In the fall and autumn, our thoughts turn towards rich hearty meals that will keep us warm, like stews, casseroles, curries, and also other meat and vegetable dishes. However, do you have the time to prepare them? If you are time-poor or maybe you are new to the slow-cooking craze, a slow cooker will do all of the hard work, which can result in a fully cooked delicious one-pot meal that will delight you and your family.
The 5 Best Slow Cookers
- Breville BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function Cooker
- BLACK+DECKER SC2004D Dial Control Slow Cooker
- Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker (Our Top Pick)
- Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker
- Ninja Auto-IQ Multi/Slow Cooker
Our Top Pick for the Best Slow Cooker
Our top pick for the best slow cooker is the Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker.
The Cuisinart slow cooker makes it so easy to learn the art of slow-cooking. It boasts a superior cooking performance and can also prepare delicious one-pot meals for up to four people. It also has a beautiful brushed stainless steel finish, a highly responsive easy to use control touchpad and also a lot of safety features. With a three-year limited warranty, the Cuisinart is great value for money.Check the price on Amazon
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Slow-Cooking
A slow cooker, which is very similar to a crockpot, is quite a simple appliance. It has a cooking pot, a glass lid, and also a heating element. However, the secret to its cooking success is the slow cooking process that cooks your food at a low temperature over a long period of time, which allows it to seal in and enhance the full flavors of your food.
Slow-cookers may have basic functions while other cookers allow you to perform a lot of different functions like slow cooking, baking, and steaming.
Another reason why a slow-cooker is a “must-have” kitchen appliance is that it is an excellent time-saving appliance. Whether you live alone or have a large family, it takes all the hard work out of cooking a meal. All you have to do is cut up the vegetables and meat, add salt and pepper and also spices and any other flavor-enhancing ingredient, set the controls on the cooker, and let it work its cooking magic.
The result? A delicious, rich stew, casserole, curry, lamb, or chicken roast that will keep you warm on those long winter nights. Still, the benefits of a slow-cooker do not stop there. Additionally, you can use it for all sorts of meal requirements from breakfast to dessert-like:
Features to Consider When Buying a Slow-Cooker
If you are new to the wonders of slow-cooking, here are six features to consider before you buy your own one-pot machine.
The size of a slow cooker is determined by the amount of food and liquid that can fit inside the pot. Slow cookers range in size from 1.5-quarts up to 6-quarts. If you are just cooking for one or two people, why not invest in a mini slow cooker like the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker. For a family of four, a 3 to 4-quart slow cooker should suffice.
However, if you have a large family, choose a 6-quart cooker like Breville BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function Cooker.
Some slow cookers just have a crock or cooking pot that sits on top of the heating unit, which means the heat may not be evenly distributed and you may also have to stir the food more often. While other more advanced cookers use a triple heating system that utilizes heat on the bottom and side of the cooker and also steams heat to lock in the foods’ natural juices.
While most slow cookers have their housing or exterior made out of stainless steel, the cooking pot can be made out of ceramic, like the Breville BPR700BSS or the Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker. Some manufacturers make their cooking pots out of stoneware like the BLACK+DECKER SC2004D Dial Control Slow Cooker, while other cookers have their cooking pots made from aluminum like the Ninja Auto-IQ Multi/Slow Cooker.
Whether you choose ceramic or porcelain or aluminum, they all conduct and hold heat very well. Although, stoneware may be heavier to lift than an aluminum cooking pot. Cleaning is always an important factor to consider in relation to the cooking pot. So look for a cooking pot that has a non-stick surface and one that is dishwasher-safe.
4. Lid Material
As a slow cooker does its flavor-enhancing work in secret, taking the lid off can let the heat and flavor out, and also the cooking time can be longer. If you use the cooker for true slow-cooking meals like stews, casseroles, and also roasts, it is best to choose a glass tempered lid like the BLACK+DECKER SC2004D Dial Control Slow Cooker.
A glass lid allows you to see what is happening inside the pot so that you do not have to constantly take the lid off to monitor the progress of your culinary creation.
Most slow cookers have a round or oval shape. However, the ideal size will depend on the size of your kitchen and the amount of space you have on your kitchen bench. If you live in an apartment and have limited bench space, then the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker is a great choice. It has a compact size and therefore will fit into a small space nicely. It is also easy to store away when you are not using it.
6. Extra Operating Features
The best type of slow cooker has an easy to read digital display, preferably one that lights up with a bright color to catch your attention. A timer is another handy feature, to give you more cooking control and to make sure that your food is cooked to perfection. Some more expensive models give you extra settings for particular types of food such as the Breville BPR700BSS that has 11 settings.
Or the Cuisinart PSC-350, which allows you to set the slow cooker to cook up to 24 hours in advance.
Some cookers come with an extra searing function so that you can brown the meat or saute onions before adding them to your stew or casserole, which saves you extra cooking time. Safety features are an extra important feature such as cool-touch handles that will protect your hands from getting burnt from the high heat that slow cookers can generate or nonslip rubber feet that keep the cooker secure on your kitchen benchtop.
5 Best Slow Cookers – Reviews
1. Breville BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function Cooker
If you want a slow-cooker that gives you more control over your cooking, the Breville BPR700BSS Fast Slow Pro Multi-Function Cooker 6-quart slow cooker is the perfect match for you. The sophisticated silver stainless steel cooking dynamo can cook a large range of meals. Its super-smart technology can automatically adjust the time, temperature, and pressure between fast and slow cooking so that all your meals are cooked to perfection.
You can choose between auto-quick, auto-pulse, and also natural pressure release. The dual sensors that are located at the top and bottom of the unit monitor the progress of the ingredients inside the pot and also fine-tunes its temperature to match the different cooking stages.
With such a high level of cooking flexibility and versatility, the Breville slow cooker will become your favorite appliance in the kitchen. There are 11 settings that can be pre-programmed to suit your favorite recipes or meals: vegetables, rice, risotto, soup, stock, beans, poultry, meat, bone-in meat, chili, and also stew, desserts, and custom. You can use the machine for pressure cooking, slow cooking as well as steaming, sauteing, and also searing.
You can also adjust the temperature from low to high heat and the timer to cook for two to 12 hours depending on the type of ingredients you want to prepare.
The Breville slow cooker has so many user-friendly features that make it one of the most popular cookers on the market. The color-changing LCD screen shows you when the cooker is pressurizing, cooking, or releasing steam. To keep you safe when you are using the unit, there is a 3-Way Safety System: a safety locking lid, an automatic hands-free steam release, and a safety valve.
The “Keep Warm” function turns on after the cooking has been completed so that your food stays at an optimal temperature until you are ready to serve up your latest delicious creation. The removable bowl has a PTFE and PFOA free ceramic coating, so you can use the Breville slow cooker with peace of mind, knowing that no nasty chemicals will leach into your food. The pot and lid are also very easy to clean.
- Great quality
- Ideal for a large family
- Stainless steel housing
- PTFE and PFOA free ceramic coated bowl
- 11 menu settings
- High level of cooking flexibility and versatility
- Dual sensors
- 3-Way Safety System
- Fully interactive color-changing LCD screen
- Keep-warm function
- Removable bowl
- Ceramic bowl retains the flavor of the food
2. BLACK+DECKER SC2004D Dial Control Slow Cooker
The BLACK+DECKER SC2004D Dial Control Slow Cooker can make up to five servings for the family. So if you are looking for a new way to cook up a range of delicious hot meals for your family, or you are new to the slow-cooking craze, the BLACK+DECKER slow cooker is an excellent choice for busy people who are short on time.
Whether you want to slow cook a lamb roast, a casserole, hot chili or create a creamy pumpkin soup, the BLACK+DECKER cooker features a simple yet effective operating system that makes this very affordable slow cooker so easy to use.
Just add your ingredients into the sturdy stoneware crockpot, secure the tempered glass lid, set the dial to your desired setting. Choose the low setting for eight-nine hours of cooking or the high setting for three-four hours, and let the cooker get to work on turning the raw ingredients into a spectacular meal. It also has a warming setting to keep your food warm until you are ready to serve it.
One of the highlights of this high-quality slow cooker is the pot’s modern blue/grey print design which will add a trendy appeal to your kitchen. As well as its attractive pattern, the durable stoneware pot retains heat well and is also easy to clean.
The cooker has a built-in lid holder and cool-touch handles, which makes this slow-cooker safe to use and also easy to carry from your stove to the dinner table. Clean-up is also easy as the removable stoneware pot and the glass tempered lid can go straight in the dishwasher.
To help you get creative in the kitchen, BLACK+DECKER also includes some easy-to-follow tasty recipe ideas. The slow-cooker is covered by a two-year limited warranty.
- Affordable price
- High quality
- Very effective slow cooker
- Simple functionality
- Three heat settings: low, high, and warm
- Sturdy removable stoneware crockpot
- Built-in tempered glass lid holder
- Easy to use
- Dishwasher safe
- Cool-touch handles
- Modern blue/grey print design
- Two-year limited warranty
- Easy-to-follow tasty recipes
- Not ideal for a large family
- Limited operating functions
- Low setting is very slow
3. Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker
With high cooking functionality, an attractive appearance, and also sturdy design, the oval-shaped Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker is excellent value for money. You will become a slow-cooking expert with the Cuisinart cooker. You and your family can enjoy a large range of hearty meals at just the press of a button. The 3½-quart oval-shaped ceramic cooking pot can cook enough food for four people.
The cooker’s stylish brushed stainless steel exterior will make it an attractive addition to your kitchen. Also, its compact size will fit even the smallest of kitchens.
Cuisinart has designed this slow cooker with very simple operating features: a large and also easy to read touchpad. The bright blue LCD display allows you to monitor the progress of the meal. There are four highly responsive cooking modes: high, low, simmer, and also keep warm. A 24-hour countdown timer for extra cooking flexibility and also an ON and OFF button.
To make cooking even easier, Cuisinart has incorporated an extra feature: the cooker can automatically shift from the cooking mode to warm mode when the cooking time has been completed so that your food stays warm until you and your family are ready to share a rich hearty meal.
You can also keep an eye on your meal’s progress with the see-through glass lid that has a chrome-plated knob, which fits securely to lock in the food’s flavors. The lid stays cool to the touch even while the food is cooking and there are cool-touch handles on the side of the cooker as well. The non-slip feet keep the cooker securely on your kitchen counter. Washing up is simple as the cooking pot and lid can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Cuisinart also includes a full instruction manual and various recipes to kickstart your slow-cooking journey. The cooker is covered by a three-year limited warranty.
- Great value for money
- Heats up quickly
- Attractive brushed stainless housing
- Ceramic pot is non-stick resistant
- 3-quart capacity can cook for four people
- Cool to touch handles on the lid and unit
- Sturdy and secure glass lid
- Bright blue LCD display
- Four menu settings
- 24 hours capacity timer
- ON and OFF switch
- Automatically switches to warm mode after cooking
- BPA-free and non-stick ceramic bowl
- Nonslip rubber feet
- Dishwasher friendly
- Instruction manual and recipes
- Three years limited warranty
- Side handles are too short
4. Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker
Became a one-pot wonder with Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet MST-250XS Electric Slow Cooker. Whether you enjoy soups, stews, or meatballs, or like to prepare your own dips, sauces, or fondues for entertaining. Or even enjoy porridge to start your working day, the Maxi-Matic slow cooker is very versatile and also delivers a superior cooking performance, which makes it great value for money.
It might be on the small side, but the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet slow cooker can cook enough food for one to two people and can serve up to six cups, depending on what type of food you want to cook. If you want to prepare dips, sauces, or desserts, it can make quite a lot. Its compact shape means it will not take up a lot of room on your kitchen bench.
As well as its compact size, the Maxi-Matic has an attractive stainless steel finish and a sturdy tempered glass lid with a metal rim that allows you to keep an eye on the culinary delights that are simmering away inside. The stoneware pot is removable if you want to serve your meal at the dinner table. The cool-touch handles also allow you to safely handle the cooker without burning yourself.
To bring your casserole or chili creation to life, the cooker has three settings, low, high, and keep warm. The power indicator button illuminates when the slow cooker is on, and the “keep warm” setting lets your meal stay warm until you are ready to serve it.
The Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet is very easy to clean and the removable inner stoneware pot and glass lid can go straight into the dishwasher. Maxi-Matic offers a one-year limited warranty.
- Very good price
- Ideal for one or two people
- Three settings: low, high and keep warm
- Compact design
- Attractive stainless steel finish
- Sturdy tempered glass lid
- Cool-touch handles
- Not big enough for a large family
- No timer
- Limited settings
5. Ninja Auto-IQ Multi/Slow Cooker
The highly versatile Ninja Auto-IQ Multi/Slow Cooker is your one-stop cooking center. Even though it is more expensive than other similar-sized slow cookers, the Ninja is a super multi-cooker with four cooking functions: slow cook, sear and saute, steam, and bake, which is all contained in the one pot, so it is excellent value for money.
This revolutionary cooking dynamo will change the way you look at the traditional slow cooker. You can cook a complete meal from the entree to a decadent dessert. A slow-cooking feature allows you to cook your roasts, casseroles, or stews so they can build in flavor intensity. The stovetop one-pot function uses an innovative element on the bottom of the cooker to sear meat before you add it to your casserole.
The baking function temperatures that range from 250 to 425° Fahrenheit allows you to cook perfect roast lamb or chicken or even bake a cake. However, its smart features do not stop there. If you want to start a healthier eating lifestyle, the Ninja can also poach an egg or steam vegetables and fish.
If you think a slow-cooker with all these cooking functions would be lacking in some way, not this one. The Ninja delivers delicious meals which will make you a super chef in the kitchen and a culinary master at the dining table. Its high-quality cooking performance is due to its innovative cooking system that uses three types of heat on the bottom and side of the cooking unit and the steam heat locks in the food’s natural juices.
The Ninja slow-cooker has a lot of visual appeals, with an attractive sleek silver design and a black matt accents. Ideal for any cook, it has easy to read dual dial settings. For slow cooking, there are three settings: warm, low, and also high. The stovetop function has a low and high setting, while the bake function has a bake and roast setting.
There is a button for quick meals in just 30 minutes; a layered bowl setting to sear in proteins and also build layers of flavor, a digital timer, an oven temperature dial, two indicator lights, a power light, and an automatic stay warm light.
The 6-quart cooking pot is made from aluminum with a dark, non-stick coating that is dishwasher-safe. It is large enough to contain enough food for a large family. The glass lid lets you keep an eye on the food inside and there are also cool-touch handles on the cooker for safe and easy portability.
Ninja is dedicated to helping home cooks create fabulous professional style meals so they have incorporated 80+ Auto-IQ pre-programmed recipes and a bonus cookbook. The slow cooker also comes with a removable steaming/roasting rack. Ninja offers a one-year limited warranty on its 4-in-1 cooking system.
- 4-in-1 cooking system: slow cook, bake, steam, and also stovetop
- Great versatility
- High cooking performance
- Triple heating system
- Non-stick aluminum pot
- Strong glass lid
- Sleek silver design with black accents
- Dishwasher safe
- 80+ Auto-IQ pre-programmed recipes and a bonus cookbook
- Lid can wobble when you carry the crockpot
- Heating takes a while to respond
- Too bulky for a small countertop
Our Top Pick for the Best Slow Cooker
Our top pick for the best slow cooker is the Cuisinart PSC-350 Programmable Slow Cooker.
The Cuisinart slow cooker makes it so easy to learn the art of slow-cooking. It boasts a superior cooking performance and can also prepare delicious one-pot meals for up to four people. It also has a beautiful brushed stainless steel finish, a highly responsive easy to use control touchpad and a lot of safety features. With a three-year limited warranty, the Cuisinart is great value for money.Check the price on Amazon