The best slow cooker also known as a crock-pot is an electrical appliance that sits on the countertop in the kitchen to simmer foods at a lower temperature than boiling, frying, baking. They are a wonderful convenience for stews, soups, chili, pot roasts, and other tasty dishes such as desserts. They are used by everyone globally.
There is a huge range of slow cookers available on the market. Choosing the right one for you can be daunting, as you’ll need to figure out what you’re looking for in a slow cooker.
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For home cooks, slow cookers are a kitchen essential. They allow you to cook food unattended over long periods of time. Simply throw all your ingredients in and allow the slow and low heating process to bring out all the flavors of your dish. But the world of slow cookers has expanded in recent years with the introduction of time-saving multi-cookers like the viral Instant Pot®. Today’s slow cookers can steam, sauté, brown, and so much more.
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Slow cookers provide convenience for people who like home-cooked meals but are on tight time schedules. These small appliances have evolved over the years to include timers and more stylish designs, but the functionality of them has remained the same. Use these suggestions for how to use a slow cooker.
In this guide, I’ll make things simple. I’ll explain what to look for in a slow cooker and how to choose one. I’ll also give you our top picks for the best slow cookers of 2020.
- 1. Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker.
- 2. Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- 3. Crockpot SCCPVS600ECP-S SCCPVS600ECP, 6 Quart, Silver
- 4. Crock-Pot SCCPVC600AS-B 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker.
- 5. Crockpot Thermoshield Easy Carry Handles |6 Quart Manual Slow Cooker, Black
- 6. Crock-Pot SCCPCCM350-BL Manual Slow Cooker.
- 7. Crock-Pot Slow Cooker|8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker.
- 8. KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt. Slow Cooker.
- 9. All-Clad SD700350 Slow Cooker, 7 Quart, Silver
- 10. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker(33866).
- 11. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker (33969A)
- 12. Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker (33473)
- 13. Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6 Quart Slow Cooker (33461)
- 14. Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker (33660)
- 15. Kalorik 8 Quart Slow Cooker.
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- 16. The Pioneer Woman Slow Cooker 6 Quart Portable Crock Pot Flea Market
- 17. Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker.
- 18. Elite Gourmet MST-275XS Electric Slow Cooker.
- 19. BLACK+DECKER SC2007D Slow Cooker.
- 20. Proctor Silex 33116Y Portable Oval Slow Cooker.
The dial features settings for low, high, and warm. With a capacity of 5.3 quarts, the Calphalon Digital programmable slow cooker earns a Very Good score in our low-setting test. It turns out beef stew with fairly tender meat and veggies in 8 hours, and about the same when cooked on the high setting for 5 hours.
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It weighs just 7 pounds, and the aluminum pot is round and has a ceramic nonstick coating, the only one in our ratings with that feature. There’s another feature that sets this model apart: You can use the pot on any type of range to sear, sauté, or brown food before slow cooking. Program this cooker for up to 20 hours, and the auto-warm setting lasts 4 hours. The warranty is for three years.
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This slow cooker boasts its ability to sear, brown, sauté, and slow cook all in one, it should be noted that the pot must be placed on the stove to sear food. However, this slow cooker does have a sleek design with a user-friendly control pad that will countdown cooking time to the second. Its tall sides are great for stews, soups, or any foods that are submerged in liquid. The lid has a rubberized lip to effectively seal in moisture and heat. At a reasonable price point, this slow cooker is definitely a top contender when it comes to design and functionality.
This Cuisinart Programmable Slow Cooker automatically switches to the keep warm setting after cooking and remains there for up to eight hours. It also includes a “simmer” setting that’s great for hearty cuts of meats like brisket that need to cook all day. The glass lid makes it easy to check on progress. 24-hour programmable cook time and three-year warranty help make this one of our picks.
Some shoppers need a slow cooker they can transport, whether it’s for camping, potlucks, or even moving the appliance to make the best use of space in a small kitchen. A portable slow cooker like the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry is ideal for these scenarios.
The Single Hand Cook & Carry’s lid features four secure locks and a large handle, making it ideal for taking on the go to potlucks or tailgates. It holds up to six quarts, automatically switches to Keep Warm, and has a stoneware cooking insert that is dishwasher and oven safe.
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The Crock-Pot is a 6-quart cooker able to serve over 7 people, so it doesn’t sacrifice capacity for its portability. It features a grip handle for single-hand carrying and a secure-fit lid held in place by heavy-duty locking clips. The power cord can be stowed in the integrated storage space, making a complete, portable package.
The Crock-Pot is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.
One of the best slow carry Cooker is Crock-Pot SCCPVC600AS-B 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker. Some slow-cooker recipes you really can’t just “set and forget.” Dips and stews often need to be stirred at intervals throughout the cooking time. This Crock Pot® has a removable stirring paddle system that will take care of the mixing for you.
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There is a wider paddle for most recipes and a thinner paddle for stews. After two hours of cooking time, the stirring system automatically starts and continues at 30-minute intervals until the cooking time is complete.
Another option for frequent potlucks and partygoers, this model from Crock-Pot has a proprietary “ThermoShield” exterior designed to keep it cool to the touch and a locking lid to prevent spills. The Crock-Pot Thermoshield’s capacity is also 6 quarts, but it eats up more counter space than the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry.
Insulation keeps the exterior from getting hot to the touch, as most cookers do. Earning a Very Good score in our high-setting test, this slow cooker has the same features as the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry, including the lid lock and cord wraparound for storage. There’s a small handle on the lid, but use the side handles for carrying.
The warranty is for one year.
Many note that the rectangular, shallow shape of this 3.5-quart Crock-Pot allows for cooking many different types of foods.
I highly recommend it!” Its shape also means it’s much easier to store. As another reviewer writes, “Being square makes it much easier to store leftovers in the fridge without having to transfer the food to a separate container, or to place the ceramic insert into the oven, whether it’s to crisp something or just reheat leftovers.”
7. Crock-Pot Slow Cooker|8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Countdown Timer, Black Stainless Steel – SCCPVFC800-DS.
Many slow cookers can feed a group, but this model can make enough for crowds of more than 10 people. So, whether you’re throwing a birthday party or taking chili to the annual tailgate, this slow cooker can meet your needs.
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The digital timer makes it easy to program and it automatically switches to the warm setting when the cooking time is up. Need to cook a recipe for less than 10 people? Don’t worry, this slow cooker did a fantastic job cooking the same recipe as the smaller cookers at 6- to 7-quart capacities.
The KitchenAid comes in two variants, both with a 6-quart capacity. The Standard Lid variant features the usual slow cooker liftable lid, while the Easy Serve variant features a dual-lid hinged design which makes one-handed serving easier. The outer chassis of the cooker is stainless steel, while the vessel is ceramic, giving the cooker consistent heat distribution.
Both variants have the same overall features, with four temperature settings, a programmable timer, and a simple, practical digital display. The timer offers 24-hour programmability in 30-minute increments and will automatically switch to a keep warm mode when the time elapses. Both models come with a 1-year warranty.
I have chosen the All-Clad slow cooker for the Most Versatile category. The All-Clad is a 7-quart slow cooker, which allows for large meals. The controls keep things simple with four buttons and a digital display. There are two temperature modes (high and low) and a keep-warm function. Cooking times can be programmed in for when you’re not around. The pot and lid are both dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup and the chassis is made of stainless steel.
While its cooking interface is straightforward, each of the settings has pre-programmed time windows that you can’t deviate from. (For example, cooking on low has to fit in a four to 20-hour window, and you can’t cook on low for any less than four hours unless you set it for four hours and then manually time and turn off cooking.) So while the cooker worked well enough, the inflexibility in cooking times felt stifling. Without a few program updates, and perhaps a change of size, I won’t be using this one again.
10. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp Tracking Temperature Probe to Braise, Sous Vide, Make Fondue & Yogurt, Lid Lock, Black Stainless (33866)
This 6-quart Hamilton Beach is one of the least expensive of the programmable models we tested, and it beat out Crock-Pot, long synonymous with slow cookers, in our tests. Hamilton Beach is the only model to earn an Excellent rating in our high-setting tests; it’s the fastest in its category. Program this cooker for up to 24 hours; the auto-warm option lasts for 24 hours, too.
This 6-qt slow cooker is feature-rich, with programmable controls, multiple cooking functions including a Hold Temperature function, integrated temperature probe, and locking lid. The lid includes four convenient spots to insert the temperature probe, so you can use it no matter what you’re cooking.
The clear yet informative digital display makes it easy to monitor and control the cooker. This display gives you detailed information about your food, including its temperature. The warranty is for one year.
11. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, Lid Lock, Stainless Steel (33969A)
This version of Hamilton Beach’s popular programmable slow cooker comes with three programs for easy cooking: program, probe, and manual. When using the probe mode, simply insert the thermometer into the meat and the slow cooker will switch to “warm” mode once the desired temperature is reached.
12. Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker With Flexible Easy Programming, Dishwasher-Safe Crock & Lid, Silver (33473)
Hamilton Beach is known for providing reliable kitchen equipment at affordable prices, and this slow cooker is no exception. One of the biggest selling points for this top-rated slow cooker is its secure lid, which has a rubberized gasket lining the edges of the lid, preventing heat from escaping. It also features clips to hold the lid in place, for simple portability.
This slow cooker also boasts a temperature probe that can be inserted into the lid while in use, to test the internal temperature of the meat. The digital screen allows you to cycle through preferred heat settings and your desired cooking time, before automatically switching to warm when it’s done.
13. Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6 Quart Slow Cooker With Lid Lock for Easy Transport, Dishwasher-Safe Crock, Stainless Steel (33461)
That conveniently folds out of the way to help free up valuable cupboard space and maximize room on the table when the cooker is used as a serving dish. I use this every day to bring to work,” says one satisfied customer. “It is very easy to travel with; I have never had it leak.
I spend a few minutes loading it before I head to work, and the whole office has lunch around noon.” Another reviewer adds that “the best feature, aside from the very nice six-quart black stoneware inserts and securely locking lid, is the addition of folding handles.
14. Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker With Digital Timer, Dishwasher-Safe Crock & Lid (33660)
The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget slow cooker has a thermometer probe that can be programmed to switch your cooker to warm once the meat has reached your desired temperature. Just insert the probe into the meat and the temperature reading will show on the outside of the slow cooker. An added bonus is the clip-top lid, which can help prevent spills if you’re taking your cooker on the road.
One of the largest models I’ve tested, the 8-quart Kalorik SC 41175SS earns an Excellent rating in high-setting tests. You can program this model for up to 16 hours, and when it’s done cooking, the appliance switches to auto-warm for 6 hours. The pot is ceramic, like those in most of the slow cookers I’ve tested, and the lid locks for safe transport. But this cooker weighs 15 pounds, making it one of the heaviest in my tests and kind of a nuisance to lug around. The warranty is for one year.
16. The Pioneer Woman Slow Cooker 6 Quart Portable Crock Pot Flea Market (6 Quart Pattern Rose Shadow)
Everyone loves this Pioneer Woman-branded Hamilton Beach slow cooker, which comes in four different floral patterns. When the slow cooker was released, several of the patterns sold out immediately. The designs earned kudos from Southern Living and Country Living.
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The slow cooker is inexpensive, easy to use and easy to clean — both the inner stoneware and the lid can go into the dishwasher. The lid also locks in place, so you can take your slow-cooked meal to go, a feature that appealed to many reviewers on the Amazon website. Note that the slow cooker is a manual model — if you’re looking for something you can program ahead, consider one of the other cookers on this list.
Cuisinart takes best in the show with their multi-cooker that allows for slow cooking, browning, and steaming all in one. The cooking base on this multi-cooker is shallow and wide, which gives you a more even distribution of heat. This also allows for heat to reach a larger surface area for browning or sautéing. It is also the only other slow cooker tested besides the Instant Pot® that features a steaming function.
18.Elite Gourmet MST-275XS Electric Slow Cooker, Adjustable Temp, Entrees, Sauces, Stews & Dips, Dishwasher Glass Lid & Ceramic Pot, 2Qt Capacity, Stainless Steel
Ideal for small apartments or anyone with limited storage, this no-frills slow cooker will give you the perfect portions every time. “While this slow cooker may appear too small for any real benefit, the high-sided stoneware pot and powerful heating element make this slow cooker ideal for small kitchens and portion control.
The BLACKDECKER Slow Cooker is sure to help you prepare delicious meals for the family. Don’t look for any other product. This is one of the most affordable slow cookers you can have in your kitchen. It’s durable and it is ideal for the get-together at home and potluck too!
If you want to make sure that your food stays hot, this kitchenware is a perfect must-have. You don’t need to be an expert in cooking to make sumptuous meals. What you need is an excellent cooking gadget and you’ll find it in this high-quality slow cooker.
There’s definitely no regret if you opt for this affordable kitchenware. It has three heat options including warm, high and low settings so there’s no need to worry about overcooking the dishes or burning them.
They have cool-touch features that you can carry the pot around even when the dish is still boiling hot. It doesn’t matter even if this slow cooker does not have a timer. The clear glass lid will let you conveniently keep an eye on the food you’re cooking.
The Proctor Silex 33116Y Portable Slow Cooker comes with a lid that has a rubber seal and strap to prevent spills while cooking. Its small size makes it easy to store, and perfect for transporting food to your final destination. The main components are dishwasher safe, and it’s a great slow cooker for preparing dips and other appetizers.
The Hamilton Beach 7-quart slow cooker one of the most versatile kitchen appliances around, it has better heat distribution and customization features. The lid design is also superior to all models on the list and it is to be expected since it is built for pressure cooking with a tight seal under pressure.
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A slow cooker-crock-pot is a timesaver, versatile, and makes yummy foods for meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, dessert lovers, and Mexican foods to die for. Read reviews on Amazon.com® to see what others are saying about the specific slow cookers. Make sure you get a good warranty if something should not work or break. Be healthy and save time with a crock-pot slow cooker.