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6 Best Slow Cookers of 2021 for Home Use

The slow cooker is one of the most loved small appliances ever, and it’s literally living its best moment for a few years now. People love how easy to use it and how versatile this cooking appliance is, especially for busy people in need of planning all of their meals without rushing them and cooking healthy.

Based on our analysis, we’ve decided to recommend only the ones we think are the best of the best to avoid overwhelming you with unnecessary advice.

Our buying guide on the slow cookers will give you all the information on this small appliance, how to use it, what it is used for and whether it is really worth buying. Use the table below to navigate the article or read the whole guide for a better and complete overview.

What is a slow cooker?

A slow cooker is a countertop cooking appliance that allows food to be cooked at a low and steady temperature. Slow cookers are different from pressure cookers which are known for cooking food quite fast.

How does a slow cooker work

A slow cooker is a cooking pot made from ceramic, metal, or even porcelain. Every element of this appliance work thanks to an electrical unit that contains a heating element. The heating element allows for the food to be cooked evenly at a very slow pace. To make sure your food gets cooked, you need to toss your recipe ingredients in the bowl and set it accordingly. It will take a few hours for your food to get cooked, and this means you can put your food in it in the morning and leave it unattended during the day before enjoining a ready-cooked meal later on.

How to choose the best slow cooker

In choosing the best slow cooker to use at home, there are a few things you may want to consider, and that can have a big impact on the final choice. Make sure you pay attention to the following features.

1. Type of heating

The heating element can be placed on the bottom of the stoneware or go up to the sides. The first is the most common, while the second is less common and better because the heat can be distributed evenly, and food can be cooked better and more uniformly.

2. Shape

Standard slow cookers come in round or oval shapes, and there’s no real answer to the question “what’s the best.” The shape doesn’t matter that much in using the slow cooker, and it has to be evaluated concerning the space available and the design of the appliance rather than concerning its use.

3. Size

Depending on how many portions you want to cook, you may want to go for a bigger or a smaller slow cooker. Six quarts is the norm, but you can go even bigger. Just remember that to work properly, a slow cooker has to be at least half full.

4. Timer

A built-in timer is a nice feature to avoid having to turn it on and off manually. All the new slow cookers have a built-in timer that is usually integrated with the programs or can work as a stand-alone feature, so make sure you check whether this function exists or not.

5. Warming function

Slow cookers have a high and a low-temperature cooking setting, but if you want to get the most out of your appliance and use it at its best, you should also choose one with a warming function. This function allows keeping food warms once it’s cooked and it doesn’t overcook it.

The Best Slow Cookers This Year

In this guide, we’ve tried and tested the best slow cookers on the market, checking the design, the temperature control, the time to cook, and most of all, how easy to use they are and the opinions of those who use them daily.

1. Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker

This slow cooker is praised for not being complicated to use not to clean. The oval design allows cooking food for 9+ people. It can be used safely in the microwave, and the oven set up to 400°F. The digital display lets you set your cook time anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 20 hours, and after cooking time is complete, the Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker automatically shifts to the Warm setting, keeping your dish at the ideal serving temperature. The stoneware and lid are both dishwashers safe.

2. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set

The Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set includes three smart settings (Probe, Program, and Manual), allows you to cook foods to a specific temperature, for a set number of hours, or on High, Low, or Warm settings for up to 14 hrs. The removable and dishwasher-safe crock and glass lid make cleanup simple. The Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker is equipped with the power to interrupt protection, so during a momentary power interruption of 5 seconds or less, the slow cooker will remember the programmed heat and time settings cooking.

3. Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker, Extra Large 10 Quart

This Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker has an extra-large capacity: 10-quart capacity fits a 10 pounds turkey or 12 pounds roast. It includes 3 temperature settings and cooks your meal on Low or High; it is possible to switch to Warm to ensure the food maintains its temperature. The clip-tight sealed lid prevents messy spill, and the removable basket and glass lid are both dishwashers safe.

4. Elite Gourmet Lid & Ceramic Slow Cooker

The Elite Gourmet Lid & Ceramic Slow Cooker includes 3 main settings, High, Low, Keep Warm, equipped with a 1.5 Quart removable stoneware pot. The glass lid is dishwasher safe, and overall this slow cooker is perfect for an average-size family.

5. The Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker

The premium Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker offers the three functions that will sautè, steam, and slow cook any recipe to perfection. The Keep Warm feature comes on once the cooking is complete, and The Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker can also make desserts easily. A 24-hour timer and automatic Keep Warm mode ensure your food is ready to eat when you are.

6. KitchenAid KSC6223SS Slow Cooker

This 6-Quart Slow Cooker from KitchenAid includes 4 temperature settings (Low, Medium, High, Keep Warm) to ensure every culinary creations come out the way it should. The oval-shaped ceramic vessel is removable. The appliance can be programmed for a specific cooking time up to 24 hours in 30-minute increments; after the time ends, the slow cooker automatically keeps warm mode for up to four hours.

Is it worth buying a slow cooker?

If you’re used to planning and looking for a small appliance that simplifies your job in the kitchen while bringing tasty food to your table without spending too much, the slow cooker is absolutely worth it. Also, there are tons of recipes you can try, and the level of effort required to get a good healthy meal is minimal. Only you can decide if slow cookers are for you, based on your personal lifestyle and food choices; make sure you analyze your needs and also your habits before purchasing an appliance that may have an impact on your countertop and space and that you may regret to have bought after a few months.

Slow Cookers FAQs

Look at the answers to the most frequent questions about the slow cookers and make up your mind.

1. What’s the difference between a slow cooker and a crockpot?

Despite the confusion and the use of the two terms interchangeably, Croc-Pot is not equal to slow cooker nor vice versa. Crock-Pot is, in fact, a type the name of a brand that produces slow cookers. On the other corner, a slow cooker refers to the type of appliance itself. So using Crock-Pot as a synonym for the slow cooker is completely wrong. And at the same time, referring to slow cookers are Crock-Pots is equally wrong. To use the two terms together, we should always say “CrockPot slow cooker” and do the same for other brands as well, e.g., “Kitchen Aid slow cooker.”

2. Is it OK to put raw meat in slow cooker?

Meat doesn’t need to be browned before added to the slow cooker and can be added raw. But to make sure it will release the best flavor possible, it would be better to brown it before for a few minutes. You can technically cook raw meat in your slow cooker, but if you the time browning the meat beforehand will be the best choice.

3. Can I leave my slow cooker on low overnight?

Slow cookers are meant to stay on for a long time, so yes, you can leave your slow cooker on overnight, making sure it’s set to be on a low heat across an eight-hour period and making sure it’s placed on a safe surface to avoid any problem.

4. Do you put water in the bottom of a slow cooker?

No, you don’t have to put water in your slow cooker base since it is heated up by elements hidden in its core and not by hot water.

5. How much liquid do you put in a slow cooker?

If you need to add water or any liquid to your food based on the recipe you’re going to make, always remember not to fill it more than two-thirds.

6. What are the best foods to cook in a slow cooker?

These are some of the best foods to cook in a slow cooker:

  • Long-cooking cuts of meat (brisket, pork ribs, ham, etc.)
  • Chicken
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Cooked dips

7. What are the worst foods to cook in a slow cooker?

These are some of the worst foods to cook in a slow cooker:

  • Lean meats (steak, pork chops, etc.)
  • Baked foods (cake, pizza, etc.)
  • Pasta
  • Grains

8. Are slow cookers healthy?

Cooking slowly is healthy because and it helps to keep the moisture and the nutrients in your food. It also helps to prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds. Of course, you need to buy a safe and guaranteed slow cooker. Otherwise, you may risk using an appliance that can cause health problems.

9. Can I put frozen meat in a slow cooker?

Technically it is possible to add frozen meat to a slow cooker: it will take more time to cook, but it will get cooked. But it’s also always safe to thaw your meat in the refrigerator before starting a slow cooker recipe to avoid the formation of dangerous components that will be transferred to your body.

10. Do you have to clean the slow cooker after every use?

Yes, slow cookers have to be cleaned immediately after use. You can use dish soap, but we recommend the use of vinegar for more natural cleansing. Fill the slow cooker insert with water, add a few drops of vinegar (or dish soap) and turn it on for an hour; after one hour, check if there’s any residue and eventually scrub the inside with a brush. Discard the mixture and give the inside a quick rinse.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska works as SEO Manager and Localization Project Manager She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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