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The fall and winter seasons call on you to get out your boots, sweaters, cozy throw blankets and yes, slow cookers. The tried-and-true slow cooker is the perfect tool for making warm soups, hearty stews, tender meats and more comfort foods best enjoyed indoors.
Cooking with a slow cooker is similar to using a Dutch oven on the stove. However, a slow cooker doesn’t allow liquids to evaporate, so food stays nice and tender, as long as you don’t lift the lid to peek too many times. And, once you plug it in and turn it on, you don’t have to stir it or keep an eye on it like you would with your stove. It’s easy!
However, not all slow cooking appliances are made equal. Some are big, some are small, and some have multiple functions beyond slow cooking (looking at you, Instant Pot!). You can check out five of the best slow cookers on Amazon below.
1. Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, $36.99
Crock-Pot is the maker of the original slow cooker. (It was invented in 1940, originally as a bean cooker.) So, it’s no surprise that it’s still one of the most popular brands out there. Nonetheless, this 7-quart Crock-Pot is one of the most affordable slow cookers on Amazon. It serves up to nine people or fits up to a 7-pound roast. It has three simple cooking functions to choose from: low, medium or warm. Plus, its stone insert can be removed to be cleaned, but it’s also safe to use in the microwave or the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
This Hamilton Beach slow cooker has a few more bells and whistles than the standard Crock-Pot. Its smart technology allows you to cook your meal to either a specific cooking time or temperature. When it’s done, it automatically switches to its warming function. It also comes with a temperature probe to check that large cuts of meat are fully cooked and safe to eat. Another bonus: The lid clips tightly to keep the container completely sealed and secure if you want to take your cooked dish to a party.
3. TRU Triple Buffet Server Slow Cookers, $60.72 (Orig. $69.99)
Planning a party? This triple slow cooker makes preparing a meal and serving it easy. There are three 2.5-quart oval inserts or crocks, each with its own low, high and warm heat controls. It also comes with three lid rests and spoons for serving. Use it to make pasta dishes, dips, meatballs, soups, hot drinks and more.
OK, the Instant Pot isn’t technically a slow cooker, but slow cooking is one of the Duo’s seven functions. Press the “slow cook” button and then press the plus or minus buttons to adjust the cooking time. You can adjust the heat setting to less, normal or more (which is essentially low, medium or high) by pressing the “slow cook” button again. See? It’s easy. Of course, if you’re short on time, you could convert your recipe for pressure cooking and make your meal faster, too.
5. Elite Gourmet 1.5-Quart Electric Slow Cooker, $14.99
You don’t always need a big 6 or 7-quart slow cooker. If you’re cooking for one or making a cheesy dip for a party, you can probably go with a 1.5-quart size. This small Elite Gourmet slow cooker is pretty simple to use. It has low, high and warm functions, just like the bigger models on this list, and a ceramic pot insert that’s dishwasher-friendly. But the best part? It’s less than $20 on Amazon.
If you liked this article, check out the 10 best cast iron pans for every budget, purpose and style.
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