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Do you find it difficult managing cooking time? How many times did you wish there was a hot meal waiting for you at home? All this is no longer a dream, thanks to the best crockpot.
Crock pots are not synonyms for slow cookers like many envision. It’s a brand name for a slow cooker released in 1971 by Rival but now owned by Sunbeam.
It has revolutionized cooking: you add your ingredients and turn it on to your chosen setting. It starts cooking and has your meal ready a few hours later.
It does the cooking for you while you’re sleeping or are out doing chores. You don’t even have to stir your dish or worry about burning. Just program it to turn on and off to keep your dish ready when you want it.
You can cook stews, rice, pasta, soups, casseroles, vegetables, risottos and even desserts in it. Besides, its slow cooking process helps to cook even tough meat to make it tender and moist.
Busy people, novice cooks and homemakers alike should have a crock pot. However, with so many types and models around, a little guidance will help you select the best crock pot for you. This is where this buying guide and crock pot reviews will prove to be helpful and useful for you.
This 2.5 quarts mini casserole crock slow cooker is ideal for cooking small meals and can even serve in it. Its Cook & Carry locking lid system lets you conveniently carry your dish without spillage or messes. It cooks on high and low settings while the warm setting keeps food warm till mealtime.
Why We Like It
The 3.5 quart Crock-Pot is ideal for cooking delicious casseroles, lasagnas, desserts, and much more for3+people. It has oven-safe rectangular, removable stoneware, Cook & Carry Latching lid and large side handles for portability without spills. It slow cooks on Low and High settings while the Warm setting keeps food warm.
Why We Like It
This 6-quart Cook & Carry will cook tonight’s dinner for 8+ people while you are at work. It can cook a 6lb roast while its easy-to-use locking lid gasket seals and produces less mess on the go. Cook on high for a quick hot meal while the warm setting keeps the food warm as long as required.
Why We Like It
The Hamilton Beach 8 quart slow cooker is ideal for cooking huge meals and for a family. It can cook a 6lb roast or 8lb chicken for your family, potluck in a high or low setting. Its mess-free lid holds the lid secure while the full-grip handles make it easy to carry around.
The Charcoal Crockpot lets you cook a healthy and nutritious meal while you are at work. The manual slow cooker cooks on high and low settings while the warm setting keeps the dish at an ideal temperature. It comes with stainless steel exteriors in a choice of four colors, black accents and plastic handles.
This 6-quart programmable Crockpot’s secure locking lit and rubber gasket create an airtight seal to transport food without any spills. Its digital panel customizes cooking time between 30 minutes to 20 hours and temperatures on High, Low and Warm. It automatically shifts to warm for 6 a maximum of 6 hours to maintain food flavor and temperature.
Cooking for large families and crowds is more convenient with the 7-quart Hamilton Beach slow cooker. Its oval stoneware is large enough to cook big roasts and chickens while Lid Latch straps provide for better portability. Warm settings keep food warm till mealtime. Customers appreciate this item because it’s elementary to use.
It’s not just the size that you have to consider to buy a Crockpot. There are a few other factors that come into consideration. This buying guide will help you buy the best slow cooker for your home.
Crock pots are divided into three broad categories. They are:
Most crock pots have at least two temperature settings, high and low. Though sufficient, it’s better to buy models with a ‘keep warm’ setting. This is a convenient feature to keep your food warm after fully cooked, till your mealtime.
Crockpot wattage varies depending on its capacity where larger models consume more watts. Most devices have various settings that maintain it at different temperatures per your needs.
Lower settings use lower wattage, and some devices are designed for better energy efficiency. It means you use less energy to cook the same amount of food.
Some even have a built-in temperature sensor for meats. They switch to warm mode when the desired temperature is reached, which in turn saves energy.
There are various crock pot sizes to choose based on the amount and dish you plan to cook. They are:
Stainless steel crock pots are easy to clean and light as a feather when compared to stoneware. As most of them have a tri-ply base, they efficiently handle the heat, letting you sauté ingredients before cooking.
Ceramic crockpots don’t have any chemical coating. It means there’s no fear of any leaching of chemicals or metals from its surface to your food. They can endure high temperatures and tough enough to be cleaned with a steel wool pad.
They may take longer to heat up but is energy efficient because it retains heat for a long time. Ceramic crock pots are easy-to-clean by hand or dishwasher because they are nearly non-stick. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also crack resistant too.
Electric crock pots simmer and cook at lower temperatures than other cooking options like baking, frying, and boiling. They are safe for cooking dishes like roasts, stews, desserts, appetizers, soups and dips unattended for hours. They are perfect even to cook meals that are typically quickly cooked.
Triple crock pots are perfect for keeping food hot while you entertain as many as 40 guests. They hold lots of food like chicken, beans, and rice with individual warmers, keeping them warm at three heat levels.
It keeps warm at the hottest level without any burning for hours and is easy to clean. You can even use it to store any leftovers in the fridge after the party.
With so many crock pot reviews and many features, you may need some help in selecting the best crockpot. Here are the main factors to consider before buying one:
Decide on the capacity based on how you plan to cook and the number of people you will be feeding. You may need a bigger 8-quart one if you stock food or if you have to feed many people.
4-5 quart models are enough to cook dinner while you are at work. The smallest 1-2 quart models are perfect for heating leftovers, to cook for 1-2 people and for keeping dips warm.
High and ‘low’ settings are enough for most people. However, there are crock pots with useful additional features like:
Crockpots vary from $20 to $300, so buy one based on how you plan to use it, and your budget. A large, high-quality model streamlines cooking if you cook for many people or are busy most of the days. However, a smaller and more affordable model is enough if you live alone and cook in small amounts.
Slow cookers are divided into round, oval and rectangular cookers with their respective uses:
Slow cookers come two types of heating elements that cook all types of slow-cooked recipes.
Griddles are more common in rectangular than round or slow oval cookers. The detachable crock is here placed atop the heating base. This means the pot can be used for stovetop and oven cooking, or for storing food in the fridge. The griddle can also cook different food types and not just slow-cooked dishes because of their temperature controls.
The electric pot is common in modern, digital round or oval slow cookers. The pot here rests inside the heating unit, which heats the base and walls. Most models have removable pots for easy cleaning purposes.
Manual slow cookers cannot change its internal temperature on its own. However, the new best programmable crock pots have internal sensors that are smart enough to change the cooking temperature.
It can detect the temperature of cooked food, and switches to ‘keep warm’ mode. This helps retain the food temperature, taste and flavor till the appliance is switched off and food is eaten.
Slow cookers are best for working parents or for busy people who cannot focus too much on cooking. Crockpots let you put all the ingredients into it and program it to cook while you focus on other work. It’s a lifesaver for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking.
There are two basic types of slow cookers- traditional and travel-friendly or portable models. The traditional design is perfect for cooking and serving food at home. Portable units with locking lids are better if you plan to take your Crockpot tailgating or to potluck dinners. It’s designed to prevent spills and mess.
You don’t need too many accessories while cooking with slow cookers because they cook on their own. However some worthy buys are wooden spatulas to serve food, and the best springform pan and best paella pan.
There is no definite answer to this question because it all boils down to you. Both devices cook dishes perfectly, both beans and meat cuts and soups and stews. The difference between them lies in the cooking time.
A slow cooker is better if you prefer plopping everything into it and have a meal ready when you return. However, if you prefer last-minute cooking, about an hour before dinner time, then the instant pot is better for you.
While both are easy to clean, the instant pot cooks more types of dishes than crock pots. However, a crock pot is easy to use and perfect for those who don’t have much time to devote to cooking. Of course, if you have the budget and space to hold both, then invest in them both to cook different dishes.
While both are used interchangeably, there is a difference between a crock pot and slow cooker. Most importantly, a crock pot is a type of slow cooker, but not all slow cookers are crock pots. In short, the crock pot is a brand of slow cookers like other brands like KitchenAid and Cuisinart.
Structurally, a heating element surrounds the Crockpot’s stoneware pot while a slow cooker’s metal pot is placed on a heated surface. However, both look similar and use moist heat for cooking food over a specified time.
With slow cookers coming in various sizes, this is the most important choice you have to make while buying one. They come from very small 2-quart pots to very large pots with 8.5 to 10-quart capacity.
The 1-to-3 quart crock pot is ideal for 1-2 people, use in recreational vehicles, and for making dips and appetizers. You, however, need a 4-6 quart slow cooker if you are cooking for a family of 3-5. The 8-quart model is best to feed five to seven people while big crock pots of at least 6-quarts cooks large meat pieces.
It’s, in fact, cost-effective to own two crock pots, based on your cooking style. You can use a large one for cooking beans, stews, and soups. A small crock pot will be ideal for cooking hot cereal, keeping dips and sauces warm.
The latest models let you select a delayed time for the Crockpot to start. Many people use it to switch the cooker on later on and have a hot meal waiting in the evening.
Electricians don’t advise this because it’s not safe. The delayed start feature is intended for lights and electrical machines and not for crock pots with heating elements.
Besides, with timer food sits outside for hours before it gets cooked. This creates a breeding point for bacteria, even in the frozen food you think ‘thaws‘ with time.
It’s better to use a crockpot with a built-in timer. It switches to Keep Warm mode for 2-4 hours after cooking instead of turning off. It thus keeps food warm at safe temperatures.
After learning so much about crock pots, and slow cooker reviews, you wonder which the best crock pot 2021 is. According to mykitchenadvisor, the Crockpot 2.5-quart mini crock slow cooker casserole is the best.
It’s ideal for cooking dishes in high and low settings for 3 people and keeps food warm until serving time. Cook and Carry locking lid system makes it convenient to carry dishes without any spills or messes. Its stoneware is both dishwasher and oven-safe.