slow cooker is akin to other appliances, like a pressure cooker. Even though they may look alike, they have different mechanisms.
Pressure cookers can quickly steam foods until it is thoroughly cooked, with ingredients sealed within the pressure cooker being cooked in minutes. Unlike a slow cooker, a pressure cooker is best left for those with more culinary skills and how ingredients go together. This is simply because you cannot remove the lid in a pressure cooker while it’s still on the stove, barring you from visual cues that your food is thoroughly cooked and ready to be consumed. New models of slow cookers combine capabilities from pressure cookers, making it a multi-functional kitchen appliance.
A slow cooker is safer and easier to use. Even though it will not cook as fast as a pressure cooker, the slow simmering extracts the natural flavours in the ingredients. They’re also convenient since all you need to do is mix in your ingredients and set it aside for several hours. It is ideal for those who do not want to be actively involved in the kitchen.
Slow cookers also look like a rice cooker, but each has a different set of technology. While these are designed to simmer your dish over the extent of several hours, rice cookers are meant to boil rice. Some of the dishes that you want to prepare in a slow cooker are not compatible with a rice cooker.
What to Consider When Buying a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers save time, money, and gives you the option of creating dishes with less fat. However, there are many features and factors that you need to consider before you buy a new slow cooker. If you’ve already decided that you want to jump the bandwagon and buy one for yourself, here are some things to think about when looking for one.
The construction of the pot. As mentioned, ceramic and porcelain make up the body. These materials dissipate heat and remove the chances of any hot spots that can unevenly cook your food. Regardless if it is made from ceramic, metal, or porcelain, it is designed to be efficient; which material you choose is up to personal preference.
Regardless of the material, make sure that it is easily removable from the body for easy cleaning. If fused to the cooker’s chassis, then you will have a difficult time cleaning it once you are done using it.
Consider the placement of the heating element in the machine. Most only have a heating component at the bottom of the crockpot. Even though they are viable for most liquid-based recipes, one that has a heating element that evenly distributes heat along the bottom and sides will ensure safe preparation of dishes.
The material of the lid is also important. When using a slow cooker, you do not want to raise the lid because the steam will get out. You want a ceramic or glass cover that allows you to visually monitor your food, a much better option over opaque lids.
Keep in mind that purchasing a new one to replace an older one will cook a bit faster. If you are finding that recipes that you used to love are becoming scorched with your new machine, then just add a bit more water or shorten the cooking time.
Top 10 Slow Cooker Reviews
Our picks for the best slow cooker combine functionality while still being aware of price, as our experience has shown that the price of the cooker does not predict its performance. Modern models come with pre-programs, allowing you to prepare specific types of meals and meats with the click of a button. At the same time, you may want a more traditional model that is a bit more straightforward in its usage. Our selection touches on all of these features.
1. Morphy Richards 48702
A top seller from a heralded brand, the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow Cooker has a generous 3.5-litre capacity that will accommodate a whole chicken, broth, and your favourite herbs and vegetables. The crock is actually a nonstick aluminium material, allowing for durability and easy cleaning.
Even though it is powerful, it is lightweight in fuel consumption. As with any product made by this brand, you’re set with all of the accessories and tools that you need to start cooking as soon as you get home, including a glass lid, the aluminium nonstick pot, and a recipe book. This saves you money in the long run because you won’t have to buy them separately.
- A searing option allows you to quickly scorch the surface of meats, releasing the flavours that you used to season it. You can then add liquids and other ingredients to start the simmering process.
- Aluminium is known to heat up evenly, while still being lightweight. It will withstand low, medium, and high heat settings.
- No need to guess if your food is done, a large clear lid lets you watch.
- This model is large – perhaps too large for a single person. This tool is ideal for larger crowds.
2. Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot does not need adjusting from you; it’s self-regulating, running without the rattles and hisses of other cookers. It has a seven in one multi-function, allowing it to act as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, as well as a wok that lets you sauté and brown your vegetables.
You can also make yoghurt directly in the crockpot If you do not want to mess with the cooker, then you will find that the 24-hour timer is convenient. An automatic keep-warm feature will also keep your food hot and ready for up to 10 hours.
- No noise or leaks. Older cooker models tend to be notoriously loud, hissing and leaking moisture everywhere. The Instant Pot Due Cooker concentrates steam within its chamber, trapping aromas without stinking up your home.
- It’s nonstick, without the peeling. Many that are nonstick tend to peel over time, especially in slow cookers that utilise high heat for an extended period. However, the 304-grade stainless steel pan is a naturally a nonstick surface.
- Several buttons and options may be a bit overwhelming for those who are coming from a more traditional cooker.
3. Andrew James 5060146066921
The Andrew James Premium Digital Slow Cooker comes with a feature that is sometimes overlooked – a removable, ceramic inner bowl for easy transportation to the dinner table or sink. It has a programmable heating element, with a low, medium, and high heat setting.
There’s also a warm setting that allows the cooker to keep your dishes warm for an incredible 20 hours, plus a 12-hour delay function. Throw something together into the pan in the morning, travel to work, and you’ll have it ready by the time you get home.
- Ease of use. You just need to measure ingredients and pour it in. Don’t worry if you make a mistake; an automatic two-year warranty has you covered.
- Aesthetics. This has a stunning, red stainless steel chassis, making it a statement piece in your kitchen.
- Low energy consumption. Even though it can handle up to five litres of your favourite dish, it isn’t fully digital so it still has a low electrical footprint, with the slow cooker using only 320 watts of power.
- There have been reports of some cookers turning off within hours of running.
4. Morphy Richards 48715
Its large 6.5-litre canister allows you to cook whole chickens and then some. It’s reinforced glass lid is particularly hefty, ensuring the steam does not escape and that flavours and aromas are concentrated during the simmering process.
Even though it is a slow cooker and it is designed for liquids, you can also cook whole, bony meats directly in the pot. That means you can season your favourite meats, leave the bone on it, and sear it for several hours. The heating element distributes even heat, with meat easily falling off the bone once done.
• It won’t scorch the surface that it is placed on. Other models get scalding hot, potentially damaging expensive counter tops.
• An easy-to-understand interface allows you to program the cooker to the heat settings of your liking.
• For a slow cooker, it is relatively fast. You may need to adjust running times.
This model is fixed with a 5.7-litre pot, clearly feeding up to five people. Whether you need to prepare something within 30 minutes or are interested in making something over the span of 20 hours, this allows you to coordinate your dishes and have complete meals at the ready.
Its large digital timer will keep your food warm for up to six hours, with its removal stoneware converts into serving ware, reducing the number of dishes that you need to clean.
- It has an abnormally a large pan and ideal for larger families.
- It will automatically keep dishes warm until you’re ready to serve.
- It uses a nonstick, glazed ceramic. The nonstick features are made without the help of Teflon. There are reports of Teflon potentially peeling over a period.
- Sometimes the crock pot will come with cracks along the stoneware. Make sure to inspect your package.
6. Tefal RK302E15
If there’s one product that’s definitely worth your money, it’s this. This model is a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, all-in-one. Regardless of how you use it, a delayed start feature lets you start the machine early in the morning, and have dinner by noon without much input.
If you aren’t ready to eat yet, a keep-warm feature will maintain the warmth for up to 24 hours. Its booklet gives you recipes for things beyond simmering soups, giving the option to make rice pudding, chocolate cakes, and casserole.
- It is easy to clean, with the seals and pan being easy to remove. The removable parts are dishwasher-safe, including the inner top.
- It will calculate the cooking time based on what you put in it, making it idiot-proof.
- The steamer holes may be too big for small vegetables, like sweetcorn and small beans.
7. Morphy Richards Accents 48705
This comes with a spacious 6.5-litre capacity, potentially feeding up to 10 people. It allows you to experiment with a wide selection of meals, with the unique benefit of being able to sear your meat in the same crockpot.
The searing option allows you to use juices from the meat and combine it with the rest of the ingredients, creating a richer crockpot meal. Its transparent lid lets you watch without continuously opening it. Its booklet comes with 25 recipes, with soups, curries, as well as experimental desserts.
- Its nonstick surface allows you to clean it quickly.
- The metal container is made out of lightweight aluminium and can be used as a serving tray.
- Large capacity.
- Since it’s so large, the tool may not be suitable for a single person or smaller families. If you do not put enough ingredients into the pot, then it will start to burn around the edges, a common problem with larger cookers.
8. Breville VTP105
The 4.5-litre capacity is more portable for smaller families. Even though not as large, you are not sacrificing on the features of more advanced models. This has the traditional low and high setting, as well as an auto-cook feature that will cause the machine to initiate on high for an hour and then automatically reduce its heat to a slow simmer. The tempered glass lid is lightweight and easily removable, allowing you to use the crock pot as a serving dish right at the dinner table.
- Reduces the chance of overcooking the food. The entry price makes it the ideal choice for those who are venturing into the habit.
- A removable ceramic bowl gives you the option of serving your family and keeping the chassis on the counter.
- Surprisingly, this does not come with a timer installed. However, its programmable settings allow it to cook your dishes to perfection.
9. Morphy Richards Accents 461003
Searing on this is one of the more money saving ways of preparing a meal for the whole family. The pot does not have a hob, which means that you can sear and simmer in one session. Even though it has a high and low setting, you can set when you want the cooker to shut off, with the auto keep-warm feature automatically kicking in, keeping your food warm for up to two hours.
Unlike ceramic models, this one is lightweight yet durable. You can remove it from the machine and use it to serve the food. Its shatterproof materials ensure that your pot will survive the occasional drop.
- It is made to last, with a durable pot and tempered glass lid.
- The pan is secured on the hob, making it easier to use.
- It’s nonstick thus making it easy to clean.
- It does not have the delayed timer that you might have expected from a high-end slow cooker.
10. James Martin by Wahl ZX771
Programmed settings on the James Martin allows you to cook your favourite dishes without the hassle. The high heat setting can shorten cooking times of up to four hours, with its low simmering option making delicious meals over the span of eight hours.
It’s the ideal size for families, with its five-litre capacity designed for preparing satisfying meals by just selecting the desired option in the front panel. Its cool-touch handles can be removed and used to serve the food directly to the dinner table. James Martin stands behind his products, testing them to ensure that they are meeting his expectations
- The James Martin DVD comes with demonstrated recipes for your slow cooker, letting you start using the machine as soon as it arrives.
- It also comes with a complementary instructional booklet, with instructions on not only how to cook, but also how to take care of your investment.
- Buyers of the James Martin products have reported experiencing excellent customer service, especially when it comes to potentially defective items.
- It does not have a timer, but its pre-set programs will cook foods to perfection still.
Every mentioned product in our slow cooker reviews has all the features that you need to conjure up a delicious meal for you and your family without spending too much money. However, the primary factor that you need to consider is the size of the slow cooker. One that is much too small may overcook your food, even burning it. It is important to pick a model of the appropriate size and wattage.
The Morphy Richards 48702 is perfect for smaller families. Its 3.5-litre capacity can easily feed up to 4 people, with its striking red chassis being a statement piece in your home. If you want a multi-functional appliance, then the Instant Pot Duo may be right for you, easily replacing many of your kitchen appliances. If you want a dedicated slow cooker with advanced features, then the Crock-Pot has the needed capacity of 5.7, with a programmable countdown of up to 20 hours.