Food & Wine recently tested seven of the most popular slow cooker models to see just which ones were the best on the market.
Slow cookers are incredibly popular. There are many different types available to purchase, making it pretty tricky to narrow down which is the best bang for your buck.
The slow cooker was invented in 1940 by a man named Irving Naxon. He originally called his new creation a Naxon Beanery because it was inspired by cholent, the slow-simmered Jewish bean stew.
In the 1970s, he sold his brand to Rival, who renamed it Crock-Pot.
Since there are so many different makes and models currently on the market, food writer Sarah DiGregorio set out on a journey to figure out just which ones perform the best.
She used these three principles to guide her journey:
1.) The most useful size for a slow cooker is a five to seven-quart oval.
2.) Programmability is a must-have feature.
3.) It is nice, but not necessary, to have the ability to sear or brown in the slow cooker insert.
Using those perimeters, she tested seven popular slow cookers from six different brands to see which offered the best results:
PROS: This slow cooker won for best all around. It ran the lowest and slowest temperatures out of all seven options. This particular model is unique because it has an internal thermostat that makes continual, tiny adjustments to insure that the temperature remains constant and low. It is also insulated in a special way to prevent hot spots and distributing even heat.
CONS: It doesn't offer in-insert browning, so a separate skillet in needed.
PROS: This model is best for stovetop searing. This model has an incredibly easy-to-use control panel. It is equipped with a rather large dial that clicks into place to set heat levels along with + and - buttons to adjust the time by 30 minute increments.
CONS: It did not come with an alarm when the cook time is complete. The insert is not dishwasher safe and you will have to remember not to use metal utensils on the nonstick surface.
PROS: This model was best for in-cooker searing. While it does tend to run a bit hot, it has the same type of thermostat as the KitchenAid model, enabling the heat to remain stabilized. It is ideal for braises, soups and stews and is perfectly shaped for searing. It also has an alarm that sounds once the cooking time is complete. Let's not forget how stunning this slow cooker is, too!
CONS: It was by far the most expensive, running at $250. The lid tends to run pretty hot so you will need to have a potholder handy when cooking in it, which is rather irritating for the price you're paying. This slow cooker also will need to avoid metal utensils used in it to prevent damaging the nonstick surface.
Now that you've read through the best of the best, did you find one that would fit your needs?
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