Multi-cookers, such as the Instant Pot, promise speedier meal prep, slow cooking, and more. And while they may be the hottest product in kitchen appliances, slow cookers just keep on braising, with roughly 8.7 million sold in a recent 12-month period, according to The NPD Group, a market research company.
Consumer Reports bought and tested 14 of the most widely sold programmable and manual slow cookers, including three models from the venerable Crock-Pot brand. You’ll also see slow cookers from All-Clad, Black+Decker, Calphalon, Crux, Elite, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, and Pioneer Woman in our slow cooker ratings.
Top 10 Crock Pots
- 6-quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker serves 7+ people
- Digital countdown control lets you program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes up to 20 hours; shifts to Warm...
- 6-quart digital slow cooker serves 7+ people
- Digital flat panel control uses programmable cook-settings on high with 4 or 6 hour selections and low with 8...
- 8-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker Serves 10+ people
- High/Low cook settings, and convenient Warm setting
- 7-Quart capacity serves 8+ people
- High/low cook settings with convenient Warm setting
- Duo, the number 1 selling multi-cooker, combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice...
- Features 14 Smart Programs - Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté/Simmer, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge,...
- 8-quart slow cooker capable of preparing food for 10+ people
- Digital timer counts down cook time up to 20 hours
- Three Heat Settings - Low, high, and warm settings for ideal slow cooker performance with every recipe.
- Built-In Lid Holder - Keep countertops clean and stir & serve without holding the lid! The built-in holder...
- 2.5-quart capacity serves 3+ people
- High, Low, and Warm Settings to cook and keep food warm
- 8-quart oval manual slow cooker serves 10+ people
- Crock-pot features removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware insert and dishwasher-safe glass lid
- Spacious 8-quart size feeds 10+ people, making it a time-saving appliance for larger families or entertaining
- All-in-one appliance with additional functions like Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Brown, Sauté, Steam, as well as...
What is a crockpot and how does it work?
A crock pot is a small kitchen appliance that cooks your food slowly from the bottom with a low and consistent heat that travels to the sides of the pot. You can set the temperature, usually to low or high, depending on how fast you want the food to cook.
Who Should Buy a Crock Pot
Crock pots are a household kitchen essential for both people who cook very little and people who love to cook. For those who aren’t confident in their kitchen skills, a crock pot is an amazing way to throw a few ingredients into a pot and have something truly delicious. It’s more difficult to burn something in a crockpot because of its relatively low temperatures.
Kitchen pros love crock pots for their ability to create large amounts of appetizers and for getting meats or stews to their most tender. Whole recipe books are dedicated to crock pots, with more books on the shelves now because of the popularity of multi-use slow cookers like the Instant Pot. Many people who love to cook use crock pots to make big batches of their favorite meals.
If you host parties or go to potlucks, a crock pot is a convenient way to make, transport, and serve up food. If you have several crock pots, you could line them up on a table to create a hot buffet line your guests will appreciate. Some crock pots have been designed specifically for this purpose, with carrying handles and multiple crock models available that work well for sides.
Important Features to Consider
Crock pots come with a wide range of available features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a crock pot:
- Multi-functionality. While their primary function is as a slow cooker, many new crock pots can function as other cooking machines. These other functionalities include rice cookers, pressure cookers, and casserole cookers to name a few.
- Energy consumption. As technology improves, crock pots are becoming more energy efficient. You want a crock pot with low energy consumption because it will be on for many hours every time you use it.
- Programmable. Crock pot recipes can be more complex than just heating the ingredients for hours. A programmable crock pot can handle more complex recipes without you having to be there to make manual changes.
- Size. The size of a crock pot is usually measured in quarts and determines how many people you can cook for at one time. A 6 qt crock pot is capable of cooking for 7 or more people.
- Warm feature. Crock pots are designed to shut off after they reach the end of the cooking time. Pots with the warm feature reduce the temperature so that the food won’t continue to cook but will stay warm.
- Color. Crock pots tend to stay on home kitchen counters as a portable appliance. Choosing the right color will help your pot blend in with your other appliances.
- Dishwasher safe. Cleaning a crock pot can take some time, but that process goes faster when the lid and insert pot can be placed in the dishwasher.
- Locking Lid. Many crock pots are designed to be easy to transport and you can use it as a serving vessel. Having a locking lid ensures that your crock pot will stay shut while transporting it, which keeps you safe and prevents spills.
- Handles. Although the cooking takes place in the insert pot, the outside of the crock pot can heat up too. Handles let you carry it safely, and most crock pots have heat-resistant plastic handles on the sides.
- Timer. Since crock pots run for a long time, having a built-in time makes it easier to keep track of when it should be done the cooking.