Sometimes life gets in the way of cooking a good dinner. Who doesn't have a night where they just want to put their feet up and let dinner be someone else's priority? But if you're feeling that way more often than not, the best slow cookers can help you take a more hands-off approach to cooking dinner.
Slow cookers are one of those kitchen staples that literally anyone can use, no matter how skilled they are at cooking. While certain kitchen tools can feel like you need a PhD to understand them (let alone use them), the key feature of any basic slow cooker is simplicity. All you have to do is fill it up with ingredients in the morning before you head out for the day, set it to cook, and boom — by the time you come home at the end of the day, you'll have a delicious feast on your hands.
Unlike ovens, slow cookers don't need to be babysat. And because they come in a range of sizes, you can cook virtually anything in one, from a whole chicken to a pork loin. As you move up the price scale, slow cookers also come with even more bells and whistles — like being WiFi-enabled and having programmable settings.
Another reason to love slow cookers? They're a huge time-saver. Slow cookers make it easy to enjoy healthy, hearty meals every night without putting in a ton of effort. While there are many to choose from, the six on this list are some of the most popular slow cookers out there.
1. A Manual Slow Cooker That's Great For Beginners
This 4.5-quart slow cooker is a great buy if you're looking for one you can just plug in, fill with ingredients, and set to cook. It comes with three temperature settings: low, high, and warm. Because of its size, this slow cooker serves up to five people (or means you'll have plenty of leftovers), and it features a removable, dishwasher-safe stoneware insert and dishwasher-safe lid, so cleanup is super simple.
2. A Three-In-One Slow Cooker That Actually Browns & Steams Ingredients
If you're looking for a slow cooker that can do much more, this three-in-one multicooker from Cuisinart is worth considering. It comes with three complete programmable functions, so you can choose between browning meat, sautéing/steaming veggies, and using the slow cooker for soups, stews, chilis, and other prepped meals. It comes with a steaming rack, has temperature functions up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and because it's dishwasher safe, cleaning up is never a hassle.
3. A Programmable Slow Cooker That You Can 'Set n' Forget'
This programmable slow cooker from Hamilton Beach makes six servings and comes with three settings for no-fuss, auto-cooking: probe (for cooking meats), program (for when you want to set a time limit), and manual (for when you're home and can monitor cooking). This slow cooker comes with plenty of extra goodies to make it a worthwhile pickup, including a dishwasher-safe stoneware pot, meat thermometer probe, a clip-on spoon and clip-tight gasket lid, and side handles for portability,
4. A Portable Slow Cooker That's Designed For Making Casseroles
If you're going to a potluck, this 3.5-quart slow cooker — which serves up to 3 people — is a must-have. It's designed for casseroles, lasagnas, and other baked meals that are perfect for dinner parties. Because it features a 9-by-13 inch oven-safe removable stoneware insert, plus a cook and carry locking lid, you can take this with you on the go and not worry about spills or messes. This slow cooker also comes equipped with three settings and a manual dial, so it's beyond easy to use.
5. A WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker You Can Monitor From Your Smartphone
This 6-quart slow cooker is an incredibly innovative spin on the standard model because it's WiFi-enabled, meaning you can use your smartphone to set the cook time and temperature, as well as start and stop cooking. It's especially perfect if you're occasionally forgetful and run out the door before remembering to set the slow cooker manually, because with this one you can monitor everything on your phone through an easy-to-download app. It includes a removable stoneware insert and locking lids.
6. A Pressure Cooker That's Like Having A Whole Kitchen In One Appliance
This programmable pressure cooker is basically like having seven kitchen tools in one. In addition to working as a pressure cooker, it also functions as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker, and warmer. It comes with 14 programmable settings, 12 adjustable temperature settings, a safety lock lid, and dual pressure settings, so you can customize and control this device every step of the way. Featuring a stylish stainless steel exterior and dishwasher-safe lid, stainless steel cooking pot, and steam rack, this cooker is a fantastic buy for experts and beginners alike.
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