Crock Pot-Slow Cookers

Crock pots, also referred to as slow cookers are a very important staple in everyones kitchen.  If you don’t have one and are looking for just the right one to fit your home, apartment or dorm room, then you have come to the right place.

We’ll look at different varieties of the crock pots, slow cookers and let you know what each offers. They come in many sizes and varieties, some people like both the small and larger in their kitchens, like me.

I like to make fondues and dips along with dinners together if I’m having company.  Others are perfectly content with just one large enough to do a roast, like pot roast, to be done when they get home.  If you would prefer a smaller crock pot or one that is just the right size for hot dips and one person meals, we’ll look at those also.

Let’s Look at Some Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Crock Pot/Slow Cooker:

1. Is The Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Programmable or Mechanical?
  • Mechanical units are not programmable.  They typically have 4 settings, high, medium, low and keep warm settings.
  • You will have to turn them on to the desired temperature setting and if your food is done but you’re not ready to eat, you’ll need to turn it to the keep warm setting manually
  • The mechanical crock pot/slow cooker will cook your foods well but they have a tendency to burn at the bottom because they will not automatically switch to the “keep warm” settings.

 

  • Programmable units allow you to set the time you want your food to start cooking.
  • Most allow you to set the cooking temperature to switch back and forth so that your food is cooked but not overcooked while your away.
  • The programmable crock pot/slow cookers will automatically switch to the “keep warm” setting after it is done cooking.
  • This ensures that your food is ready and hot when you’re ready to serve.
  • The “keep warm” setting stays on until you manually shut the unit off.
2.  What is The Cooking Insert Made Of?
  • The slow cookers/crock pots, have different options for the inserts
  • Ceramic, stone, porcelain or metal materials
  • You will also want to look and see if they are nonstick or not.  Depending on what you want to use your crock pot/slow cooker for, the nonstick option may be a better option for easy clean up
3.  What Shape is The Crock Pot/Slow Cooker?
  • There are 3 shapes to consider when choosing your crock pot/slow cooker.
  • Round, oval or rectangular are the 3 shapes to choose from

 

The Round Slow Cookers/Crock Pots are good for fondues, stews, soups, smaller dips and cuts of meats.  The round shape works very well for foods that are combined or stirred due to the smaller sized bottom.

  • Keep in mind that if you’re looking to cook larger cuts of meat like a large pot roast or layered dips and such, with the round shape your foods are going to be layered high instead of closer to the bottom where the heating units typically are
  • The round shape has a better chance of scorching at the bottom before the foods are cooked through, unless you stir frequently because it will take longer to cook your foods completely due to the depth with the layering

 

The Oval Slow Cooker/Crock Pots, are the perfect medium if you are looking to cook medium sized meals.

  • The oval shape is perfect for most but they don’t cook long cuts of meats as well as the rectangular sized units.
  • The oval shapes offer you a nice size bottom compared to the round units.  This allows you to layer foods better without having to try to fit the foods in higher possibly causing uneven cooking.
  • The ovals are obviously rounded at the edges making it more difficult to fit long pieces of meats without having to cut them, such as a rack of ribs.
  • Fitting a small chicken or to make meat pies, quiche’s or any layered dish is a  breeze with the oval shaped cookers.
  • The oval units are excellent for most people.  It is the perfect size to cook meals evenly and the sizes are great for family meals and potluck style dishes and dips

 

The Rectangular Slow Cookers/Crock Pots work well for larger, thicker cuts of meats and layering foods to be cooked.

  • The rectangular shape gives you a larger bottom compared to the oval or round shapes.  You can cook longer meats such as a rack of ribs or large chuck roasts evenly with the rectangular shape
  • Both the oval and rectangular shaped units work well if you are going to be cooking whole chickens, turkey breasts and large cuts of beef.
  • If you are looking to cook larger batches of soups, stews, applesauce, etc., then you may want to consider the larger rectangular or oval shaped sizes

 

4. What Sizes Are Available?
  • The sizes of the crock pot/slow cookers range from a small 1.5 quart to the larger 8.5 quart size.
  • Along with considering the shape of the unit that will best fit your needs of cooking, the size will also be an important factor to look at before purchasing.
  • Let’s look at the different sizes and what you will find them capable of cooking.

 

The 1.5 Quart to 3 Quart Size is ideal for dips, fondues or 1-2 person meals

  • These are the smallest of all the units available and are very useful in your kitchen if you like to entertain or bring warm dips and such to get togethers.
  • If you are cooking for one and are looking to cook smaller servings of foods such as soups, stews and sauces, then these sizes may be perfect for you.
  • If you are hoping to cook meats such as whole chickens or larger cuts of proteins, this will not be a great choice for your cooking needs.

 

The 3.5 Quart to 5 Quart Size is the perfect size for 2-3 person cooking, along with warm dips fondues, etc.

  • If you are looking for to make larger amounts of warmer dips, sauces or smaller cuts of meats, such as cornish game hens, stew meats and gumbos, this will be a capable size.
  • The 3.5 – 5 quart size crock pot/slow cookers are a good size to cook foods for 2-4 people.
  • If you are looking for the perfect size unit that can cook larger amounts of warm dips and such for parties and get togethers then you may find this perfect for your needs.

 

The 5.5 Quart to 7 Quart Size is the perfect size for families of 3-6 along with wanting the ability to cook larger amounts of foods for big gatherings

  • This size is great for larger roasts, stews, soups, etc.
  • If you have a larger family that you are cooking for you will have the ability of cooking larger amounts of foods at one time.
  • This size range is typically chosen by average sized households for their cooking needs.

 

The 7.5 Quart to 8.5 Quart Size is perfect for large family’s or large gatherings.

  • This is the largest size crock pot/slow cookers available
  • You can cook large turkey breasts and larger cuts of meats easily.
  • If you want to cook meals in a larger capacity so you can freeze leftovers for later this unit is perfect for doubling recipes
  • If you like to entertain and are looking for a slow cooker/crock pot that is capable of cooking large batches of sauce and meatballs, stews, soups, etc., for your guests, this would be the right size to do the job.

 

 5.  Does The Cooker Have a Timer?
  • Having a timer option on your crock pot/slow cooker makes cooking easier if you aren’t able to be home to start it or stop it.
  • If you are home when using your unit then this wouldn’t be a problem for you.  If you are always on the go or are looking to cook your foods perfectly while away,  then the timer will probably be more convenient for you to have.
  • With the timers, you can set your foods to start cooking at a certain time, with delayed start and have the ability to stop the cooker and have it switch to the “warming mode”, to ensure that your foods are cooked perfectly and kept warm until you are ready to eat.

 

 6.  Does The Cooker Have a Warming Setting?
  • The warming units on the crock pot/slow cookers allow your foods to be kept warm until ready your ready to eat.
  • When you use the warming feature your foods stop cooking and the unit maintains an internal temperature that stays consistent so that you don’t need to worry about overcooking or scorching foods.
  • The warming feature is also great for parties if you are looking for the option of keeping your food warm for an extended period of time.  You have the ability of not worrying whether your foods need to be heated and can enjoy your company.

 

Let’s Find The Right Crock Pot/Slow Cooker For You:

Let’s start with the smallest units that are available and work our way to the largest, 1.5 quart to 8.5 quarts.  The cookers that are being listed are the best rated, most often purchased models.

You will find the the following information about each slow cooker/crock pot:

  • Size:
  • Shape:
  • Price:
  • Whether it’s programmable or mechanical:
  • Is There a Timer?:
  • Is there a warming setting?:
  • Other Features: (is there a removable insert?, does it have a sear function to brown meats and veggies?, & what the reviews say about the particular model.)

 

You will also find a link to the crock pot/slow cooker at the end of the review. The link will take you to Amazon, where you can learn more about the product from others who have already purchased it or to buy one for yourself through Amazon.

Elite Gourmet MST-250XS 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker

Size: 1.5 Quart
Shape: Round
Price: $11.99
Programmable/Mechanical: Mechanical
Warming Setting: Yes

Other Features: This is a simple small slow cooker with manual controls. You will have to set it yourself because it is not programmable.

There is a removable ceramic, stoneware pot making cleanup easy.  The lid is glass, making it easy for you to watch what you’re cooking.

This product has excellent reviews from consumers about the ease of cooking with this unit and getting exactly what it promises. An easy to use manual 1.5 quart slow cooker that is perfect for cooking oatmeal, small batches of soups and warm dips.

To read more consumer reviews or to purchase one for yourself, Click Here

Elite Cuisine MST-275XS Maxi-Matic 2 Quart Oval Slow Cooker

Size:  2 Quart
Shape:  Oval
Price:  $17.67
Program/Mechanical:  Mechanical
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  This is a mechanical slow cooker capable of cooking up to 2 quarts of food.  You can use this for your morning oatmeal, afternoon soup or for your nightly supper.  This is also a wonderful unit to make warm dips for entertaining.

The oval ceramic, stoneware pot is removable for easy cleaning.  The lid is glass, making it easy to see what is cooking inside.

You have an on/off switch, low, high and keep warm settings available with this slow cooker.

This slow cooker/crock pot has excellent reviews from purchasers.  To read some of the reviews yourself or to purchase this unit, Click Here

Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker

Size:  3 Quart
Shape:  Round
Price:  $15.99
Program/Mechanical:  Mechanical
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  This is a mechanical slow cooker with on/off, low, high and warm settings.  There is a removable stoneware insert, making cleaning a breeze.

This unit is small and compact but large enough to make 2-3 servings of food.  You can make chilis, stews, sauces, oatmeal, anything that you’d like to make except for larger cuts of meats and fish, without having to cut them down in size.

To read more reviews from other consumers who have purchased this crock pot or to purchase one for yourself, Click Here

Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Size:  3.5 Quart
Shape:  Oval
Price:  $50.99
Program/Mechanical:  Program
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  The Cuisinart slow cooker offers all of the options you could want in a small compact design.

Program this Cuisinart cooker up to 24 hours ahead of time so that it starts cooking your foods when you want.  When your food has cooked the amount of time that you program it for, the automatic, keep warm, function will kick in to keep your foods warm and ready when you want it.

The ceramic oval insert pot is removable and dishwasher safe making cleanup a breeze.  The top is glass making it easy for you to see what is cooking inside.

You can make all of your favorites in smaller helpings, making it perfect for a 2-4 persons household. With the keep warm function this unit is also wonderful for parties and get togethers, keeping your foods warm and ready when you’re ready to serve.

This slow cooker has excellent reviews, to read more about this product from other reviewers or to buy one for yourself, Click Here

Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker 4-Quart

Size:  4 Quart
Shape:  Oval
Price:  $34.99
Program/Mechanical:  Program
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  The Hamilton Beach 4 quart slow cooker is programmable, making cooking easy. Choose between 2 to 10 hours of cooking, when the selected cooking time is done the cooker will automatically switch over to the keep warm option.

This Hamilton Beach slow cooker has a wrap around heating element that offers a wrap around heating element giving you even distributed heat while cooking.

The removable stone insert and glass see through lid are both dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.  The glass lid allows you to see what your cooking inside of the slow cooker.

This slow cooker is capable of cooking up to a 4lb roast with ease.  The 4 quart slow cookers are perfect for a family of 4.

The Hamilton Beach slow cooker has excellent reviews from other consumers who have purchased it.  To read their reviews or to purchase this slow cooker yourself, Click Here

Hamilton Beach 33957 Programmable Stay or Go Slow Cooker 5-Quart

Size:  5 Quart
Shape:  Oval
Price:  $39.08
Programmable/Mechanical:  Programmable
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  The Hamilton Beach programmable stay or go slow cooker has clips on the 2 sides offering you the ability to transport your meals easily.

The stoneware insert is removable for easy dishwasher cleaning.  The glass lid allows you to see what your cooking and is also dishwasher safe.

You are capable of setting the timer with this slow cooker in 30 minute increments.  If you need to cook something for 1.5 hours, 6.5 hours, you can easily program it to do so.

You can cook up to a 5 lb chicken or 3 lb roast with the Hamilton Beach slow cooker, this just gives you an idea about the size.   This is perfect for a family of 4-5 or for leftovers during the week.

The reviews on this slow cooker are excellent.  If you would like to read other consumers reviews or to purchase this slow cooker for yourself, Click Here

KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt. Slow Cooker 

Size:  6 Quart
Shape:  Oval
Price:  $89.00
Program/Mechanical:  Program
Warming Setting:  Yes

Other Features:  The KitchenAid slow cooker offers you the ability to program your foods to start cooking 24 hours ahead of the start time.

You can also choose between a standard lid and a serving lid option with this slow cooker.  The serving lid option is sold for $100.57.  With the serving lid, only half of it opens allowing the heat to stay inside and your foods to stay warm.

You are also able to choose 4 heating options, low, medium, high and warm, ensuring that your foods are cooked perfectly and kept at just the right temperature for serving.

The ceramic insert is removable and is dish washer safe as is the lid, making cleanup easy and quick for those busy nights.

This also has the 30 minute increments when you are setting the timer for cooking.  So if you need to cook something for 6.5 hours and not 6 or 7, you have the ability to do so.

The Kitchen Aide slow cooker has excellent reviews, to read the reviews from other customers who have bought this model or to purchase this yourself, Click Here

Hamilton Beach 7 Quart Stay Or Go Slow Cooker

Size: 7 Quarts
Shape: Oval
Price: $32.54
Program/Mechanical: Manual
Warming Setting: Yes

Other Features: The Hamilton Beach slow cooker has a stay put lid allowing you to take it to parties, family get togethers with a simple snap on lid. The band that keeps your lid in place goes right across the middle of the slow cooker and snaps in the front ensuring that your lid stays in place.

The 7 quart size of this slow cooker is perfect for larger families or if you are into entertaining larger crowds.  You can cook a 7 lb roast in this slow cooker without any problems.

The insert is made of dishwasher safe stone as well as the lid, making cleanup easy and convenient.

For storage, the handles snap down and the lid locks in place, allowing for easy storage when not in use.

The only downfall to this model is that it does not go from cooking your food to the heating setting automatically.  You will need to turn it to heating manually if you wish to use it.

The reviews are very good for the Hamilton Beach slow cooker, if you wish to read more reviews from others who have purchased this product or to buy this yourself, Click Here 

Hamilton Beach Programmable Countdown Slow Cooker 8.5 Quart

Size: 8.5 Quart
Shape: Oval
Price: $49.00
Program/Mechanical: Programmable
Warming Setting: Yes

Other Features: The Hamilton Beach programmable slow cooker can cook up to a 6 lb chicken and is the perfect size for larger families.

You can set this slow cooker for as short as 30 minutes to as long as 18 hours.  After your food as reached it’s cooking time, it will automatically switch to the warmer setting.

The stone insert and glass top with this unit are both dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy.

This slow cooker unit doesn’t allow you to program your foods to start and stop at particular times.  You can set your foods to start cooking with either a low or hot setting, choose the time you want it to cook, using 30 minute increments and walk away.  The unit will automatically switch to the heating mode when the allotted time is done.

This Hamilton Beach slow cooker has good reviews from consumers.  To read more reviews from others who have purchased this produce, or to purchase this yourself, Click Here

Elite Platinum MST-900VXD 8.5-Quart Stainless Steel Programmable Slow Cooker w/ Locking Lid

Size: 8.5 Quart
Shape: Oval
Price: $55.99
Program/mechanical: Programable
Warming Setting: Yes

More Features: The Elite slow cooker allows you to program your foods to start cooking up to 20 hours ahead of time. This can allow you to get your ingredients all set inside your slow cooker, program it and walk away knowing that your foods will be done when you’re ready.

This unit will also switch over to the heating mode automatically when your foods are done cooking. You can rest assured that your foods will be warm and ready when you are ready to eat.

The lid on this unit allows you to lock it in place so that you can travel with it and not worry about it spilling or leaking before you get to your destination.

The 8.5 quart size is capable of cooking roast up to an 8.5lb size, easily feeding a family of 8-10. If you like to entertain then the Hamilton Beach unit may be just what your looking for to cook for larger groups.

There have been mixed reviews with this model from Elite Platinum.  Some people are very pleased with their purchase, while others have complaints about the top quality.  The lids has broken for some people and they are not happy with the fact that it can’t be put on the slow cooker without locking it in place.

To read more reviews about this product, or to purchase it for yourself, Click Here

Crock-Pot SCCPMD2-CH Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System-Round 2-quart

Size: 2 Quart
Shape: Round
Price: $36.56
Program/Mechanical: Mechanical
Warming Setting: Yes

More Features: The Crock-Pot connectible entertaining system is a great addition to your kitchen if you like to entertain guests and family.

The units are able to be connected together, up to 6 units per 1 outlet, to make a buffet style setting. Whether you want 1 or 10 or more units, depending on how many things you would like to serve, the ability to nicely display your foods is endless.

Each piece is a 2 quart round style crock pot that enables you to connect multiple units together. Have your soups, chilis, warm dips all out for easy serving to your guests.

Each unit holds 2 quarts of food and you have the option of low, high and warm settings, making sure that your food is at just the right temperature to serve.

There are 5 color choices to match your decor or mix and match for a fun colorful display, the choice is yours.

For storage, you can stack the units on top of each other and put them away after your gathering until you will use them again. Just remember that you don’t need to just use them for entertaining, you can use them on a daily basis as well to make a few different dishes that will be ready to eat when your family sits down for dinner.

Each crock pot unit has a removable stoneware insert and glass lid that are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.

The Crock-Pot entertaining system has great reviews from other consumers who have purchased these. To read the reviews or to purchase for yourself, Click Here.

There is also a double 1 quart Crock Pot cooker that attaches to this interchangeable set, as seen in the picture above.  This attaches the same way as the 2 quart single cookers but is just two one quart cookers in a unit.

If you would like to read more about the Crock-Pot 1 Quart double oval connecting cooker or to purchase it, Click Here.

 

 

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the products listed above, or would like to share your own thoughts about any of the products, even suggest another one for everyone, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you! 🙂

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