Homemakers and even the most experienced chefs will agree that slow cookers are must-have Kitchen Appliance. They are a boon to the culinary world and food preparation in general as the cooking is done over several hours. Slow Cooking ensures that all the flavors are sealed into the dish, making it all the more succulent and delicious. Slow cookers are also known as crock-pots.In this article, we will discuss the Features to be considered while selecting the best Slow Cooker for your Kitchen from so many options available. We will also help you in your buying decision by sharing the Pros and Cons of 5 best slow cookers.
Why use a crock-pot when I can use an oven?
Apart from the fact that it requires minimal culinary skills and saves you a lot of time and effort, slow cooking is the healthiest way to preserve the nutritional value of food.
The cooking is done over several hours with a covered lid over medium heat so that the nutrients contained in the food remain intact.
Another major advantage of using a crock-pot is that it gives you the liberty to go about your everyday chores, without having to constantly check to see if the cooking is done.
For instance, if you fancy a pot roast for dinner, all you need to do is dump all the ingredients into the crockpot and allow it to cook on the low while you go to work and nine hours later, you can come home to a delectable meal.
Slow cookers save you the trouble of cleaning up after you have whipped up a hearty meal as all the cooking is confined to a lidded vessel. Now, instead of sweating it out in the kitchen, you can relegate the cooking duties to this excellent device while you watch the season finale of your favorite soap or spend time in the park with your kids.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait.
7 Factors to be considered while selecting the best Slow Cooker:
Size of Slow Cooker:
Size of the Slow Cooker does matter. A small 3 to 4-quart cooker will be sufficient to make soups and casseroles for a single person. It will also serve the purpose if are preparing sauces for the meal you cooked in an Oven. However, if you are planning to make the whole meal for your family you must opt for a bigger cooker i.e 6 -t quart or more.
You may think of buying two different sizes of cookers to cover all your needs.
The shape of the Slow Cooker:
Most of the people may treat shape add only aesthetic value to the cooker but in reality, it makes a lot of sense. While round-shaped Slow cookers are best for Soups, Sauces, and Stews whereas an Oval-shaped slow cooker will let you cook whole hams, chickens and pot roasts.
Inserts of Slow Cookers:
As a standard practice, Most of the Slow cookers are sold with Ceramic Inserts, however, few cookers come with Aluminium Inserts.
I find the flavor of food much better when cooked in ceramic inserts but few people prefer Aluminum inserts. Ceramic inserts also are easier to clean.
Many people avoid Aluminium inserts due to health issues.
But it is just a matter of choice and taste.
Lids of Slow Cookers:
Lids may be made of Glass or Plastic. A glass lid that locks down properly is mostly preferred as plastic lids may become foggy after some use. That Fog will make hard to see the food in the slow cooker without removing the Lid
Lids- The lesser the lid is removed while cooking, better the flavor will be.
Programmable Cooking Time:
The programmable cooking time Feature may be useful for the people working away from home. You can just set the cooking time for the meal you are preparing based on your experience. Once Preset time is over, the Slow cooker would automatically be switched "warm" position ensuring that while your food remains warm, it is not overcooked.
Temperature Control Settings:
Some of the Cookers are available in the market with Low, High and Warm Setting whereas in more advance cooker you can set the actual temperature.
While Low, High and warm settings serve the purpose in most of the cases, you may require to set the exact temperature while preparing dishes like roast beef brisket
Cooking Probes in Slow Cookers will be useful for the people who want to cook whole chickens or larger chunk of meats.
The Probes in Slow Cookers pas through the lid into the cut of meat to sense the actual temperature of the meat. When the meat reaches the preset temperature, the slow cooker will be switched to warm position and reduces the heat and avoid burning of food still keeping it warm.
You may choose the cooker with the featured best suited for your cooking needs.
6 Best Slow Cookers 2019:
In order to help make your task more easier in selecting the best Slow Cookers, here are 6 of the best slow cookers known for their great and useful features.
1. Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable:
Instant Pot is multi purpose 7-in-one Programmable Electric Cooker which replaces your 7 Kitchen Appliances. It can be used as:
Instant Pot Duo is Designed to speed up your cooking by 2 to 6 times and safe jup 70% electricity.
It has got a 24 hours timer for delayed cooking. The Elegant looking Pressure cooker keep your food warm until it is served. The SLow cooker works silently without any noise and does not leak any Steam.
The 3-ply bottom stainless steel inner pot make this cooker extremely durable. The cooker comes in market after passing very stringent UL certification to give you utmost safety.
Size: 6 Quarts:, Enough for a family of 4 to 6. Can cook 4 to 5 Pond Chicken
Lid: Lid Holders for left and RIght Hand Users
Material: Stainless Steel
Bottom: 3 Ply
Power: 1000 Watt
2. Hamilton Beach 33969A Set It And Forget It Programmable Slow Cooker:
Hamilton "Set it and Forget it" Programmable Slow Cooker probably all the Features, you would Ever need.
It has three options for easy, automatic cooking.
1. Timer Program
2 Temperature probe
3. Manual Mode
On week days , when you are very busy , you can just set the cooking time. The Slow cooker will automatically switch to warm mode once the cooking time is up. The cooker will keep your wood warm till you decide to serve it.
When you are cooking a large cut of meat, you can just insert the probe and set desired meat temperature. Once the set temperature is reached, the slow cooker will switch to warm position.
When you want to enjoy the traditional slow cooking, You can manually select the high, low or warm temperature for desired results.
Size: 6 quarts, large enough for 4 Pond chicken. It can easily make dinner for a family of 4.
Shape: The Oval shape of the cooker is preferable for roasting the chicken.
Insert: Easy to wash stoneware insert.
Lid: Glass lid that seals to make transporting easier.
3. Crock Pot SCCPVL610_S
The Crock Pot is also a Programmable Slow Cooker and have Digital Timer for time setting mode. It is provided with a secure locking lid and rubber gasket for an airtight seal.
You can set the cooking time between 30 minutes to 20 Hours for perfect cooking. Once time is up, the cooker will switch to Warm and keep the food warm for up to 6 hours.
Also in manual mode , you can choose High, Low, and Warm.
Crock Pot has the dishwasher safe components which make it the perfect digital slow cooker just about anytime you need to transport food prepared at home.
Moreover, the main reason for choosing this model is that it won the editors choice from Wired magazine.
Size: 6-quart capacity is perfect for 7 or more people or a 6-pound roast
Lid: Easy-to-use locking lid featuring lid gasket provides extra seal to avoid spillage on the move.
4. Crock Pot SCR 3000 SS
This Crock-Pot is a Round shaped Manual Slow Cooker which provides the extra flexibility to prepare a meal and then slow-cook it all day. Slow cooking, as you know, is a healthier, more cost-efficient and convenient way to cook.
This Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker has two setting for cooking Purpose i.e high and Low settings. Besides these, the Warm setting provided can be used to keep your dish at an ideal serving temperature.
This Slow cooker comes with the trendy hexagon design which gets blended well with your modern kitchen.
The Crock Pot SCR 3000 SS is perfect slow cooker for making meals for one or two people, or soups and casseroles for a group.
Size: 3 quarts. Just big enough for that small chicken, that pot of hot soup, or a small roast for two.
Shape: Round shape with hexagon design. While many people prefer the oval slow cooker, a round crock pot takes up less space on the cabinet making it easier to use on a daily basis.
Insert: Easy to clean stoneware insert
5. Maxi-Matic MST-900D Digital Programmable Slow Cooker
Maxi Matic is another one of the best around to meet the needs of large families or those people who love entertaining. Its larger size makes it great for entertaining large crowds.
It is one of Economical options available in the market.
This large 8.5 Quarts slow cooker have a very easy-to-use digital interface which allows you to set the cooking time of any length upto 20 hours.
Its low, high and keep Warm settings gives you the ultimate control over meal preparation. It is just set it and forget it type of Slow cooker.It Prepare the dishes while you entertain guests.
Maxi Matic comes with dishwasher-safe clear tempered glass lid and removable oval crock.
Size: Jumbo Size 8.5 Quarts. You can feed masses with this cooker
Shape: Oval Shape
Lid: Tempered Glass
I hope that this article might have helped you in finding the best slow cooker for your kitchen. In case you need more information, do leave a comment below.