I have an addiction to using my slow cooker. In fact, I currently use 4 of them on a regular basis, because normally at least one is dirty on any given day and sometimes I use 2 or more on any given day. I’m often asked, what the best slow cooker is to buy and so I’ve decided to share my list with you to make your slow cooking decisions a little easier.
Keep in mind, in order to get the best slow cooker for your family, you will need to pay attention to what size you’ll need and if you want any special features. Slow cookers now come with several special features, like:
- Programmable – You can program the amount of time you want your food to cook.
- Internet Linked – You can check on the temperature and even change the temperature on your phone app, while you’re away. You can turn it off remotely if you want, also.
- Keep Warm Switch – most slow cookers have this now, but some very basic models may not.
- Locking Lid – This comes in handy if you plan to carry yours elsewhere on a regular basis, unless of course, you use something like the Crock-It Lock-It, which comes in handy, too.
- Digital Switch or Dial Switch – On my digital slow cookers, I can set it for 4 or 6 hours on high or for 8 or 10 hours on low. Once the cook time is completed, it will automatically switch to Keep Warm until you get there to turn it off.
- Multi-Cookers – There’s now things like the Instant Pot where you can do more things with the slow cooker than just slow cook. It’s a steamer, rice cooker and more.
- Colors – Do you want stainless steel, white, black, red or some other exotic color? I’m not too picky. I have many different colors, but my favorite is my purple slow cooker. I also have a black one and a stainless steel one.
What Size of Slow Cooker Do I Need?
It all depends on the size of your family, or how large the meals are you’re planning to make. Here’s a general guideline to guide you through picking out the best slow cooker for your family.
- 1.5 – 2.5 quart slow cookers are great for singles or couples. You will likely not fit leftovers in this size though.
- 3.5 – 4 quart slow cookers will feed 2 to 4
- 5 or 6 quart slow cookers are will feed 4 to 6
- 7 quart and up are perfect for large families or people who cook a lot for large get togethers.
- Note: The smallest slow cooker, usually known as a Little Dipper is only 1 quart and is made to keep dips warm at parties. You can sometimes get a combo deal and buy this together with a larger slow cooker.
Best Slow Cooker with the Best Features
In my opinion, in order to get the most bang for your buck, you should go with an Instant Pot. I received one for my birthday recently and absolutely LOVE IT! Not only is it a slow cooker, but it’s a pressure cooker AND a rice cooker, PLUS it will steam, warm, saute and brown. When looking over the reviews to see how other people feel about their Instant Pot Multi-Cookers, overall, the ratings are excellent! When choosing a Multi-Cooker, be sure to make sure that yours comes with a stainless steel insert. Some cheaper models (not Instant Pot, but other off brands) come with an aluminum insert which is not nearly as healthy for you nor does it last as long .
UPDATE: I’ve been hearing from readers that they can take any of my slow cooker recipes on my site and cook them in their Instant Pot in as little as 28 minutes. It takes approximately 20 minutes to get it to warm up to the right temperature and then as little as 8 minutes cooking the food. (Cooking times may vary).
Best Slow Cooker for the Value
At the time I wrote this, the best value may very well be the cheaper (not Bluetooth) Instant Pot above, but only if you think you’ll use the other features on the InstantPot. Let me give you another option, in case you’d prefer a more traditional style slow cooker or don’t have as much money to spend.
I think this slow cooker is a great value because of the following:
- Programmable – You can change the cooking time 30 minutes at a time up to 20 hours.
- It’s got a Digital LCD Screen.
- Once your cooking time is up, it will switch to Keep Warm.
- The lid locks, to prevent spillage when traveling or moving it from place to place.
- 6 Quart capacity, which fits all of the recipes on my site.
Best Slow Cooker to Dress Up Your Kitchen
Would you rather have a colorful slow cooker? There’s some pretty awesome designs. I personally love these three. My favorite is probably the blue one though. I just love that color!
Best Slow Cooker for Large Families
If you’re OK with a manual dial, this 8 quart slow cooker is pretty inexpensive:
Best Slow Cooker for Small Families
This 2 quart slow cooker is less than $20. Most smaller slow cookers don’t have the ability to have a digital screen, but that also helps keep the prices down.
This slow cooker is super cute. It’s a black and white design with a 4.5 quart capacity. The price is often under $20 (can fluctuate on a daily basis). As you can see, it does not have the digital screen, but the dial should work unless your schedule away is less predictable.
I hope this helps you in picking out your next slow cooker. There’s a lot of great ones out there, and overall, you can’t go wrong with a slow cooker. You just need to know if you prefer a digital LCD or a dial and then you need to know your size. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help in any way! In the mean time, here’s some great recipes for you!