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If you are wondering what the best slow cooker to buy is. Let me tell you I LOVE my slow cooker so much! It is a hunter’s wife’s best friend because it cooks tender meat.
As well as if you have a busy day ahead of you you can put a meal in the crockpot in the morning and you will have a full meal by dinner time. If you don’t love to cook then you will love slow cooking.
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There are often much fewer steps and since you’re only using one pot. Not to mention it makes the cooking process and clean-up a breeze as well.
I am going to give you my best tips for finding your new favorite kitchen appliance that will save you hours in the kitchen.
This post is all about helping you find the best slow cooker to buy for your life and family.
Best Slow Cooker Sizes To Buy
Pro Tip: You can always put less in a big pot but you can’t put more in a small pot. So if space isn’t an issue then a larger one will save a lot of headaches.
Think about how my people you will be feeding on a regular basis. Are you planning on making mostly main meals, soups, and stews for a family of four to six people, a six-quart model will be your best bet. If you are wanting to cook large cuts of meat then again you would want to go with a bigger one.
If you’re doing a lot of cooking for crowds (church potluck anyone?), you may want to go with a bigger model. And if you’re cooking for two, or only plan to make side dishes and desserts in the slow cooker, a four-quart one will suffice.
If you’re not sure what to get, stick with the standard six-quart version.
There are quite a few different brands out there that make quality slow cookers. Favorites include Crock-Pot (of course…), Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, and Kitchen-Aid.
Sticking with a popular brand not only guarantees you’ll get a quality product, it also makes it easier to find parts down the road, should for example the lid fall and break.
Another option to consider is buying one of these brands from amazon and getting the warrantee that they offer with it. The warrantee is often not that much and lasts for quite a while.
What Bells And Whistles Do You Really Need?
There are some fancy slow cooker models with extra features on the market today. And there are some very affordable basic models that function with no more than a high or low-temperature setting and they may do everything you need your slow cooker to do.
Think about what functions you really need. Retractable cords are nice, but it’s also not that hard to tuck the cord under the slow cooker when you store it. Having a “keep warm” feature is helpful.
Warm Setting: These are great when the meal gets done when you and your family aren’t quite ready for dinner just yet. This happens to us quite often when we get started on a summer project and are trying to wrap it up. The keep-warm setting is a great way to keep dinner warm while you are finishing up.
Start Cooking Timer: Do you need a programmable timer so the chili can start cooking itself even if you’re out running errands or just getting back to the office after a quick lunch?
Internal Temperature Probe: These are great if you are trying to cook food that needs to be a certain temperature and you can’t really tell if it’s done just by looking at it.
Sturdy Handles: You need to make sure you find one with strong handles because the crockpot itself weighs at least 10 pounds depending on the size. Let alone if you are carrying it filled to the brim with food.
Glass Lid: This is pretty standard but a glass lid will enable you to look in on the food without opening it. Causing the cooking time and temperatures to slow.
Dishwasher Safe: Almost all of them have a dishwasher safe pot but it is still a good idea to make sure. The outer edge with the eating element can not go in the dishwasher but the cooking pot and most often the lid as well can go in the dishwasher.
Ceramic Coating Not None-Stick: Here is the problem with having a nonstick coating cooker. You have to be WAY more careful when cleaning it. No hard scrubbing with a tool to help you get it clean. But with a ceramic-covered stone dish, I can use steel wool to get the hard-cooked food off.
Instant Pot Vs A Slow Cooker
Ok here is the thing. I think these kitchen appliances are for two very different people.
Some people want easy and not hard to start.
And other people want all the cool gadgets that will do everything in one.
I was given an instant pot for Christmas and I felt like I was about to start a rocket ship anytime I try to use it. I was overwhelmed and never ended up using it.
If you like simple and easy to use go with a normal crockpot with a simple dial and glass lid. Don’t overwhelm yourself with an instant pot.
Best Slow Cooker To Buy On Any Budget
If you are wanting to test it out you may not want to spend a whole ton of money on a kitchen tool you might not use as much as you thought. Or maybe you are gungho and budget is not a factor in finding the best one for you. So in that instance, I have found an option for every budget.
Crock Pots Under $30
Electric Slow Cooker Ceramic Pot, with Adjustable Temp
Amazon Quick Info
- PERSONAL 1.5 QUART Cool-touch handles and knob protects hands and allow you to safely transport your slow cooker.
- ADJUSTABLE SETTINGS with versatile Low / High / Keep Warm settings, gives you ultimate control of meal preparation.
- FAST, EASY CLEAN-UP with our dishwasher-safe clear tempered glass lid and removable oval stoneware pot. The exterior heating base can be wiped clean with a damp cloth to maintain its pristine appearance.
- SLEEK WHITE FINISH for a clean and stylish design that pairs with any kitchen.
- UL LISTED for your safety, 120 Watts, 1 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY and U.S. based customer support team means you can buy with confidence.
Total Rating – 4.5 stars with over 15 thousand reviews.
Personal Review: This is a perfect small slow cooker for personal use or dips. And it is also budget-friendly.
Crock-Pot 2-QT Round Manual Slow Cooker
- High/Low cook settings, and convenient Warm setting
- Crock-Pot features removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware insert, and dishwasher-safe glass lid
- Dimension(inch):9 H x 8.9 W x 7.4 D
Personal Review: These pots are great for side dishes or small meals for two people. But there won’t likely be much leftover. While these are great if space is a concern there won’t be much-storing room if you have a chunky stew.
Crock Posts Under $50
Crockpot SCV700-KT Design to Shine 7QT Slow Cooker
- 7-Quart capacity serves 8 plus people
- High/low cook settings
- Removable oval stoneware
- Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid
- Polished Silver, stainless steel exteriors in various colors/patterns with black accents and plastic handles
Total Rating – 4.5 stars with over 6 thousand reviews.
Personal Review: This is a great tool for a starter crockpot however I do think there is a bit to be desired in the strength of the handles and frame. While the body (lower half with the heating element in it) probably won’t crash on you it does not seem to be as strong as others. The handles are also not up to par if you are going to be taking it in a lot of places filled with heavy food. If you want to take food in the crockpot to places often I would highly recommend you buy a more durable option.
Crock-Pot Electric Lunch Box, Portable Food Warmer for On-the-Go, 20-Ounce
How cool is this little guy, If you work somewhere that doesn’t have a microwave you can still have warm food if there is electrisity.
Crock Pots Under $100
Crock-Pot 3.5 Quart Casserole Manual Slow Cooker
This is a great crockpot if you like casseroles. This would work better than a deep crockpot because cooking thick material is difficult to get cooked all the way through and not burn the outside.
Magic Mill 8.5 Quart Digital Adjustable 20 Hour Timer, 3 Cooking Settings, With Professional Secure Locking Lid
I can feel my anxiety levels rising when looking at all the buttons and cooking modes and digital control panel. But it’s really not that bad if you look at it carefully and break down each aspect of it. The best way to think of this one is the digital version of a normal cooker with a dial. The best feature of this one is the sealed lid with a smart locking system.
It also has the basic heat settings BUT it has an additional feature that automatically switches to the keep warm setting after the food is cooked. Which is great to keep food warm if you won’t be home quite yet when the cooker is done. This pot is a great option for taking food places like a church cookout or birthday party.
Triple Slow Cooker Buffet Server 3 Crock Food Warmer Pot , 3-Section 1.5-Quart
- 【3 CROCKS & COOKING SETTINGS】Buffet slow cooker set with three 1.5 quarts removable crocks (total 4.5 quarts). Each crock has its own heating element with three settings High, Low and Warm to keep dishes at their optimal temperature
- 【DETACHABLE & CLEANABLE】The crocks have integrated cool-touch handles for easy removal from the buffet cooker and cleaned. Give you a comfortable cleaning experience after you enjoy the delicious food
- 【GLASS LID FOR EASY VIEWING】Each slow cooker has a glass lid with a glass handle for easy viewing of cooking. Attention: Do not use hand to touch Crocks after cook
- 【RELIABLE CONSTRUCTION】The sturdy structure is stable and can support the weight of three slow cookers with food inside. Non-slip feet on the bottom to prevent slipping and instability
- 【ECELLENT INSULATION ABILITY】Rotate the button to “warm” to keep the food warm. When you are preparing for a party before your family and friends arrive, you can keep food warm for a few hours remained the best food effect
This would be excellent if you like to make dips or sauces. For the price make sure you would want to use it often enough to make the expense worth it.
Crock-pot 2137020 MyTime Technology, 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
This little guy gets a little fancy but has some pretty cool features like starting at just the right time so it is cooked at your mealtime. It can also adjust for food type which is pretty cool.
Awesome Slow Cooker Accessories
Here are some cool tools that will make your life a lot easier.
Slow Cooing Essentials
Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners, Regular (Fits 3-8 Quarts), 6 Count
This bag is perfect to put inside the crockpot before you get started cooking your meal. It will make clean up even easier. Just be aware you can’t cut meat on it so you need to take the meat out of the pot to cut it. See On Amazon
Spoon Rest for Kitchen Counter
It is likely that you will have to store the pot a time or two during the cooking time. You don’t really want to be laying the spoon down on the counter. These are stylish and useful all at the same time.
2 Pack Spoon Rest for Kitchen Counter
I was so excited when I found this because I struggle with what to do with the lid when I take it off to store the pot. I don’t want to leak stuff all over the stove but the countertops are not the best option either. This multipurpose tool fixes all that.
Slow Cooking Quick Tips
So you are ready to use your new kitchen tool to make a hot meal but you don’t want to make too big of a mistake. Well, let me tell you first that if you do make ops. It’s ok. It’s not as hard as it seems but here is some info to help you get started.
Don’t Put Dairy In Too Early: Dairy can curdle or just look simply awful if put in too early. Put in the dairy for just enough time to get warm again after the main dish has been cooked. Say if it is in a soup.
Not Too Much Water: Slow cooking is just like the atmosphere. The water does not evaporate like it would if you were cooking in a pot without a lid. If you are cooking a roast or whole chicken then only add about 1/4 cup of water to the bottom so it doesn’t burn on the bottom and that’s it. If you didn’t want to do that you could even grease the bottom of the pot so the meat didn’t stick or burn.
Less Food Means Less Time: If you fill the crockpot less than half full you could reduce the cooking time by quite a lot. By two hours at least.
FAQs A Slow Cooker
Take a look at what’s on the market and decide what you can and can’t live without. If this is your first slow cooker, start with one that has very basic features. You can always add another one with more features down the road. You want to make sure you use it first before spending a pretty penny on one with all the fancy features.
Having more than one slow cooker is definitely not out of the question if you enjoy this way of cooking.
You can fix pulled pork on one, and still have room for Mac and cheese or a squash casserole to cook away in the second one as a side dish.
And smaller models come in handy for hot dips, appetizers, and desserts. Multiple slow cookers really come in handy around the holidays when you’re fixing a variety of different casseroles and the like.
If you can prepare a few of them in your slow cookers, you don’t have to worry about using up precious oven time. And it’s one more thing you can set and forget.
Head on over to Amazon or take a walk through the small appliance section of your local super store and see what your options and price ranges are. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon and see what folks like and what they don’t like. Then make an informed decision and get your first slow cooker. When you get it to the house is when the real fun starts… cooking with it.
It might seem like you have no idea what to do at first but its not as hard as it might seem at first.
Just remember to have fun experimenting and if something doesn’t turn out well. That’s fine. It’s just a bit of food that isn’t all that great. Everyone has an ops now and then.
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