Best Slow Cooker for Families
Best Slow Cooker for Families
Slow Cookers: Product Comparison
Although they can be an incredibly useful, versatile addition to almost any kitchen, finding the right slow cooker for your needs isn’t easy, and we understand that.
There’s a wide range of models out there with almost as wide a range of prices, and when you factor in all the different features and high-tech functions, it can get very confusing to try to pick out the ‘best’ one. That’s why we’ve put together this comparison post for people like you, taking a close look at five different models and drawing some conclusions that you’ll certainly find helpful.
So, without further ado . . .
Morphy Richards 48702 Review – Our Number 1
Morphy Richards produce some of the best-selling slow cookers out there, and have a generally great reputation — although, of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean their products will be of the highest quality. As far as price, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find one so inexpensive for what the company, and its reviewers, promise (VIEW PRICE HERE!).
- First off, you can sear, stew and slow cook meals in the same pot, as the name would imply. This is really handy — it means much less washing-up! — and if you have limited kitchen space, it’s even more useful.
- The low, medium and high cooking settings allow for various styles of cooking — great for keen chefs!
- Its 3.5-litre capacity is adequate for three to four people, according to the manufacturer. Reviewers claim that it can be used to cook for up to four people at the most, with three people being the optimum, although this depends on the portion size and what exactly you’re making. Like with most other slow cookers, you do have to fill it at least halfway to the brim — which means that while it might not be the best option for making one serving for a single person, it’s handy if you’re aiming to cook larger quantities of food that you can freeze.
- With a non-stick, lightweight, aluminium-coated inner pot, searing meat before combining it with other ingredients and starting the slow-cook process is remarkably easy. This is a feature you’ll probably want to make use of if you’re planning to produce a variety of different meals with your slow cooker!
- The transparent, toughened glass lid allows you to monitor the cooking process without disturbing it — those who are new to slow-cooking will find this a great reassurance, and will be able to check on their dishes without interfering!
The only glaring omission from this product is a timer that could allow you to schedule cooking duration, but buying a digital timer that you can plug it into might be a good work-around. It also lacks an automatic shut-off feature, so if that’s going to concern you, perhaps look elsewhere. If the lack of programmable options isn’t a worry — reviewers say that you can keep food warm on the lowest setting for as long as you like without burning it — then this attractive, easy-to-use product is a fantastic option for those who want to make their first venture into slow cooking.
Features: 3 settings (high, low & medium) — dishwasher-safe — transparent glass lid — sear, stew & slow-cook options — non-stick pan
Morphy Richards Accents 48705 Review – Number 2
Like the previous product, this offering comes from Morphy Richards, who are well-known for their range of slow cookers. You wouldn’t expect there to be all that much variation between different sizes, but customer reviews tell a different story.
- Like its smaller cousin, it’s easy to sear, stew and slow-cook a wide range of foodstuffs with this handy machine. Searing meat or frying vegetables in the cooking pan, which can be done before you commence with the slow-cooking process, means that these ingredients’ flavours combine readily with others, providing a richer culinary experience all around.
- The attractive coloring of this slow cooker — brushed stainless steel — doesn’t retain dirt and fingerprints easily, so with just a little work, it will keep a lasting lustre that can take pride of place in your kitchen.
- Low, medium and high settings allow for many different styles of cooking, and the simple controls (governed by a four-position rotary knob) are easy to use for a first-timer.
- A dishwasher-safe cooking pan — which, with its non-stick aluminium coating, is lightweight and durable — takes away a lot of potential bother with cleaning! The transparent glass lid, which allows you to check on your cooking without interrupting the process, is also advertised as dishwasher-safe and ‘toughened’.
- Able to cater comfortably for up to five people with its 6.5-litre capacity, and six at a stretch, it’s an ideal product for busy families.
Like other Morphy Richards Accents slow cookers, it can’t be used on an induction hob, but is luckily compatible with most others. The cooking time can be shortened if you’re looking to make smaller portions, although you do have to be careful with this — it can burn around the edges if you don’t put in enough food. The lowest setting can also function as a keep-warm setting, which is great — but again, it lacks a timer, which might put some people off. If that doesn’t bother you, this is a beautiful, lightweight slow cooker whose simplicity and ease of use make slow-cooking overnight a breeze.
Features: 3 settings (low, high and medium) — dishwasher-safe — transparent glass lid — sear, stew and slow-cook options — non-stick pan
Breville VTP105 Review – Number 3
Breville slow cookers — and the other kitchen appliances, large and small, they offer — tend to receive highly positive reviews all around, although they’re not as popular as Morphy Richards products, whose brand name is probably a little more popular in the world of slow cooking. This matt-black one has a lot going for it, though!
- This slow cooker, like the two Morphy Richards ones listed above, has a removable inner pot — but if you’re searing meat or frying vegetables, the ceramic finish won’t allow you to do so in the pot itself; you’ll need to transfer these ingredients if you’re going to be pre-preparing them. This is fairly standard for slow cookers. However, you can serve food at the table in the ceramic pot without losing any heat — one less piece of washing-up!
- With a 4.5-litre capacity, this slow cooker is a good size for small families. Reviewers feel it might serve up to four people comfortably, given that it can be filled to about three quarters of its total capacity — and yes, it’s big enough to cook a whole small chicken in.
- The three cooking functions it offers are low, high and auto — the latter of these meaning that the slow cooker will start on high for an hour or so, then reduce the heat to low. The high temperature cooks for about four hours, while for dishes such as stews and curries, the low-temperature, eight-hour setting is a boon. Although it doesn’t offer a medium setting, some might feel that the auto setting is worth the trade-off — you can leave it at home unsupervised if you’re running on a busy schedule, as so many slow cooker users are.
- A tempered, toughened glass lid allows you to keep an eye on your cooking without removing the lid and interrupting the process — perfect for nervous chefs! Also, its handles are cool to the touch, so there’s no need to worry about burning yourself.
With a handy oval shape that’s great if you’ve got limited counter top space, and which allows you to slow-cook larger cuts of meat than others, this is a neat, attractive slow cooker whose auto-cook feature is very handy, and competitively priced. Not being able to sear the meat in the pot might deter some, but the slow and even cooking it provides could well make it worth the extra effort elsewhere.
Features: 3 settings (low, high and auto) — dishwasher-safe glass lid — removable inner ceramic pot — cool-touch handles
Russell Hobbs 19790 Review – Number 4
Known for the quality and convenience of their kitchen appliances and accessories, Russell Hobbs have expanded their efforts towards slow cookers. Surprisingly well-reviewed for its low price, this stainless-steel-finished slow cooker has drawn a lot of attention from novices and more experienced chefs alike.
- With a 3.5-litre stated capacity, and an actual capacity of slightly less, some might find this a little small for their needs — but to each their own. While feeding an entire family with this slow cooker isn’t feasible, even if the manufacturers do claim that you can get a good four or five portions from it, it’d be a perfect product for a couple or a single-person household.
- Three different cooking settings, which can be switched between using a rotary knob, allow for a variety of dishes to be prepared; these settings are low, high and keep-warm, the latter of which ensures a busy schedule won’t leave you hungry by maintaining food at a perfect eating temperature after it’s done cooking.
- The ceramic inner pot is scratch-resistant, and allows food to be served at the table with no fuss; however, you can’t sear meat or fry vegetables in it, and will have to do this separately. Many don’t have a problem with that, so depending on how much space you have in your kitchen, it might not bother you.
- Its glass viewing lid means you don’t have to interrupt your cooking in order to check on it — even for dishes that can easily go wrong if cooked for too long or too little — and the stainless steel base is easy to clean.
Although it lacks a timer, unfortunately, lots of slow cooker fans find a way around this by acquiring a digital timer that they can plug their products into in order to schedule cooking times. The keep-warm setting is probably its most useful feature — some might feel that ‘low’ and ‘high’ simply don’t allow for enough precision in cooking. But if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, introductory, uncomplicated slow cooker, this is a great option.
Features: 3 settings (high, low and keep-warm) — removable ceramic inner pot — glass viewing lid
Andrew James Slow Cooker Review – Number 5
For those who need a slow cooker with a little bit more heft, this Andrew James model could be perfect. Although pricier than the others on this list, this is partly to be expected due to its larger capacity — and partly due to the high quality it promises.
- Its 6.5-litre capacity and slightly smaller actual capacity will be more than big enough for a family of six, according to reviewers. For smaller households, this slow cooker might not be an investment worth making, unless you frequently entertain guests or make large quantities of food to freeze and eat over a week or so — you’ll get a lot of portions out of this!
- Offering three different settings — low, high and auto like the Breville model listed above — this slow cooker allows for a wide variety of different dishes to be prepared. Many people find that the presence of an ‘auto’ setting more than makes up for the lack of a medium one — timings are adjustable, too, so the ‘low’ or ‘high’ settings can be modified to ensure that all the dishes you make are perfectly done.
- With a ceramic inner pot, which couldn’t be easier to clean, this is a non-stick product. Unlike the Morphy Richards models, you can’t sear meat or fry vegetables in it — so if you’re limited on space, given that this is a big slow cooker already, you may want to get a model that offers an aluminium inner pot. Or not — the ceramic is scratch-proof and provides slow, even cooking as any good slow cooker should.
- The glass viewing lid means that checking on your dishes as they cook is no hassle — and cool-touch handles make it perfectly suitable for carrying from countertop to table.
Large enough to feed a sizable family, this slow cooker takes all the inconvenience and rush out of preparing delicious dishes — the auto setting is particularly useful. The high heat, meanwhile, goes to 95 degrees Celsius, while the low heat at 85 degrees can cook all day.
Features: 3 settings (high, low and auto) — ceramic inner pot — glass viewing lid — cool-touch handles
With its dishwasher-safe lid and handy auto setting, the Breville VTP105 Black 4.5 L Slow Cooker is the best of the bunch for the useful features and great value it offers. From customer reviews and specifications, this is a slow cooker you can count on.