The Best Slow Cookers of 2017
A slow cooker is the ultimate kitchen appliance for people who want to create warm, rich, delicious meals with minimal effort. They allow you to throw everything in a pot and ignore it for hours, but still get the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal.
Because they function so well sans supervision, slow cookers are perfect for people with schedules packed full of work, school, kids, and activities. And, because they allow you to cook bulk portions, you get enough to feed a huge family or have leftovers for days.
But with so many slow cookers out there, how do you know which will work best in your kitchen? Keep reading—we’ve broken it down for you!
We recommend the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker for most kitchens.
It’s capable of turning all of your “Pinned” slow cooker recipes into delicious dishes, has a programmable timer, and is easy to take on the go—just in case your roast has to make an appearance at the local block party. Also, it’s dishwasher safe, minimizing scrubbing and clean up. If you’re looking for a no-fuss cooker that offers excellent performance at a great price, this is it.
The KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker With Solid Glass Lid has precise temperature controls, an easy-to-use, programmable timer, and a “Keep Warm” setting that ensures food is ready to serve when you are ready to eat it. This machine cooks evenly, without hot spots. It has a noted lower cooking temperature on the low setting, making it the ideal cooker for roasts and other meat-centric dishes that would become tough or chewy if overcooked.
If you must saute or sear before you slow cook, and don’t want to use an extra pan, we recommend the Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart MultiCooker. It can reach temps of up to 400° F with the brown/saute function. The cooker’s Teflon-coated aluminum pot optimizes heat transfer to make sure your sears seal in all the best flavors. And, the best part of Cuisinart 3-In-1 is that once your meat is seared, all you have to do is adjust the settings, toss the rest of your ingredients in the pot, and walk away.
The Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 4-Quart Slow Cooker is not just more compact than the other cookers on this list, it costs less than $30, making it a great option for people who aren’t looking to invest a ton of cash in a new kitchen appliance.
Since this is a manual cooker, it cannot be programmed and will not switch to Keep Warm mode on its own, so be wary if you’re leaving it on its own for a long period of time.
Many of the glazes that cover ceramic slow cooking vessels are known to have some level of naturally occurring lead. While the Food and Drug Administration says they’re safe, we understand that the possibility of lead leaching, no matter how small, is a risk that some people are not willing to take.
That’s why we’ve included the Instant Pot on this list. Not exactly a slow cooker—really a pressure cooker with slow cooker capabilities—the Instant Pot’s cooking vessel is made entirely of stainless steel, so no glazes or coatings that may give some people pause.