Ah the taste of long simmered dishes! There is no denying it, these are the best cooking recipes. When you love cooking as much as I do, and you have a demanding and grueling activity, you don’t always have time to stay behind the stove to cook a good meal. These rare moments of relaxation are on weekends and again fatigue often prevents us from getting down to work.
If you too find yourself in this kind of situation and have given up all hope, let me tell you that there is a solution. Have you ever heard of small slow cookers? Of course yes. Well, let me tell you, since I started using them, I haven’t parted with them anymore, and I find them rather essential with every meal I cook.
These real kitchen assistants will save you time and allow you to enjoy perfectly cooked, hot meals at any time. There is a wide choice of slow cooker today and if you have a hard time choosing, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Through this article, we provide you with a quick comparison of the best slow cookers of this year. Results and comparisons are based on consumer opinion. All you have to do is let yourself be seduced by one of these superb models.
What is the Best Small Slow Cooker
Russel Hobbs 23200 3.5L Stainless Steel Slow Cooker B01A84QSRG
The first candidate in our ranking is the electric slow cooker from the Russell-Hobbs brand. This slow cooker has everything to seduce you, and for good reason. With a capacity of 3.5 l for an empty weight of 2.4 kg, the Russel-Hobbs slow cooker is your ideal partner if you live as a couple or have a small family.
Indeed, its 3.5 liters capacity will allow you to cook a meal for 3, 4 or even 5 people. The Russel Hobbs 3.5 slow cooker is made of stainless steel and the choice of this material is far from trivial.
In addition, the Russel has cool walls, ideal for preventing accidental burns, as well as non-slip cuffs to ensure a firm and solid grip. It also has three cooking modes that will suit all your recipes. With its dimensions (33 x 35.60 x 21) and such options, the Russel-Hobbs slow cooker, is sure to woo you. You can read our full review here .
Crockpot SCV700-KT Deisgn to Shine 7QT Slow Cooker B07B8P9JBQ
And here’s the Crockpot SCV700-KT, another big hit in our ranking. This Crock-pot brand slow cooker which is also a famous brand of slow cooker and other household appliances for your kitchen is just like the Russel-Hobbs, with a capacity of 3.5 liters. However, the peculiarity of this model lies not only in its various programs, but above all in its design.
Indeed, this stoneware slow cooker is equipped with a removable pot, which is ideal for serving at the table, without having to bring the entire pot. In addition, the removable pot can be used with a conventional oven or a microwave. It is also machine washable.
And that’s not all ! The Crock-pot slow cooker is equipped in addition to its two cooking programs, a special “Keep Warmer” mode which will keep your dish warm, until you are ready to eat it. This option constitutes the secret weapon of the Crock-pot which does not stop there, and displays with its simple design and its bright red color its ambitions of conquering our kitchens. With all these weapons, the Crock-pot is sure to catch your eye. You can read our full review on this page .
Elite Gourmet Lid & Ceramic Pot Slow Cooker B008GS8R3K
Elite Gourmet Lid & Ceramic Pot Slow Cooker is among the best on the market because the materials used in its design are of the highest quality. Indeed, this slow cooker has an ultra resistant tempered glass lid and a removable ceramic bowl.
This removable bowl is perfect for serving your meals at the table. In addition, it is covered with a non-stick surface which makes it very easy to wash. This Andrew James slow cooker has three cooking programs. High cooking, low cooking, and automatic cooking.
The latter option alternates between hot and low cooking, and keeps your meal warm until you’re ready to sit down. With its dimensions 8.8 x 8.8 x 6 inches the Andrew James slow cooker is capable of holding up to 6.5 liters, and is ideal for large families. Its ceramic dish can hold up to 20 portions, enough to satisfy everyone during family meals.
Crockpot SCV400RD 220/240V Slow Cooker B00MVWZL6I
Yet another product from the Crock-pot brand. This slow cooker is like the Andrew James 6L, designed for large families. With its dimensions and capacity of 6 l, it is ideal for family meals and dinners. It is equipped, among other things, with a digital timer that can go up to 8 p.m., which means that you can leave in peace. To its two cooking programs is added the “Keep Warmer” function which will keep your meal warm for you.
This slow cooker also has a removable ceramic bowl, which you can put either in the oven or even on the grill, it’s up to you. With its removable cord and cord organizer, it is very easy to store. It comes with a cookbook, perfect for discovering or rediscovering the joys of cooking with a slow cooker. You can read our full test / review on this page .
How to choose your slow cooker?
It’s hard to know where to go with all these slow cookers, each as powerful as the next. If you still don’t know which one to focus on, here are a few tips that might help you make a wise choice that you won’t regret. Keep in mind that there are no bad slow cookers.
Everything will depend on how you use it. The choice of your slow cooker should be based on specific elements. These include capacity first, then power, the number of cooking programs offered, additional options, etc.
The first criterion on which you will base your choice is of course the capacity of your slow cooker. To determine which type of slow cooker is right for you in this case, refer to the amount of food you want to cook with it.
If you are more of the type to make meals for large families, you can set your sights on large capacity appliances such as the Andrew James, or the Bristol 65. With their 6.5 liters of capacity, they are perfect for meals for large families. Ideal for meals of 7 to 8 people, they will also suit you perfectly for dinners with a large number of guests.
If, on the other hand, you live as a couple, in a small family, or only want to cook for yourself, prefer a smaller model, such as the Russel or the Crock pot which with their 3.5 liters capacity, will suit you perfectly.
All the slow cookers offered in this classification are electric and operate at different power levels. Depending on your needs and your means, pay attention to the type of slow cooker you choose. The greater the power of the slow cooker, the more your energy expenditure will increase, and therefore the greater impact on your bill.
The most energy-intensive slow cookers are often the largest. If you do not need such a machine, therefore fall back on the small models which are much more economical.
Although not talked about very often, paying attention to materials is of utmost importance. This is because slow cookers come in direct contact with your food, and poor quality materials can affect your health and well-being. Rest assured, all the slow cookers featured in this article are made from materials that are harmless to your health. In stoneware, ceramic or even terracotta, they will ensure perfect and healthy cooking of your dishes.
Also pay attention to the slow cooker lid and its material. We tend to lift the lid when cooking a dish to monitor it. With slow cookers, it is not only unnecessary, but above all not recommended. So choose a glass lid to be able to monitor your cooking without having to lift the lid each time.
The number of programs
The cooking programs offered by electric slow cookers are different from each other. Therefore, this factor is one of the essential criteria when it comes to choosing a slow cooker. Indeed, if you only want to use your slow cooker for simple use, you can opt for a simple model like the Kenwood Cp658. Slow cookers of this type do not have a cooking program or even a timer. They therefore require constant attention.
But if you want more freedom, opt for models with several cooking programs. The most common are Heavy, Medium and Low Cooking. Some models even offer you a fourth alternative mode (strong cooking, then weak) that you can configure as you wish.
The maintenance of a device is very important. It’s the secret for long-term use, and the slow cooker is no exception. Some models are easier to clean than others, so be sure to take a look at the care instructions before purchasing one. Some slow cookers have a removable, machine-washable ceramic pan to make your job even easier. So choose these models.
Depending on the brand and type of slow cooker you choose, you will be able to benefit from many additional and very useful options. Some models will offer you a removable pot, ideal for serving without having to transport the entire pot. Others have a heating system, which allows you to reheat your meal before you enjoy it.
Finally, others will introduce you to the Keep Warmer function which allows your slow cooker to keep your meal warm after the end of cooking, and until you are ready to sit down at the table.
How to use your slow cooker?
The electric slow cooker is definitely the perfect ally in the kitchen. While it often feels like it can do it all, it’s still a machine, and here are some great tips to help you get the most out of your slow cooker.
Like any household appliance, the slow cooker needs proper maintenance in order to function properly. Always unplug your slow cooker after each use, this will prevent it from overloading, overheating or even suddenly shorting. To clean it, a simple sponge and dishwashing liquid are more than enough.
For compatible models, the pots are machine washable. Let the cover cool before washing it. If your lid is glass, let it cool before washing it. Indeed, glass does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature too much. And therefore, suddenly changing from hot to cold would damage it.
Foods to watch out for: Meat, rice and vegetables.
Contrary to popular belief that all you need to do is drop the ingredients on the bottom to get them cooked, the reality is slightly different. Foods like meats and some vegetables often have longer cooking times than most foods. In the case of meat and vegetables, take the precaution of precooking them separately before adding them to your slow cooker at the end of cooking.
Thus, by adding meat and vegetables only 30 to 45 minutes after the end of cooking your dish, you avoid ending up with overcooked and difficult to swallow foods. Same story for rice and most pasta. Since these foods cook quite quickly, be sure to add them only at the end of your cooking. 15 min is more than enough.
Don’t put too much water
Whether it’s before or during cooking, the most common mistake is putting too much water in the slow cooker. This is explained by the fact that we are used to the traditional method of cooking by evaporation, which consumes a lot of water. With a slow cooker, those days are over.
Indeed, there is no need to fill your slow cooker to the brim or even add water during cooking, because it does not escape from the slow cooker by evaporating. It remains trapped inside, allowing your food to retain all their flavors and all their nutrients.
Do not touch the lid
The second most common mistake is to want to open the slow cooker while cooking to monitor its progress. While for good reason, avoid doing it. This is because when you open your slow cooker in full cooking, the heat tends to escape and your slow cooker to cool. It will then take 20 to 30 minutes before returning to its normal temperature.
This sudden loss of heat is detrimental to your dish and considerably lengthens its cooking time, which in the long term can affect the quality of your meal, or worse, simply ruin it.
The benefits of a slow cooker
The advantages of a slow cooker are numerous, but it is above all the considerable time savings that will appeal to more than one. With an electric slow cooker, no more long evenings in the kitchen after work. Your meal, ready and hot, is waiting for you.
Choose the cooking method that’s right for you and let the slow cooker do the rest for you. So you can go to work in the morning with peace of mind and with the prospect of a good hot meal at the end of the day without having to make any effort.
In fact, no more long hours of monitoring the cooking of your dish. Most electric slow cookers have timers and a number of cooking programs that will do most of the work for you. All you have to do is arrange the ingredients in the slow cooker, choose the cooking method that suits you, and start the timer.
You can take advantage of this substantial time saving to go about other occupations in peace. Save time, therefore, but also energy since you have practically nothing to do except to serve yourself.
The timer will also save you substantial money in the long run. The slow cooker will therefore allow you to make any type of recipe, but also to have less dishes to do at the end, and that is an aspect that is quite often overlooked. In addition, with its airtight lid it does not let odors escape, which protects your environment from persistent odors such as fish or cabbage which tend to become encrusted and impose themselves.
The different types of slow cookers
As you should have noticed, there are a multitude of slow cooker models, each more different than the next. Nevertheless, we can classify them into three main categories which are the traditional or manual slow cookers, the slow cooker with probe and the programmable slow cooker.
Manual slow cookers
These are traditional slow cookers. They do not have a cooking program or any options. Being the simplest, they are also the cheapest on the market. This type of slow cooker is suitable for people who don’t want too much trouble setting up their appliance.
The slow cooker
The probe slow cooker is a device equipped with thermoelectric probes, which allows you to assess the temperature of your dishes. Ideal for meat dishes, it will prevent you from overcooking them and guarantees you ripe meats.
Programmable slow cookers
This category includes the vast majority of slow cookers available on the market. Most programmable slow cookers have several options, including several cooking programs, but also a timer. The latter is ideal for recipes that require precise cooking times.
You will no longer have to keep an eye on your time all the time. The machine takes care of everything. Set a cooking time, a program, and let her do the rest.
Ultimately, remember that buying a slow cooker is the best option to save you not only time, but also money. Give in to its call, and let yourself be carried away by the endless possibilities available to you.