Too busy to cook this week? Need to play chef for the dreaded in-law visit? Not a problem. Run to the fridge, grab some produce, meats, and spices, toss the ingredients into a slow cooker, and power it on. In just hours, you’ll have a full home-cooked meal, minus the time and toil that stovetop cooking demands.
Compact and easy to use, today’s slow cookers employ the latest in thermal tech to sauté, steam, and sear many of our favorite foods to perfection. Whether you’re looking for a programmable slow cooker, one that’s perfect for buffets, or something more affordable, we’ve found the perfect one for you.
Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker
This slow cooker will cover pretty much all the bases you’d want a kitchen appliance to hit. It’s programmable, so you can set a cooking time and leave it to work on its own, or you can operate it manually by selecting high, low, or warm temperatures without inputting a time. The slow cooker also comes with a temperature probe to determine when the food is done. When cooking is complete, the cooker will automatically switch over to the warming setting, maintaining a safe temperature until it’s time to eat.
Live in an area with more than your fair share of power outages? This model will continue operating even during brief outages, so you’ll still come home to a meal that’s ready to enjoy (even if you will be eating in the dark). Plus, the affordable price tag means everyone from college students to seasoned professionals can start slow cooking tomorrow.
KitchenAid KSC6222SS Slow Cooker
For a slow cooker that can go directly from cooking to serving, take a look at this KitchenAid. It comes with a glass lid that can be opened on either side, which makes it perfect for simultaneously serving and keeping food warm. Rocking chef duty for a big family or special event? The oval-shaped 6-quart insert can accommodate large foods, such as a whole turkey or a pork roast. While many slow cookers only come with high and low cooking temperatures, this one features high, medium, and low cooking in addition to a warming setting.
This slow cooker is also programmable. Bogged down by a busy schedule? Just set up the 24-hour timer and the cooker fires up and starts cooking while you’re finishing things up at work. When your food is done, the cooker immediately switches over to the warming setting for up to four hours. Want to monitor the food while it’s cooking? The digital display shows the temperature and time, so you know how much longer you have until it’s time to eat.
All-Clad SD700450 Programmable Slow Cooker
If you’re in the market for a higher-end slow cooker, this programmable appliance by All-Clad is one to consider. The oval-shaped design holds up to 6.5 quarts and is large enough to accommodate even a large group of dinner guests. If you want a smaller version, you can opt for a 4-quart model. The slow cooker can also be programmed up to 26 hours in advance, so you can go about your day knowing that you’ll come home to a delicious meal that’s ready to eat.
The stainless steel exterior makes this a durable investment and also an aesthetically pleasing addition to your kitchen counter. The black ceramic insert has integrated handles that make it easy to grip and remove, and the glass lid helps to keep heat trapped inside for moist and delicious food. The digital display is easy to read, and the intuitive push-button controls make it easy to select different programs for cooking your food. Both the insert and lid are also dishwasher-safe, meaning you can pop them into the washer for an easy clean-up.
Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S 6-Quart Countdown Programmable Oval Slow Cooker
Sometimes, a slow cooker alone can’t get the job done. Certain dishes require a pan-sear finish, a skill that run-of-the-mill cookers simply don’t possess. With this Crock-Pot, you can transfer the ceramic-coated stoneware insert directly onto the stove for easy browning. You can also program the slow cooker to cook for any length of time between 30 minutes and 20 hours. The digital timer counts down the remaining cooking time, so you can monitor how much longer it’ll be before the food is ready to enjoy. When it’s time to eat, walk the insert straight to the dining table so that everyone can help themselves. Having a party or dinner event? The 6-quart size can make enough food to serve at least six people. The insert and glass lid are both dishwasher safe for convenient clean-up. One-pot meal prep has never been easier.
Instant Pot Duo60 7-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker
While this Instant Pot does do a great job at slow cooking, it also does a whole lot more. In fact, this kitchen appliance will serve as a rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and food warmer. The user-friendly control panel makes it really clear which program you’re selecting, and you can also delay cooking time up to 24 hours — perfect for meal prep the night before a big dinner party. The appliance will be a safe addition to your kitchen counter, with 10 safety mechanisms. The stainless steel pot and stainless steel steam rack will stand the test of time, even if you pop them into the dishwasher after every meal. The Instant Pot Duo comes in three sizes: There’s a 3-quart Instant Pot Duo Mini, a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo60, and an exceptionally large 8-quart Instant Pot Duo80. Check out our full review of the Instant Pot Duo60 here.
Crock-Pot 2101704 6 Quart Alexa Slow Cooker
Ready for an assistant chef? After connecting the 2101704 to Wi-Fi, you can control your cooker using your Alexa-enabled devices. Use voice commands to start and stop the cooker, adjust settings, check the timer, and ask when your meatballs will be finished. Stuck in traffic? Hop on your Alexa app to tweak the cook time of your dinner; that way, your Crock-Pot will know to keep it warm while it waits for you to return home. You can also use Alexa commands to cycle between three different temperature modes: High, low, and warm. The large cook chamber is big enough for a full-sized roast, and both the stoneware basin and glass lid are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.
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