With lots of cooking appliance options out there, from multi-cooker to pressure cookers to instant pots and many more, choosing the right cooker can be a bit overwhelming and tricky.
This freestanding cooking appliance, slow cooker, cooks your food at a steady and low temperature. This appliance is an ideal choice for meal prepping with hands-off cooking and healthy slow cooker recipes. They do not require much planning ahead; all you have to do is set and forget it.
However, it’s essential that you consider the right slow cooker if you want to cook low and slow. We understand this, which is why we reviewed the best slow Cooker America’s test kitchen to help make delicious home-cooked meals.
Reviews of Best Slow Cooker by America’s Test Kitchen
Top 1 — Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sterilizer, and Warmer
The Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is one of the recently added appliances to the brand’s lineup. This model is a customizable and feature-packed electric pressure cooker with excellent quality.
What a powerful, geeky, and sleek unit to have in your kitchen. It offers the power of 10 different appliances, which makes it more than a pressure cooker.
One of the most striking features of this cooker is its “Ultra” function mode that allows users to set different cooking period, pressure type, and temperatures.
While this granular control may be unclear at first, using this unit seems like hundreds of tool packs in a unit. Besides the basic features such as rice cooking, steaming, sautéing, pressure cooking, yogurt making, and keeping food warm, the Ultra mode allows you to set the specific temperature to cook your food.
Furthermore, Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is impressive in terms of design with its large and beautiful LCD and three push-button keys: a pushable dial, cancel button and start button. But compared to its older versions used friendliness, it seems a step backward since adjusting from a mode to another isn’t instant anymore.
- 10 in 1 multi-cooker
- fingerprint resistant surface
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Cooking process indicator
- Temperature and pressure sensor
- Dial interface
- The dial button is no longer impressive
- Shallow guide manual
Top 2 — KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt. Slow Cooker with Standard Lid
Another slow cooker with countertop-friendly design, a 6-quart ceramic vessel, and a sturdy stainless steel base. Sadly, this unit features a stainless steel construction without a fingerprint-resistant surface.
Also, there’s a clear glass lid offering a fantastic view of your food progress without having to disrupt the inner cooking temperature. Plus, it includes an Easy Serve lid coming at an extra cost to make scooping into the unit easier without having to remove the lid to keep the heat in the unit.
Sadly, this KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt. Slow Cooker lacks a locking lid. Therefore we would recommend that you leave this cooker in a spot as it’s not advisable to carry around.
The simply designed buttons with easy to read and bright LCD screen, KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Qt Slow Cooker is designed for convenience. In addition, it is intuitive to use and does not include overly complicated or distracting settings.
While we strongly recommend that you do not carry this cooker without locking lid around, it features handles on both the vessel and base for easy transportation. For those who will be leaving the slow cooker on the counter, then you’ll find the ability to wrap the cord underneath the pot handy when not in use.
- Dishwasher safe components
- Ample cooking space
- Include the “Keep Warm” mode
- 24-hour programmability
- Challenging to achieve higher temperatures
- The exterior shows fingerprints
Top 3 — Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer
Next up, Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multicooker is made of brushed stainless steel construction allows you to sauté or brown directly. This unit is strong and durable, which should be expected from a stainless steel constructed cooker.
It comes with an innovative glass lid that allows you to monitor your food while cooking without opening the lid. Also, it prevents heat loss to ensure your dish comes out as expected. Even better, there’s a stay-cool handle on the glass lid and aluminum pot, which makes it easier to transport.
Further, Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker comes with a 3year manufacturer’s warranty, which shows the level of confidence the brand has in this unit. On top of that, it automatically activates the warm mode after the set time lapses. And after about 8 hours of keeping the food warm, the warm mode sets off.
On this model, you get a 3in1 cooking options: brown/sauté, steam, and slow cook. This combination is not often found on most slow cookers on the market. Also, it offers is a large 6-quart pot to cook enough food for more than a family-sized meal and multiple dishes.
- Sturdy stainless steel housing
- Dishwasher friendly
- Easy to transport
- 3-in-1 cooking options
- No delay timer
- Not quite programmable
Top 4 — Best Small Cuisinart MSC-400 3-In-1 Cook Central 4-Quart Multi-Cooker
The Cuisinart MSC-400 3-In-1 Cook Central 4-Quart Multi-Cooker is an ideal choice for creating one-pot meals for your family. It comes with three programmable cooking modes, which allows you to brown meat, sauté vegetables and slow cook food
The model includes a 4-Quart cooking pot with non-stick features that will enable you to sauté or brown directly in the cooker. Also, it is made of brushed stainless steel housing for durability and optimal performance.
It features a Keep Warm mode, that automatically triggers after your meal is ready. With the Cook Central pot, dishwasher friendly lid and steaming rack, this model is hassle-free to clean up.
When it comes to cooking function, Cuisinart MSC-400 3-In-1 Cook Central 4-Quart Multi-Cooker is multifunctional. It features a glass lid that allows you to know what is going on in your cooker without having to open the unit.
More importantly, it includes handles to make it easier for you to move the product around. Plus, you can set your preferred temperature and time after choosing the cooking mode.
- Glass lid for a better view
- Steaming rack
- No stick aluminum cooking pot
- BPA Free
- Easy to use control panel
- Multiple cooking functions
- The Teflon coating tend to bubble
Top 5 — Hamilton Beach (33249) Slow Cooker, 4 Quart
The Hamilton Beach (33249) Slow Cooker is a basic slow cooker from one of the reputable brands on the market. At a fraction of the cost, this model comes with the much-needed features for an excellent cooking experience.
This “Stay or Go” cooker from Hamilton Beach includes handy clips to ensure this unit is appropriately locked down for easy and secure transportation. It comes with 4 Quarts, which small size but should be enough for a couple or single person.
Coming with basic features, this slow cooker sports standard knobs for picking the right setting – high, low, warm, and off. Further, it includes stoneware and dishwasher safe lid. The lid features a rubber seal, which might absorb residual taste into the material.
One major drawback of this model is its lack of ON light and digital timer. The model allows you to customize your cooking method based on the recipe.
- Easy clips secure lid
- Spill resistant seal for less mess
- Stay or go lid lock for safe travel
- Easy to carry handle
- Not ideal for a family with kids due to small cooking pot
How do slow cookers work?
If you have ever owned a dutch oven, then it’s quite similar. The Dutch oven is placed on a stovetop, and it gets heated from the bottom. The heat raises up the pot’s sides and cooks the food.
A slow cooker share almost the same principle as the Dutch oven since the bottom of the crock gets heated first and spreads to sides, which then cooks whatever is inside.
Slow Cooker Temperature & Settings
Dutch oven and slow cooker have the same temperature settings between low and heat. The low setting is an ideal option for cooking pork shoulder or roast.
This setting does not put out much heat, but should still be enough to cook food safely at the right temperature. Also, you can prepare a tough cut of meat over a long period at low heat for a juicy and tender end result.
On the other hand, high settings are meant for sauces and dips that required a shorter cooking period, usually between an hour or two.
Slow cooker offers convenience thanks to their programmable settings allowing you to choose how long or high you would like to cook. Once the set cooking period is over, this smartly programmed unit stops cooking and triggers the ‘Warm Mode’ automatically, which maintains your food temperature until you’re ready to serve.
Because the temperature settings of slow cookers function similarly to stovetop cooking, it’s challenging to determine the specific temperature for each heat level. Generally, the inner temperature of a slow cooker has to do with the recipe’s water content and the size of the food it holds.
However, if you prefer to know the cooking temperature, then purchasing a meat thermometer will be handy. For the sake of convenience, some models now feature an internal temperature probe.
What temperature do slow cookers cook at
There are hundreds of models on the market, and reading the instructions before using the slow cooker is paramount. The setting times and temperatures differ from one manufacturer to another.
For an appliance to be regarded as safe, the slow cooker must simmer your food for unattended cooking yet quickly to keep the food out of the danger zone.
Generally speaking, is slow cooker low setting is usually 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and the high setting around 300 degrees F.
We have not only been able to show how slow cookers can be a great addition to any modern kitchen but also help you in picking out the best slow cooker on the market. Now it is up to you to make a choice based on your personal preference and needs, but we are confident that whichever model you decide to go for will serve you well.