A slow cooker is quite an essential item for any family home. Not a single American kitchen is even complete without this appliance. This simple appliance comes handy for so many things that it is now an American sweetheart. If you do not own one yet, it’s time to get a smart slow cooker at home.
Buying a smart slow cooker is quite tricky. Because not many companies have introduced intelligent technologies in this appliance. Most of them kept it simple, although the simpler versions can produce superior performance sometimes.
Our goal is to help you buy the best smart slow cooker for your kitchen. Either it is smart or simple, you deserve the best deals on purchasing this essential item. That is why we have tried to provide the best buying guide along with the best deals for a slow cooker. So here goes everything you should know about getting a slow cooker at home.
In a hurry? Check out the best slow cookers and best smart slow cookers of 2020
Best Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp Tracking Probe
This product has the perfect balance of design and performance. Digital display, along with temp tracking probe and programmable functions, is what made it a stand out. Functional design and solid performance were the keys to become the best slow cooker deal in the market.
Best Smart Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot 2101704 Alexa Enabled Programmable Slow Cooker
This product is a perfect example of revolutionary technology in the kitchen. With Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa support, you can do hands-free cooking. The performance is also as good as any other slow cooker.
Best Multipurpose Slow Cooker
Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Cooker With Air Frying
This product is a literal dream come true for any kitchen enthusiast. It is a complete package of various kitchen appliances. Performs as good as expected. With a heap of extra accessories, this electric cooker is the king of any kitchen appliance in the market.
Best Budget Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot Cook’ N Carry Manual Portable Slow Cooker
This product is an excellent performer even though its low price range. The basic design and essential function but a reliable performance are what made us pick this product.
What Is A Slow Cooker?
The slow cooker is not an uncommon name to any kitchen enthusiastic. At least every American has one at home. It is an electric kitchen appliance that mimics the simmering or slow cooking process in a pot. It usually runs for a long time to produce a similar result.
Cooking in a slow cooker is utterly different than cooking on the stovetop. You do not have to keep an eye on the water level. Instead, you can turn on the slow cooker and go to your work. Just put your food in the slow cooker, set the timer, and you are good to go. The slow cooker will keep cooking your food following the timer.
One interesting fact about a slow cooker is, the brand Crock-Pot first introduced it. The concept of an electric slow-cooking device was first raised in early 1940. Initially, people used this appliance to cook some specific stews. Slowly, it got popular and made history.
The brand Crock-Pot has been so famous that nowadays, slow cookers are often referred to as Crock-Pot, like insulated containers to as thermos. In this modern world, slow cookers have now evolved into a smart slow cooker. This smart slow cooker offers more functions than a basic one.
Those who are acquainted with slow cookers know how efficient it is. Having a slow cooker is like an extra helping hand in the kitchen. Now you have to put zero effort on your cooking. A slow cooker has a variety of use which make our life more comfortable than ever. And the smart slow cooker makes it even more.
What Is A Smart Slow Cooker?
Nowadays, the concept of the smart slow cooker has been popular all over the world. Although not being widely available, this type of slow cooker has already won our hearts. You all can guess the different aspects of smart slow cookers. So here’s what it is—
A smart slow cooker is an advanced version of the usual slow cooker. You can call it a “beta” version also. In this unique type of slow cooker, you get a lot more options than a usual slow cooker. It offers a lot more functionality than its basic version. Mostly, it has different preset functions to make you’re cooking a lot more effortless. For example- it has preset features for some food items like stews, soups, curry, etc. These functions are what it makes itself more than just a small slow cooker.
There is another type of smart slow cooker that is even smarter than a smart slow cooker. They include products like Wifi slow cookers and Alexa slow cookers or Alexa cookers. These slow cookers have a Wifi connection that provides more control to your cooking. You can control your slow cooker using a smartphone. That way you can check the update or even change settings of your slow cookers even when you are at work.
Either primary or smart, both of them are equally beneficial for you. That is why this appliance is so special. Let’s look into what makes this appliance so unique.
What Is A Slow Cooker Used For?
As previously mentioned, a slow cooker is that appliance that lets us have some extra leisure time from cooking. Everyone would certainly enjoy some extra hours from their monotonous cooking schedule daily. It’s a relief to get some hot and tasty food without any hassle. That’s what a slow cooker is for!
Slow cookers are the ultimate thing you need in your life. Those who have a hectic schedule on weekdays should get one as soon as possible. Who wants to cook on a working day? Nobody. But the craving for some pulled beef sandwich doesn’t count weekdays or weekends. Who has the time to make pulled beef on weekdays?
With a slow cooker, you can come back home just to enjoy some delicious pulled beef for binge eating if you have the right recipe and a slow cooker, congratulations! You’re a kitchen expert. Everyone would die for a bite of your handmade pulled beef sandwich. So having a smart slow cooker is a super smart choice for your kitchen.
Modern problems require modern solutions. Just like that, a slow cooker can be the key to solve your weekday cooking hassle instantly. Besides, it is genuinely a great appliance for hosting a house party. Try out some finger-licking slow cooker recipes, and you’re done for the preparation. You can cook the food ahead of time and put it in the slow cooker to keep it warm. “Best host ever” title will be waiting to add feathers to your crown.
There are many diverse uses of a slow cooker. Here are some fantastic things you can do with your smart slow cooker. So let’s dig in—
Slow Cooker Uses
We can know more about slow cooker uses when we get to know what a slow cooker can or can’t do. This way, you can figure out what purposes you should use your slow cooker for. Despite being a lifesaver, a slow cooker is not for all types of cooking techniques. So it’s essential to know the uses of a slow cooker before buying one. So here goes a brief list of what a slow cooker can or can’t do:
What Does A Slow Cooker Do
By its name, there’s no doubt what the primary function of a slow cooker is. That is slow cooking. Slow cooking is a type of cooking technique. People have been practicing this method for a long time. Primarily to tenderize severe cuts of meat, the slow cooking process is now used for making soups or stews too. Besides, you can make a variety of food items with a slow cooking process. For example, it is not unknown that simmering Bolognese sauce for a long time enhances the flavor. Also, slow cooking is a great method to extract flavors from any ingredient.
There are a lot more things that a smart slow cooker does. Apart from cooking foods, you can use it as a food warmer. So you do not have to reheat your food again before serving. You can help your food directly from your cooker. Now you do not have to eat cold mashed potatoes anymore. Smooth, warm, delicious mashed potatoes are not impossible now. Besides, microwaving your food, again and again, may destroy the essential elements. So why should we do that when we have better options in our hands?
Instant Dinner At Home
Another great plus point of having a slow cooker is its flexibility. This kitchen appliance is a massive blessing for working people. Nobody doesn’t want to cook after passing through a hectic day at work. Having a slow cooker is like a flow of fresh air to a suffocating place. Throw some marinated meat and vegetable in the slow cooker and set your timer on low at 8 hours. And voila! Delicious and healthy stew will be waiting for you when you come back from work.
Having a slow cooker, therefore, saves your life from some extra hassle. Food is an essential thing in life. But who has the time to cook it? Going to restaurants or ordering take away food every day isn’t a great idea either. But cooking with zero effort is the best idea of all. Hence a smart slow cooker can come to the rescue. A multipurpose slow cooker is an ultimate solution to all your sufferings in the kitchen. Because a high-end slow cooker can deliver numerous cooking techniques. As in-
- Slow cooking
- Condensation, etc
With these cooking techniques, you can make a lot of dishes that you can’t even imagine. So getting the best smart slow cooker can be a lot more worth than you think.
Slow Cooker Disadvantages
Yes, slow cookers have some disadvantages too. A basic slow cooker can not do certain things. That doesn’t mean buying a slow cooker is useless. There are some special tasks that slow cookers cannot do perfectly. These tasks include:
- Deep frying
- Charring, etc
Although these are not a problem now. Because now there are many types of slow cookers available which can perfectly do even these tasks. Like a multi-purpose slow cooker or multi-cooker can fulfill your need for these extraordinary techniques.
How Slow Cooker Works
Many of you have wondered about how slow cookers work. It has some exclusive technology that works on it. A slow cooker yields a simmering temperature on the pot that slowly cooks the food inside. It provides a similar effect like cooking food in a Dutch oven or any deep pot.
When you simmer something on a stovetop, it doesn’t let the water boil vigorously. Instead, it maintains a subtle boiling or poaching of food that slowly breaks down the food. Apart from making it tender, this process also extracts the flavor from the food. That is why dishes like ox bone soup or Bolognese sauce requires slow cooking for better result.
Just like that, a slow cooker uses this technique to cook the food. Like a stovetop oven, the slow cooker liner gets the heat from the bottom. The temperature is quite subtle, so the food doesn’t dry out and stick to the bottom. This way, the heat slowly rises to the top to evenly cook the food within the pot. This heat is supplied by the base part of a slow cooker. A slow cooker base typically consists of a hot plate that heats the food inside.
Parts Of Slow Cooker
Other than the slow cooker base, there are different parts of a slow cooker. They are- plug, slow cooker liner, slow cooker lid, etc. The different parts of a slow cooker depending on its type. For example- a multi-purpose slow cooker or multi-cooker may have some special structure to have a pressure cooking facility. Also, it may have standard glass lids to act as a curry cooker. But the parts of a basic slow cooker is pretty much the same.
Some slow cookers have a timer with it. The timer controls the cooking time. So you cook your food for just the right time. This way, you can avoid undercooking or overcooking your food. So you can get just the perfect cooking and texture to your food.
Most of the slow cookers have different cooking options. They are operated in three different settings. Mostly, low, medium and high are the standard settings. These three options have different heat settings for various purposes. For example, if you want some fork-tender beef, cook it on high for several hours. This way, even the cheap cut meat cooks well and becomes soft and juicy.
On the other hand, you should cook vegetables at a low temp. You are set to prevent overlooking. Because overcooked vegetables turn mushy and don’t taste good. Usually, a small range of slow cooker has only three different options. But a mid-range slow cooker or a high range slow cooker has more options. Some of them have even a specific temperature setting to cook more precisely. So this is how a typical and necessary slow cooker work. These functions are quite enough to make your cooking effortless.
Smart Cooker: How They Work
A smart slow cooker is a significant game-changer for its functions. It has so many different sets of functions that you do not have to worry about cooking anymore. A smart operating process and fantastic performance make the smart slow cooker a timeless creation. It has various settings and preset functions. So you do not even have to memorize how to cook different cooks. Seeking recipes for every single cooking is a pain for all of us. So why not use the preset functions?
There are numerous preset functions of a slow cooker. Although it depends on the brands and models. Some slow cookers have roughly 12-15 preset tasks. On the other hand, some of them have only 3-4 preset functions. But we happen to use only a few preset functions to do our work. Because most of us are still not aware of how versatile a slow cooker can be. Speaking of the versatile slow cooker, multi-purpose slow cooker or multi-cooker is another form of a smart slow cooker.
The best part of a smart slow cooker is its connectivity functions. These are the facilities that earned a “Smart” tag to some slow cookers. We all pretty much heard about Wifi slow cookers. These slow cookers connect through Wifi system to provide better controls over them. Although Wifi slow cooker is not that available in the market yet. But some of the companies already released a number of the smart slow cooker. This smart slow cooker is indeed super cool and amazing for our home.
Wifi slow cookers work on the effect of timer and temperature settings. You can control the time and temperature with your smartphone. This way, you can even turn off the slow cooker from your smartphone. This sounds cool and fantastic for the sluggish cookers.
There’s another type of smart slow cooker. That is Alexa enabled smart slow cooker. Or they are also known as Alexa slow cooker. This is another ingenious creation that provides even more flexibility to a smart slow cooker. The basic structures of a smart slow cooker are pretty much the same. You get extra advantage of intelligent control, that’s all.
Can Slow Cooker Cook Rice?
Many of you have asked whether a slow cooker can cook rice. Well, it depends on the brand and model. Usually, a low range of slow cookers does not have that much versatile option. Instead, mid-range or high end smart slow cooker has separate options for cooking rice. Although that doesn’t mean you can not cook rice in a low range cooker. If you keep the stove cooker on high and keep an eye on the rice, you can get fluffy rice like any high-end rice cooker.
But getting a multi cooker can give you the best result. A multi-cooker has a separate option for cooking rice. So you do not have to worry even if you do not have a rice cooker. Although getting the perfect outcome depends on the quality of the rice. Because there are various types of rice in the world, for example- white rice, brown rice, wild rice, black rice, etc., each of them has different texture and flavors. Also, their cooking processes are mixed. Cooking, in the same manner, will not give the same result to every type of rice.
So it is wise not to rely on only a slow cooker. Getting a smart slow cooker or multi-cooker can be a great idea, but in the end, we would opt for getting the best rice cooker. You can know more about rice cooker from our smart rice cooker reviews section.
Is Slow-Cooker Healthy?
Many of us are eager to know if slow-cooked food is healthy or not. Although it is not unknown that eating slow-cooked food is the most vigorous habit ever. It has a lot more nutritious and qualitative benefits than any other food. Slow cooking food breaks down the complex food elements. So it is easier for you to absorb the nourishment.
Besides, searing and frying meat makes it tough. Hence you can suffer from a lot of inconvenient situations like constipation. According to a lot of studies, a habit of eating fried and seared food can cause colon cancer. So getting accustomed to eating slow-cooked food is beneficial for your physical health.
There are many other benefits of slow-cooked food. Sometimes, high heat can break down some essential food elements like vitamins. For example,- Vitamin C loses its activity when it is heated. On the other hand, slow cooking keeps the vital nutrients intact. That is why eating stews and soups are more energizing if you are weak. So getting a slow cooker can promote a healthy eating habit for your family.
Are Slow Cookers Safe?
The health concern is the age-old question whenever you get to know a new appliance. Just like that, we researched if using a slow cooker is safe for your health. Because sometimes using an appliance can be harmful to your health. For example, using plastic material in the kitchen appliance is not good if the content isn’t BPA free. Because this notorious element in plastic can cause cancer to us, other materials can cause an injury similarly.
But do not worry; buying a slow cooker is safe if you buy it from famous brands. Famous brands offer high-end appliances that will be safe for your health. As a slow cooker involves heating, any bad quality plastic material can cause a catastrophe. Other than that, a slow cooker is entirely safe for everyday use.
Are Slow Cooker Liners Safe?
Many people use an additional liner with their slow cookers. This liner eradicates the hassle of cleaning the slow cooker. Because some of the slow cookers have the pot fixed with the base. Despite causing an extra nuisance, set pots are better in some cases. For example, ceramic mugs have a higher chance of getting cracked if not fastened to the base. But this becomes a nightmare when you need to clean it. Using a liner can solve this problem quickly. But the question is, are they safe?
The answer lies in the material. Some certain materials are heatproof. On the other hand, you should not use cheap plastic liners because they are often found to be harmful to health. Instead, you can use silicon slow cooker liners. The silicon ones are easier to wash where the plastic ones are for one time use.
Some people use a divider liner for their large size slow cookers. So that they can cook two different meals simultaneously, for this purpose, we would suggest the silicone ones too. But if you want to use the one-time-use products, check the material before buying.
Does Slow Cooker Use A Lot Of Electricity?
There’s a common misconception about a slow cooker; it consumes a lot of electricity. But the truth is, it doesn’t. You may think it wastes a lot of power as it runs for a long time. It does run for a long time, but it consumes less electricity than a usual rice cooker or multi cooker. Because it runs on a deficient heat, therefore, absorbing less power. It depends on the brands and models.
Typically, a slow cooker runs on 70 watts to as high as 250 watts at the highest setting. On the other hand, a rice cooker consumes around 700 watts per hour. So the difference is noticeable. A smart slow cooker reportedly consumes less electricity than a rice cooker. So the concept is invalid.
Can Slow Cooker Cause Fire?
Considering the duration of usage, the possibility of catching fire isn’t uncanny. Low-quality slow cookers may have a dull wiring system. So sometimes it may catch fire. But the opportunity is extremely slim. As the slow cooker runs on low voltage electricity, there are fewer chances of causing an accident. So you do not need to worry about it and keep using your appliance unworriedly.
Why Use a Slow Cooker?
At this point in our post, you already know why you should get a smart slow cooker. The slow cooker is not a usual appliance like other kitchen items. It has a lot of difference from other kitchen appliances, which cannot replace a slow cooker. Here are some critical aspects of why slow cookers differ from any other appliances:
Slow Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker
Slow cookers and pressure cookers are like the two opposite poles. Every single feature of them is contrary to each other. Like when we look into the fundamental differences, slow cooker cooks slowly, and pressure cooker cooks fast. But they are more different other than just this basic point. Here are some important aspects of how slow cooker differs from pressure cooker:
- A slow cooker works on a standard atmospheric pressure, whereas a pressure cooker works on a comparatively higher temperature.
- An electric pressure cooker generates typically high heat and a slow cooker works on low heat.
- A slow cooker builds up a better flavor profile than a pressure cooker.
- Slow cookers need more liquid where pressure cookers need less liquid to cook the food.
- Pressure cookers require an airtight seal on the lid. But a slow cooker doesn’t need that.
- Slow cookers are ideal for warming food. Pressure cookers are ideal for a quick meal.
- Slow Cookers use less energy. On the other hand, pressure cookers use high energy as it works on high heat.
In both cases, both of them are important for their single-use. So know your preferences before choosing one.
Slow Cooker vs Multi-Cooker
Multi-Cooker is another form of a slow cooker. In other words, a multi cooker is a versatile appliance with a slow cooking option. A slow cooker remains wholly dedicated to slow cooking. But a multi-cooker has numerous opportunities to use. For example- you will get an all in one feature in a multi cooker. Like rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, etc. But the sad thing is, not all the multicookers perform great. Most of the time, they cannot perform a single function properly. Hence, experts suggest buying separate appliances for different purposes.
On the other hand, some of the multicookers can manage to pull off a decent job. Some of them are quite smart as a smart slow cooker. But if you use the slow cooking function frequently, we would suggest getting a smart slow cooker only. A multi-cooker and a slow cooker have no difference other than function. So it’s up to you which one you should choose.
Slow Cooker vs Rice Cooker
We already mentioned previously that cooking the perfect rice depends on a lot of factors. You can cook rice in a slow cooker, but you will not get a good result as a rice cooker. A smart slow cooker may have a rice cooking option. On the other hand, a multi-purpose rice cooker may have a slow cooking option. But none of them can replace each other. You can not prefer a slow cooker over a rice cooker if you like rice. So we suggest getting both of them. However, below are some difference between slow cooker and rice cooker:
- The slow cooker has typically less electric use, but the rice cooker uses a lot more electricity than a slow cooker.
- Rice cookers have only two settings, cook & warm. A slow cooker does not have it. They have different heat settings depending on the brand.
- Rice cookers automatically stop cooking and go to warm mode once the rice is done. A slow cooker does not have such an automatic function.
- Rice cookers can act as a food steamer. A slow cooker cannot do that.
These two appliances are equally significant for our kitchen. So if you do not buy a multi-cooker, get one of each.
Slow Cooker vs Oven
- An electric oven has a different service than a slow cooker.
- Comparing these two is quite useless. Because a kitchen is not a kitchen without an electric oven. Still, we are comparing these two to show the functions of these two.
- An oven is used for baking, roasting, broiling and so many things. On the other hand, a slow cooker can be used for simmering and poaching food.
Slow Cooker vs Dutch Oven
Despite having a difference in features, they have the same use. A Dutch oven is what we used to use it before the slow cooker was invented. So many people have a hard time to choose between one of them. However, we are presenting some basic differences below:
- The difference is evident in the looks. A slow cooker has an electric connection where a Dutch oven is meant to be used on the stovetop.
- You have to keep an eye on the Dutch oven while simmering something. But you do not have to do that for the slow cooker because you can set the time.
- Most of the time, we sear or braise the food before simmering. A Dutch oven offers more flexibility in that.
- You cannot keep the food warm in Dutch oven unless reheating. A slow cooker doesn’t have this problem.
- You can use the Dutch oven in your oven when necessary. A slow cooker gets a minus point on this one.
- The most important difference of all, you can not leave a Dutch oven simmering on a stovetop. But you can become tension free about turning on the slow cooker and going to work.
In our opinion, using a slow cooker provides more comfort and flexibility than a Dutch oven. So our winner is a smart slow cooker.
How To Use Slow Cooker
Using a slow cooker isn’t rocket science. Instead, it’s more comfortable to operate than any other kitchen appliances. If you can perform a microwave, or a washing machine, using a smart slow cooker will be a piece of cake. Still, those who never used a slow cooker may find it troublesome. That is why you should know how to use a slow cooker properly. Here’s how you can effortlessly manage a slow cooker yourself:
Follow The Instruction Manual
Every slow cooker comes with an instruction manual. Some of them include a lot of recipes too. The user manual is to illustrate various uses of a slow cooker, including how to operate it. Although most of the slow cookers have the same method. Follow the user manual properly to know the usage of your slow cooker better.
Know Your Slow Cooker
The first thing you will want to know is the different parts of the slow cooker. Different slow cookers have different command functions. So the first thing is to locate different buttons and understand how they work.
Fixed Pot? Don’t Worry
Some of the slow cookers have the cooking pot fixed to the base. In that case, you may have to use a slow cooker liner. We have already discussed liners earlier in this post. So we are skipping this part.
Find A Proper Place
The first thing you need to make sure is, find a proper place to keep the slow cooker. If you use a slow cooker frequently, you should find a permanent home for it. You should ensure a secure electric connection for your slow cooker. Because it is mandatory so that you can avoid any accident from happening.
Test For The First Time
Before you use your slow cooker for the first time, wash the pot. Since the product is new, it may have a plastic smell. You can throw in some water to check if it’s working correctly. Put your cooker on high and wait for some time.
Try Out The Features
You can learn about your cooker’s specific feature from the user manual. Use it to get help.
Slow Cooker Cleaning
Cleaning your slow cooker after use is a must. Because if you don’t clean your cooker after you cook, the leftover food may smell and dry out. Which makes it tougher to clean. If you have a slow cooker that has a fixed pot. Make sure to pat dry it after cleaning.
Careful From The Babies!
Put your slow cooker out of reach from the babies because they can break it or damage it.
To summarize, cleaning correctly is a significant usage criterion of a slow cooker. Because hygiene comes first. Here are some tip and tricks for how to clean up your slow cooker after usage:
How To Clean A Slow Cooker
The cleaning method for any slow cooker will depend on the type of slow cooker. More precisely, it will depend on the cooking pot. Because the pot may have different materials. Besides, it may or may not be fixed with the base. So the cleaning process is different.
We already said, it is wise to use a liner to the fixed pots. Because cleaning properly along with the pot is nearly impossible. Any penetration of water may damage your cooker permanently. But knowing it can be harmful to health, some people do not want to use a liner. In that case, you can wash the cooker following some simple steps:
- First, dump some soap water and put your cooker on high. It will dissolve all the residual food.
- Use a sponge to clean your slow cooker and then try to rinse it with water. Make sure not to let the water penetrate inside.
- Quickly pat dry the slow cooker with a kitchen towel.
- You can wash the lid in the dishwasher.
- If your pot has a nonstick coating, do not wash it roughly. Use only soap water and soft sponges.
Slow cooker with extra pots doesn’t have that much hassle. You can put it on the dishwasher if you want. But washing them by hand is the best method.
How To Use A Smart Slow Cooker
Using a smart slow cooker is quite different than using a basic version. Depending on the model, you can learn to make the proper use of it. You can follow video tutorials on YouTube or read the user manual to make the full use of your smart slow cooker. Other than that, the usage and care are the same as a basic slow cooker.
Are Slow Cookers Worth It?
In our opinion, buying a smart slow cooker is a fantastic idea. We have already explained the reason behind it. If you can relate your everyday problems as we faced, you should get a smart slow cooker. We assure you to get an excellent service if you buy a smart slow cooker according to our direction.
Finding the best deals is indeed tough among such a lot of models available in the market. Still, we have tried to list some of the best slow cooker deals online. So here are our picks for the best slow cooker and smart slow cookers of 2020:
Best Smart Slow Cooker
Best Slow Cooker 2020:
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp Tracking Probe
Push away every deal and buy this one to get the best deal of market. This slow cooker is perfect in every single aspect. Despite Crock-Pot being the best brand for slow cookers, this slow cooker lived up to the hype. Amazing design, the superb performance makes it a remarkable one. This slow cooker has the spot for the best slow cooker for 2020 for obvious reasons. So, let’s know why it would be the best purchase:
The Hamilton Beach slow cooker has a standard size yet in a compact design. It has a capacity of 6 quarts. So you can fit enough food to serve even a large family. You can fit a 6 lb chicken or a 4 lb roast in this cooker. So it’s perfect if you have a family of 4-6. The outlook is quite elegant with a black stainless steel finishing. This stainless steel coating makes this cooker durable and rust-free. Besides, a functional lid compliments the outlook quite nicely.
The lid has the perfect design with lid clips. So you can move this slow cooker without even creating a mess. That is why you can get super flexible while going to a potluck party with your cooker. The size is not that huge, considering its capacity. Instead, it seems quite compact to fit into even a small kitchen. So the design gets the perfect score from us.
Now come to an essential part, performance. We were quite astonished to see how well it performs during the test. Although not being a smart slow cooker, this cooker can be easily put up against any smart slow cooker in the market. It has programmable functions. So you do not need to search for slow cooker recipes anymore. The hold temperature function can yield a lot of cooking functions. Like sous vide, poach, simmer and even braising.
It has a tracking temp probe which is another plus point of this cooker. This integrated probe helps you to track the temperature of your food. So you can prevent your beef from getting overcooked. Besides, it makes the hold temperature setting more functional. It has a digital display to show the metrics too. If you attach the probe, it toggles between the target food temp. And it has selected food temp. It also shows the remaining time on the cooker, which makes it no less than a smart slow cooker.
Another plus point of this slow cooker is its keep-warm function. When the food is ready at your selected temp, it shifts to the keep warm mode. This way, the slow cooker prevents overcooking as well as keeps the food warm.
While experimenting with this slow cooker, we found some positive and negative aspects of this cooker. This will further help you to evaluate the product yourself. So here they go:
The price range of this slow cooker is quite reasonable. Overall, this slow cooker is the best one you can ever buy. That is why this slow cooker is your pick for the best slow cooker 2020.
Best Smart Slow Cooker:
Crock-Pot 2101704 Alexa Enabled Programmable Slow Cooker
Those who have a weakness for smart appliances, this product is for them. Everyone knows Crock-Pot is the best brand for slow cookers. This smart slow cooker could save its name well. So let’s check what’s smart in this smart slow cooker.
We expected this cooker to have a digital display. But sadly, it doesn’t have one. Still, the outlook is pretty posh and super elegant. The color and design look just like what an expensive appliance should look like. Stainless steel finishing on the outside and a tempered glass lid, this appliance can hold its look for a long time. The best part of the design is, the inner pot is removable. You can take it out and wash it on the dishwasher whenever you want. Not having a lid clip like the previous one is a minus point from our side. Overall, the design is not as impressive as we expected.
Despite having a so so design, the performance is top-notch. It works like it is from the future. The magical performance of this appliance is what made us pick this product. This appliance has Wi-Fi and it is Alexa enabled. So you can control this appliance by giving a command to Alexa. It is quite an impressive feature for any kitchen appliance, let alone a slow cooker. Now you can cook your food just by using your voice. Sounds cool, isn’t it?
Such a smart function didn’t affect the performance of this slow cooker. It has a lot of features that make this cooker different from any other cooker. You can control the temperature of this cooker using Alexa. Even if you aren’t at home, you can check it on your Alexa app and change the temp. To your preference. So don’t worry if you are at work, you can always control your cooker.
This smart slow cooker has a whopping adjustable time up to 20 hours. You can use your Alexa to give the command as usual. Also, you can even check your cooking status on Alexa. Simply ask, “Alexa, when will my Crock-Pot finish cooking?”. And you get an update without also going to the kitchen.
The simple set up facility makes this one more impressive. You can easily set up your smart slow cooker on the Alexa app. When you plug in your smart slow cooker, it connects to the Wi-Fi. Then the Alexa app detects it automatically. After that, it connects the cooker to itself. So the setup process is quite easy and effortless.
Just like the first one, we listed some nuts and bolts of this smart slow cooker for your convenience. Here it goes:
Even though the price range is a little expensive, it is an excellent deal for a smart slow cooker. Overall, you can buy this one if you are fond of smart technologies.
Best Multipurpose Slow Cooker/ Multi-Cooker:
Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Cooker With Air Frying
This product is the all-in-one product we all dream of. It is indeed a blessing for people who has a small kitchen but needs every appliance. “Unbelievable” is the word when we first reviewed this product. So let’s see what’s inside this super appliance.
The first thing we talk about definitely should be its different features. This product can do everything you can think of doing in the kitchen. Just look at the list of how many appliances it can replace:
- Pressure cooker
- Rice cooker
- Slow cooker
- Air fryer
- Sous vide machine
- Food dehydrator
We guess there is no other appliance in this world that is this much versatile. The features are so much overwhelming that we think this is the ultimate appliance goal of 2020. This appliance is the legit representation of elevated kitchen technology. The efficiency level of that many features in only one appliance was questionable. But this appliance did a great job in that too.
Before getting into the performance, we have to praise the compact design of this cooker. This cooker has a capacity of 8 quarts yet looks so small in size. The best part of this product is its accessories. This product comes with so many new things other than its usual pot and pressure cooker lid. It comes with an air fryer lid, multi-level air fryer basket, steam rack, dehydrate tray, and a protective pad or storage cover.
The outlook is as usual as an instant pot cooker. But with the air fryer lid on, it looks weird, to be honest. The design has so much diversity that makes it perfect overall. For example- the pressure cooker lid is quite easy to put on due to its Easy-seal feature. Also, the security measures make it more efficient to ensure a safe kitchen.
The overall design somehow doesn’t look that much stylish, but every bit of it managed to put together a secure and functional design. We are not super impressed with the layout, but it is satisfactory.
We always have a high expectation of Instant Pot products. Because this brand is a real lifesaver for small homeowners. Putting together a lot of features in one appliance may seem inefficient. But the truth is, it lived up to the expectations. We were genuinely amazed by the performance of this product.
The first thing we found impressive was smart programs. This versatile cooker has 11 smart programs. These programs run on autopilot and work incredibly well. The pressure cooker lid is meant to cover six wet functions of this cooker. They are- pressure cooking, slow cooking, sous vide, braising, steaming & sautéing. It did a great job in all of those methods.
On the other hand, the Air frying lid is used for dry functions like air frying, baking, dehydrating, etc. The pressure cooking function seemed a little off because it creates low pressure. This cooker creates an 11.2 psi pressure that isn’t enough for quick cooking. Other than that, all these functions were executed pretty substantially, giving a solid result every time. That is why it is no less than a smart slow cooker.
The technology used in it was successful in delivering some spot-on results. Technologies like Innovative EvenCrisp technology did a great job of producing the perfect chicken roast, juicy & succulent inside and golden & crispy outside. You do not need an oven anymore to cook the perfect chicken roast at home. Other than that, the safety features in this cooker are a huge plus point of this product. Like, overheat protection, safety lock feature, etc. were indeed helpful to produce some excellent results.
Another great thing about this cooker is its comfortable cleaning facility. The pressure cooker lid, the air fryer lid, and the cooking pot all are dishwasher safe. They were cleaned pretty nicely in the dishwasher. Overall, the performance is super satisfactory.
While testing this super electric cooker, we sorted out some pros and cons for you to quickly learn about this product. Here it goes:
Best Budget Slow Cooker:
Crock-Pot Cook’ N Carry Manual Portable Slow Cooker
If you have a small budget but a large family, this is the one you should buy. The large 6-quart size and primary function can give an incredible result. So let’s check into the details of this slow cooker.
As it is a budget-friendly slow cooker, the design is pretty simple. It has a stainless steel finishing and a glass lid. The glass lid has a clip that makes it a locking lid. It will prevent any spilling of food from the cooker. So if you can do a mess-free transfer to the potluck party. Just like the Crock-Pot smart slow cooker, it has a removable stoneware. So it has a dishwashing capability. But this cooker is incredible for its portable facilities. The body is pretty much straightforward with just a knob to adjust the temp. Overall, the design is pretty much straightforward. Considering the low price range, the design surely seems okay.
Despite having a cheap price range, this slow cooker gives a pretty decent result. The only drawback of the performance is, it does not have a timer. Other than that, the performance is great, considering its basic function. The temp. The mode has only three options- high, low, and warm. Since it does not have a timer, you have to use an additional timer clock to follow your exact cooking time.
Since the stoneware is removable, you can easily throw it in the dishwasher. So you do not have to face any hassle for cleaning it. Also, you do not have to use any liner for this cooker. So it seems safer for our health although we would prefer hand washing. Because it didn’t clean properly in the dishwasher. But the non-stick coating made it accessible even to hand wash it.
The warm function seems pretty useful. Because when you have finished cooking and want to jump on a shower, the food will get cold in meanwhile. So this warm button is a plus point considering the budget range.
Here are some pros and cons of this slow cooker for your help:
Considering the price range, this slow cooker is truly the best in the budget. So if you are running short of money, you can buy this one.
Slow Cooker Buying Guide
Before choosing a slow cooker, you may have to keep a lot of things in mind. But the suitable one solely depends on what you prefer. You should only buy the product that matches your preference. Here’s what you may need to keep in mind before purchasing a slow cooker:
The size of your slow cooker will depend entirely on the number of your family members. Do not buy a large one if you have a small family. If you are buying a slow cooker to host a party, you should choose a slow buffet cooker. A slow buffet cooker has dual or triple pots for serving multiple items. For a family of 4-7, you can buy a 6-quart slow cooker.
For frequent use, it’s wise to choose a permanent spot for your slow cooker. That is why compact size should be preferred.
The inner pot and the lid material can be different depending on the models. Inner pots have either ceramic or metal material. You can choose either one of these as both are good for heat conduction. Most of the slow cookers have a glass lid. Make sure to buy the models with a tempered glass lid. Otherwise, the lids may break.
It’s essential to check if the model has a removable pot. Because the removable pots are easier to clean. If you want to clean your crocks comfortably, choose the ones with a removable pot.
Searing is essential for any food for tastier results. So try to choose the ones with a searing option.
The timer is another important criterion for choosing a slow cooker. The basic versions usually don’t have one. But the mid-range and high range slow cookers often have one. Working people should choose the ones with a timer. So that you do not let your food overcook and burn.
In our opinion, oval-shaped cookers are ideal for beef ribs or roast chicken. They fit nicely in an oval cooker. The shape doesn’t even matter for vegetables or small stuff.
It’s important to have a warm function in your cooker to avoid reheating your food. Besides, a warm function can stop the cooking process yet keeps it warm until dinner.
So here goes our everything on the smart slow cooker. If you are planning to buy one, spare some time and give it a read. You will find the perfect product for your lovely kitchen. What’s your choice for the best slow cooker?
Frequently Asked Questions About Slow Cookers
Can I use slow cookers in the dorm?
—Well, it depends on your dorm authority. Contact your dorm supervisor to know if you can use a slow cooker.
How to turn any recipe into a slow cooker recipe?
—You can do the simmering part of the method in your slow cooker. If your one has a searing function, you can do it more easily.
Should I cook on High or Low?
—It depends on your cooking time and your preferred doneness. Follow what your recipe says.
How long does a slow cooker take to cook a chicken?
—It depends on the temperature. Usually, a chicken gets cooked within 1 hour on high.
How to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the pot?
—Using an ample amount of water and keeping it on a low heat will prevent it from getting stuck.
Can I lift the lid of a slow cooker during cooking?
—Yes, you can. Lift the lid and stir it to spread the flavor evenly
What is the best temperature for slow cooking?
—The best temperature for slow cooking is 165 F to 200 F.
Can you switch from low to high on a slow cooker?
—Yes, you can. If you do not have time slow cooking, put it on high.
Does slow cooker kill bacteria?
—The temperature of slow cooking is under boiling temperature. So it is not enough to kill all the bacteria
Do slow cookers use a lot of electricity?
—No, it runs on very little energy. So even though it runs for a long time, it doesn’t consume much power.