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best slow cookers

The Best Slow Cookers in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

With the slow cooker, dishes can be prepared gently and in a way that preserves vitamins. For our list of best slow cookers, our team of experts checked various tests on the Internet and also included ratings for timer, automatic switch-off, keep-warm function and other passages.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
159,275 Reviews
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
  • 7-IN-1 APPLIANCES: electric pressure cooker, rice cooker,…
  • QUICK ONE-TOUCH COOKING with 13 Smart Touch customizable…
  • COOK FAST OR COOK SLOW with pressure cooking up to 70%…
  • QUICK AND EASY CLEAN-UP with finger-print resistant,…
  • Note : Conditioner collector will be attached to the back of…

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker

 Our Pick
Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
19,080 Reviews
Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
  • Spacious 7 quart manual slow cooker serves 9+ people or fits…
  • Set cooking time to high and get a hot meal in no time or…
  • Keep food at an ideal serving temperature for as long as you…
  • One pot cooking means there are less dishes to clean, plus…
  • All Crock Pot Slow Cooker removable stone inserts (without…

Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook

 Our Pick
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook
19,386 Reviews
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook
  • 6 quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker serves 7+ people
  • Digital countdown control lets you program cook times…
  • Easy to use locking lid featuring lid gasket provides extra…
  • All Crock Pot Slow Cooker removable stone inserts (without…
  • Works on 240 Watts at 120V A.C; and 60Hz

Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker

 Our Pick
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker
8,293 Reviews
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker
  • Integrated Temperature Probe: Track Your Food’s…
  • Multiple Cooking Functions: Cook on Low, Medium or High With…
  • Expand Your Cooking Options: Hold Temperature Function Lets…
  • Digital Display: Countdown Timer Displays Remaining Cooking…
  • 6 Quart Capacity: Perfect Size for a 6 LB. Chicken or 4 LB….

Instant Pot Aura Multi-Use Programmable Slow Cooker

Instant Pot Aura Multi-Use Programmable Slow Cooker
8,732 Reviews
Instant Pot Aura Multi-Use Programmable Slow Cooker
  • Multi Use Programmable Slow Cooker, 6 Quartt; Capacity oval…
  • The Aura does not have a pressure cooker function
  • 10 Smart Programs – roast, stew, bake, steam, slow cook,…
  • Customize the cooking time and temperature to achieve your…
  • 24 hour ‘Delay Start’ allows you to postpone the cooking…

Crockpot SCV700-KT Deisgn to Shine 7QT Slow Cooker

 Our Pick
Crockpot SCV700-KT Deisgn to Shine 7QT Slow Cooker
3,685 Reviews
Crockpot SCV700-KT Deisgn to Shine 7QT Slow Cooker
  • 7-Quart capacity serves 8+ people
  • High/low cook settings
  • Removable oval stoneware
  • Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid
  • Polished Silver, stainless steel exteriors in various…

Hamilton Beach Portable 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

 Our Pick
Hamilton Beach Portable 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
4,801 Reviews
Hamilton Beach Portable 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
  • Easy to travel with lid latch strap: simply stretch the…
  • Mix and match settings: This programmable slow cooker allows…
  • The perfect size: comfortably fit a 7lb. Chicken or 5 lb….
  • No watching needed: The Hamilton Beach programmable slow…
  • Easy to clean: programmable slow cooker includes…

Cuisinart MSC-800 Cook Central 4-in-1 Multi-Cooker

 Our Pick
Cuisinart MSC-800 Cook Central 4-in-1 Multi-Cooker
3,503 Reviews
Cuisinart MSC-800 Cook Central 4-in-1 Multi-Cooker
  • 4 programmable functions: – Slow Cook on high, low, simmer…
  • One touch lets you switch modes when recipe calls for…
  • Removable 7-quart nonstick cast aluminum cooking pot with…
  • Dishwasher-safe cooking pot and lid for effortless cleanup
  • Includes reversible roasting/steaming rack

Frequently Asked Questions: Slow Cookers

What is a slow cooker?

A slow cooker is a special type of electric cooking pot. In it, different ingredients are gently cooked over a period of several hours. Typically, such a cooker is in operation for three to twelve hours. Some people may also know slow cookers by another name, such as a slow cooker or Crock-Pot.

How does a slow cooker work?

Slow cookers consist of a heating element, a pot element usually made of ceramic, and a lid that closes well. No stove is necessary for operation, the slow stoves are simply plugged into an electrical outlet. However, in principle, the principle is similar to a classic cooking pot. The big difference lies in the temperature.

Slow cookers quite often offer different levels of temperatures, but they never exceed the boiling point of water (100 °C).

So they work very much like old cast-iron pots that some people may remember from their grandparents. The focus is not on heating the ingredients as quickly as possible, but on providing a long but consistent supply of a very specific temperature.

What are the advantages & use cases of a slow cooker?

Slow cookers inspire with several advantages at once. Cooking with them is particularly easy, as they do not require any attention. Once filled with the desired ingredients, you can simply leave your slow cooker and do not have to worry about anything else. Even if you are cooking for a very long time, this can be done easily.

Since slow cookers also don’t heat up the kitchen, there’s nothing to stop you from leaving the house while it’s in use. So it is also possible to turn on the pot in the morning and then enjoy a delicious meal after work.

Some people may fear horrendous electricity costs due to the long operating times. In fact, the opposite is true. Most slow cookers are very frugal in their power consumption, because once they have reached the required temperature, they need very little energy to maintain it. On average, only about 0.7 kWh is needed to heat a casserole in the slow cooker. The same dish in the oven requires an impressive 2.0 kWh.

Of course, all the practical advantages are of little use if the food from the slow cooker doesn’t taste good. Fortunately, however, the unique preparation method has only advantages in this respect for many dishes. Roasts, soups and stews in particular benefit from a slow cooker.

Meat becomes very tender in it without becoming dry. Soups and stews can cook for as long as you like without reducing too much. In addition, all ingredients are heated evenly.

In a normal cooking pot, on the other hand, ingredients receive much more heat on the bottom than on the surface. Due to this fact, constant stirring is also required.

Of course, the slow cooker is not without its disadvantages. Especially for single households, the purchase is often not worth it, since a slow cooker should always be at least half full. Even small models simply have too much space to prepare a dish for just one person. In addition, slow cookers are not exactly flexible. In principle, they are suitable only for stews and nothing else. If such dishes are not on the menu anyway, a slow cooker is of little use.

Slow cookers are recommended for all those who like the corresponding dishes and also cook often for several people. Although preparation takes a little longer overall, the process is much less complicated. While the slow cooker is doing its work, users can carry out other activities without any problems.

What types of slow cookers are available?

In terms of functionality, all slow cookers rely on the same principle. The only differences are the size and the functions offered. Small models with a volume of around 3.5 liters are ideal for a 2-person household or a small family. But if you want, you can also get models with a volume of 20 liters or more. This can easily cook an entire soccer team.

However, make sure that the slow cooker should always be at least half full. Therefore, it makes little sense to buy a device that is too large.

In terms of functions, there are slow cookers that provide additional relief to the user. For this, for example, there is the function for automatic shutdown after a certain duration. With such a feature, cooking without supervision succeeds even better, and special dishes can be prepared exactly according to the time specified. The only drawback here is a higher price compared to simpler models.

As already mentioned, there are also slow cookers that heat the pot not only from below, but also from the sides. In practice, however, it is not so important how exactly the temperature inside comes about. The only important thing is that it is constant and evenly distributed over the entire pot. To find out whether this is the case with a particular device, simply refer to our Slow Cooker Test.

How are slow cookers tested?

Numerous different appliances have to prove themselves in our Slow Cooker Test. In order to draw as detailed a picture as possible, we put the slow cookers through many tests. In the following, we will tell you what we place particular emphasis on.

Temperature Distribution

With a slow cooker, it is not an advantage if this can become particularly hot. On the contrary, it is even desired that the boiling point of water is not exceeded at any time. In terms of temperature, we therefore do not pay attention to numerical values, but much more to how well the heat is distributed inside. In the best case, the temperature is the same at every location and no differences can be detected. Of course, however, there are certain tolerance limits.

Temperature Development

This category is mainly about whether a slow cooker can keep its temperature constant for a longer period of time. This is one of the most important factors for such a device. Major fluctuations in this area lead to a significant devaluation. We also tell you at this point how long a particular slow cooker takes to reach its operating temperature.

Quality

At this point, we take a closer look at the materials as well as the general workmanship of the slow cooker. Of course, the highest possible quality and a sturdy exterior are desirable. It is also important here that the lid closes well to enable an optimal cooking process.

Power Consumption

The lower power consumption compared to a normal stove is one of the great advantages of slow stoves. To ensure that you can really benefit from this, we measure the power consumption of the appliances in the slow cooker test. This allows us to tell you which slow cookers really save you money on your electricity bill and which models use too much power from the socket.

Design

When it comes to design, we don’t care about the appearance, such as the color or pattern of a slow cooker, because such aspects are completely subjective anyway. We are much more interested in how space-saving the appliances are. After all, a slow cooker with a certain volume should take up as little space as possible in your own kitchen.

Functions

Some slow cookers woo customers with special additional functions, such as an electronic timer. This is supposed to make it possible to prepare food without the user having to do anything after switching on the appliance. After a set cooking time, the appliance switches off and the prepared food is not heated any further. However, this is just one of many examples of additional features. In the Slow Cooker Test, we take a close look at any special functions that may be available and reveal whether they work as advertised and whether they are useful at all.

Price-Performance Ratio

To make sure you don’t pay too much for your slow cooker, we compare the price of each model with the competition. For this purpose, we consult both the manufacturer’s recommended price and actual street prices.

What should I look for when buying a slow cooker?

If you want to buy a slow cooker, you should first make sure that it is the right size. Since a cooking process takes a long time, it is not easy to spontaneously add something. At the same time, you don’t want to prepare too much food, because no one wants to throw it away. For a single household, therefore, only the smallest slow cookers are recommended, as only here is it possible to prepare small quantities.

On the other hand, if you want to feed a whole family, opt for a slow cooker with at least 6 liters of capacity.

Even larger appliances only make sense for large celebrations, when 20 people or more want to be catered for.

In addition to size, quality plays an important role when buying a slow cooker. Above all, look for a high-quality housing as well as the best possible workmanship. This not only ensures optimal preparation, you can then in most cases also enjoy a longer life of the device. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell whether a particular slow cooker is of high quality or not. Therefore, it is advisable to consult our detailed product reviews for this purpose.

Once you have found a slow cooker that fully meets your expectations, you still need to pay attention to the right price. With price search engines on the Internet, buyers already have a good tool to always find the lowest price for a particular model.

However, what such portals leave out is the fact that many a slow cooker is overpriced out of the box. Therefore, compare different models with each other in terms of features and quality in any case. The easiest way to do this is with our Slow Cooker Test.

Slow Cooker Accessories

Slow cookers are complete devices in themselves and do not require any attention from the user during the cooking process. For this reason, there are no accessories worth mentioning that would noticeably facilitate the daily use of the appliance. Anyone who decides to buy a slow cooker therefore already receives everything that is necessary for the preparation of braised dishes of all kinds in the state of delivery.

However, those who are not very familiar with braised dishes can invest in some good cookbooks. There are even some copies that specialize specifically in using a slow cooker. This will give you some initial inspiration for recipes of all kinds, which can of course be modified to your liking.

In the event of a defect, spare parts for slow cookers are of course always a good option. With them, small defects can often be quickly fixed and it is not necessary to buy a new device right away. Unfortunately, such spare parts are not readily available for all models. Especially smaller brands often do not offer the possibility to replace individual parts of a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Alternatives

If you want to prepare your food gently, but don’t want to invest quite as much time as with a slow cooker, you should take a closer look at steam cookers. These also heat food only gently, which leads to significant advantages in terms of consistency and taste. They are also suitable for a wide range of foods and thus offer the user a high degree of flexibility.

in classic cast iron pot is, of course, also an option for preparing food quite like in a slow cooker. However, as already mentioned, the power consumption is a significant disadvantage here. This option is therefore especially recommended to those who only very rarely want to prepare such dishes. For example, if you only want to braise something for a longer period of time at Christmas, you don’t need a slow cooker at home. But even if such dishes are on the menu a few times a month, the purchase may be worthwhile.

For those who only want to prepare small amounts of food, a sous-vide may be a good alternative to the slow cooker. With such a device, the temperature of the water can be regulated very precisely and, as with the slow cooker, it never exceeds the boiling point. The principle of operation is therefore not dissimilar to that of a slow cooker. However, there are disadvantages when it comes to handling. Food cannot be placed in a sous-vide just like that; it usually has to be vacuumed beforehand. So another device is needed to use it. In addition, even large models are only suitable for smaller quantities of certain foods. It is therefore not possible to spontaneously cook something for several people.

Basically, the same results can be achieved with a good oven as with a slow cooker. After all, the temperature can be regulated here as well, and operation below the boiling point of water is possible without further ado. In addition to the already mentioned significantly higher power consumption, there are also disadvantages in terms of handling. First of all, a long preheating is necessary and you also need a suitable roaster or at least a casserole. In addition, the results are really only convincing with high-quality ovens that distribute the heat evenly inside without drying out the food.

Other alternatives to the slow cooker are usually limited to a specific food for preparation. Rice stoves, for example, prepare rice very gently and without any effort on the part of the user, but they are really only suitable for rice and not for food of any other kind.

Last product update on 2021-06-23 | Source: Amazon Affiliate