4 pointers for buying a slow cooker

If you struggle to get inspired to make a home-cooked meal at the end of a long day, a slow cooker is a great solution to create nutritious meals without a fuss. Here are a few things you should know before buying one.

4 pointers for buying a slow cooker

1. Know the types of slow cookers

Slow cookers are available in two basic designs:

Stone or ceramic slow cooker: Often referred to as crockpots, stone or ceramic slow cookers disperse heat evenly.

  • They are not for use on a stove or in the oven. Ceramic slow cookers can be more delicate, prone to cracking or breaking if not handled and stored with care.
  • They're also available in a variety of colours to match your kitchen décor. Look for stone slow cookers that are lead-free.

Stainless steel slow cooker: Stainless steel slow cookers tend to create more moisture during the cooking process.

  • They feature a removable insert that can be placed on the stove top to sauté onions, but they can't be used in microwaves.
  • A stainless steel slow cooker is less fragile than a crockpot.

2. Pick your slow cooker features

  • Insert: Slow cookers can be one-piece models or feature a removable insert that makes it easy to cook, serve and clean.
  • Lid: Glass lids are especially handy as they allow you to check on the food without lifting the lid and releasing steam.
  • Heating element: Ceramic versions tend to have heating elements on both the bottom and sides, while a metal slow cooker has a heating element on the bottom.
  • Settings: Both models feature variable heat settings of high and low, while high-end cookers have a “keep warm” setting for when the cooking process is complete.

3. Consider what you really need

There are a few things to consider before purchasing a slow cooker that will help you determine which model will best suit your needs.

Capacity: Choose a small slow cooker with a one-quart capacity that makes meals for one or two.

  • If you have a large family, go for an eight-quart slow cooker to make bigger meals or when you want to freeze soups and stews to enjoy later. A four-quart slow cooker is a good compromise.

Shape: Oval-shaped slow cookers are a great choice if you plan to cook chicken, roasts or other whole cuts of meat. Round-shaped slow cookers are perfect for making soups, sauces and stews.

Settings: In addition to temperature controls, some slow cookers have timers that can be set and allow the temperature to automatically revert to a warming setting when food is ready.

4. How to use your new slow cooker

  • Thaw meat before adding it to a slow cooker.
  • Fill slow cookers at least half way and no more than three-quarters full.
  • Don't place a cold insert into a pre-heating slow cooker.
  • Don't put a hot stone insert into the refrigerator as it may crack.

Make simple, wholesome slow cooker meals without having to toil over the stove. Simply add your ingredients, set the slow cooker temperature and wait for a no-fuss, delicious dinner the whole family will love.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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