Have you ever opened your kitchen fridge, considered cooking, then closed it and decided to order takeout instead? You’re not alone. Sixty percent of people in the U.S. now order delivery or takeout at least once a week. Cooking at home can save money and time, but for those of us who have busy lives, sometimes it can be a pain. If you have a full-time job and a family to feed, it can be exhausting to shop for ingredients, find recipes, cook, and clean up. Adding the best slow cooker to your kitchen lineup will be an excellent solution to cooking delicious, healthy meals with minimal effort.
In a recent study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jennie-O, six in 10 respondents admit to feeling “burnt out” by cooking, and seven in 10 say that they get bored cooking the same meals over and over again. For those who feel like they’re stuck in a cooking rut, 26 percent point to a lack of variety in their meals. With winter approaching, there’s nothing better than walking in your front door at dinner time to the smell of a freshly cooked, warm meal. With a slow cooker you can make anything from fresh chile and soups to ribs that fall off the bone. Most models and recipes allow you to throw ingredients in and “set and forget it”.
Investing in a slow cooker can lead to a whole world of possibilities to spice up your kitchen. StudyFinds has scoured the internet for the best slow cookers, compiling a list of the most commonly recommended models across 10 expert websites. Time to get cooking!
Have a favorite slow cooker you use at home? Let us know which one in the comments below!
The List: Best Slow Cookers, According to Pros
This Hamilton Beach model has the option of automatic “set and forget” modes and manual slow cooking for those who are more experienced chefs or are able to monitor their dish.
“True to its name, this Hamilton Beach slow cooker allows you to Set it and Forget it, until it’s time to serve,” writes Homes & Gardens. “However, as well as the program mode, which is really useful for when you’re otherwise occupied, there’s the probe mode, and manual mode, for more experienced slow cook chefs.”
If you’re slow-cooking a large piece of meat, this model comes with a meat probe that switches the cooker to “warm” mode once it reaches your desired temperature.
“One of the biggest risks associated with slow cooking is overcooked food. 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, solving this age-old problem,” writes Food Network.
Greenpan is known for having one of the best non-stick ceramic pans on the market, and they apply this same concept to their slow cooker. The container is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
“Greenpan’s claim to fame is creating high-quality nonstick cookware that’s free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. This slow cooker has a durable stainless steel exterior, and the 6-quart Thermolon ceramic interior is both dishwasher-safe and very nonstick,” writes The Spruce Eats.
The Greenpan slow cooker also has 8 functions that allow you to Slow Cook, Brown/Sauté, and Steam. The five slow cook modes include Hi, Lo, Reheat, Simmer/Buffet, and Keep Warm.
“We also like that the base has handles, as does the pot insert,” writes Good Housekeeping. “The pot’s handles have silicone covers to help keep things cool when transporting. The simple interface offers settings for slow cook, brown/sauté and steam, which is a less-common setting (and the cooker comes with a steaming rack).”
The base on this Cuisinart multi-cooker is shallow and wide, making a better and more even distribution of heat for sauteeing or browning. On top of that, it is the only other slow cooker besides the Instant Pot that has a steaming function.
“Although this is among the highest-priced slow cooker of all those we tested, it’s at the top of the list for its browning and steaming abilities, plus its unique flat and wide design,” writes Allrecipes.
The cooking pot is easy to maneuver with cool touch handles, made of nonstick aluminum, and is dishwasher safe.
“The Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker gave us perfectly cooked meals, and while it’s very easy to use, it offers the best range of useful functions — browning, sautéing and steaming — of all the slow cookers we tested,” writes CNN.
Instant Pot is famous for producing multi-functional rice cookers that can steam, pressure cook, sautee, and slow cook. This model is also multi-functional but focuses on precise slow cooking temperatures to give you the perfect dishes. After cooking, it switches to a warm mode that keeps food perfectly edible.
“The Instant Precision 6-quart Dutch Oven, from the company that gave us the Instant Pot multi-cooker, is an unusual slow cooker,” writes Reviewed. “Rather than a ceramic crock or a metal pot, the insert is a covered enameled cast iron pan. When it’s removed from the base, it looks just like a traditional Dutch oven and makes a great serving piece.”
The entire device can be heavy and hard to lift, but the solid lid on the inner cooking pot keeps steam from escaping and offers multiple cooking and presentation options.
“This electric Dutch oven does more than slow cooking. It offers multiple cooking functions, including braising, searing, and warming. The ceramic cooking pot works outside of the electrical housing for use on the stove or in the oven,” writes Popular Mechanics.
This 3-Quart slow cooker is on the smaller side and great for smaller households or singles who still want the option of slow-cooking without dealing with a clunky device they might not have room to store.
“As the most affordable and compact option on this list, the Crock-Pot 3-Quart Manual Slow Cooker is a great pick for smaller households,” writes Best Products. “Although it’s a manual model that can’t be controlled remotely or programmed to an exact temperature, we love the no-frills functionality.”
Though it doesn’t have any fancy features besides a manual temperature control knob, it still comes with easy-to-grip handles plus a warm setting, and the cooking pot is dishwasher safe.
“For those who want to give easy, home-cooked meals another chance, the Crock-Pot 3-Quart Slow Cooker makes great meals for one or two people and even travels well if you want to transport it with your favorite buffalo chicken dip to your next group hang,” writes Delish.
- Food Network
- Homes & Gardens
- The Spruce Eats
- Good Housekeeping
- Popular Mechanics
- Best Products
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.