Those of you who have had the pleasure of cooking with a slow cooker should know by now just how rewarding the whole experience is. Not only can you use a slow cooker to cook tender dishes but the food prepared like this also tends to be a lot tastier. In fact, slow cookers are perfect for dishes that require a lot of boiling, dishes like stews, soups, and pot roasts. It’s even better with programmable slow cookers that can save you an awful lot of time when preparing intricate dishes that require a lot of tending to. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best slow cookers the market has to offer at this point in time.
Best Slow Cookers Of 2018
10Gourmia DCP760 Digital Slow Cooker
Equipped with very convenient features like a digital LCD panel with simple time and temperature settings, this slow cooker is definitely one of the very best. It also features ergonomically designed buttons, a tempered-glass lid, and stay cool handles for good measure. At the same time, it has a 7-quart oval shaped non-stick ceramic insert that doubles as a serving dish if needed.
9BELLA 5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
This ingenious slow cooker enables you to create virtually any dish that requires an intricate preparation method. Given its large 5-quart capacity, it allows you to create meals for up to five people at a time, making it perfect for large families. It also stands out by having the capacity to operate at a low setting over long periods of time, therefore allowing you to prepare dishes overnight.
8Elite Platinum MST-900D Maxi-Matic
This 8.5-qt slow cooker is perfect for large meals like turkey breasts or roast beef, a size that recommends it for large families. Due to the fact that it uses a reliable timer, you can use it to prepare dishes that require a long cooking time, a feature that also enables you to attend other matters while the food is being prepared. On a related note, it is also fully programmable up to 20 hours, giving you a lot of control over its cooking.
7Chefman Chemical-Free Slow Cooker
Like the name suggests, this cooker doesn’t use any hazardous chemicals, many thanks to its stoneware inserts that are naturally non-stick, PTOA, PTFE, and Coating free. Furthermore, this stoneware crock can be used over an open flame if needed, or in an oven, if the situation requires it. Not only that but it also cleans a whole lot easier than most slow cookers, a feature it owes to its very practical construction.
6KitchenAid KSC6222SS Slow Cooker
Equipped with an easy serve glass lid, this 6-quart cooker from KitchenAid enables you to quickly dispense its contents once the cooking’s done. Feature-wise, let us point out that it has four temperature settings for you to choose from, providing you with a versatility no other slow cooker can, at least not in this price range. We should also point out that you can program it to cook for a specific time up to a 24-hour period in 30-minute increments.
5Crock-Pot SCCPVL605-S Cooker
The first thing to point out about this particular cooker is the lid-mounted locking system that offers the ultimate solution in regards to its portability. It also has a 6-quart capacity that enables it to serve up to seven people per batch. This cooker can also be easily cleaned, a feature only high-end cookers seem to have. What’s more, it comes with an ample number of recipes for you to use.
4All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker
With an inbuilt, easy to read digital display and large push-button controls, this cooker is very intuitive and easy to use. Its integrated handles offer an easy grip, which is great when considering that it also has a glass lid to trap in heat and moisture. Furthermore, its dishwasher-safe insert and lid make it very easy to clean. At the same time, this cooker offers a programmable setting that goes all the way up to 26 hours in small increments for a more advanced cooking process.
3Hamilton Beach 33473 Programmable Slow Cooker
This quality slow cooker from Hamilton beach features an easy clean touchpad with a removable, dishwasher safe stoneware & lid, a construction that makes it very practical overall. It also features a wraparound element for even heating, a feature not many slow cookers have, at least not in this price range. More so, the cooker lets you choose between three temperature settings during the cooking process, either low, warm, or high depending on the recipe.
2Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central
It is important for a high-end slow cooker to be user-friendly, which is precisely what makes this particular cooker stand out. Equipped with a one-touch interface that lets you switch between cooking combinations with a simple touch of a button, it is sure to help you prepare extremely intricate recipes as easily as possible. As you would expect from such a quality cooker, it also has a glass lid with cool-touch handles for a clear view and comfortable handling.
1Aroma Housewares Cooked Digital Rice Cooker / Slow Cooker
Few slow cookers even meet the standards set by this ingenious cooker, nevermind surpassing it in any way. We say this because it can cook an impressively large amount of food in a single batch, a feature that recommends it for large families. It also seams meat and vegetables a whole lot faster than most cookers, not to mention how well it handles condiments. Easy to use and even easier to clean, this cooker places you in full control over its capabilities via a programmable set of digital controls with a 15-hour delay timer, keep-warm feature, and a mutltitude of other useful mechanisms.
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What To Look For In A Slow Cooker
Although they’ve been around since the 70s, slow cookers are as popular as ever; in fact, they might be even more popular nowadays. The main reason behind this is the fact that they are very practical and easy to use. The fact that some of them are fully programmable and easy to maintain certainly adds even more to their overall popularity. That said, not all of them can be expected to meet the same standards, thus the need to take the time and learn about what makes a good slow cooker. If we’re talking basics here, these are the main aspects to consider when buying one:
The design of a slow cooker tells you a lot about its structural standard and its maintenance requirements. It used to be that most of these cookers were oval and made of glazed ceramic or porcelain materials, with either a glass or metal lid. The housing of these cookers is usually made of metal with a heating element and cord for the actual heating up process. For the cooking process to happen just as slow cookers are intended to perform, the lid is supposed to provide a low-pressure seal to the contents through a condensation process. Keep in mind, however, that a pressure cooker isn’t the same as a slow cooker, no matter how similar they might seem to one another.
The size of a slow cooker determines how many portions you will be able to prepare in a single batch. If you want to cook for a group of people or a large family, you might want to look for a unit that is bigger than 7.5-quarts in capacity. You also have to keep in mind that most of these cookers have a liquid recommendation and should not be filled to the top with fluids because it might affect the unit’s heat controls.
Speaking of heat, most if not all slow cookers are controllable to some extent in regards to their heat output. For the most part, these cookers have low, medium, and high settings to choose from with the occasional ‘keep warm’ function for when you want to keep a pot of stew at a warm temperature throughout the day. You can also employ their adjustable heat output to cook complicated dishes that require a slow and lengthy cooking process.
With slow cookers, you also have to keep an eye on the cleaning part and how much effort one must put into cleaning one. It just so happens that most cookers are dishwasher safe, at least the pot and lid parts if not the electrical components. You can easily clean the inside of a porcelain or glazed pot by hand most of the time, although it somewhat depends on the foods you cooked and how sticky the ingredients were.
You also have the option to choose between a round cooker or an oval one. In our experience, the difference is mostly in the dishes you want to cook and the ingredients you use to cook them. For instance, if you’re planning on cooking a whole chicken, then perhaps an oval shaped cooker would make more sense. This is because of how tricky it is to accommodate an entire chicken in a round pot, be it normal or slow-cooking. ON the other hand, round cookers work better when it comes to stews and brews of any variety.
Like we said, some slow cookers are equipped with timer settings to enable you to customize the cooking process. As such, you can program these cookers to maintain a constant heat for a specific amount of time, to turn themselves off at a time of your choosing, or to perform their tasks for a determined amount of time before shutting themselves off. Needless to say, cheaper slow cookers cannot be expected to have this feature, so don’t be afraid to spend that extra buck for something that can save you an awful lot of time long-term.
Another interesting feature is the auto-cook function that high-end slow cookers sometimes have. As the name suggests, this feature allows the unit to operate for a pre-determined amount of time at a temperature of your choosing before changing the pattern. Most of these cooking schedules begin at a high temperature and gradually drop to low throughout the cooking process, a function that can surely come in handy when cooking complicated dishes.
Most slow cookers are designed to cook a variety of dishes, but the range tends to differ between models. What you want is a slow cooker that can prepare stews, roasts, soups, and pretty much any popular dish. It should do that without the need to add butter, fats, or oils of any kind, nor should you be forced to add unnecessary spices. If you are a vegan or diabetic, you will find that slow cookers can save you a lot of trouble when preparing dried beans or peas.
While you can expect high-end slow cookers to be rather expensive, you shouldn’t pay more than maybe $200 for a cooker, no matter how many features it has. Starting at around $50, you can get a reasonably decent slow cooker, one that at least has the option to choose between multiple heating options. What’s interesting about slow cookers is that they tend to cook up particularly tough ingredients rather well, to the point where it is viable for you to use cheaper ingredients, thus saving a lot of money in the long run.