Slow cookers make it easy for busy families to eat a home-cooked meal every night of the week. Savory stews, tender roasts, casseroles and even breads are just a few recipes you can whip up with this versatile appliance. Just add the ingredients and let it get to work.
What Is a Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker is a small appliance that consists of a ceramic or porcelain pot placed inside of an electric heat source. It cooks food slowly at a low temperature, so it’s ideal for hands-off meal preparation. A CrockPot is a specific brand of slow cooker.
Most slow cookers have three to five temperature settings that impact the speed of cooking. You can set one to cook for up to 18 hours. Start your meal before you leave home for the day, and it will be ready when you are. There’s no need for you to stir or even keep watch over your food.
Slow Cooker Features
Consider the following features when selecting a digital slow cooker:
• Capacity. There’s a wide range of slow cooker sizes available. Choose a small slow cooker for preparing dips or smaller meals. A 6-quart slow cooker can handle more servings and is ideal for making things like a pot roast or ham. Keep your storage space and cooking needs in mind before you buy.
• Shape. To make ribs or roasts, choose an oval-shaped machine for a more spacious fit. Round slow roasters are ideal for evenly cooking stews and soups.
• Settings. Programmable slow cookers allow you to set a cooking time beforehand. This is convenient if you plan to leave the house while your food cooks. To cook meats, look for a slow cooker temperature sensor. Set it to cook your food to a certain internal temperature and keep it warm until it’s time to eat.
• Design. Look for a model that matches your kitchen’s style. A stainless steel slow cooker will match most decor. Red and black are also popular color options. Some machines even have fun patterns like polka dots, flowers or your favorite movie characters.
Whether you’re making a pot of chili for the game or prepping a weeknight dinner, a slow cooker is a helpful tool. Cleanup is easy too—just put the interior bowl in the dishwasher.