I don’t know that there is one best model of slow cooker. You certainly don’t need the latest and greatest to make delicious meals for your family. But there are a few things to consider before buying.
Slow Cooker Size
Slow cookers work best when they are nearly full. If they only have small amount of food in them, they tend to overcook the food.
If you’re shopping for a slow cooker to use for main dishes, match the size to your family size.
- For a family of 6-8 people, buy a 6 quart slow cooker.
- For a family of 4-5 people, buy a 5 quart slow cooker.
- For a family of 2-3 people, buy a 4 quart slow cooker.
If you’re looking for a cooker for breakfast oatmeal, you’ll want a 1.5 – 2 quart model.
Even with a family of 6, there are times that I find a 3-4 quart model would be nice. For some side dishes and desserts, my six quart cooker is bigger than I’d like.
Other features to consider
Generally, as long as you can choose “high” or “low” cooking, you’re good to go. But there are other features that are nice.
“Keep warm” is a good setting to have. I don’t use this one often, but it’s nice when someone is coming in late for dinner or if I’m using the crockpot during a party.
Programmable slow cookers are also nice, but this can mean several different things. I have one that is programmable, but the cooking times are limited. It does kick over to “keep warm” when the cook time is up though.
Fully programmable slow cookers let you choose the temperature and the any number of hours/minutes you need. This is a lot more useful and worth paying for if you’re out of the house and can’t watch the food.
If you like to take a crockpot full of hot food to pitch-in dinners, be sure to buy one with a lid that locks and seals.
Oval or Round
I have both an oval and a round slow cooker. I like them both, shapes equally well. Shape is just a matter of preference.
My favorite recommendation
This one by Hamilton Beach is my favorite. I recommend it a lot. That said, I do not own one of these and have never used one. I like this model because it’s programmable, has a lid that locks, and is a 6 quart, which is the size I need most often for my family. It also has a meat probe, which could come in handy, but I would probably never use it. I also like the price of $49.99. It’s a good price for that many features.
This white one is similar to the one above, but it is only a 5 quart. It’s nice, if you’re looking for something smaller or just like the white color. But at $59.95, it does cost more. I have no idea why.
Finally, this Cuisinart will brown, steam and slow cook. It comes in both a 6 quart and 4 quart size and is fully programmable. I’ve never used one, but it gets great reviews on Amazon. It’s quite a big pricier than the other models though.
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