Sometimes you might be held up and still want to enjoy a full-flavored meal when you get home or when it's time for a dinner meal, but you don't know the cooker to go for. With the best slow cooker America's test kitchen, you will not have to worry about your food turning mushy, dry out, or unevenly cooked food. Instead, all you need to do is "set and forget," and your food will be ready on time as you prefer.
What is a Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker, also referred to as a crockpot, is a countertop electrical cooking appliance that you use to simmer at a low temperature than other cooking methods like baking, frying, and boiling.
This cooking appliance enables unattended cooking for many hours of meals that would be boiled: soups, pot roast, stews, and other dishes.
Furthermore, the unit has many benefits, for instance, bringing out the flavor in foods.
Now, having established what a slow cooker is let's look at the four best slow cookers in this category.
1. Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker & Slow Cooker, (7-in-1)
- 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer.
- QUICK ONE-TOUCH COOKING: 13 customizable Smart Programs for pressure cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts and more.
- COOK FAST OR SLOW: Pressure cook delicious one-pot meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods or slow cook your favorite...
- QUICK AND EASY CLEAN UP: Finger-print resistant, stainless-steel sides and dishwasher-safe lid, inner pot, and accessories.
- SAFETY FEATURES: Includes over 10 safety features, plus overheat protection and safe-locking lid
If you prefer a versatile unit, count on the Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart Electric Pressure, Slow Cooker, and Rice Cooker. This Electric Pressure Cooker come Slow Cooker is equipped with a 7-in-1 system allowing you different cooking and food possibilities at once; hence you don't require additional tools to complete your cooking process. Additionally, you can choose your favorite Smart-touch programs among the thirteen programs and adjust the slow cooker to your preference.
With this unit, you'll combine temperature and time to follow the slow cooker recipes. Hence, you'd use a 70 percent cooking pressure for a slow cook method or a fast process according to regular slow cooker recipes. In addition, this 6-quart unit provides you an effortless and quick cleanup process thanks to the dishwasher-safe lid, inner Pot, stainless steel sides, and other finger-print resistant accessories. Moreover, due to the 6-quart capacity, this unit is ideal for families with six members.
The slow cooker includes overheating protection and a safe-locking lid. You will also find more than ten safety features and security options. Lastly, this Instant Pot Duo Slow Cooker has a tri-ply bottom design and is stainless steel to maintain temperature, even heat distribution, and food quality.
2. Cuisinart MSC-600 Cook Central (3-In-1) 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker
- One touch switches modes when recipe calls for combination cooking
- Extra-large blue backlit LCD display with easy-to-read time and temperature settings
- Removable 6-quart nonstick aluminum cooking pot
- Glass lid with cool-touch handle for clear view and comfortable handling
- Dishwasher-safe removable parts for effortless cleanup, Steaming rack included, Limited 3-year warranty.Steam for up to 90 minutes
The Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker features three preset functions: slow cook, saute, and steam any recipe to perfection. It's also equipped with convenient Keep Warm features designed to turn on automatically once the cooking is over. Moreover, this 3-in-1 Cook Central slow cooker will definitely add elegance to your countertop, many thanks to its incredible stainless steel styling.
This unit comes with one-touch switches modes handy when a recipe calls for combination cooking. It also features an extra-large blue backlit LCD screen with easy-to-read temperature and time settings. Moreover, it is a perfect option for people looking to feed six members of a family.
The Cuisinart MSC-600, Multi-Cooker, (3-in-1 Cook Central) has dishwasher-friendly removable parts for effortless cleanup and a glass lid for a clear view that comes with a cool-touch handle for comfortable handling. Furthermore, this removable 6-quart nonstick aluminum cooking pot ensures you don't have to serve cold meals at dinner parties.
3. Hamilton Beach Black Programmable Slow Cooker
- Easy to travel with lid latch strap: simply stretch the strap from underneath one handle of the slow cooker to the other or cross at the...
- Mix and match settings: This programmable slow cooker allows you to customize your cooking preferences for each meal by choosing any...
- The perfect size: comfortably fit a 7lb. Chicken or 5 lb. Roast in this 7 quart slow cooker. When you're done, stoneware crock and lid are...
- No watching needed: The Hamilton Beach programmable slow cooker will automatically switch to the keep warm setting when cooking time is...
- Easy to clean: programmable slow cooker includes dishwasher-safe stoneware crock and lid with easy-clean touch pad.
If you're looking for the best slow cooker America's test kitchen that comes with the best design system technology, count on the Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker. This slow cooker provides maximum security and safety wherever you go. It is equipped with a glass lid that has a lid latch strap; hence you can easily stretch it from one side to another or even cross it at the middle of the lid for extra security. Besides, this slow cooker is a programmable device allowing you to adjust its cooking programs to your desire and needs so you can prepare your dish as you like.
With Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker, you can combine the time and temperature and effortlessly follow the recipe for fuss-free cooking. You don't need to precisely follow the cooking process since this slow cooker comes with an automatic system that usually switches off to keep your dinner and other meals warm when the cooking time is over. Furthermore, this slow cooker offers you a long-lasting lifespan thanks to the stoneware material.
Additionally, the solid content will withstand even the highest internal temperature, so the unit remains in one piece and your dinner or other food warm and full of flavor. Also, Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is easy to clean as the lid and crock provide a soft-touch pad easy-clean that is dishwasher safe. It has a 7-quart capacity so you can cook a large amount of food at once.
4. KitchenAid Slow Cooker, 6 Quart, with Standard Lid-KSC6223SS
- Fabric type: Metal
If you're looking for the best slow cooker, which is ideal for every course from tender meats, hearty soups, and decadent desserts, we recommend the Stainless Steel KitchenAid Slow Cooker. This unit comes with four temperature settings: Keep warm, high, medium, and low to offer you ideal culinary creations. It also comes with an oval-shaped ceramic vessel that is easily removable, plus it includes 24-hour programmability.
The KitchenAid Slow Cooker allows you to set temperatures for a specific cooking period equal to 24 hours in 30-minutes increments. So after the set cooking time is over, it goes into the Keep Warm mode directly for four hours. Furthermore, this slow cooker provides a large 6-quart capacity to deal with small and large recipes from soups and roasts.
The slow cooker has an easy-to-read and well-illuminated digital display that shows you the remaining cook time and temperature. Also, the removable ceramic vessel is dishwasher safe to make cleaning afterward very easier. Furthermore, the slow cooker features twisting handles on the hinged lid's side that provides easy one-handed operation.
The 5 Tips and Safety Rules to Follow When Using Your Slow Cooker
a). Always thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator before cooking it in the slow cooker. So, to ensure complete cooking, don't put frozen meat in your slow cooker.
b). Ensure you fill the unit no more than two-thirds full and no less than half full. Cooking too much or too little food in the slow cooker can affect quality, cooking time, and safety.
c). Since vegetables cook slower than poultry and meat, place them in the slow cooker first. Set the fresh meat on top of the vegetables and top with water, broth, or a sauce.
d). If possible, set the slow cooker on high for the first hour and then lower the heat to finish cooking.
e). Add very soft vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini during the last 45 minutes of cooking time.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Slow Cooker America's Test Kitchen
1. Shape and size
When looking for the best slow cooker America's test kitchen, pay attention to the shape and size of the unit. The slow cookers come in two shapes: oval and round. When selecting the right one, it will depend on your personal preference. Nonetheless, remember that brisket, ribs, or whole chickens fit better in an oval-shaped model. But if you need a slow cooker model to cook beans or make stew, any of the shapes will do fine.
Conversely, when you consider the size, two things should come to your mind, the number of people you intend to cook for and the counter space available in your kitchen. In our reviews above, most of the slow cookers come in different sizes, so if it pleases you, check out each one of them and come up with a valid buying decision.
2. Method of heating
When shopping for the best slow cooker America's test kitchen, the method of heating should be one of your top considerations. Slow cookers usually tend to have a base comfortably enclosing the removable insert. In some scenarios, the heating component is usually on the unit's bottom, while others are on the side of the base. Those units with the heating component on the base side provide more evenly distributed heat than their counterparts.
Additionally, there are some models with crock sitting on the heating product's top. With this configuration, you should not expect even heat distribution, meaning you might have to keep stirring the food to avoid scorching more often.
3. Programs of slow cookers
Some slower cookers come with a " delay start" benefit meaning you can start the process of slow cooking without pressing the button. So if you prefer such models, there are readily available for you. However, the experts don't recommend cooking with such models for longer than two hours, especially with meat due to bacteria.
4. Slow cooker construction
When looking for a slow cooker America's test kitchen, crock construction is a vital consideration. When it comes to slow cookers, ceramic and porcelain are usually the common options. Other options include crocks and metal. Although they perform as expected, it always comes to personal preference. Besides, another essential thing to consider is its removable design for effortless cleaning. Units with fused heating elements and crock aren't easy to clean.
5. Lid material
The lid material is also an important consideration when looking for a healthy slow cooker. For safety, you aren't supposed to open the lid while using the unit. So, it is smart to consider a unit with a glass lid that allows you to monitor and see what is going on inside the unit without opening the lid.
6. Additional features
Do you intend to use the slow cookers for the slow-cook process or use other features like sear, air fry, or sous vide? The best slow cooker models usually feature temperature platforms that allow you to monitor the inner temperatures without touching the lid. Nonetheless, those with the "Keep Warm" automatic feature are also perfect.
Frequently Asked Question about the Best Slow Cooker America's Test Kitchen
1. Are slow cookers usually healthy?
Yes, they are. A slow cooker is an ideal tool to cook your favorite meal as it doesn't destroy the nutrients. The lower temperatures usually preserve the nutrients, which isn't the case with higher degrees. Also, slowly cooked food tastes better. Additionally, the slow cooker is great if you want to cook meat. The fat and proteins won't spread into several compounds as they usually don't directly interact with the heat.
2. What's the main difference between America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country?
The main difference is that the cook's country concentrates on presenting history through food while America's Test Kitchen attempts to create recipes that work. So although they might seem identical to viewers because of the same themes, their presentation is usually the crucial difference.
3. What is the difference between a slow cooker and a crockpot?
The crockpot is the brand name that first came to the market in the 1970s. The brand features a stoneware pot surrounded by a heating component, while a slow cooker is usually a metal pot that lies on top of a heated surface.
4. Can you leave a slow cooker on low overnight?
Slow cookers are usually designed to be left to cook for a long period, so it's safe to leave your slow cooker on overnight if you are out of the house as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions.