Whether you're a working mother, a bachelor, a single parent, or simply too busy to spend your time cooking, the slow cooker is a convenience you'll use on a weekly basis. Features and sizes vary, so if you're not sure which crock pot is best for you or which size to buy, do some window-shopping through the links below.
Some of the choices below are strictly slow cookers, some very basic, and a few more tech savvy than others. There are also a few multi-cookers in the list. While... they don't necessarily specialize in slow cooking, they offer the convenience of several uses in just one countertop appliance.
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This Black & Decker slow cooker is a dial model with low, high, and warm settings. It has cool-touch side and lid handles. The crock and lid are dishwasher safe. It comes in teal and two other decorative exteriors.
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This travel-friendly slow cooker from Crock-Pot features an oven-safe crockery liner and it is programmable. Cook times range from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It also has a locking lid, which is great for potluck dinners and tailgating.
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This Crock-Pot brand slow cooker features an oval pot made of aluminum with a "DuraCeramic" coating. The pot can be used on the stovetop, making it convenient to brown roasts or meat for stews. Just brown the ingredients and move the pot to the slow cooker base.
It's also programmable, with a digital control panel that lets you scroll, with 30-minute time increments. Hand washing is recommended for this pot.
04 of 12This multi-cooker has a nonstick insert. It can brown and saute in the unit with temperatures up to 400°, and it can steam. The slow cooker settings include Low, High, and Simmer. It also has an automatic Keep Warm mode.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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This big 7-quart slow cooker is an excellent budget-friendly option for a large family or bigger cooking tasks. It's perfect for big batches of chili, a large roast or pulled pork, or a potluck stew.
The dial offers the familiar manual settings of Low, High, and Warm.
06 of 12This slow cooker has a hinged lid with a seal so you can snap the top down and take the full slow cooker along to a potluck or office party. The controls are basic: HIGH, LOW, WARM, but it's reasonably priced.
07 of 12This 5-quart slow cooker pot goes from the heating and serving base to stovetop, oven, refrigerator, or freezer. It has settings for Low, Medium, and High, and settings for roasting. The base doubles as a non-stick mini-griddle.
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This mini casserole from Crock-Pot is an interesting concept for smaller dinners, and I really like the shape. This is an excellent size for main dish casseroles and many desserts.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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I use Breville's similar Fast Slow Cooker more frequently for fast cooking (pressure cooker mode) than slow cooking. This version has pressure and slow cook menus that automatically adjust time, temperature and pressure between fast and slow cooking.
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The oval Cuisinart 3 1/2-quart slow cooker is perfect for a family of 3 or 4, and it's a good size for most soups and stews.
This stainless steel model has a 24-hour countdown timer and four cooking modes. The control panel is a touchpad with LED timer and display. The cooker automatically switches to the keep warm setting when cooking is done. The glass lid and ceramic pot are dishwasher-safe.
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This slow cooker is an excellent size for a family of 4 or 5. It will slow cook a stew or batch of chili, and it is large enough for a 4-pound roast. The manual controls are high, low, and warm.
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These cook-and-carry slow cookers are excellent for parties and potluck suppers. This one is programmable — 30 minutes to 20 hours — and it shifts to warm automatically when the time is up.
Slow Cooker Cookbooks
Some of my top picks for slow cooker cookbooks, including vegetarian, cooking for two, low carb, and more.
Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances for the Tech-Savvy Home Chef
If your favorite cook likes to have the latest in appliances and gadgets, take a look at this list for some excellent ideas.