Slow cookers or crock-pots have evolved into many working-class families way of cooking. It’s a delight to prep a dish, place it in the slow cooker and leave for work in the morning while knowing that you will return for a fully cooked meal.
Crock-pots have an all-around heating component inside of the actual insert that promotes even cooking and make dishes very tender. Even the most inexpensive cuts of meat are falling off the bone tender when you cook them in a slow cooker. Here is a review on some of the best-rated slow cookers I’ve found.
The Gourmia Supreme 8 in 1 – Best Value
Amazon.com – unavailable currently
Amazon.com – unavailable currently
This innovative slow cooker is multi-functional. It has a 5.6 qt bowl, which is generous for most families. It is made of cast aluminum with a non-stick lining to make the heat distribution even throughout the pot. This type of lining is also very easy to clean, saving you time in the kitchen. The exterior is stainless steel to match all of your kitchen appliances and update your kitchen countertops.
The countdown timer displays how much time is left for a dish to cook. This lets you make additional dishes or side dishes without guessing on what time to start them and to end up with a meal all cooked at once. The purchase of this item includes a tempered glass lid to view the food while cooking, a fry basket, steamer basket, roasting rack, and the nonstick pot.
Most slow cookers don’t have a way to brown the meat before cooking it and you have to dirty another pot or pan to do so before putting food in it. This model lets you place it on stir-fry and brown your meat directly in the cooker before cooking it. You can also use this appliance as a deep fryer, a grill, to boil dishes, a steamer for delicious vegetables as well as a slow cooker.
The fully programmable digital face allows you to choose a temperature between 122 degrees Fahrenheit and 464 degrees Fahrenheit. You can program the time from 1 minute to 9 hours and 59 minutes or choose the cooking function for a default time. When the cooking time is over, the pot automatically sets itself to the warm function at 176 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.
This feature keeps foods from drying out by only working for two hours after the cooking cycle is complete. All of the cooking components stack nicely together inside of the pot to save storage room in your kitchen.
The programmable timer is a bit tricky to master until you have used it a few times. You select the cooking function and it automatically goes to a default time and temperature for that setting. To change the time and add or decrease minutes, you press the “Time/Temp” button once and then the + or – button to adjust it. Adjusting the temperature is done in the same manner, except you press the “Time/Temp” button twice before the = or – button.
This item is the best value for all of the different functions of this slow cooker that can be used when you are away from home or at home. Multi-functional appliances save money in the long run by not having to purchase a separate appliance for each type of cooking.
Alternative: Hamilton Beach 33480
The Gourmia is temporarily unavailable, but this one is a great alternative. Easily schedule your meal with the Hamilton Beach 33480 with its countdown timer and programmable time settings.
1st Runner-Up – Hamilton Beach Set & Forget
This slow cooker is also a newer updated version of the older types of crock-pots. It has a programmable screen on the front with a stainless steel outer coating on the pot.
You can choose from three modes of cooking on this appliance. You can use it as a manual cooker and place it on high, low or warm. The program mode allows you set to a temperature and time for a dish to cook and it automatically switches to warm after the time is up. When cooking a large piece of meat it can be hard to estimate how long it needs to cook to be done in the center. Hamilton Beach has a meat probe that is placed through a hole in the glass lid to insert into the middle of the meat. The probe monitors the internal temperature at all times and the slow cooker changes to the warm function as soon as the temperature you programmed is reached. This also allows you to have let’s say a large roast cooked as you like it, whether it is slightly rare, medium or well done.
If you are not using the meat probe, make certain not to block the hole for it. The wattage is based on either the probe being inserted or the hole allowing steam to escape. Closing off the hole will result in food not being fully cooked.
2nd Runner-Up – Crock-Pot Cook and Carry
This slow cooker has a 6.5-quart removable stoneware bowl and includes a Little Dipper food warmer. It sports an attractive stainless steel outer pot with non-slip grip handles and has a glass oval lid.
This appliance is great for making food to bring somewhere outside the home. The lid fits very securely with tight-fitting clamps on each side. This prevents any type of spills when you cook or warm dishes in it and take them to a potluck dinner, barbeque, tailgate party or any other type of function. The Little Dipper holds 16 ounces of product and is a good idea for keeping dips warm at a function. It is also beneficial to use in keeping sauces to go with the main dish warm.
This slow cooker is not programmable for precise cooking and only has high, low, warm and off settings on the dial.
3rd Runner-Up – Crock Pot 8 Qt Slow Cooker
The model SCV800-S by Crock Pot is a manual appliance that many love for the ease of use. It is stainless steel with a glass-tempered lid in an oval shape with black accents and two black handles on either side. The handle on the lid rises higher than most, so it is cooler to the touch when removing it and you are less likely to burn yourself on the glass lid.
The generous easy to clean pot holds a full 8 quarts of food. This is especially great for entertaining or for a large family. The removable oval stoneware insert and the glass lid are both dishwashers safe for easy cleanup. This model can be used on high, low or warm. This model is easy to use for older persons because it is a manual cooker.
The downside to this appliance is that it is manual and doesn’t allow you to program exact times and temperatures for your cooking.
The Winner Is
The Gourmia 8 in 1 slow cooker is definitely the best appliance on the market for cooking in a variety of styles with only one appliance needed. The space-saving design, easy clean pot, and fully programmable controls make this a true winner that anyone would enjoy having in their kitchen.
Since the Gourmia Supreme is temporarily unavailable, the first runner-up – Hamilton Beach Set & Forget takes over the trophy.