Best slow cooker

Cookware & Cooking Tools

Originally, slow cookers were invented to cook dried beans, and the first known cooker was called the Electric Bean Pot.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which slow cookers are best?

A slow cooker can be a convenient, useful addition to your kitchen. With some simple prep work, all you have to do is toss in the ingredients before letting the slow cooker do its thing for hours at a time, filling your house with the aromas of a delicious meal. The best slow cookers can maintain a high cooking temperature for long periods while also enabling cooking techniques such as sauteing and steaming.

For a high-end slow cooker that will also look great on your dinner table, consider the All-Clad Slow Cooker.

What to know before you buy a slow cooker

Temperature

It is essential that a slow cooker accurately maintains temperature while cooking. Slow cookers work by braising foods, simmering them over time at a constant temperature and allowing heat to transfer evenly throughout. This makes a slow cooker ideal for making recipes that call for soft vegetables and rich, succulent meats. It is best if a slow cooker’s temperature does not rise above 180 degrees so that it does not overcook foods such as meats.

Removable lining material

Depending on the slow cooker, the insertable pot inside may be made of metal, ceramic or porcelain. These materials conduct heat well, but note that both ceramic and porcelain linings will be more susceptible to damage if dropped and are heavier than metal linings.

“Keep warm” function

The keep-warm function on a slow cooker allows food to continue to simmer after cooking. This function ensures that the food does not go cold without overcooking it, and it is an essential aspect of any slow cooker.

What to look for in a quality slow cooker

Capacity

Many slow cookers range in sizes between 1.5 to 8.5 quarts. When deciding on size, consider what meals you intend to make with your slow cooker. For most households, a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker would be ideal. However, if you plan on entertaining guests for functions or parties, get a larger slow cooker or a casserole dish.

Shape

Most slow cookers will be round or oval-shaped. This does not affect the cooking process too much, but you might prefer one shape over the other depending on the types of dishes you wish to prepare. For stews and soups, circular slow cookers work perfectly, but certain cuts of meat might fit better in an oval-shaped slow cooker.

Controls

Some slow cookers have a dial or knob that is adjusted to set temperature and cooking time for your meal. However, other slow cookers come with complete LED displays with controls for determining temperature, type of cooking and timers.

How much you can expect to spend on a slow cooker

Basic slow cookers can cost anywhere between $15-$50. Higher-end, programmable slow cookers with multiple cooking modes and other features can cost anywhere between $50-$150.

Slow cooker FAQ

Can slow cookers be used when I’m not home?

A. Most slow cookers can continue to cook while being left unattended, making them great for multitasking. However, it is still recommended that users keep an eye on their slow cooker.

How do I clean a slow cooker?

A. Most slow cookers have inserts that can be removed from the base to wash. Some are dishwasher-safe, while others should be washed by hand.

What’s the best slow cooker to buy?

Top slow cooker

All-Clad Slow Cooker 

All-Clad Slow Cooker

What you need to know: The All-Clad slow cooker is a high-end model with one of the best digital displays on the market.

What you’ll love: This slow cooker offers cook times between four and 20 hours and has a keep-warm mode that can work up to six hours. It also is sleek enough to double as a serving dish.

What you should consider: Some users have reported that the glass lid is prone to shattering when handled roughly.

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Top slow cooker for the money

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

What you need to know: The Instant Pot Duo is a 7-in-1 multi-cooker that can operate as a great slow cooker and meal prepper.

What you’ll love: Other features of this cooker include steaming, sauteing and warming. It has a delay capacity of up to 24 hours.

What you should consider: Some users have reported faulty heating after several years of extended use.

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Worth checking out

Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 

Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central

What you need to know: This versatile cooker is excellent for those who will be making a wide variety of dishes with their slow cooker.

What you’ll love: It includes options for slow cooking, sauteing and steaming and can switch between modes at the touch of a button. The cooking pot is also dishwasher-safe.

What you should consider: This product does not come with a delay timer.

Where to buy: Available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Maxi-Matic Electric Slow Cooker

Maxi-Matic Electric Slow Cooker

What you need to know: The Maxi-Matic slow cooker has an attractive stainless steel finish and ceramic insert pot.

What you’ll love: With an intuitive and straightforward knob design, you can choose the temperature and how long you would like to cook. Great for meals such as soups, stews and fondue.

What you should consider: Some users have reported that the pot’s exterior can get incredibly hot.

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker 

Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker

What you need to know: This 7-quart slow cooker can serve more than nine people, making it ideal for dinner parties and gatherings.

What you’ll love: Features a keep-warm setting that can keep food at its optimal serving temperature for hours. Additionally, it is safe to use in both the microwave and oven up to 400 degrees.

What you should consider: Some users have reported that the lid does not fit snugly.

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jared Lindsay writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

 

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.