The Best Slow Cookers for Every Type of Home Cook
Instant Pots and air fryers seem to be the hottest kitchen appliances right now, but even in an era where time is money and instant gratification is king, the slow cooker remains a kitchen staple for making soups, stews, and braised meat. There's a special kind of magic that happens when cooking something low and slow. "I like using a slow cooker because of the great textures, especially in proteins, and deep flavors you can get from cooking in one," says Christopher Arturo, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. "The long cooking process gives flavors time to build and marry, and time for the proteins to denature (breakdown of the muscle fibers so they separate) which results in a really good braised texture."
When shopping for a slow cooker or crockpot, Arturo notes that size should be a key consideration. "Think about the number of people you'll be cooking for; for a family of four, I'd recommend a six-quart," he said. The most basic models have a dial for high, low, and keep warm, however Arturo prefers something with more temperature control. "It can help to know what those specific temperatures are and be able to adjust the temperature based on your needs," he explains.
Best Slow Cookers to Buy in 2021
- Best Slow Cooker for Small Kitchens: Elite Gourmet Electric 2-Quart Slow Cooker
- Best Budget-Friendly Slow Cooker: Hamilton Beach 5-Quart Slow Cooker
- Best Splurge-Worthy Slow Cooker: All-Clad Cast Iron 5-Quart Dutch Oven Slow Cooker
- Best Slow Cooker for a Roast: Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Temperature Probe
- Best Classic Slow Cooker: Crockpot 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker