A slow cooker is quite a basic item for any family home. Not a single American kitchen is even complete without this appliance. This simple appliance comes handy for so many things that it is now an American sweetheart. If you do not own one yet, it’s time to get a smart slow cooker at home.
Buying a smart slow cooker is obviously quite tricky. Because not many companies have introduced smart technologies in this appliance. Most of them kept it simple. Although sometimes the simpler versions can produce superior performance sometimes.
Our goal is to help you buy the best smart cooker for your kitchen. Either it is smart or simple, you deserve the best deals on buying this essential item. That is why we have tried to provide the best buying guide along with the best deals for a cooker. So here goes everything you should know about getting a cooker at home.
What Is A Slow Cooker
It is not an uncommon name to any kitchen enthusiastic. At least every American has one at home. It is an electric kitchen appliance that mimics the simmering or slow cooking process in a pot. Normally it runs for a long time to produce a similar result.
Cooking in it is different than cooking on stove top. You do not have to keep an eye on the water level. Instead, you can turn on the cooker and go to your work. Just put your food in the cooker, set the timer and you are good to go. The cooker will keep cooking your food following the timer.
One interesting fact about slow cooker is, it was first introduced by the brand Crock Pot. The concept of an electric slow cooking device was first raised in early 1940. Initially, people used this appliance to cook some specific stews. Slowly, it got popular and made history.
The brand Crock Pot has been so popular that now a days slow cookers are often referred to as Crock Pot, like insulated containers to as thermos. In this modern world, slow cookers have now evolved into a smart slow cooker. This smart slow cooker offers more functions than a basic one.
Those who are acquainted with slow cookers obviously know how efficient it is. Having this appliance is like an extra helping hand in the kitchen. Now you have to put literally zero effort on your cooking. This appliance has a variety of use which make our daily cooking activity easier than ever. And the smart cooker makes it even more.
What Is A Smart Slow Cooker
Now a days, the concept of the smart cooker has been popular all over the world. Although not being widely available, this type of cooker has already won our hearts. You all can obviously guess the different aspects of smart cookers. So here’s what it is—
A smart cooker is actually an advanced version of the usual cooker. You can call it a “beta” version also. In this special type of cooker, you get a lot more options than a usual cooker. It offers a lot more functionality than its basic version.
Mostly, it has different preset functions to make your cooking a lot more effortless. For example- it has preset functions for some food items like stews, soups, curry, etc. These functions are what it makes itself more than just a mere cooker.
There is another type of smart cooker that is even smarter than a smart cooker. They include products like Wifi cookers and Alexa cookers or Alexa cookers. These cookers have a Wifi connection that provides more control to your cooking.
You can control your cooker using a apple and android devices. That way you can check the update or even change cook settings of your cookers even when you are at work.
Either basic or smart, both of them are equally beneficial for you. That is why this appliance is so special. Let’s look into what makes this appliance so special.
Smart Slow Cooker Reviews of 2020
Finding the best deals is indeed tough among such a lot of models available in the market. Still, we have tried to list some of the best slow cooker deals online. So here are our picks for the Best cooker and Smart Slow Cookers of 2020:
1. Hamilton Beach Temp Tracker 33866 6 qt. Slow Cooker
Push away every deal and buy this one to get the best deal of market. This cooker is perfect in every single aspect. Despite Crock-Pot being the best brand for slow cookers, this cooker really lived up to the hype. Amazing design, superb performance makes it a remarkable one. This cooker has the spot for the best slow cooker for 2020 for obvious reasons. So, let’s know why it would be the best purchase:
The Hamilton Beach cooker has a standard size yet in a compact design. It has a capacity of 6 quarts. So you can fit enough food to serve even a big family. You can fit a 6 lb chicken or a 4 lb roast in this cooker. So it’s perfect if you have a family of 4-6. The outlook is quite elegant with a black stainless steel finishing. This coating makes this cooker durable and rust-free. Besides, a functional lid compliments the outlook quite nicely.
The lid has the perfect design with lid clips. So you can move this cooker without even creating a mess. That is why you can get super flexible while going to a potluck party with your cooker. The size is not that huge considering its capacity. Rather it seems quite compact to fit into even a small kitchen. So the design gets the perfect score from us.
Now come to the most important part, performance. We were quite astonished to see how well it performs during the test. Although not being a smart slow cooker, this cooker can be easily put up against any smart slow cooker in the market. It has programmable functions. So you do not need to search for cooker recipes anymore. The hold temperature function can yield a lot of cooking functions. Like sous vide, poach, simmer and even braising.
Smart Kitchen Thermometer
It has a tracking temp probe which is another plus point of this cooker. This integrated probe helps you to track the temperature of your food. So you can prevent your beef from getting overcooked. Besides, it makes the hold temperature setting more functional. It has a digital display to show the metrics too. If you attach the probe, it toggles between the target food temp. And selected food temp. It also shows the remaining time on the cooker. Which makes it no less than a smart slow cooker.
Another plus point of this cooker is its keep warm function. When the food is ready at your selected temp, it shifts to the keep warm mode. This way, the cooker prevents overcooking as well as keeps the food warm.
While experimenting with this cooker, we found some positive and negative aspects of this cooker. This will further help you to evaluate the product yourself. So here they go:
- Integrated temp. tracking probe
- Lid clip design
- Stainless steel finishing
- Easy portability
- Hold temp. function
- Additional Sous vide option
- Programmable function
- Digital display
- Keep warm mode
- Using the program function is a little complicated.
The price range of this cooker is quite reasonable. Overall, this cooker is the best one you can ever buy. That is why this cooker is your pick for the best cooker 2020.
2. Crock-Pot 2101704 Alexa Enabled Programmable Slow Cooker
Those who have a weakness for smart appliances, this product is for them. Everyone knows Crock-Pot is the best brand for slow cookers. This smart slow cooker could save its name well. So let’s check this smart slow cooker:
- JUST ASK ALEXA – Use your voice to easily start or stop the slow cooker, program cook-times, heat settings, and check the status of your meal from anywhere! This programmable slow cooker works with any Alexa-enabled device or through the free Alexa app on your phone or tablet
- PROGRAM & MONITOR REMOTELY – With voice-controlled cooking, spend less time in front of your slow cooker, and less time worrying about your meal. Program and adjust cook-times from 30 minutes to 20 hours using your Alexa-enabled device or app. Running late? Adjust cook settings on the go! Wondering what the status of your meal is? Simply ask, “Alexa, when will my Crock-Pot be done?”
- TEMPERATURE CONTROL – Use your Alexa-enabled device or app to easily control the heat setting from anywhere, whether you’re in the next room, or stuck at work. Select High, Low, or Warm temperature settings using just your voice, for hands-free cooking convenience. Need to make sure you set your slow cooker to the right temperature? Check on it using the Alexa app, for peace of mind, no matter where you are
- Meet Echo Dot – Our most popular smart speaker with a fabric design. It is our most compact smart speaker that fits perfectly into small spaces.
- Improved speaker quality – Better speaker quality than Echo Dot Gen 2 for richer and louder sound. Pair with a second Echo Dot for stereo sound.
We expected this cooker to have a digital display. But sadly, it doesn’t have one. Still, the outlook is pretty posh and super elegant. The color and design look just like what an expensive appliance should look like. Stainless finishing on the outside and a tempered glass lid, this appliance can hold its look for a long time. The best part of the design is, the internal pot is removable.
You can take it out and wash it on the dishwasher whenever you want. Not having a lid clip like the previous one is definitely a minus point from our side. Overall, the design is not as impressive as we expected.
Despite having a so design, the performance is top notch. It works like it is from the future. The magical performance of this appliance is what made us pick this product. This appliance has Wi-Fi and it is Alexa enabled. So you can control this appliance by giving a command to Alexa. It is quite an impressive feature for any kitchen appliance, let alone this appliance. Now you can literally cook your food just by using your voice. Sounds cool, isn’t it?
Such a smart function didn’t affect the performance of this cooker. It has a lot of features that make this cooker different from any other cooker. You can control the temperature of this cooker using Alexa. Even if you aren’t at home, you can check it on your Alexa app and change the temp. to your preference. So don’t care if you are at work, you can always control your cooker.
This smart slow cooker has a whopping adjustable time up to 20 hours. You can use your Alexa to give the command as usual. Also, you can even check your cooking status on Alexa. Simply ask, “Alexa, when will my Crock-Pot finish cooking?” And you get an update without even going to the kitchen.
The simple set up facility makes this one more impressive. You can easily set up your smart slow cooker on the Alexa app. When you plug in your smart slow cooker, it connects to the Wi-Fi. Then the Alexa app detects it automatically. After that, it connects the cooker to itself. So the setup process is quite easy and effortless.
Just like the first one, we listed some nuts and bolts of this smart slow cooker for your convenience. Here it goes:
- Wi-Fi connection
- Alexa compatibility
- Auto connect
- Elegant design
- Removable stoneware
- Dishwasher safe
- Alexa app support
- Up to 20 hours of cooking time.
- No clip-on lid, so the food may spill while transferring
- No digital display
Even though the price range is a little expensive, it is a great deal for a smart slow cooker. Overall, you can buy this one if you are fond of smart technologies.
3. Instant Pot Air fryer + Epc Combo 8qt Electronic Pressure Cooker
This product is literally the all-in-one product we all dream of. It is indeed a blessing for people who has a small kitchen but needs every appliance. “Unbelievable” is the word when we first reviewed this product. So let’s see inside this super appliance.
- The Instant Pot That Air Fries: The hottest new multi-cooker from the makers of the all-time bestselling Duo series, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a pressure cooker and air fryer with 2 convenient, removable lids
- 11-In-1 One-Touch Cooking Programs: Put cooking on autopilot with delicious results; Pressure cooks, Sautes, steams, slow cooks, sous vides, warms, air fries, roasts, bakes, broil and dehydrates
- Tender Juicy Meals with a Crisp Golden Finish: Innovative EvenCrisp technology ensures a perfect crunch every time; Imagine biting into fall-off-the-bone ribs with a perfect air fried crust
- Air Fryer Accessories: The multi-level air fryer basket with dehydrating and broiling tray is designed for optimal air flow; The protective pad is great for storage and countertop use
- Dishwasher Safe Stainless-Steel Cookware: Cook for up to 8 people with the premium quality (18/8) stainless-steel inner pot. ; Healthy and BPA/PFOA/PTFE-free
Before getting into the performance, we have to praise the compact design of this cooker. This cooker has a capacity of 8 quarts yet looks so compact in size. The best part of this product is its accessories. This product comes with so many additional things other than its usual pot and pressure cooker lid. It comes with an air fryer lid, multi-level air fryer basket, steam rack, dehydrate tray and a protective pad or storage cover.
The outlook is as usual as an instant pot cooker. But with the air fryer lid on, it looks weird, to be honest. The design has so much diversity that makes it perfect overall. For example- the pressure cooker lid is quite easy to put on due to its Easy-seal feature. Also, the security measures make it more efficient to ensure a safe kitchen.
The overall design somehow doesn’t look that much stylish, but every bit of it managed to put together a secure and functional design. We are not super impressed with the design, but it is satisfactory.
We always have a high expectation of Instant Pot products. Because this brand is really lifesaver for small homeowners. Putting together a lot of features in one appliance may seem inefficient. But the truth is, it really lived up to the expectations. We were truly amazed by the performance of this product.
The first thing we found impressive was smart programs. This versatile cooker has 11 smart programs. These programs run on autopilot and work incredibly well. The cooker lid is meant to cover 6 wet functions of this cooker. They are- pressure cooking, slow cooking, sous vide, braising, steaming & sautéing.
It did a great job in all of those methods. On the other hand, the Air frying lid is used for dry functions like air frying, baking, dehydrating, etc. The pressure cooking function seemed a little off because it generates low pressure.
This cooker creates an 11.2 psi pressure that isn’t enough for quick cooking. Other than that, all these functions were executed pretty greatly giving a solid result every time. That is why it is no less than a smart slow cooker.
Smart Kitchen Features
The first thing we talk about definitely should be its diverse features. This product can do literally everything you can think of doing in the kitchen. Just look at the list of how many appliances it can replace:
- Pressure cooker
- Rice cooker
- Slow cooker
- Air fryer
- Sous vide machine
- Food dehydrator
We guess there is no other appliance in this world that is this much versatile. The features are so much overwhelming that we think this is the ultimate appliance goal of 2020. This appliance is the legit representation of elevated kitchen technology.
The efficiency level of that many features in only one appliance was questionable. But this appliance did a great job in that too.
Smart Kitchen Technology
The technology used in it was successful to deliver some spot-on results. Technologies like Innovative Even Crisp technology did a great job to produce the perfect chicken roast, juicy & succulent inside and golden & crispy outside. You do not need an oven anymore to cook the perfect chicken roast at home. Other than that, the safety features in this cooker are a massive plus point of this product. Like, overheat protection, safety lock feature, etc. were indeed helpful to produce some excellent results.
Another great thing about this cooker is its easy cleaning facility. The cooker lid, the air fryer lid, and the cooking pot, all are dishwasher safe. They were cleaned pretty nicely in the dishwasher. Overall, the performance is super satisfactory.
While testing this super electric cooker, we sorted out some pros and cons for you to quickly learn about this product. Here it goes:
- All in one function including air frying
- Secure and functional design
- Extra accessories
- Smart programs
- Extra large capacity
- Innovative features
- Easy seal lid
- Dishwasher safe easy cleaning
- The outlook is a little weird
- Works on 11.2 psi pressure, so the pressure cooking function is not that quick
The price range seems a little high on budget. Even though, this product is a great one to buy. We highly recommend this product if you have a small kitchen and the budget isn’t a problem for you.
4. Crock-pot sccpvl600s Cook’ n Carry 6-quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker
If you have a small budget but a large family, this is the one you should buy. The whopping 6 quart size and basic function can give an incredible result. So let’s check into the details of this cooker.
- Spacious 6 quart manual slow cooker serves 7+ people or fits a 6 pounds; roast; polished, silver stainless steel exterior with black accents and plastic handles. The lid should be left unlocked while cooking, as the additional pressure can result in the food being overcooked
- Easy to use locking lid featuring lid gasket provides extra seal for less mess on the go
- Set cooking time to high and get a hot meal in no time or set it on low and tonight’s dinner can cook while you’re at work
- Keep food at an ideal serving temperature for as long as you need to with the convenient warm setting
- One pot cooking means there are less dishes to clean, plus the lid and removable stoneware are dishwasher safe
As it is a budget friendly cooker, the design is pretty simple. It has a stainless steel finishing and a glass lid. The glass lid has a clip that makes it a locking lid. It will prevent any spilling of food from the cooker. So if you can do a mess free transfer to the potluck party. Just like the Crock-Pot smart slow cooker, it have a removable stone ware. So it has a dishwashing capability.
But this cooker is incredible for its portable facilities. The body is pretty much simple with just a knob to adjust temperature. Overall, the design is pretty much simple. Considering the low price range, the design surely seems okay.
In spite of having a cheap price range, this cooker gives a pretty decent result. The only drawback of the performance is, it does not have a timer. Other than that, the performance is great considering its basic function. The temp. mode has only three options- high, low and warm. Since it does not have a timer, you have to use an additional timer clock to follow your exact cooking time.
Since the stoneware is removable, you can easily throw it in the dishwasher. So you do not have to face any hassle for cleaning it. Also, you do not have to use any liner for this cooker. So it seems safer for our health. Although we would prefer hand washing. Because it didn’t clean properly in the dishwasher. But the non-stick coating made it easy to even hand wash it.
The warm function seems pretty useful. Because when you have finished cooking and want to jump on a shower, the food will get frosty in meanwhile. So this warm button is a plus point considering the budget range.
- Simple design
- Low price
- Simple function
- Clip-on lid
- Easy portability
- Keep warm function
- Stainless steel finishing
- Removable stoneware
- Dishwasher safe
- No timer
Considering the price range, this cooker is truly the best in the budget. So if you are running short of money, you can buy this one.
What Is A Cooker Used For
As previously mentioned, it is that appliance that lets us have some extra leisure time from cooking. Everyone would certainly enjoy some extra hours from their monotonous cooking schedule daily. It’s a relief to get some hot and tasty food without any hassle. That’s what it is for!
Slow cookers are the ultimate thing you need in your daily cooking activity. Those who have a hectic schedule on weekdays should get one as soon as possible. Who wants to cook on a working day? Nobody. But the craving for some beef sandwich doesn’t count weekdays or weekends. Who has the time to make pulled beef on weekdays?
With this appliance, you can arrive home just to enjoy some delicious beef for binge eating. If you have the right recipe and this appliance, congratulations! you’re a kitchen expert. Everyone would die for a bite of your handmade pulled beef sandwich. So having a smart cooker is a super smart choice for your kitchen.
Modern problems require modern solutions. Just like that, this appliance can be the key to solve your weekday cooking hassle instantly. Besides, it is truly a great appliance for hosting a house party. Try out some finger licking slow cooker recipes and you’re done for the preparation.
You can cook the food ahead of time and put it in the cooker to keep it warm. “Best host ever” title will be waiting to add feathers to your crown.
There are actually many diverse uses of this appliance. Here are some amazing things you can do with your smart cooker. So let’s dig in—
Slow Cooker Uses
We can know more about slow cooker uses when we get to know what this appliance can or can’t do. This way you can figure out what purposes you should use your cooker for. Despite being a life saver, this appliance is not for all types of cooking techniques. So it’s important to know the uses of this appliance before buying one. So here goes a brief list of what this appliance can or can’t do:
What Does A Slow Cooker Do
By its name, there’s obviously no doubt what the primary function of this appliance is. That is slow cooking. Slow cooking is a type of cooking technique. People have been practicing this method for a long time. Primarily to tenderize tough cuts of meat, the slow cooking process is now used for making soups or stews too. Besides, you can make a variety of food items with a slow cooking process.
For example, it is not unknown that simmering Bolognese sauce for a long time enhances the flavor. Also, slow cooking is a great method to extract flavors from any ingredient.
There are a lot more things that a smart cooker does. Apart from cooking foods, you can use it as a food warmer. So you do not have to reheat your food again before serving. You can serve your food directly from your cooker. Now you do not have to eat cold mashed potatoes anymore. Smooth, warm, delicious mashed potatoes are not impossible now.
Besides, microwaving your food, again and again, may destroy the essential elements. So why should we do that when we have better options in our hands?
Instant Dinner At Home
Another great plus point of having this appliance is its flexibility. This kitchen appliance is a massive blessing for working people. Nobody doesn’t want to cook after passing through a hectic day at work. Having it is like a flow of fresh air to a suffocating place. Throw some marinated meat and vegetable in the cooker and set your timer on low at 8 hours. And voila! Delicious and healthy stew will be waiting for you when you come back from work.
Having this appliance, therefore, saves your time from some extra hassle. Food is the most important thing in life obviously. But who has the time to cook it? Going to restaurants or ordering take away food every day isn’t a great idea either. But cooking with zero effort is the best idea of all.
Hence a smart cooker can come to the rescue. A multipurpose cooker is the ultimate solution to all your sufferings in the kitchen. Because a high end cooker can deliver numerous cooking techniques. As in-
- Slow cooking
- Condensation, etc
With these cooking techniques, you can make a lot of dishes that you can’t even imagine. So getting the best smart cooker can be a lot more worth than you think.
Disadvantages of a Slow Cooker
Yes, slow cookers have some disadvantages too. There are certain things that can not be done by a basic cooker. That doesn’t mean buying a slow cooker is useless. There are some special tasks that slow cookers cannot do perfectly. These tasks include:
- Deep frying
- Charring, etc
Although these are not a problem now. Because now there are many types of cookers available which can do even these tasks in a perfect way. Like a multi purpose cooker or multi cooker can fulfill your need for these special techniques.
How Does Slow Cooker Work
Many of you have wondered about how slow cookers work. Obviously, it has some special technology that works on it. This appliance yields a simmering temperature on the pot that slowly cooks the food inside. It provides a similar effect like cooking food in a Dutch oven or any deep pot.
When you simmer something on a stove top, it doesn’t let the water boil vigorously. Instead, it maintains a subtle boiling or poaching of food that slowly breaks down the food. Apart from making it tender, this process also extracts the flavor from the food. That is why dishes like ox bone soup or Bolognese sauce requires slow cooking for better result.
Just like that, this appliance uses this technique to cook the food. Like a stove top oven, the cooker liner gets the heat from the bottom. The heat is quite subtle so the food doesn’t dry out and stick to the bottom. This way, the heat slowly rises up to the top to evenly cook the food within the pot. This heat is supplied by the base part of this appliance. The base normally consists of a hot plate which heats up the food inside.
Parts Of Slow Cooker
Other than the cooker base, there are different parts of this appliance. They are- plug, cooker liner, cooker lid, etc. Actually, the different parts of this appliance depending on its type. For example- a multi purpose cooker or multi cooker may have some special structure to have a pressure cooking facility. Also, it may have normal glass lids to act as a curry cooker. But the parts of a basic cooker is pretty much the same.
Some cookers have a timer with it. The timer actually controls the cooking time. So you cook your food for just the right time. This way you can avoid undercooking or overcooking your food. So you can get just the perfect cooking and texture to your food.
Most of the cookers have different cooking options. They are operated in three different settings. They are- low, medium and high. These three options have different heat settings for different purposes. For example, if you want some fork tender beef, cook it on high for several hours. This way, even the cheap cut beef cook really well and becomes soft and juicy.
On the other hand, you should cook vegetables at a low temp. setting to prevent overlooking. Because overcooked vegetables turn mushy and don’t taste good. Usually, a low range cooker has only three different options. But a mid range cooker or a high range cooker has more options.
Some of them have even a specific temperature setting to cook more precisely. So this is how a typical and basic cooker work. These functions are quite enough to make your cooking effortless.
How To Work Smart Cooker
A smart cooker is a major game changer for its functions. It has so many different sets of functions that you do not have to tension about cooking anymore. A smart operating process and amazing performance make the smart cooker a timeless creation. It has various settings and preset functions. So you do not even have to memorize how to cook different cooks. Seeking recipes for every single cooking is literally a pain for all of us. So why not use the preset functions?
There are numerous preset functions of this appliance. Although it depends on the brands and models. Some cookers have roughly 12-15 preset functions. On the other hand some of them have only 3-4 preset functions. But we happen to use only a few preset functions to do our work. Because most of us are still not aware of how versatile this appliance can be. Speaking of the versatile cooker, multi purpose cooker or multi cooker is another form of a smart cooker.
The best part of a smart cooker is its connectivity functions. These are the facilities that earned a “Smart” tag to some cookers. We all pretty much heard about Wifi cookers. These cookers connect through Wifi system to provide better controls over them. Although Wifi cooker is not that available in the market yet. But some of the companies already released a number of the smart cooker. This smart cooker is indeed super cool and amazing for our home.
Wifi cookers basically work on the effect of timer and temperature. You can control the time and temperature with your smartphone. This way you can even turn off the cooker from your smartphone. This sounds really cool and fantastic for the lazy cookers.
There’s another type of smart cooker. That is Alexa enabled smart cooker. Or they are also known as Alexa slow cooker. This is another ingenious creation that provides even more flexibility to a smart cooker. The basic structures of a smart cooker are pretty much the same. You get extra advantage of smart control, that’s all.
Can You Use A Slow Cooker To Cook Rice
Many of you have asked whether this appliance can cook rice. Well, it depends on the brand and model. Normally low range cookers do not have that much versatile option. Rather mid range or high end smart cooker has separate options for cooking rice. Although that doesn’t mean you can not cook rice in a low range cooker. If you keep the cooker on high and keep an eye on the rice, you can get fluffy rice like any high end rice cooker.
But getting a multi cooker can give you the best result. A multi cooker has separate option for cooking rice. So you do not have to fear even if you do not have a rice cooker. Although getting the perfect outcome depends on the quality of the rice. Because there are various types of rice in the world. For example- white rice, brown rice, wild rice, black rice, etc.
Each of them has different texture and flavors. Also, their cooking processes are different. Cooking in the same manner will not give the same result to every type of rice.
So it is wise not to rely on only this appliance. Getting a smart cooker or multi cooker can be a great idea, but in the end, we would opt for getting the best rice cooker. You can know more about rice cooker from our smart rice cooker reviews section.
Is Slow Cooker Healthy
Many of us are eager to know if slow cooked meal is healthy or not. Although it is not unknown that eating slow cooked food is the healthiest habit ever. It has a lot more nutritious and qualitative benefits than any other food. Slow cooking food breaks down the complex food elements. So it is easier for you to absorb the food.
Besides, searing and frying meat makes it tough. Hence you can suffer from a lot of inconvenient situations like constipation. According to a lot of studies, a habit of eating fried and seared food can cause colon cancer. So getting accustomed to eat slow cooked food is beneficial for your physical health.
There are many other benefits of slow cooked food. Sometimes, high heat can break down some essential food elements like vitamins. For example- Vitamin C loses its activity when it is heated. On the other hand, slow cooking keeps the essential nutrients intact.
That is why eating stews and soups are more energizing if you are weak. So getting this appliance can promote a healthy eating habit for your family.
Are Slow Cookers Safe
Health concern is the age old question whenever you get to know a new appliance. Just like that, we researched if using this appliance is safe for your health. Because sometimes using an appliance can be injurious to your health.
For example, using plastic material in the kitchen appliance is not good if the material isn’t BPA free. Because this notorious element in plastic can cause cancer to us. There are other materials that can cause an injury similarly.
But do not irritation, buying this appliance is absolutely safe if you buy it from famous brands. Famous brands offer high end appliances that will be safe for your health.
As this appliance involves heating, any bad quality plastic material can cause a catastrophe. Other than that, this appliance is safe for everyday use.
Are Slow Cooker Liners Safe
Many people use an additional liner with their cookers. This liner eradicates the hassle of cleaning the cooker. Because some of the cookers have the pot fixed with the base. In spite of causing an extra hassle, fixed pots are better in some cases.
For example, ceramic pots have a higher chance of getting cracked if not fastened to the base. You can learn more about ceramic coatings from our post on Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel Cookware. Fixed pots often becomes a nightmare when you need to clean it. Using a liner can solve this problem easily. But the question is, are they safe?
The answer lies in the material. There are some certain materials that are heatproof. On the other hand, you should not use cheap plastic liners. Because they are often found to be harmful to health. Instead, you can use silicon cooker liners. The silicon ones are easier to wash where the plastic ones are for one time use.
Some people use a divider liner for their large size cookers. So that they can cook two different meals simultaneously. For this purpose, we would recommend the silicone ones too. But if you want to use the one time use products, check the material before buying.
Does Slow Cooker Use A Lot Of Electricity
There’s a common misconception about this appliance is, it consumes a lot of electricity. But the truth is, it doesn’t. You may think it wastes a lot of electricity as it runs for a long time. It does run for a long time, but it consumes less electricity than a usual rice cooker or multi cooker. Because it runs on a very low heat, therefore, consuming less electricity. It depends on the brands and model.
Normally, this appliance runs on 70 watts to as high as 250 watts at the highest setting. On the other hand, a rice cooker consumes around 700 watts per hour. So the difference is obvious. A smart cooker reportedly consumes less electricity than a rice cooker. So the concept is totally invalid.
Can Slow Cooker Cause Fire?
Considering the duration of usage, the possibility of catching fire isn’t uncanny. Low quality cookers may have a dull wiring system. So sometimes it may catch fire. But the possibility is extremely slim. As the cooker runs on low voltage electricity, there are fewer chances of causing an accident. So you do not need to headache about it and keep using your appliance unworried.
Why Use a Slow Cooker?
At this point in our post, you already know why you should get a smart cooker. The slow cooker is not a usual appliance like other kitchen items. It has a lot of difference from other appliances, which cannot replace this appliance. Here are some important aspects of why slow cookers differ from any other appliance:
Slow Cooker vs Pressure Cooker
Slow cookers and pressure cookers are like the two opposite poles. Every single feature of them is opposite to each other. Like when we look into the basic differences, slow cooker cooks slowly and pressure cooks fast. But they are more different other than just this basic point. Here are some important points of how slow cooker differs from pressure cooker:
- This appliance works on a normal atmospheric pressure, whereas a pressure cooker works on a comparatively higher temperature.
- An electric pressure cooker normally generates high heat and a slow cooker works on low heat.
- A slow cooker builds up a better flavor profile than a pressure cooker.
- Slow cookers need more liquid where pressure cookers need less liquid to cook the food.
- Pressure cookers require an airtight seal on the lid. But a slow cooker doesn’t need that.
- Slow cookers are ideal for warming food. Pressure cookers are ideal for a quick meal.
- Slow Cookers use less energy. On the other hand, pressure cookers use high energy as it works on high heat.
In both cases, both of them are important for their unique use. So know your preferences before choosing one. If you’re looking for a bang on pressure cooker, check out our post on Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker.
Slow Cooker vs Multi-Cooker
Multi Cooker is actually another form of a slow cooker. In other words, a multi cooker is a versatile appliance with a slow cooking option. This appliance remains completely dedicated to slow cooking. But a multi cooker has numerous options to use. For example- you will get an all in one feature in a multi cooker.
Like rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, etc. But the sad thing is, not all the multi cookers perform great. Most of the time they cannot perform a single function properly. Hence, experts recommend buying separate appliances for different purposes.
On the other hand, some of the multi cookers can manage to pull off a decent job. Some of them are quite smart as a smart cooker. But if you use the slow cooking function frequently, we would advice getting a smart cooker only. A multi cooker and a slow cooker have no difference other than function. So it’s up to you which one you should choose.
Slow Cooker vs Rice Cooker
We already mentioned previously that, cooking the perfect rice depends on a lot of factors. You can cook rice in this appliance, but you will not get a good result as a rice cooker. A smart cooker may have a rice cooking option to cook rice or farro almost effortlessly.
On the other hand, a multi purpose rice cooker may have a slow cooking option. But none of them can replace each other. You can not prefer this appliance over a rice cooker if you like rice. So we suggest to get both of them. However, below are some difference between slow cooker and rice cooker:
- Slow cooker normally has less electric use but rice cooker uses a lot more electric than this appliance.
- Rice cookers have only two settings, cook & warm. This appliance does not have it. They have different heat settings depending on the brand.
- Rice cookers automatically stop cooking and go to warm mode once the rice is done. This appliance does not have such an automatic function.
- Rice cookers can act as a food steamer. This appliance cannot do that.
These two appliances are equally significant for our kitchen. So if you do not buy a multi cooker, get one of each.
Slow Cooker vs Oven
An electric oven has a totally different service than this appliance. Comparing these two is quite useless. Because a kitchen is not a kitchen without an electric oven. Still, we are comparing these two to show the functions of these two
- An oven is used for baking, roasting, broiling and so many things. On the other hand this appliance can be used for simmering and poaching food.
Slow Cooker vs Dutch Oven
Despite having a difference in features, they have the same use. A Dutch oven is what we used to use it before the cooker was invented. So many people have a hard time to choose between one of them. However, we are presenting some basic differences below:
- The difference is obvious in the looks. This appliance has an electric connection where a Dutch oven is meant to be used on the stove top.
- You have to keep an eye on the Dutch oven while simmering something. But you do not have to do that for the slow cooker because you can set the time.
- Most of the time we sear or braise the food before simmering. A Dutch oven offers more flexibility in that.
- You cannot keep the food warm in Dutch oven unless reheating. This appliance doesn’t have this problem.
- You can use the Dutch oven in your oven when necessary. This appliance gets a minus point on this one.
- The most important difference of all, you can not leave a Dutch oven simmering on a stovetop. But you can become tension free about turning on the slow cooker and going to work.
In our opinion, using this appliance provides more comfort and flexibility than a Dutch oven. So our winner is a smart cooker. If you still prefer dutch oven, you can check out the tips & tricks from our post on how to use dutch oven as slow cooker. You’ll definitely find a solution.
How To Use Slow Cooker
Using this appliance isn’t rocket science. Rather it’s easier to operate than any other appliances. If you can operate a microwave, or a washing machine, using a smart cooker will be a piece of cake. Still, those who never used this appliance may find it troublesome. That is why you should know how to properly use this appliance. Here’s how you can effortlessly manage this appliance yourself:
Follow The Instruction Manual
Every cooker comes with an instruction manual. Some of them include a lot of recipes too. The user manual is to illustrate various uses of this appliance including how to operate it. Although most of the cookers have the same method. Follow the user manual properly to know the usage of your cooker better.
Know Your Slow Cooker
The first thing you will want to know is the different parts of the cooker. Different cookers have different command functions. So the first thing is to locate different buttons and know how they work.
Fixed Pot? Don’t Worry
Some of the cookers have the cooking pot fixed to the base. In that case, you may have to use a slow cooker liner. We have already discussed liners earlier in this post. So we are skipping this part.
Find A Proper Place
The first thing you need to make sure is, find a proper place to keep the cooker. If you use this appliance frequently, you should find a permanent place for it. You should ensure a secure electric connection for your cooker. Because it is mandatory so that you can avoid any accident from happening.
Cannot find a proper place for your fondest slow cooker? Check out our easy ideas on How to organize a small kitchen from our previous post.
Test For The First Time
Before you use your cooker for the first time, wash the pot. Since the product is new, it may have a plastic smell. You can ejection in some water to check if it’s working properly. Put your cooker on high and wait for some time.
Try Out The Features
You can learn about your cooker’s specific feature from the user manual. Use it to get help.
Slow Cooker Cleaning
Cleaning your cooker after use is a must. Because if you don’t clean your cooker after you cook, the residual food may smell and dry out. Which makes it tougher to clean. If you have this appliance that has a fixed pot. Make sure to pat dry it after cleaning.
Careful From The Babies!
Put your cooker out of reach from the babies. Because they can break it or damage it.To summarize, cleaning properly is a major usage criterion of this appliance. Because hygiene comes first. Here are some tip and tricks for how to clean up your cooker after usage:
How To Clean A Slow Cooker
The cleaning method for any cooker will depend on the type of cooker. More precisely, it will depend on the cooking pot. Because the pot may have different materials. Besides, it may or may not be fixed with the base. So the cleaning process is different.
We already said, it is wise to use a liner to the fixed pots. Because cleaning properly along with the pot is nearly impossible. Any penetration of water may damage your cooker permanently.
But knowing it can be harmful to health, some people do not want to use a liner. In that case, you can wash the cooker following some simple steps:
- First, dump some soap water and put your cooker on high. It will dissolve all the residual food.
- Use a sponge to clean your cooker and then try to rinse it with water. Make sure not to let the water penetrate inside.
- Quickly pat dry the cooker with a kitchen towel.
- You can wash the lid in the dishwasher.
- If your pot has a nonstick coating, do not wash it roughly. Use only soap water and soft sponges.
Cooker with extra pots doesn’t have that much hassle. You can put it on the dishwasher if you want. But washing them by hand is the best method.
How To Use A Smart Slow Cooker
Using a smart slow cooker is quite different than using a basic version. Depending on the model, you can learn to make the proper use of it. You can follow video tutorials on YouTube or read the user manual to make the full use of your smart cooker. Other than that, the usage and care are the same as a basic cooker.
Are Slow Cookers Worth It?
In our opinion, buying a smart cooker is a fantastic idea. We have already explained the reason behind it. If you can relate your everyday problems as we faced, you should definitely get a smart slow cooker.
We assure you to get a great service if you buy a smart slow cooker according to our direction. If you’re still struggling to choose the suitable one, you can simply rely on our in-depth reviews & buy the one you like the most.
Slow Cooker Buying Guide
Before choosing this appliance, you may have to keep a lot of things in mind. But the suitable one solely depends on what you prefer. You should only buy the product that matches your preference. Here’s what you may need to keep in mind before buying this appliance:
The size of your cooker will depend entirely on the number of your family members. Do not buy a large one if you have a small family. If you are buying this appliance to host a party, you should choose a buffet cooker. A buffet cooker has dual or triple pots smart for serving multiple items. For a family of 4-7, you can buy a 6 quart cooker.
For frequent use, it’s wise to choose a permanent spot for your cooker. That is why compact size should be preferred.
The inner pot and the lid material can be different depending on the models. Inner pots have either ceramic or metal material. You can choose either one of these as both are good for heat conduction. Most of the cookers have a glass lid. Make sure to buy the models with a tempered glass lid. Otherwise, the lids may break.
It’s really important to check if the model has a removable pot. Because the removable pots are easier to clean. If you want to clean your crocks comfortably, choose the ones with a removable pot.
Searing is important for any food for tastier results. So try to choose the ones with a searing option.
Timer is another important criterion for choosing this appliance. The basic versions usually don’t have one. But the mid-range and high range cookers often have one. Working people should obviously choose the ones with a timer. So that you do not let your food overcook and burn.
In our opinion, oval-shaped cookers are ideal for beef ribs or roast chicken. They fit nicely in an oval cooker. The shape doesn’t even matter for vegetables or small stuff.
It’s important to have a warm function in your cooker to avoid reheating your food. Besides a warm function can stop the cooking process yet keeps it warm until dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Well, it depends on your dorm authority. Contact your dorm supervisor to know if you can use this appliance.
You can do the simmering part of the recipe in your cooker. If your one has a searing function, you can do it more easily.
It depends on your cooking time and your preferred doneness. Follow what your recipe says.
It depends on the temperature. Normally a chicken gets cooked within 1 hour on high.
Using an ample amount of water and keeping it on a low heat will prevent it from getting stuck.
Yes, you can. Lift the lid and give it a stir to spread the flavor evenly.
The best temperature for slow cooking is 165 F to 200 F.
Yes, you can. If you do not time slow cooking, put it on high.
The temperature of slow cooking is under boiling temperature. So it is not enough to kill all the bacteria.
No, it runs on very little energy. So even though it runs for a long time, it doesn’t consume much energy.
So here goes our everything on smart slow cooker. If you are planning to buy one, spare some time and give it a read. You will definitely find the perfect product for your lovely kitchen. What’s your choice for the best slow cooker?