COMPARISON CHART FOR SLOW COOKERS:
In our increasingly complicated world there are few statements anyone can make that absolutely everybody will agree on, but here’s one that probably comes close: comfort food is the best medicine. Ugly break-up? Comfort food! Tight deadline with a hopeless amount of research to do? Comfort food! Struggling with creativity, homesickness, sibling rivalry or boredom? Comfort food!
And what on earth is more essential to the creation of comfort food – chilis, stews, soups, casseroles than a good, solid slow cooker in your kitchen??
There are so many dishes that simply taste better when prepared over a course of many hours. Is it the time allowing the flavors to all mix together? Of course, that’s a part of it, but let’s face it: there’s something about turning that dial and knowing that over the course of a day, or overnight, a perfect slow-cooked meal will be forthcoming just in time for binge watching our favorite cable drama.
They started out as “crock pots” then evolved into cooking systems with bells and whistles and styles and places in our hearts. Yes, that’s what we said – do you know anyone who owns a slow cooker who won’t tell you it’s one of their favorite kitchen appliances or even one of the best investment they’ve ever made? So whether you’ve got a group of friends coming over to watch the football game over chili and beer or want to impress that special someone with a home made ratatouille, your home cooker is right there for you waiting to make you look like a hero in the kitchen
Some brief reviews of 5 best slow cookers for your consideration:
This manual slow cooker was designed with portability and convenience in mind. The removable 6-quart stone ware allows easy preparation for a family of 5 (or more) and cleanup is just as simple. The locking lid allows for easy transporting of your signature dishes and the oval shape of the crock pot affords good space for odd-shaped foods or large cuts of meats.
Crock-Pot is one of the leading brands in the slow cooker market, and it’s easy to see why. High-quality construction, simplicity and efficiency in design, super performance and a reasonable price are a undeniably a great combination; throw in the recipe book that’s included and this slow cooker is very tough to beat!
Use it to slow cook, brown or saute, to steam. And use it to impress because that is absolutely what you will do when serving meals you’ve prepared in this amazing appliance.
The MSC-600 can actually switch modes when combination cooking. Think about that, let that sink in. You can actually saute vegetables, brown meats and prepare chili for tonight’s game while you are watching this afternoon’s game. Once your meal is cooked the MSC-600 automatically shifts from cooking to warming, and the removable crock-pot makes serving your meals even easier.
Settings and functions are easily selected, and most reviews indicate that timing is nearly perfect and clean up is easy.
At the lower end of the scale in terms of output and price, this is an excellent selection if your priority is high quality slow cooking for a couple of people without the bells, whistles and special features. If you find yourself over cooking (and then, over eating) too often, and if you don’t need the versatility of some of the other models mentioned in these reviews, the 31116Y may be right for you.
Proctor Silex is, of course, one of the prominent names in cookware, and has been for generations. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this slow cooker is so well designed. The lid and lid latch can be strapped to prevent spills, and that’s an important consideration because its size makes this an excellent choice for preparing, serving, and transporting party staples like dips and appetizers.
Unfortunately the 31116Y does not have an automatic timer, and therefore continues cooking until it is shut off – but at this price most consumers probably aren’t expecting a selection of automatic conveniences. This baby is for the traditional slow cooker chef who expects to time and control the cooking process manually.
Whether you’re preparing oatmeal, or a two-person chicken dinner, this is an excellent choice for those who want a simple slow cooker that does what it says it does.
The Set’nForget slow cooker from Hamilton Beach, another cookware mainstay, is very versatile and allows the owner an array of options that one might expect only in higher priced competitors. A very-well designed LED display panel corresponds to three automatic cooking options – program, manual or probe, and of course there’s an automatic keep-warm selection. High quality construction and manufacture, backed by a fairly standard 1-year warranty are all on the plus side.
One issue of concern is the automatic shut off based on the temperature of items being cooked. While small in number, some consumers have noted an issue with cooking larger food items when the slow cooker turned off because the temperature probe didn’t reach the middle of, say, a steak, causing the cooker to think the cooking process had been completed when it fact it hadn’t.
Our recommended model:
Westinghouse WSCD7SSA Select Series Programmable Stainless Steel Digital Slow Cooker, 7-Quart Capacity
Programmable perfection is the goal of this versatile, mid-priced slow cooker that offers digital functionality, high quality construction and more capacity than almost all of its competitors. It has three heat settings and an automatic keep-warm function, the LED display is well-thought out and while large in capacity cleanup is easy and quick. Its very attractive design makes it perfect for setting out for guests, and though its crock pot is larger than most it is easily removed for simple cleanup.
This is an excellent choice at a very sensible price.