Best Slow Cooker (Best Slow Cooker) & Crock Pot for the Ultimate Tender Meal!
The Best Slow Cookers& Crock Pots for ANY Occasion!
The Best Slow Cooker is a culinary wizard capable of creating elegant party food, ethnic or everyday hearty comfort food with minimal effort and maximum results. Slow cooking and easy entertaining go hand in hand. It frees up your stovetop and oven when you're cooking for a group, and it also serves as a great food warmer for buffets. The slow cooker requires minimal attention. Just prepare your ingredients, turn on the pot, and then go take care of other things.
Take advantage of the slow cooker for cooking in the summer. It eliminates heat from the kitchen while keeping the cook out of the way. In the winter, you can have a hearty, warm meal at home or in the cold. The slow cooker can also fix dinner while you're at your kid's soccer game. Of course, use your slow cooker whenever you get the chance. The more you use it, the more you'll fall in love with it.
Slow cookers come in round and oval shapes, as well as a variety of sizes from 1-quart to 6-quart. Most have two settings. Low setting and High setting. The low setting is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and the high setting is about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Energy efficiency is one of the hallmarks of a slow cooker. On the low setting, the user of the cooker only needs the equivalent of a 75-watt light bulb.
West Bend Slow Cooker
The West Bend Oblong Slow Cooker and its stainless steel liner are a popular shape and size - this 5-quart crock pot allows you to make dinner for yourself (with some leftovers) or for a family of up to 5 people, depending on the size of the dish and appetite! It only takes a few minutes to make. Just take a few minutes in the morning to put the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on while you're rushing out the door, and 8 hours later when you return, a great meal is waiting for you! Then on the weekends, when you want something to eat, you can eat it in the slow cooker.
Then on the weekends, when you want something hot for breakfast, the base of the slow cooker becomes a little griddle, just what you need to heat up sausages, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes - what a great deal, two appliances for the price of one, and a great space saver too, making it top of our list of the best slow cookers.
The West Bend Oblong slow cooker is really easy to use -- there are no tricky programs to master here, and the manual dial lets you set the temperature and then change it when you want. This allows you to start on high to shorten the cooking time, then manually switch to warm at the end of the cooking time. Options include keep warm, low, medium and high.
Product Physical Description
- Appearance. The West Bend Oblong Slow Cooker has a dishwasher-proof stainless steel slow cooker that sits on a heated base that doubles as a small griddle.
- Handles. The plastic handles on the pot and base stay cool even when in use.
- Lid. The dishwasher-proof lid is glass and the travel lid is plastic.
- Capacity: 5 quarts
STAINLESS STEEL SLOW COOKER: Grill meats, saute onions, and then cook as needed in this stainless steel slow cooker and serve your meals right out of the box. Let the pot cool with leftovers still inside before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. The pot can be used on the stove, in the oven, or on the slow cooker to reheat leftovers. This way, you save on dishes. What an advantage this is. Non-Stick Cooker Base: How wonderful for cooks who are short on space to get a small griddle extra with this device. Great for heating up sausages, eggs and tomatoes to make a hearty breakfast for two. Insulated Tote Bag: When your dish is done cooking, unplug the cord, put the entire slow cooker in the bag, strap it on and you're ready to go. Keeps warm for up to 2 hours, and when you get there, just plug in the appliance again and set it to keep warm if you have power. Care & Cleaning: The metal surface of this slow cooker needs to be seasoned before use and after the pot has been exposed to the dishwasher - refer to the instructions for more information. Make sure to use the nylon tool only on the non-stick surface to protect the coating from scratches. What's in the box: Your instruction booklet includes a 5-quart cookbook to get you started, and this pot comes with a 1-year limited warranty. Customer Reviews: Ninety percent of customer reviews (at the time of this writing) rated this unit 4 stars or better. In fact, I was most impressed with the number of reviews that said their previous West Bend slow cooker went out and they went out of their way to replace it with this one - most like their original one. For my money, you can't get a better recommendation. Pros and Cons: Adjustable dial temperature gauge. The versatility of the stainless steel liner. Ability to freeze it, refrigerate it, cook with it on the stove. The tote keeps it warm while dining out. Cons -- Some people don't find the griddle hot enough ...... Summary: A great all-rounder with many useful extra special features. I can see why it is loved by chefs who have decades of experience. Conclusion: I personally appreciate the versatility of this unit with the griddle base and also the dial temperature control. I also like the shape for cooking turkey breasts or large roasted chickens and it appeals to me. I often take my slow cooker out with me, so having an insulated tote is also a major benefit. Best of all, it's very reasonably priced. For a hassle-free purchase, buy it online and then if you have any warranty-related questions, Amazon's excellent customer service will be there to help you.
Rival Crock Pot -- Slow Cooker
The original Crock Pot transforms basic vegetables and budget meats into delicious, tender meals while you're out or taking care of other things. Just put everything in the pot to braise beef or chicken or soup, turn it down to low and it will simmer slowly, tenderizing and cooking the meat perfectly, all day long. In 8-10 hours you will have the main part of 4-5 meals ready for dinner!
Cooking Mode: Select your temperature manually on the dial, options are off, low and high.
Product Physical Description.
- Appearance. The exterior stays cool while in use. The oval ceramic interior has a rinse-off, dishwasher safe, lifetime non-stick coating.
- Handle. Cool-touch handle on the bottom stays cool during operation.
- Lid. Glass is also dishwasher safe.
- Capacity: 3.5 quarts
How does it work? Simply plug in, select high or low, and go.
The anti-stick coating on the ceramic line makes cleanup a breeze, just like the best toaster we reviewed here. The wrap-around heating system means there are no hot spots or any chance of the contents catching fire or burning. This compact, oval size is easier to fit in a cabinet on the counter.
Care/Cleaning: The ceramic liner and glass lid are dishwasher safe. What's in the box: Your instruction booklet has enough recipes to get you started and serve as a guide for making other dishes - and a 1-year limited warranty. Customer Reviews: Many customers have commented that the Crockpot slow cooker is the perfect size for cooking for one or two people without a lot of leftovers and for three to four people. They also like that the interior is easy to clean and that the appliance doesn't take up a lot of space. More than 77% of reviews rated this appliance with 4 or more stars out of 5, with many of them making positive recommendation comments. Pros/Cons: Pros -- Easy to use, it does what you expect it to do, and it does it well. Cons -- Some reviewers had issues with the experience of the cover. As with any electrical product you purchase, it's a good idea to keep your receipt and warranty in case there are warranty issues. Another good reason to buy here -- because Amazon will help you with any questions. Summary: What you see is what you get, nothing shiny or complicated, just clean and simple, easy to use features and reliable -- what more could you ask for? For the price, you can't go wrong. How many take-out meals can you get for this price?The Crockpot slow cooker is a great value for the money. Conclusion: Every family should have one! Today, the slow cooker is an absolutely essential kitchen appliance. With no more than 15 minutes of preparation in the morning, using mostly healthy, basic and budget-conscious ingredients, you can prepare nutritious and delicious meals.
Cuisinart Slow Cooker
The Cuisinart 3-1/2 quart programmable slow cooker is one of the better looking slow cookers on the market today, and the reason I'm writing this Cuisinart slow cooker review , it's important to make sure you use it often if you plan to keep your slow cooker on the counter! If you have a busy life, which means you need to reduce your dinner prep time to less than 15 minutes, then you'll be using your slow cooker every day!
Cooking Modes: The Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker has three programmable cooking modes, high, low and slow cooker. Automatic keep warm function: Yes Cooking time: Programmable with user-friendly touch control panel with 24-hour LCD countdown timer.
Product Physical Description
- Appearance. The Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker has an attractive brushed stainless steel exterior and an oval ceramic liner with a glass lid.
- Handle. The plastic handle on the bottom stays cool even when in use.
- Lid. Glass is dishwasher safe.
- Capacity: 3.5 quarts
How does it work? Just plug it in, turn it on, set the cooking time in 30-minute increments, and select the heat setting. It's easy!
Simmer Mode: If you're worried because you've read that other programmable slow cookers boil at too high a temperature and burn your food, then you'll be interested in this feature. Simmer mode allows long, slow cooking of soups, bisques and stews - which helps them develop rich, flavorful flavors - while also allowing you to control the finish time and switch the unit to warm mode at the end of the cooking time. Perfect slow cooker soups and stews every time! Recipes: A cookbook with 50 recipes, all with nutritional values listed, is provided along with instructions. This is a benefit for anyone with a special diet who wants to know the nutritional level of each dish. Care/Cleaning: The ceramic liner and glass lid are dishwasher safe. What's in the box: Your instruction booklet comes with 50 recipes with nutritional values listed, plus a 3 year limited warranty. Customer Reviews: At the time of this writing, Cuisinart's programmable slow cooker was the highest rated in customer reviews and the best-selling of all 3-quart programmable slow cookers on Amazon. In fact, ninety percent of customer reviews at the time rated this appliance 4 stars or better out of 5 stars. Pros/Cons: Many customer reviewers mentioned how much they appreciated the simmer setting. It's the perfect size for leftovers for one or two people, or for food for four people. One of its basic features is that once the cooking is done, there's a keep warm switch - then it doesn't matter when you get home! Many people think that cleanup is "super easy." Many found the cleanup "super easy." Cons -- Some people mentioned that they had problems that could have been fixed under warranty, so make sure you keep your receipts and warranty information. Another good reason to buy here -- because Amazon will help you with any issues you may have. Summary: A beautiful slow cooker from a popular, reputable brand, a great size for feeding 1 to 4 people. A bundle that ticks all the boxes. Conclusion: For me, this digital slow cooker is a great value - the traditional slow cooker mode combined with the keep warm feature in such a good looking package won me over For a hassle-free purchase, buy online and then if you have any warranty related questions, Amazon's excellent customer service will be there to help you.
The best crock pot for any size need!
What is a Crock Pot?
Crockpot is a trademark that is used generically to refer to a slow cooker, or a kitchen appliance used to cook food at a low temperature for an extended period of time. A crock pot is powered by an A/C cord and comes with a lid. Because the food is heated at low temperatures, it can be safely left unattended, making it a very useful tool for busy cooks. They also make great Mother's Day gift ideas !
After preparing the required ingredients, you just need to put them in the crock pot and set the proper time and temperature (high or low). You can go to work, do other chores, or run errands, and when you get home, your meal is ready to serve.
Different crock pots vary in design, size and function. So, choose one based on your needs and budget.
Crock Pot Slow Cooker
In this section of the article, I will highlight some of the Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker devices. One of the benefits of looking for a slow cooker is whether it has a removable liner. In the products I will be featuring, the body of the crock pot is stainless steel, while the liner inside is a removable stoneware that can also be used as a nice serving dish.
The price of these units varies and your preference of product will depend on your budget and cooking needs. So read on to see which one is best for you. At the end of this article, I will also include tips on how to properly use the crock pot.
One feature of the crock pot is that it can be set to cook for a specific period of time, which is appealing to busy cooks. You can choose a high or low temperature setting, and of course, high temperatures will result in faster cooking. So, depending on how long you stay out, you can set it as you wish.
And don't forget that even though there is only one CrockPot, there are countless slow cookers!
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
This crock pot can be programmed to cook from 30 minutes to a maximum of 20 hours in 30-minute increments - quite a good maximum time for someone who will be away from home for an extended period of time. A notable feature of the device is its automatic keep warm system once the preset cooking time is reached. This allows the food to stay warm until served without overcooking.
The gasketed lid and handles on both sides make it easy to carry around. You can even take the crock pot with you to a picnic or potluck party without having to transfer the food to another storage unit. Just like the best travel kettles.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S is among the highest ranked kitchen tools on Amazon and is Wired Magazine's Editor's Choice. It has an average user rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Despite the high approval rating given by many customers, some have complained that the product has an undesirable plastic smell when cooking. One user noted that this odor disappeared after the first cooking and worked fine after that.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL605-S is another notable unit with fairly high user ratings. In addition to the common removable stoneware and handles that can be found similarly in the previous crock pots I've featured, the unit can be programmed automatically, but the configuration is less complicated. The crock pot's timer can only be hard-set to 2, 4, 6 and 8 hours.
For shorter cooking times, the device is automatically set to high, while longer cooking times are set to low. After the preset cooking time is reached, the crock pot automatically switches to a warm setting to maintain a steady temperature of the food until serving time similar to induction cooking.
Although slightly inferior to the Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S due to its inability to be set to odd cooking times, this may be a good option for those on a lower budget.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL605-S slow cooker gets a higher rating than the more popular SCCPVL610-S, with 4.8 out of 5 stars. It's simpler and not as high-tech. Again, this product has gotten complaints about plastic odors emanating from cooking. One user speculated that this could be due to a manufacturing defect in some units (as the letters embossed on the bottom of the stoneware are not clearly stamped) and therefore emitted a plastic smell. The aforementioned user had requested a replacement unit and is now satisfied with the replacement.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S, unlike the first two products I described, is a manual slow cooker. It does not have a digital display, but rather a rubber knob for adjusting the temperature. Since it is a manual device, you have to manually adjust the knob when the desired cooking time is reached. Settings include high, low and warm. Despite the lack of an automatic timer, some users like the simplicity.
As the cheapest product on the list, this product was able to earn a high score of 4.1. Many users were satisfied with its value for money. One user even wrote in a review that the device worked as well as a $100 slow cooker. The settings are simple, the high setting does cook fast and the low setting does cook slow. The keep warm setting keeps the food at the right temperature. One complaint about the design is that the pot has just three legs for support, making it rather unstable.
How to use the Crockpot
In this section, I will list some key points about crockpot cooking. Crockpot cooking is very convenient, especially if you are always in a hurry. Even though the time required to cook is short, you can still create delicious and hearty dishes that will satisfy your family's cravings. This is one of the kitchen gadgets you really want to have !
If you are particularly new to this type of cooking process, make sure the food is cooked. I highly recommend that you get a book on this topic. Taking the time to learn crockpot cooking is a good investment and it will certainly be worth it in the long run.
For general concepts on crockpot cooking, here are some guidelines.
- The lid should fit snugly over the heater for better cooking. Using a crockpot means you should leave it there -- don't open the lid during the heating process, as this will only slow down the cooking time. If your unit's lid rattles, put a sheet of aluminum foil over the heater to make it tighter.
- Spray the liner with oil to avoid burning the food in contact with the base.
- Fill the pan only half to two-thirds full. Filling the pot more than the highest line will only make the cooking less effective.
- Vegetables should be blanched before adding them to the crock pot. The slow cooking process in the crock pot destroys the nutrients in the vegetables. Pre-blanched vegetables will seal in much-needed nutrients.
- Some ingredients may only be added in the last hour of cooking. This applies to ingredients that cook quickly, such as tomatoes and seafood.
- If your appliance does not have an automatic heating function, be sure to store food safely after the cooking time is over. Leaving food too long will only encourage bacterial growth and reheating will not be enough to kill them.
- Remove excess fat from meat. Fat cooks faster, so overcooking can cause it to melt and leave an undesirable taste to the dish.
- Use cheaper cuts of meat as your ingredients. They work better for the crockpot rather than expensive cuts of meat.
Our best slow cooker tips
Raw root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, bromeliads and turnips, hold their texture well during long cooking times. In fact, they tend to cook more slowly than meat. Place root vegetables on the bottom and sides of the pan and place the meat on top or in the middle for more even cooking. Use only the amount of liquid the recipe calls for, as the pan will draw the juices out of the food and evaporate less than traditional cooking, so you may have too much liquid.
What's in this article...
Dry beans take longer to soften if they are combined with sugar and acid before softening. Soak the beans before adding them to the pot and make sure to add the sugar and acid only after they are cooked soft.
Inexpensive meats are the best choice for slow cooking. Beef brisket, rump roasts, stews, chuck roasts, short ribs, round steaks and roast chicken are all suitable. These tougher cuts of meat will be fork tender and very flavorful when cooked in the slow cooker. They will also have less fat to marinate in. Take the time to trim off any excess fat before placing in the slow cooker. The more fat a piece of meat has, the more liquid it will release during the cooking process.
Meat cooked in the best slow cookers also doesn't turn as brown as it would in a pan or oven. For visual appeal and extra flavor, it may be necessary to brown the meat in a large pan on the stove before placing it in the slow cooker, but this is not necessary to make a good roast. Strictly speaking, it's a matter of preference.
Slow Cooker Nuts and Bolts
Slow cookers are designed to do just that, cook slowly and gently. The slow cooker can take advantage of the moisture already in the ingredients. Slow cookers have wrap-around heating, so there is no direct heat at the bottom. It's important to make sure the lid sits securely on the pot so that these precious juices don't escape, and not to lift the lid more than necessary. Each time you lift the lid, steam will escape and the temperature will drop. It may take 15 to 20 minutes to regain the lost steam and temperature.
During the last 20 to 30 minutes, you can remove the lid and cook over high heat to thicken the juices and make the gravy.
There is no need to stir the ingredients unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Always layer ingredients as directed in the recipe.
The recipe should fill the pot at least as much as necessary for maximum cooking results. The fuller your slow cooker is, the longer it will take to cook. The more densely packed the pot is, the longer it will take to cook. Large pieces of meat take longer to cook than meat cut into smaller pieces. Buy different sizes of slow cookers and use the right size for your dishes.
Yes, you can indeed overcook food in the slow cooker. If your recipe calls for 6 hours of cooking and you extend it to 8 or 10 hours, you may be disappointed with your dinner. Especially with chicken, the boneless, skinless chicken will fall apart. But this is overcooking by 2 hours, so there is a lot of room for error here.
Dairy products, such as milk, creamy yogurt, cream cheese or other cheeses, can curdle and separate if cooked too long or at too high a temperature. If possible, try to add these in the last half hour of cooking or add them on low heat.
When adding canned ingredients to your recipes, don't go overboard with salt, as canned foods are usually very high in sodium. Taste your dish at the end and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Whole spices are easier to preserve than crushed spices during long, slow cooking. You can tie the spices to a square of cheesecloth for easy removal.
When adding fresh vegetables, such as green beans, zucchini or fresh mushrooms, add them within the last 15 minutes of cooking. This will give your vegetables time to add flavor to the dish without melting into a puree.
Garnish your showstoppers with fresh herbs or vegetables, such as fresh parsley, garden-cut chives, sun-dried tomatoes, and freshly grated cheese. The contrast of textures will add surprise and interest, making it an extra highlight.
During the holidays, when your stove and oven are occupied and you need to make a side dish or vegetable casserole, use your slow cooker instead. The general conversion rule is that slow cooking is equal to 1 hour of traditional cooking times 2 (high setting) or times 4 (low setting).
You can use your slow cooker to serve hot drinks or appetizers at your next gathering.
Slow Cooker Safety
There are a few basic safety rules that you should follow meticulously when using your slow cooker. Food that has been cooled for an extended period of time at less than 185 degrees Fahrenheit is very susceptible to bacterial growth. So promptly transfer leftovers to a container in the refrigerator.
The outside of a working slow cooker can get very hot, so make sure curious and unsuspecting children, as well as adults, don't get burned. Use oven mitts when lifting any hot parts.
Only fill the pot 2/3 of the way full, especially if you are putting food in the pot while traveling.
To avoid cracking, do not subject your crockery liner to extreme or sudden heat changes. Always allow the slow cooker liner to cool completely before cleaning.
Never submerge your slow cooker in water. Simply unplug and wipe clean with a cloth.
Cleaning the slow cooker
Cookware with a removable liner is easy to clean. That's the way most cookware is now. My old slow cooker was one of those units where you couldn't remove the interior, and I worried about getting the appliance parts wet every time I cleaned it. But you don't have to worry about that anymore, unless you have an old one like mine. Always unplug it when cleaning.
Avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can scratch the glaze of the liner. Spray your liner with cooking spray before assembling and cooking the dish so that it cleans up quickly and easily.
Do not submerge appliance parts in water.
Baking soda is the cleaner of choice for cleaning stubborn residue from dish liners. Let the liners soak in a little baking soda and warm water and your pans should be somewhat clean like most of the best cookware materials.