Sales of slow cookers have risen by 55% in the last few years, as people want nutritious meals but do not have the time to cook them. The beauty of slow cookers is that you can chuck all the ingredients into the pot in the morning, and by the time you come home from work you have a delicious stew waiting for you.
There are a few guidelines to think about when it comes to purchasing a slow cooker:
The most expensive model might not be the right right one for you. All slow cookers perform the same function, they cook food slowly. Expensive models just have fancy features such as timers, auto—stirring and pre-programmes on them. Make sure that is what you need before forking out.
Look at the size of the slow cooker. For a single person or a couple, 1.5–3L will be large enough, for a family of four you should be looking for 3-5L, five or more you’ll need between 5-6.5L.
Here’s our suggestions:
- Cookworks Slow Cooker 5.5L – £22.49
For a budget option that does what it says on the can you can’t go wrong with this Cookworks model. The large capacity pot feeds around six people and comes with three settings and a warming function. The ceramic pot is removable for easy cleaning.
A smaller slow cooker here that will feed a family of four easily. Customer reviews state that the higher heat setting works better when it comes to stews as the veggies tend to stay quite hard on the lower setting. The oval shape means that it is good for roasting.
Another slow cooker that works a little better on the higher setting. Has an auto-warming function which is handy, feeds a family of four and compared to some cookers it’s quite lightweight, which means you can easily take the ceramic pot to the table.
A huge capacity pot of 6.5L means that this slow cooker can feed around eight people. It has also been named by The Great British Food Magazine as one of the top five slow cookers on the market and if this size is too big, it comes in 3.5L and 1.5L capacities too. Has three heat settings and all the parts are dishwasher-friendly.
A large 5L capacity slow cooker that is ideal for feeding a larger family of six, and comes with a handy 20 hour timer delay function and a 12 hour delay feature. You can easily remove the ceramic pot and as it retains its heat it is great for serving at the table. Has an auto-warming function for when the food has finished cooking.
- Morphy Richards Sear and Stew 4.5L- £49.99
The one thing that puts many people off buying a slow cooker is the fact that you have to sear meat and vegetables in a different pan before transferring them into the slow cooker. Now, with this machine from Morphy Richards, you don’t have to. With this slow cooker you can fry up all your ingredients in the ceramic pot on the hob, then add stock and leave it as you would a typical slow cooker. Great idea but the only thing we didn’t like was that you have to turn if off manually.
Crock-Pots are well-known in America but not so much over here, but they should be. They are well made and durable slow cookers that come with a range of features, including two heat settings, plus an automatic timer, oven and microwave safe pots, a countdown timer and a keep-warm function. All parts are dishwasher-safe.
A slow cooker that automatically stirs your food for you once an hour for five minutes every hour, so that you don’t have to worry about food sticking or burning on the bottom. A good sized pot makes this slow cooker ideal for larger families.
Loads of features on this slow cooker as you would imagine. You can use it for pressure cooking, slow cooking, searing, sautéing, roasting, reducing, then you have options of different times and heat settings, and there is an automatic steam release function. I could go on…
This slow cooker comes with an impressive pre-programmed library of 50 recipes and a really novel LCD screen that tells you exactly how much of each ingredient you should use, so even the most nervous of chefs should be able to come up with delicious meals. Has a keep warm function, a delay start of up to 15 hours and comes with a removable pot and steam basket which are both dishwasher-safe.