Welcome to Slow Cooker Week! We’re sharing all our favorite Crock Pot recipes, tips, tricks, and advice this week—and including the Instant Pot, of course, since it slow cooks too. Here, find our picks for the best Crock Pot and slow cooker models to buy in 2020.
You really can’t beat the convenience of a Crock Pot or slow cooker, especially if you have a busy schedule (and we’ll include the Instant Pot here too). What other appliance lets you prep a meal in the morning, then come home to a ready-to-eat dinner eight hours later? Not only are slow cookers convenient, but they’re also incredibly versatile, cooking everything from soups, stews, and meats to all kinds of fun desserts and drinks.
Related Reading: Enter to Win a Wolf Gourmet Slow Cooker Through March 9!
If you’re shopping for a new slow cooker, there are dozens of products to choose from today. The following are some of our favorite Crock Pots and slow cookers for 2020:
- Best Overall: Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp-Tracking Probe
- Best Budget: Elite Gourmet 1.5-Quart Electric Slow Cooker
- Best Family-Sized: Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker
- Best for One Person: Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Crock Slow Cooker
- Best Programmable: De’Longhi Livenza Programmable Slow Cooker with Stovetop-Safe Pot
- Best Self-Stirring: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker with iStir Stirring System
- Best Multi-Cooker: Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker
- Most Travel-Friendly: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker
- Best for Buffets: TRU 2.5-Quart Triple Crock Buffet Slow Cooker
- Most Stylish: Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker
What to Look for When Buying a Slow Cooker
Most modern slow cookers come with a few standard features, including low, high, and warming settings, a sturdy inner pot, and a glass lid. However, their similarities often end there, leaving you to pick and choose which features you need.
The first thing you’ll want to consider when purchasing a slow cooker is the size. You can find models as small as 1.5 quart or as large as 10 quarts, with many increments in between. A small 2- or 3-quart slow cooker is usually recommended for two or three people, while larger models are ideal for big families or frequent hosts. When in doubt, 6-quart slow cookers are a popular middle-of-the-road option.
Related Reading: 21 Easy Family Meals for the Slow Cooker
There’s also the matter of features. You can find both manual and programmable slow cookers—the key difference being you can set a timer on programmable units, and they’ll automatically switch to the warming setting when your food is done cooking. This style of slow cooker is ideal if you plan to leave it running while you’re at work, as it ensures your meal is never overcooked.
You can also find slow cookers with locking lids for easy transport, self-stirring systems, temperature-monitoring probes, searing and browning abilities, and more. It’s all a matter of how you plan to use your slow cooker—just remember that units with more features tend to cost more money.
With all that in mind, you might be wondering how, exactly, we make our recommendations. Naturally, our selections are based on personal experiences, but we also take into account product ratings across numerous websites, customer reviews, pricing, brand reputation, and professional test results. That said, here are the best slow cookers you can buy right now.
Best Overall: Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Temp Tracker Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe, $58.48 from Amazon
For a slow cooker that’s reliable, packed with features, and well-priced, we’d recommend the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Temp Tracker Slow Cooker. This unit is a good size for most people’s needs—its 6-quart interior can accommodate a 6-pound chicken—and it has a variety of settings that will help you accomplish more in the kitchen.
One of the most unique and useful features of this slow cooker is its integrated temperature probe, which continuously tracks the temperature of food during use. It will automatically switch to warm or hold the selected temperature when your desired level of doneness is reached, ensuring your food is never over- or undercooked. Plus, there are four spots on the lid where you can insert the probe depending on what you are cooking.
In addition to the probe, this Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker features a digital display with a countdown timer and temperature reading. It includes a locking lid for those times you need to bring a meal on the road, as well as standard cooking functions, including low, medium, high, and keep warm settings.
With all these features, you might expect this appliance to have a steep price tag, but it’s actually quite affordable, retailing for around $60. Plus, it receives glowing reviews from both home chefs and professionals who agree it’s a worthwhile investment.
For a no-frills appliance that costs less than a takeout meal, the Elite Gourmet 1.5-Quart Slow Cooker is the obvious choice. This petit model has a manual design, meaning you have to monitor its progress, but you can’t beat its super-low price.
This 1.5-quart slow cooker is ideal for one or two people, and it features a knob that lets you set it to low, high, and keep warm settings. It has a stainless steel finish, tempered glass lid, and cool-touch handles, and both the lid and inner pot are dishwasher-safe for easy clean up. Reviewers say the Elite Gourmet Slow Cooker holds around 4 cups of liquid, and many note it’s perfect for small households with limited storage space.
Best Family-Sized: Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker, $59.99 from Amazon
If you’re on the hunt for an appliance that can cater to a crowd, the Hamilton Beach Extra-Large 10-Quart Slow Cooker is the way to go. This spacious model can accommodate a 10-pound turkey or 8-pound roast, making it the ideal option for large families or anyone who frequently hosts events for large groups of people. This extra-large slow cooker is another manual model, so you have to monitor it and adjust the temperature settings as needed.
In addition to its high, low, and warm settings, this slow cooker from Hamilton Beach has full-grip handles and a dishwasher-safe crock and lid. It comes with a clip-tight lid, which lets you secure the top in place for easy transport to a potluck or other event. Reviewers love the size of this slow cooker, writing that it’s big enough to make a whole chicken with room for vegetables, too.
Best for One Person: Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Crock Slow Cooker, $26.41 on Amazon
For shoppers who most frequently cook for just one or two people, the Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker is an adorable compact and budget-friendly model. This manual slow cooker has a fun diamond pattern on the exterior, and it even includes locking lid clips in case you need to transport it somewhere.
Unlike many slow cookers, this model from Crock-Pot has a squat, casserole-shaped form. It’s ideal for serving up to three people, and the stoneware crock is even oven-safe, so you can use it as a casserole dish. Who doesn’t love an appliance that does double duty? According to reviewers, the highlights of this product include its fun pattern, compact form, and reliable performance. Many agree it’s perfect for empty-nesters who are downsizing or those living alone in small apartments.
Best Programmable: De’Longhi Livenza Programmable Slow Cooker, $129.99 on Amazon
If you plan to leave your slow cooker on while you’re at work or out of the house, you’ll want a programmable model such as the top-rated De’Longhi Livenza. This 6-quart slow cooker not only boasts an incredibly sleek appearance, but it has an easy-to-read digital display that lets you set a timer for up to 24 hours, after which it will automatically switch to Keep Warm mode for up to 12 hours.
The De’Longhi slow cooker has a stovetop- and oven-safe inner pot, allowing you to sear or braise meat right in the crock before setting it to cook. The unit’s TrueTemp technology is designed to hold the temperature steady throughout cooking, but the one downside is you have to wash the inner pot and lid by hand. Nevertheless, reviewers have great things to say about this programmable slow cooker, writing that it’s incredibly user-friendly, sleek, and versatile.
Best Self-Stirring: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker with iStir Stirring System, $59.99 on Amazon
It’s an age-old dilemma: You want to whip up a meal in the slow cooker while you’re gone for the day, but the recipe says the ingredients need to be stirred periodically. You could forego the stirring and hope for the best, or you could simply invest in this Crock-Pot 6-Quart Digital Slow Cooker, which comes with the brand’s unique iStir Stirring System.
This programmable slow cooker features a digital countdown timer allows you to set cooking time anywhere between 30 minutes to 20 hours. Its unique lid comes with two stirring attachments—a general purpose paddle and a stew paddle—and you can set it to automatically stir its contents every half hour after an initial two-hour delay. The iStir feature works with any time settings, and it will even continue stirring once the unit has switched over to warm mode. Additionally, this Crock-Pot’s bowl, lid, and stirring paddles are all dishwasher friendly, and many reviewers say it’s worth the price for the auto-stir feature alone.
Best Multi-Cooker: Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker, $111.99
Not a fan of single-use appliances? Then you might want to look into a multi-cooker, which gives you more functions than just slow cooking. In particular, the Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multi-Cooker is a well-regarded model thanks to its various cooking functions, programmability, and easy-to-use controls. It features a 6-quart nonstick aluminum cooking pot, as well as a glass lid with a cool-touch handle and steaming rack.
This multi-cooker has three settings: slow cook, steam, and brown/sauté. You can choose your desired function using the three buttons on the front, and when sauteéing, you can adjust the temperature up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The slow-cooking setting includes a programmable 24-hour timer, as well as high, low, simmer, and keep warm options, and the steaming option lets you cook all sorts of vegetables without dirtying a pan. (Or you could always get an Instant Pot.)
Most Travel-Friendly: Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker, $49.99 at Target
If you’re always running off to a potluck or tailgate, you’ll definitely want a travel-friendly slow cooker like the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry. This programmable model comes equipped with an easy-to-use locking lid that features a gasket to create a tight seal, helping to prevent spills while traveling.
You can program this Crock-Pot with cook times anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours on high or low settings, and it will automatically shift to the warm setting when the cook time is complete. Both the lid and stoneware crock are dishwasher-safe, and you can even put the inner pot in the microwave if needed.
Best for Buffets: TRU 1.5-Quart Triple Crock Buffet Slow Cooker, $49.99 on Amazon
Want to be able to cook several dishes at once? The TRU Triple Crock Buffet Slow Cooker has a unique design that features three 2.5-quart pots that can be independently controlled—perfect for buffets or hosting a holiday gathering! This slow cooker features manual controls and three heat settings, and each of the three inserts includes a tempered glass lid that lets your guests see what’s inside. Additionally, the pots have convenient indented spoon rests so you can keep serving utensils right alongside the dishes—it doesn’t get better than that.Buy Now
Most slow cookers look fairly similar, but if you’re looking for a more stylish model to display on your kitchen counter, the Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker delivers. This modern appliance boasts sleek lines and a matte grey exterior, as well as a variety of features to help you whip up delicious dishes.
This slow cooker has a 5-quart capacity, and its ceramic-coated aluminum cooking pot is safe for use in the oven and on all styles of stovetops, allowing you to brown meat right in the pot before cooking. The Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker has low, high, and warm settings, as well as a digital timer that lets you set your meal to cook then forget about it. Reviewers say this slow cooker is simple to use and incredibly sleek, and most agree it’s worth the investment.
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Header image courtesy of Williams Sonoma