2 Chicken inside the best slow cooker

Best Slow Cooker For An Intimate Meal

Having the best slow cooker in your kitchen is definitely a boon, but it might also be a necessity for some people. Eating a home-cooked meal is great, but who has the time for it with those crazy work hours? If you’re anything like me, you simply want something delicious for dinner after getting home from work.

With this handy device, you’ll be able to prep a delicious yet healthy meal, set it on a timer for cooking, and then set off to work or school without worrying about a thing! This way, when you return, you’ll be greeted by the delicious aroma and warm, bubbling food all ready to eat.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Without this convenience, you’re likely to fall back upon TV dinners and take-out. Such habits could become expensive, along with being pretty unhealthy. The best slow cooker will tenderize every piece of meat you throw into it, use less electricity than your microwave oven, and bring out that flavor to bursting with every morsel.

Want to know how to make the right choice among various types of slow cookers? Let’s find out.

Top Picks : 5 Best Slow Cooker

It’s Time To Choose The Best Slow Cooker: Slow Cooker Buying Tips

Never bought one of these devices before? There are a few factors to consider when looking for the best slow cooker on the market. Let’s discuss this in more detail below:

  • Know About the Heating Methods

The best slow cooker will have a removable insert along with an enclosing base. The heating element could be at the bottom or go up along the sides. The latter is the better option, as the heating will be more even this way.

If the heating is just at the bottom, you might have to stir the food now and then while it’s cooking. This is fine if you’re simply using the cooker for preparing meals while you get done with other home chores. You can always keep an eye on the cooking status this way. But, it’s not safe when you want a cooker for simmering away while you’re outside the house.

  • Look at the Construction

You should also consider what kind of lining you want for your slow cooker purposes. The most popular varieties are porcelain and ceramic, as they provide safe cooking while retaining the flavor of your ingredients. Metal is also a good option, but the heat conduction of all three choices is about the same.

What you really want to watch out for in the best slow cooker is a removable crock. This gives you an easy way to cleaning it. There are some models with the heating unit and crockpot fused into one unit, and we’d advise steering clear of those.

  • Choose the Material of the Lid

You don’t want to mess with the lid too much while the cooking process is going on. Lifting it up could extend the cooking time and let out that valuable heat. This can also run up your energy bill. For me, the best slow cooker would have a glass lid, so I can see what’s going on without having to open up anything.

  • Consider the Shape

The best slow cooker usually comes in an oval or round shape. There really isn’t much difference here, but the dishes you cook might help in making a decision.

If you think you’ll want to roast a whole chicken, cook some ribs, or make your famous brisket on a regular basis, an oval shape would be better for accommodating those dishes. If what you mostly cook are stews, beans, or curries, you can simply go for the shape that fits best in your storage cabinet.

  • Decide on the Size

There are several sizes available for the best slow cooker. The tiniest models are only for keeping sauces or dips warm, while the huge ones are excellent for those room-busting parties. If you have a small family to cook for, having a three or four-quart size is probably best.

Some of the best slow cookers come in a six-quart size or thereabouts, so you might have to work around the size to get the best options. This is actually the average size, which many slow cooker recipes take into account.

In all events, you should keep in mind that your slow cooker should be half full at the very least in order to get the best results. However, the instructions for some models might not recommend filling up more than three-quarters of the capacity.

  • Check for a Searing Function

Those who want to make slow cooking a part of their life will be delighted to know that the best slow cooker also has a sear function now. This will make sautéing onions, browning meat, and other delicate cooking operations a breeze. On the other hand, this feature will also cost you a fair bit more.

Even the searing function comes in two designs. The first will let you place the food in the insert, utilizing the sear setting and then switching to the slow cook mode. This is an excellent option for those who don’t have a stove or don’t want to use one just to brown meat before slow-cooking.

The second searing design makes the insert itself safe for stoves. You can simply sear the meat directly on a flame or stove element. Once this is done, you can put the insert inside the cooker to finish up the recipe.

Either way, you end up getting most of your cooking done in one pan. The insert might have less space than a regular frying pan, though, so do the searing in batches if there’s a lot of meat.

  • Inquire if There is a Timer Function

The best slow cooker comes with a timer, whether it’s digital or presents choices between cooking times. If you plan to be out of the house, you can set the timer for turning the cooker off after a certain amount of time. This prevents overcooking and burning, which we definitely don’t want.

  • Go for the Warming Function

A warming function is also an excellent option to consider while selecting the best slow cooker. This is a function that lets you keep food warm at lower temperatures without cooking it any further. Again, you can make use of a timer so you can switch the cooker from a cooking mode to the keep-warm function.

There’s also an auto shut-off function for most of the best slow cooker models, but this will simply turn the whole device off. That’s fine if you’re okay with heating up the food at mealtimes, but the warming function is more convenient for enjoying a warm meal right away.

Is This Amazing Kitchen Equipment Expensive?

Katherine chase best slow cooker
Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash

Like any other small kitchen appliance, the prices for the best slow cooker vary due to several factors. The features of a model, the brand name behind it, and its capacity will all have a significant influence on the price of your slow cooker. The price depends on many factors.

Overall, though, we can manage to level out the price range of the best slow cookers by looking at the average sizes and features of the top models. In this case, the price range for this convenient cooking equipment varies from really reasonable to pretty expensive.

How We Reviewed The Best Slow Cooker

All-Clad Slow Cooker and some ingredients beside it
Image via Amazon

Below, we’ve reviewed the best slow cooker models you can find online right now. These are the result of several reviews, testing, and feedback from various sources. You’ll find several quantity ranges below, as well as a wide price range from some high-end options to the cheaper alternatives. They also have several convenient features for today’s busy cook.

The Amazon rating for each slow cooker here is at least 4 out of 5 stars. This way, you’re assured of getting a quality product no matter which one you end up choosing:

Reviews Of Best Slow Cooker

We now come to the best slow cookers so you can see the unique features of each one and choose the one that fulfills your requirements:

1. Hamilton Beach Programmable Searing Slow Cooker

6-Quart Programmable Searing Slow Cooker
  • 6 Quart; Black/Silver sleek look
  • Cast aluminum insert that allows you to brown or sear meat on almost any stovetop
  • Programmable control with digital timer and time adjustment buttons
  • One-pan convenience
  • 3 settings; Dishwasher safe

This Hamilton Beach offering is among the best slow cookers, with a classy black ceramic insert and that coveted glass lid. It has a 6.5-quart capacity, which should be enough for families as well as medium-sized parties. The brand itself is a high-end one, so you can stay assured of a quality experience.

We especially love the long timer here, which can go up to a whopping 26 hours. The digital display and stainless steel handles are two more of the many attractive features. There’s also a keep-warm setting to take the burden off your shoulders.

The only downside might be the heaviness of the ceramic insert, which might make for difficult washing. Still, we’d say that’s a sign of quality. The price of Hamilton Beach is in the higher price range as well. Reviews have praised this model to the skies, saying it doesn’t scratch and cooks evenly as well.

2. All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker

All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker with Black Ceramic Insert and Glass Lid, 6.5-Quart, Silver
  • 6.5-quart, oval-shaped, stainless-steel slow cooker with removable black ceramic insert, large enough to cook food for a crowd and goes right to table for serving.
  • 4-20 hours cooking times with a complete cycle time of up to 26 hours for preparing home-cooked meals on any schedule
  • Easy to read digital display and large push-button controls for intuitive use to easily find your perfect programs
  • Integrated handles on insert for an easy grip and glass lid to trap in heat and moisture. Screen - LCD
  • Dishwasher-safe insert and lid for an easy cleaning. Keep warm- No. Slow cooking settings- High mode- 2 to 8 hours. Low mode- 4 to 20 hours Warm

​This All-Clad offering is among the best slow cookers, with a classy black ceramic insert and that coveted glass lid. It has a 6.5-quart capacity, which should be enough for families as well as medium-sized parties. The brand itself is a high-end one, so you can stay assured of a quality experience.

We especially love the long timer here, which can go up to a whopping 26 hours. The digital display and stainless steel handles are two more of the many attractive features. There’s also a keep-warm setting to take the burden off your shoulders.

The only downside might be the heaviness of the ceramic insert, which might make for difficult washing. Still, we’d say that’s a sign of quality. The price of All-Clad is in the higher price range as well. Reviews have praised this model to the skies, saying it doesn’t scratch and cooks evenly as well

3. Hamilton Beach Portable Digital Programmable Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker with Lid Lock, Temperature Probe, Stainless Steel
  • Not your mom’s slow cooker: Smart technology allows you to cook a recipe to either a desired cooking time or specific temperature, before automatically switching to warm when it’s done
  • Patented temperature probe: Place the temperature probe into large cuts of meat to cook to a precise temperature the control panel will display the food’s exact temperature as it cooks
  • Clip-tight gasket lid: The lid clips securely in place, perfect for taking the slow cooker to a party, potluck or tailgate the tight seal helps prevent messy spills along the way
  • Easy to clean: Removable and dishwasher safe crock and glass lid make cleanup simple and power interrupt protection keeps slow cooker on during a brief power outage
  • 6 quart capacity: Spacious size is perfect for a 6 pound chicken or 4 pound roast

The very name of this Hamilton Beach offering is a tempting one. You set the food inside, and forget about it until you’re ready to eat! While not quite there yet, this model actually comes very close to that level of convenience. This one can even simmer beans without overcooking them.

The interface of this model is intuitive, which is an excellent combination with the probe thermometer and the locking lid. For some, the auto shut-off might be a bit too soon, but 14 hours should be long enough for most dishes.

The price range is on the low side for these cookers. You might be able to get a slightly lower price with an online discount, though.

4. Crock-Pot Countdown Programmable Oval Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S 6-Quart Countdown Programmable Oval Slow Cooker with Stove-Top Browning, Stainless Finish
  • Ceramic-coated pot can be used for stove-top browning and then placed in the slow cooker
  • Digital timer counts down cooking time; program cooking time from 30 minutes to 20 hours
  • 6-quart slow cooker serves 6+ people
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware insert, and dishwasher-safe locking glass lid
  • Recipes included

This Crock-Pot gives us the option to brown our dishes on the stovetop. The stainless steel finish is great for displaying on your countertop, while the 6-quart capacity is great for exact slow cooker recipes. You also have a locking lid, auto-stir mode, and several other programmable functions in this smart pot.

The pot inside is lined with ceramic, which is truly nonstick. However, you’ll have to take certain precautions to make sure it stays intact. The wattage is on the low side, which means a more intense flavor and a lower energy bill.

The price range stays pretty reasonable.

5. Instant Pot 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

The Instant Pot LUX is the most versatile slow cooker on this list, even if it’s also one of the smallest. At just a 3-quart capacity, this pot is perfect for small families who want a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, warmer, steamer, and sauté pan in one device. Each of the functions is available with this model. You should go for it if you’re living as a tiny nuclear family.

While the working of the pot is excellent, some users might have an issue with the filter on the valve. If you’re not careful, you could end up hurting yourself while opening up the pot for cleaning.

The price range is on the high side of the mid range, which some might expensive for such a small device.

6. BLACK+DECKER Digital Slow Cooker

BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker with Chalkboard Surface, Slate, SCD4007
  • Chalkboard Surface - Get creative! The exterior of the slow cooker is a chalkboard, perfect for drawing on and for writing down recipes or allergy concerns. Great for getting kids involved in the kitchen!
  • Chalk Included - You get two sticks of chalk with the slow cooker. Plus the surface works with any traditional chalk sticks (not recommended for use with chalk pens).
  • Built-In Lid Holder - Keep countertops clean and stir & serve without holding the lid! The built-in holder props the lid conveniently on either of the side handles.
  • Three Heat Settings - Low, high, and warm settings for ideal slow cooker performance with every recipe.
  • Removable Stoneware Crock - The durable 7-quart pot retains heat and is easy to clean.

The ​BLACK+DECKER digital cooker can hold up to 7 quarts and is available in a variety of exciting interiors. These include teal, silver leaf, and even a chalkboard option for extra creativity. With the locking wires, you can take your dish along to picnics, tailgate parties, and potlucks without any hassle. This also means a more convenient cooking experience.

We especially love the locking lid and even cooking here, along with the conveniently large handles. You should watch out for the high setting, though. This could be a burn hazard. Therefore, you should learn how to use even the best slow cooker safely.

7. Ninja Auto-iQ Multi/Slow Cooker

Ninja Auto-iQ Multi/Slow Cooker with 80-Pre-Programmed Auto-iQ Recipes for Searing, Slow Cooking, Baking and Steaming with 6-Quart Nonstick Pot (CS960)
  • 80+ Auto-iQ pre-programmed recipes - just select recipe, add ingredients, and Auto-iQ helps you cook.. Cord length : 36 Inches
  • 4 programmable cooking functions all in one pot: slow cook, sear and sauté, steam, and bake.
  • Triple Fusion Heat: Side heat, bottom heat, and steam heat come together for easy one pot meal. Traditional slow cookers use only one type of heat.
  • Built with convenience in mind, it comes with a Digital Timer and Auto-Stay warm so you can get your when you want them and how you want them.
  • Cook anywhere you have an outlet. It’s lightweight so it’s great for parties, vacations, and college dorm rooms

The ​Ninja Auto-iQ slow cooker is a very handy piece of equipment to have in the kitchen. Not only can it sear meat and saute veggies, but it can also steam food as well as do the usual slow cooking. It can even be set to bake a cake!

With 80 different recipe presets, you can add the ingredients and let the Ninja take care of the rest. Want to cook up a delicious seven layer dip? This top entry for the best slow cooker has a setting for that.

With a 6 quart capacity and a control panel with a ton of options. It’s on the expensive side of the slow cooker range, but not super luxury cost.

Do you have a lot of parties? Or maybe you’re in charge of setting up the monthly office luncheons? The Bella 3×1.5 Quart Triple Slow Cooker is the answer to the prayer you didn’t even know you had.

The Triple Slow Cooker is exactly what it sounds like: Three small slow cookers in one unit. Each one is 1.5 quarts, large enough for a freshly cooked dip, sauce, soup, chili, etc. The individual slow cookers have their own temperature setting so you can cook different foods at different speeds and then keep them all warm for the party!

Each pot also has a clear lid so you can see how your food is cooking or how much is left. The lids can be hung on a little rack behind the pot to keep things from getting messy. The Triple Slow Cooker comes with three serving spoons, and each small pot has a groove in it for the spoon. This way, the spoons can stay in, and the lid can stay on. No muss, no fuss.

The Triple Slow Cooker is easily the best slow cooker for a party setting. Expect to pay a good amount for this, and a little more if you want the 4-year protection plan.

9. Crock Pot 2-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker

Crock Pot 2-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker, Polka Dot Pattern (SCR250-POLKA)
  • 2.5-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker serves 3+ people
  • High/Low cook settings
  • Crock-Pot features removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware insert, and dishwasher-safe glass lid
  • Compact slow cooker with purple polka-dot design
  • Recipes included

Sometimes, the best slow cooker for you is simple, affordable, and kinda cute. That’s where the ​Crock Pot 2-1/2-Quart slow cooker comes in. With its adorable purple polka dot pattern and three settings, this is the perfect starter slow cooker for a novice on a budget.

At less than 3 quarts, you’re only going to cook enough food for a single meal for 3-5 people. But if you’re on a tight budget to begin with, that’s OK.

There is a single knob with “off,” “low,” and “high” for settings. That’s perfect for anyone just learning how to cook with a slow cooker or someone who doesn’t want to bother with a million buttons and settings. Auto-cooking and 24-hour timers are great, but sometimes you just need a simple on and off choice.

It would appear a lot of people like the simple life. You, too, can get back to basics for a truly inexpensive price.

Getting Closer to Preparing That Scrumptious Meal

All-Clad Slow Cooker and some ingredients beside it
Image via Amazon

Each of these slow cookers could get you to culinary heaven without the need to spend the entire day in the kitchen. For covering all the bases, though, we recommend the All-Clad SD700450 as the best slow cooker available on the market. It’s versatile, powerful, and has excellent reviews for all kinds of cooking.

With this or another model of All-Clad, you can enjoy scrumptious home-cooked meals all week long.

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