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What you should know before buying a crock pot

Crock-Pots are the original slow cookers and have been a trusted brand since 1971 when they invented this time-saving electronic cookware. The latest crock pots are easy to use and offer easy cleaning.

One of the many benefits of a crock pot is its convenience. You put your ingredients in the pot, choose your settings, and let the pot cook as you go about your day. A few hours later your meal will be ready. For a programmable model, the top of the range is the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker.

What you should know before buying a crock pot

There are three categories of crock pots – manual, programmable, and multifunctional – and a range of sizes.

Manual crock pots

Manual crock pots are the simplest models and only have four settings: off, low, high and warm. They consist of an outer metal bowl and a removable ceramic pot and glass lid. They come in round, oval and casserole-shaped pots that are low and wide like casserole dishes. Manual models require you to turn off the power when your meal is ready, and all settings are operated via rotary knobs.

Programmable crock pots

Programmable Crock-Pots feature an automatic timer that automatically switches the pot to the warm setting when the set cooking time is reached. You can set your cooking time between 30 minutes and 20 hours via a digital touchpad. Programmable models come in oval and casserole dishes.

Multifunction crock pots

The most innovative models of programmable crock pots do more than just slow cook.

  • express stove offer pressure cooking in addition to slow cooking. They also offer settings for steaming, roasting, browning and boiling.
  • multicooker offer browning, baking, roasting and steaming settings as well as slow cooking. They do not offer pressure cooking.

size

Consider the size of your household when choosing from the different sizes of crock pots on offer.

  • Mini crock pots have a capacity of 1-2 liters and are great if you live alone or for making side dishes.
  • 3-4 liters Models are ideal for households of two or three people.
  • 5-6 liters Pots are perfect for four or five person households.
  • 7 liters or larger Models are perfect for potluck dinners or large households.

What to look for in a quality crock pot

In addition to the different types of crock pots, there are also a variety of special features and special models.

iStir

This clever feature will automatically stir your food every half hour, making it ideal for cooking soups and stews.

Cook & carry

This feature allows you to take your crock-pot to picnics, potlucks, and parties. Models with this feature have carrying handles and tight-fitting lids.

stovetop

Stoveable Crock-Pots have a pot that can be placed on the hob to brown your food before it is placed in the oven.

Lift and serve

Hinged lid crock pots allow you to serve straight from the pot without having to remove the lid. This feature comes in handy for entertainment and potlucks.

Connect Connectable Entertainment System

This system allows you to connect two or more crock pots together to cook or heat multiple dishes at the same time. The models in this system plug into each other and only require a socket. These special crock pots are ideal for large gatherings.

Lunch crock

Another Crock-Pot specialty is the Lunch Crock, which doubles as a lunch bag that keeps your food warm. While it doesn’t cook your food, it warms it up and is ideal for the workplace where appliances are limited.

How much you can spend on a crock pot

The cheapest manual models start at $20, while programmable models range from $50 to $80. Multifunction crock pots range in price from $80 to $120.

Crock Pot FAQ

Is It Safe to Consume Meat That Has Been Cooked in a Crock Pot for Hours?

A As long as the meat has reached full temperature during its cooking time, it is safe to eat, even if the pot is on the keep-warm setting. Overcooking your meat in the pot just means softer, more tender meat. Don’t put frozen meat in your crock pot or it won’t cook evenly.

What recipes can I make in a casserole crock pot?

A Casserole models are great for cooking lasagna and other pasta dishes, large cuts of animal protein like roasts, ribs, corned beef, and other casserole recipes that call for a skillet instead of a pot.

What is the best crock pot to buy?

Top crock pot

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker

What you need to know: This large capacity model serves up to seven people and is portable.

What you will love: The large pot has handles and a locking lid for safe transport. Pot and lid are dishwasher safe. You can adjust your cooking time anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours, then the device will automatically switch to warm.

What you should consider: There are a minority of complaints among reviewers that the pot boils too hot and too quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top crock pot for the money

Crock-Pot 2 1/2-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 2 1/2-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker

What you need to know: This attractive little crock pot is perfect for making side dishes or cooking for one.

What you will love: This manual pot with four settings is easy to use and has a pretty blue and white design. The oval shape is also suitable for cooking casseroles. The handles and locking lid allow for safe transport to meetings. The stoneware is oven and dishwasher safe.

What you should consider: The 2 1/2 quart size is not as popular as larger models that can make large batches of food.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

It’s worth trying

Crock-Pot 3 1/2 Quart Casserole Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 3 1/2 Quart Casserole Slow Cooker

What you need to know: This larger casserole-style pot seats three or more and comes in four attractive color options.

What you will love: Perfect for entertaining, this attractive crock pot features a locking lid and handles. Manual mode is easy to use for slow cooking pasta, roasts, whole chicken and casseroles.

What you should consider: The exterior paint may peel off if the model is left elevated for a long period of time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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