FeaturedImage.BestSlowCookers

The best slow cookers

Our favourite slow cooker models and tips for using them to get the best meals with little fuss.

Slow cookers, also called crock pots, are one of the few kitchen appliances that get rave reviews from across the board. They are simple yet versatile, and can be used to simmer stews, soups, casseroles or any other food that requires a lengthy cooking time.

Why should you buy a slow cooker?

Slow cookers are the essential small appliance for any cook worth their salt. They are ideal for meaty stews or flavoursome curries because they lock in all the great taste, sealing in the food’s without drying anything out.

It might seem counterintuitive that an appliance that takes a really long time to cook a meal would be a time saver, but this appliance is ideal for busy people. Fill your slow cooker the night before or in the morning, set a program and come home to a hot, healthy meal already prepared in the evening.

They come in a range of different sizes, prices and are manufactured by most quality kitchen appliance brands.

If you have yet to buy a slow cooker but are in the market for one, we hope this guide will help you pick out the right model for you.


10 of the best slow cookers

RussellHobbs4LSlowCooker.BestSlowCookers

  • Best budget

Russell Hobbs 4L Slow Cooker – Matte Black

What makes it so great?

This Russell Hobbs slow cooker is the perfect size – not too big, not too small – and a heavy-duty, high-quality choice for less than $50. Plus it’s stylish in matte black.


CrockpotSauteSlowCooker.BestSlowCookers

  • Best for a big family

Crockpot Saute Slow Cooker

What makes it so great?

This pot cooks 6.5 litres at once, which is large enough to feed a crowd (and have leftovers) but still small enough that you will get an evenly-heated cooking area. It has a 20-hour long program, ideal if you are really slow-cooking meat or making a conserve like jam.


TefalCY7011COOK4ME.BestSlowCookers

  • Best compact

Tefal - CY7011 - COOK4ME

What makes it so great?

The shape of the pot really makes this product stand out. It’s circular shape and rounded edge helps steam circulate faster and at a higher temperature cutting down cook times. Plus it’s quite compact for such a high-performance appliance.


BrevilleFastSlowProMulticooker.BestSlowCookers

  • Best high-end

Breville Fast Slow Pro Multicooker

What makes it so great?

This is a stylish and high-performance appliance with a range of pre-set programs and manual settings, an interactive LCD screen, dual sensors, a hands-free steam release and more. It comes with an additional steaming insert.


KitchenAidMultiCooker.BestSlowCooker

  • Best multifunctional

KitchenAid Multi Cooker with Stir Tower – Medallion Silver

What makes it so great?

It has ten pre-programmed functions, plus many more on manual settings and can sauté, sear, bake, and is great for soups, yoghurt and more.


How to buy the best slow cooker

At the end of the day, your slow cooker decision will come down to your personal preference. However, there are at least three features we think are indispensable for any self-respecting crock-pot.

Heat distribution: This is probably the most important consideration when looking for a slow cooker. The general consensus is that smaller-sized pots have more even heat distribution, even among the higher-end models. Since there is no way to tell until you test it out, we suggest sticking to the smaller- and medium-sized pots for a perfect result every time.

Transparent lid: A feature like a transparent lid is so simple, it can be easy to overlook. However, a lid that you can see through to monitor your dish’s progress will speed up your cooking time, make sure the flavour stays in so you get a tastier result and will avoid mid-cooking mishaps like burns.

Stove-top friendly: If you're going to be making recipes with meat, look for a slow cooker with an inner ceramic pot that can be used on the stove stop for browning purposes. It will turn your cooker into a multi-functional appliance.

What is the best slow cooker brand?

Since a slow cooker is a fundamental part of any decent kitchen appliance line, shoppers are spoiled for choice. Breville, Tefal, Russell Hobbs and Crock-pot are a few popular brands that make high-quality products.


6 tips for using a slow cooker

This is how to get the most out of your slow cooker:

1. Slower is better

It sounds obvious, but slow cookers are designed for slow-cooked meals. They work best when set to long programme. When you are busy, set your program in the morning and arrive home to a warm meal in the evening.

2. Don’t open the lid.

Slow cooker meals are meant to be low maintenance and hands-off. If you can’t help but check the progress, make sure your lid is transparent.

3. Remember the liquid doesn’t reduce

So, you will need less liquid than if you were frying or baking. If you are cooking with wine, remember that the alcohol won’t evaporate like you might be used to with other cooking methods. A simple splash goes a long way.

4. Go easy on the fat and oil

You don’t need it. This is one of the beauties of using a slow cooker. Your meal will slowly marinate in its own juices and added spices and herbs. That means you will need less oil and fat to make your meal tasty and juicy.

5. Care for your appliance.

This should go without saying, but you should keep your pot clean, especially the ceramic plate for the stove pot.

6. Avoid overcrowding.

Consult your manual and don’t fill your pot more than is recommended.


What are the best slow cooker recipes?

The best thing about making meals with a slow cooker is that all the recipe involves collecting and preparing delicious ingredients, and leaving them in the slow cooker to marinate in their own juices. It’s easy, delicious, and requires no extra oils to cook, except for what the recipe requires.

These are our favourite ideas:

  • Classic lamb shanks with mashed potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 100 g/ plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 3 fresh sprigs rosemary
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 300ml/chicken or vegetable stock
  • Mashed potatoes, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in the browning insert, a large frying pan, and brown the lamb shanks in the seasoned flour and fry for four to five minutes.
  2. Place the lamb shanks into the slow cooker.
  3. Reduce the remaining liquid by about half and pour it into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the onion, rosemary, bay leaves and stock until the liquid covers the lamb shanks completely. Add more stock or water if necessary.
  5. Cook on high for eight hours. Serve with mashed potatoes.

  • Pulled pork – a slow-cooked alternative to smoked pulled pork

Ingredients

  • 1 kg boneless pork loin
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 200 g BBQ sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on medium for six hours or low for eight to ten hours.
  3. Shred and serve to taste.

  • Thai-style chicken curry with coconut milk

Ingredients

  • ½ kg chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp curry powder mild
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 15-oz cans coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 4 c sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet onion cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Cooked rice
  • Coriander

Instructions

  1. Combine the curry powder, turmeric, coriander, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Place chicken breasts in your slow cooker.
  3. Add coconut milk, water, butter, garlic, sweet potatoes and onions and the bowl of seasoning ingredients. Make sure the ingredients are well-stirred.
  4. Cover slow cooker and set to Low for six to eight hours, or High for four to six hours.
  5. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a fork. Place chicken back into the slow cooker for about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken curry with jasmine rice and additional cilantro if desired, and enjoy!

  • Mushroom Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 600 g mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp sour cream heaped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  1. Add the first five ingredients to a slow cooker, and mix well. Cook on high for four hours.
  2. After four hours, stir in the sour cream, and season to taste. Serve with your choice of bread, pasta or rice and enjoy.

Clare Cribbin

Clare works as the assistant publisher in the shopping team here at finder.com.au. Whether you're after the best fashion deals, promo codes for your favourite store or just wanting to know what to buy your brother for his birthday, she has all the knowledge.

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