Slow cookers are also known as crock pots are great cooking appliances that enable you to make cook meals at low temperatures for a long duration. The slow cooker was born in the late 1900s for the major purpose of cooking a bean meal, it has since been adapted into making a variety of meals.
Slow cookers, regardless of the manufacturer are usually designed with specific standards with a metal housing that usually hold a ceramic insert – the “crock pot” – although sometimes stainless. The metal exterior usually has a heating element that provides a steady supply of heat of a specific range to the cooker at atmospheric pressure.
The ceramic “crock pot” is usually removable and this makes cleaning convenient and also easies transport from the kitchen to the dining table. While the lid is made of varying materials. Often glass but can also be plastic or stainless steel. The lid is very essential especially to keep the heat from dissipating into the atmosphere. Hence, many slow cookers offer lockable lids which also preserves the flavor.
Most slow cookers have preset cooking durations you can choose from, these are usually in three phases: slow, medium and high. Modern slow cookers, however, come with a lot of added features including control panels that can be used to set cooking time or mode. As well as a display panel and mode indicators, some are compatible with mobile assistants which automatically switch cooking duration and temperature in sync with online dictated recipes.
Slow cookers usually have pots that trap heat well, hence food remains hot even hours after cooking is done. Some manufacturers offer auto switch features that automatically preserves the food’s temperature immediately after cooking is done.
While there are a number of meals and recipes that specifically need a steady supply of heat over a long period, especially beans meals and cheap meat cuts, most other recipe need to be adjusted to fit the long cooking durations afforded by slow cookers. This might include reducing water content and adding vegetables at a later time.
Slow cookers are especially valuable for users that are usually away for a long period of time, mostly city workers. It affords you the comfort and convenience of leaving your food cooking while you go off to work to come back to an already cooked meal. Slow cookers can also be used for travel purposes, where you can keep cooking while driving or tending to other activities and returned to a made meal. Thanks to the automated feature of warming, you can run late and still meet your food warm and homely.
Note: Some species of beans contain a very toxic enzyme called lectin phytohemagglutinin which is usually destroyed by boiling. Since slow cookers usually heat food at below the boiling point of water, the enzymes is not usually destroyed and in fact, may be activated and becomes more poisonous. Hence, you should check the contents of your meal before ordering one.
Table of Contents
1. ALL-CLAD SLOW COOKER
The all-clad stock pot comes as an oval shaped cooking goodness, made of an outer stainless steel body, with an inner removable ceramic insert. The removable insert allows for easy cleaning after use as well as saving you the stress of transferring the contents into a secondary container. It also features an intuitive control panel with a digital display. The control panels allow you to switch from three cooking modes of varying time frame.
The slow mode can cook for up to 26 hours, while the fast mode cooks between 2-8 hours. It is fitted with a see-through glass lid which traps heat and moisture while allowing you to check the progress of your cooking.
• It is made of an oval shaped stainless steel body and a lid made of glass
• It’s glass lid has two tiny vent holes
• It has a removable black ceramic insert
• It features a digital display, showing time
• It’s has dual handles: with a set placed on the stainless body and another on the ceramic insert.
• It has an inner volume of 6.5 quart
• It’s removable ceramic insert makes it super easy to clean, especially with dishwashers
• It is large enough to cook for a small crowd and it isn’t too large to look odd in family kitchen.
• It is relatively light, especially when compared to cookers of similar size
• It’s large digital timers gives it a major plus making it easier to use
• It automatically keeps food warm after cooking for up to 6 hours
• It can be programmed for up to 26 hours, making it ideal for users that work super late
• It can be programmed to three cooking modes, allowing users to fit their cooking into any schedule
2. CROCK POT EXPRESS MULTI COOKER
The crock pot is more than just a slow cooker. With its multiple features, you get more than your money’s worth especially since it’s super cheap. In addition to being a slow cooker, the crock pot express can be used as a pressure cooker. Its versatility enables you to boil, brown, simmer, sauté, and steam food in addition to slow cooking.
It has a cylindrical design made of stainless steel with a plastic lid – that can be locked during pressure cooking. It also features a removable inner container which makes it easy to clean and dishwash. It also has a control panel with a digital display that enables you to manually set a cooking range.
• Weight: 19.3 pounds
• Dimensions: 14.9 x 13.9 x 16 inches
• It has a spacious size of 8 quartz
• It features a control panel with a digital display.
• It comes with a lockable plastic lid, which can be replaced with a glass lid with an additional purchase.
• It has a removable insert
• It comes with a variety of cooking modes that that be switched manually
• It comes with a number of accessories including: a recipe book, steaming rack and a serving spoon.
• It is a highly versatile cooker with multipurpose cooking modes
• It is very affordable for a slow cooker, not to mention its multiple functions which saves you the cost and storage space that would have otherwise gone to an additional cooker.
• It has a manual pressure function that allows you to set your own cooking time at different pressures.
• It is very durable
• Its removable insert – which is also non-stick – allows you to clean it much easily
• It is dishwasher friendly
• It is large and able to feed a small crowd of over 10 people.
• It’s all-in-one features makes it tasking to learn to use
• It takes longer to cook many recipes that would take only minutes on a traditional stove.
3. NINJA MULTI-COOKER
The Ninja 4-in-one multi-cooker is an excellent kitchen appliance that allows you a variety of cooking functions in one pot. Together with the slow cooking mode, you can steam, roast and even use it as an oven. It is a 6 quartz pot of completeness with each mode working perfectly independent of the other. It comes with a glass lid and a multipurpose pan. It comes with a fitted, steaming rack that can also serve for roasting purposes.
The cooking modes can be switched and adjusted with a small rectangular panel. Its inner parts are coated with non-stick paint to ease cleaning. In all, the ninja multi-cooker is a versatile addition to your kitchen and would serve well as a slow cooker.
• It usually comes in black colour with a glass lid
• It features a rectangular control panel with two control knobs and a small digital display
• It has four cooking function types: stove top, oven, steam and slow cooker
• It comes with a removable rectangular insert
• It is packed with a steaming/roasting rack, cookbook, and a multipurpose pan
• Its multipurpose functions makes sure that it will always serve a purpose in your kitchen.
• It is very easy to use
• It is large enough to feed a family
• It has a digital display that can be used to monitor your cooking progress
• It comes with a see-through glass lid that eases cooking
• It is very durable, still working efficiently after several years of usage
• It makes high-quality meals, compared to those made with traditional means
• Thanks to its non-stick coating it is very easy to clean
• It allows an auto warm feature which can be preset
• The ninja multi-cooker has unique heating element that makes it versatile for a number of cooking methods
• It weighs fairly for its size
• It is not designed to be washed with a dish washer.
• Fire hazards have been reported in relation to this multi-cookers
4. CALPHALON SLOW COOKER
The calphalon slow cooker comes as a 5.3 quartz sized dark stainless steel slow cooking pot of digital elegance. It has a dual cooking mode which allows you to brown, sauté, sea and slow cook. It has a removable inner insert as well. The insert is made of ceramic and coated with a highly durable non-stick paint to ease cleaning.
It has a bright digital LED that allows you to keep track of the cooking mode and time during slow cooking. It has a highly durable and quite affordable compared to other slow cookers of similar qualities and functions.
• Its colour is both pleasant and compatible in any kitchen
• It has a dual cooking mode
• It can be used to make a number of meals including, saute, brown sear and slow cook
• Its non-stick inner surface and stainless steel body makes it super easy to clean
• It is very affordable
• It is very durable and efficient as a slow cooker
• It allows for a preset warming mode after slow cooking
• It is convenient and easy to learn to use
• The inner pot is compatible with a number of heating source including: electric, gas, and induction cooktops
• The digital display and LED allows you to identify cooking mode and track time
• It is light and portable
• It has a cooking mode that last up to 20 hours
• It is not very large and can only feed about 4-6 persons at once
• It does not offer as much versatility as other slow cookers
• It doesn’t have an auto warm feature
5. Cuisinart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker
The Cuisinart stainless steel slow cooker has a pretty atypical design that stands out in any kitchen. It has a rectangular outer body fitted with a touch pad control panel. While the outer body is rectangular and made of stainless steel, the inner pot is ceramic and it is fitted with a glass lid, with stainless rim around the edges. The slow cooker is programmable for up to 24 hours.
While the slow cooker is relatively cheaper than its counterparts, it is not as versatile and packs quite the weight for a 6.5 quartz sized pot. It automatically switches to warm mode, which is very helpful for when you might runlate.
• It comes with a 6.5 quartz sized oval ceramic removable pot
• Its lid is glass, with a stainless steel rim and chrome plated knob
• It features a programmable touchpad control to set cooking mode and time
• It also features an LCD display timer for tracking time and cooking mode
• It comes with a cooking rack, and a recipe book
• It is very affordable
• It very efficient and easy to use
• Its peculiar design gives your kitchen a sophisticated look
• It automatically switches to warm mode without a preset
• Its ceramic inner pot and lid are both dishwasher safe, easing clean up
• It has three cooking modes: simmer, slow and high cooking modes
• It can be programmed for up to 24 hours
• It is quite durable
• It has inbuilt storage for its cable which preserves it and eases storage
• It is not as versatile as many other slow cookers of similar prices
• It is quite heavy to move around
• It doesn’t have a non-stick coating which makes cleaning more difficult
• Its handles are quite slippery
6. MAXI-MATIC SLOW COOKER
Maxi elite platinum slow cooker comes with a large 8.5 quartz ceramic insert pot with a glass lid. The slow cooker is very economical and effective, with three temperature settings: warm, slow and high settings. It is very durable. Its removable insert makes cleaning up easy.
The glass lid is tempered and durable. It features a touchpad for control and also includes a digital display which can be used to monitor time and cooking settings. It has LED indicators for every temperature setting. It can be preset to cook meals for up to 20 hours long.
• Weight: 14.5 pound
• Dimensions: 16.3 x 11.7 x 11.8
• It has a removable ceramic insert
• It comes with a tempered glass lid with a light touch knob
• It features a digital touchpad for settings
• It also features a digital display and LED indicators
• It has a size of 8.5 quartz
• It is very affordable
• It is very easy to clean
• It is easy to use and control
• It is very efficient and durable for a slow cooker
• Its inner ceramic pot and glass lid are dishwasher friendly
• It can be programmed to cook for up to 20 hours
• It comes with a warranty that lasts for a year.
• It is large and can be used to make meals for more than 10 people
• It is not very versatile
• It doesn’t have an auto warm mode
• Its timer display is tiny and not easy to read
• It has a limited cooking function
7. INSTANT POT SLOW COOKER
This slow cooker is a new generation cooking wonder that doubles as a pressure cooker and is able to perform a series of cooking functions, including fast cook rice, bake, steam, sauté and warm. It has a number of in-built cooking modes as well – what’s more? You don’t have to break the bank.
The instant pot is modern and affordable. It has a lid, inner and outer pot made of stainless steel. It includes a safety lid lock feature that keeps the lid locked in place to prevent cooking hazards and preserve the flavor of your meals.
It has an advanced microchip which is perfectly able to make soft, medium or hard-boiled eggs in minutes – while it can also prepare slow cooked meals for up to 20 hours. It is a multi-purpose pot which you will always find a use for.
• Weight: 11.53 pounds
• Dimensions: 13.2 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches
• It features a 3-ply stainless steel inner pot
• Its lid and outer body are also made of stainless steel. With its lid rimmed with plastic round the edges
• The pot is of 6 quartz size
• It features a modern control panel with digital display
• It comes with a cooking rack and cooking spoons
• It has an automatic warming feature which keeps food warm for up to 10 hours
• It is very durable
• It is overly valuable and effective kitchen appliance
• It is large enough to feed a family
• It is very versatile, affording several cooking modes including baking and steaming
• It enables Alexa guided cooking with over 300 recipes
• Its exterior is finger print resistant and easy to clean – with just a wipe
• It has a safety lid lock that prevents several cooking hazards and optimizes pressure cooking
• It has automated temperature and pressure regulator that makes it highly efficient and precise
• It doesn’t have a non-stick feature making cleaning more stressful
• After use for a time, the inner stainless steel becomes disfigured from scratching
• Its inner pot can’t be used to serve meals directly, greatly increasing the stress of cooking
• It can be tedious to learn to use
8. HAMILTON BEACH PROGRAMMABLE SLOW COOKER
The manufacturer is notable for several household and kitchen electronics. This particular slow cooker is peculiarly durable and flexible with a dual display screen that can run heat and timing settings independently – switching between different heat intensity allows for greater precision and gives your meals a touch of delicacy.
It also features an auto warm features that keeps your food warm and steamy after cooking is finished. The slow cooker has a lockable lid secured with a go-clip lock. In addition to its flexible heating and timing mode, it also has three manual slow cooking modes which includes: high, low and warm settings.
• It features a control panel to switch cooking modes and settings
• It has dual digital display
• It has a stoneware inner pot
• It has multiple cooking settings
• It has a 6 quartz sized perfect for preparing family meals
• It features a stay or go clip tight sealed lid
• It is very easy to use and set up
• It has a very flexible setting
• It has an automatic warm feature that keeps food warm when cooking finishes
• It has three manual slow cooking mode for convenience
• You can choose to lock the lid or leave it open
• It is affordable and effective as a slow cooker
• It can slow cook meals for up to 24 hours
• Its stoneware inner pot and sealed lid eases transport and cleaning
• Both its cover and insert pot can be cleaned with a dishwasher
• The display panel are not lit while programming which strains the eye
• It is not very versatile likened to other slow cookers
• It doesn’t have a non-stick coating which makes cooking more difficult
9. TIBEK SLOW COOKER
The Tibek slow cooker is a large slow-cooking pot with a tempered glass lid which samples a locking latch lid for securing its content during transport. It has a very simple control area with digital display, consistent with slow cookers of high quality.
It is 8.5 quart in size and is perfect for cooking for a small crowd of 10+ guest or large foodstuffs including a full chicken or pounds of turkey. The manufacturers have excellent customer service features, giving 30 days of free return or replacement. They also guarantee a free lifetime service for the cooker.
• It has a lockable lid and a removable stoneware pot
• It has three cooking modes
• It is packed with an instruction manual and a gift card
• It is highly durable with a tempered glass lid and stainless steel body
• It is very convenient to use, programmable for up to 20 hours of slow cooking
• It is very efficient as a slow cooker with at least a 2 year guarantee
• It has a large capacity, able to cook for over 10 people
• It has a simple to use digital and programmable control area
• It has a digital display to monitor cooking modes and duration
• It is not very versatile
• It doesn’t have an auto warm feature
• Its display characters are small and difficult to read
10. PRESTO NOMAD TRAVELLING SLOW COOKER
This unique slow cooker from presto is specifically designed to be taken on trips. It is shaped like a lunch box with a handle. It comes in a variety of colors, so you can pick one best suited to your personality. If you are constantly on trips and you miss home meals, then the presto slow cooker is for you.
You can prepare your favorite dishes while on the go. It has a rectangular design with a lockable lid that seals the pot tight to avoid spilling your food while moving. With 6 quarts of room, it is large enough to cook for a family, making it ideal for a family trip or picnic.
• Weight: 7.9 pounds
• Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.9 x 7.4
• It is rectangular in shape
• It comes with an in built dry erase board and a marker
• It can slow cook for up to 20 hours
• It has a removable insert
• It includes a control knob for cooking settings
• It is portable and designed specifically for travel
• It is very affordable
• It is rugged and durable
• It weighs so little due to the materials it is made of
• It is convenient and easy to use
• It is easy to clean
• Since it is tailored specially for travel it is not optimized for use in the kitchen
• It doesn’t have an auto warm feature
• It lacks a non-stick inner surface which makes cleaning a chore
• It is not particularly dishwasher friendly
• It has a limited cooking mode
• It lacks a display panel
BENEFITS OF BUYING SLOW COOKERS
As mentioned earlier, while slow cookers are not suited to cooking every meal or needed by every household, they are a treasure to people who work late hours or are usually occupied in a particular activity for an extended period of time. Examples include factory workers, students, and city workers and so on. It helps to reduce the amount of fast foods consumed daily due to stress from work or timing problems.
Regardless, there are a number of peculiar benefits afforded by slow cookers some of which eases your convenience, others are solely for the flavor and integrity of your meals.
• It is almost impossible to burn your meals with slow cookers: Slow cookers deliver constant and steady supply of heat to the pot and the food making it almost impossible to burn food. If you ever need to urgently leave or run an errand and you have a meal stewing, you can easily program the slow cooker to cook within an estimated time without fear of coming back to a burnt meal. Even when you forget to set the time, the slow cooker will keep your food unburnt, though you might come back to a soggy or overcooked meal.
• Flexibility: Many manufacturers include a load of secondary features to slow cookers which affords you extra cooking functions. For instance, many slow cookers double as pressure cookers which cook at extremely fast rate under increased pressure. You can steam, roast, brown and even bake with a number of cookers. All these included functions makes your cooker more valuable ¬– even more affordable.
• Even distribution of flavors: You have probably also experience eating a meal where only one portion is seasoned and the other is flavorless. Or some regions have been overly sweetened at the mercy of others. That never happens with a slow cooker. The extended cooking period ensures that the flavor and seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the pot.
• Convenience: Slow cookers are the most convenient cooking appliance you can possibly think of with timers and programmable cooking time and temperature, you are solely in charge of your kitchen and you can spare enough time tending to other activities. As they are mostly equipped with auto warm, you can trust that you will always meet a fresh meal in the pot, hot and steamy.
• Slow cookers are often coated with non-stick materials that ensures that you can easily clean up after your meal. An additional factor is that the inner portion is usually removable and dishwasher friendly.
• Low power consumption: Slow cookers consume less than 1KW of power, hence they can be run with solar power or general electricity without fear of heavy consumption. This is possible because they only require a small supply of heat to cook, hence, less power consumption. You save more power that would have otherwise be used to warm your food, since the cooker would keep it warm till you need it.
• Most slow cookers are usually large enough to feed a family at least. It allows you to cook entire meals at one go, reducing the need for additional pots and extra cleaning that comes with it
• Tough meat parts that are usually avoided and cheaper can be easily tenderized with slow cookers, hence you get to save more going to the market.
Slow cookers are a peculiar appliance in the kitchen. It doesn’t belong to everyone but it is particularly suited to late workers or busy students. Hence it is not an appliance you should get on an impulse. Other than the pricing, here are a few points that you should consider when buying a slow cooker or while contemplating if you need one:
1. Size of the Pot:
The size of the crock pot is of high importance since they are not usually cheap of easily replaced. You should consider the size of your family or quantity of food you need to make. If you usually have people over or you cook for a large family you might consider getting a more than a 7 quart sized pot. But if you have a small family or you are single, a smaller, 3-4 quarts pot is appropriate.
The major problem with sizes when it comes to slow cookers is that it requires at least a half full pot to give maximum results. Getting a pot that is bigger than you need will leave you with soggy foods that would have lost all flavors by the time it is done cooking. The average size of crock pot is usually about 6 quarts, which is optimal for most recipes
Displays are becoming a regular feature in slow cookers. Usually in digital form, the display allows you to monitor the timer, and for multi-purpose cooker, you can see the mode it is set in. It is best to choose a cooker with a timer that is large so you won’t have to squint you eye or risk being burnt by moving too near the pot.
The timer is one of the most basic features of slow cookers and allows you to program cooking time. You can easily plan you activities to match the cooking duration so you can add necessary ingredients at appropriate instances.
4. Crock material:
The most popular material the crock pot is usually made of is ceramic, although, stainless or other stoneware materials are usually employed. Depending on what purpose you want your slow cooker to serve, the material is worth consideration.
Ceramic is usually coated with non-stick materials that eases cleaning and ensures that your food is made unburnt. But some non-stick material may be toxic when mixed with other food contents, so care should be taken.
5. Warming function:
A slow cooker with an automatic warming function is what you want. Because you never know when you might be running late. I won’t want to start warming a meal I left to cook for hours especially when auto warm slow cookers have taken over the market. A slow cooker with a warming function keeps your food at a regulated temperature without overcooking it. This saves you power that would have been used on a microwave or an oven as well as time and effort.
6. Additional Features:
A series of additional functions and features accompany slow cookers, you often find cookers and crock pots that can sauté, steam, bake and even roast for you. In addition, you will find cookers that double as pressure cookers. These additional functions add value to your money, although it can also add to the cost of the cooker.
7. Lid Material:
The edge and material the slow cooker is made of is important. Slow cookers function effectively using minimum amount of heat, if you keep removing the lid, to check on your food, you allow the trapped heat to dissipate, which tampers with the programmed timing. You want to get a glass lid or other pellucid materials that allows you to see through without removing the lid. You want to check the edges of the lid as well to ensure it is smooth and firm.
8. Means of Heating:
Crock pots work well with a lot of heating means, since it doesn’t need too much heat to function. However, the source needs to be constant. This is peculiar to electricity, hence they are not suitable to use if you can’t guarantee a constant, uninterrupted supply of power. You should also beware of where the heating unit within the cooker is housed to make sure it is in a regions that allows an even distribution of heat to every area.
Most slow cookers are not designed to be used outside the kitchen, however, there are peculiar pots that are particularly designed to be used while traveling.
DO I NEED A SLOW COOKER?
The need for a slow cooker is based on your scheduling and the want to make special recipes. You should only get one if you are convinced that it is suited for your lifestyle and needs.
CAN I USE A SLOW COOKER AS A PRESSURE COOKER?
While some slow cookers allows the function of a pressure cooker, others do not include that function. Hence, the need to pay more attention to the details before purchasing one.
CAN MY SLOW COOKER MAKE MEALS AT REGULAR RATES?
Absolutely. Most slow cookers can cook at normal cooking speeds some even much faster than the stove. They usually run in three modes of increasing duration, the fastest modes are usually capable of cooking within a regular time frame. If you are not sure, you should check out the specifics of your pot before getting it.
WON’T A SLOW COOKER RUIN THE FLAVOR AND TEXTURE OF MY FOOD?
Certain recipes call for a slow and steady supply of heat or steam. A slow cooker is perfect for those. Other recipes can be adjusted to be made perfectly in a crock pot.
I am a kitchen expert and connoisseur of food who loves to cook a variety of scrumptious food item to awaken the taste buds of people who eat my food. I know a lot about kitchen utensils and appliances and here to share my years of knowledge with you.