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slow cookers - anything to look for when buying?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 07, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Hi all, Im wondering if there are any particular bands/models that are better than others for slow cooking? or if there is anything to look for when buying one?

thanks

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on February 07, 2012
at 02:44 PM

More confirmation of slow cookers leaching heavy metals here: http://betterlivingnutrition.com/2012/01/19/in-praise-of-the-crock-pot-but-for-one-little-fly-in-the-ointment-part-ii/ And a long discussion about it here: http://insightfulnana.com/home-garden/housekeeping-home-garden/lead-poisoning-and-crock-pots/html From the latter it seems that Cuisinart slow cookers are a safe bet.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 07, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I've heard that too, but we don't use ours every day, so I don't worry much about it. If I were buying a new one, I'd be careful not to use anything that might scratch it, as my understanding is that the heavy metals aren't likely to get through unless you scratch the enamel coating.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:13 PM

I had that same one - newer ones ARE NOT all one piece, thank god.

E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:12 PM

I have two vintage Crockpots and the best part about them is that one came with a cookbook from the 1960s. People weren't afraid of meat back then! My only problem with the pots is that they're small, so often chickens and large bone-in roasts don't fit :( They have two temp settings and no timer or anything, but they work perfectly and I love them! Oh, one other problem is that they are all one piece (are new ones like this too?) so they are slightly inconvenient to clean.

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9 Answers

best answer

3
91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

on April 07, 2011
at 07:05 PM

I've bought many brands of slow-cookers over the years and don't necessarily recommend one over the other, but there are a couple of things you should take into consideration when you buy one.

Buy one that is the right size. If you're only going to be cooking enough for one person - say a roast that will last you for 3 or 4 meals, a very large one is going to overcook/dry out your food. However, if you're going to be making large pieces of meat or large quantities of stew/soup, get the largest one you can.

The second most important feature I can think of is one that has multiple heat settings and a timer that will put the cooker on simmer then automatically turn off after a certain amount of time. It'll save a lot of grief in the long run.

Other than that, make sure the slow cooker itself is sturdily constructed and the crock is thick, heavy and evenly glazed.

2
A3ff262a2686d79789e09a26013901b3

on April 07, 2011
at 07:29 PM

Not to put a downer on the subject, 'cause I like slow cookers too,' but I have read somewhere on this forum about heavy metals leaching from the ceramics. Now I don't know how much or any thing like that and I still use a mainstream cooker myself. There is apparantly a specific brand or type of cooker that uses cleaner clay or whatever to make the pot. Just thought I could give you a little extra info for your consideration.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 07, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I've heard that too, but we don't use ours every day, so I don't worry much about it. If I were buying a new one, I'd be careful not to use anything that might scratch it, as my understanding is that the heavy metals aren't likely to get through unless you scratch the enamel coating.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on February 07, 2012
at 02:44 PM

More confirmation of slow cookers leaching heavy metals here: http://betterlivingnutrition.com/2012/01/19/in-praise-of-the-crock-pot-but-for-one-little-fly-in-the-ointment-part-ii/ And a long discussion about it here: http://insightfulnana.com/home-garden/housekeeping-home-garden/lead-poisoning-and-crock-pots/html From the latter it seems that Cuisinart slow cookers are a safe bet.

2
95c2219003f2a74c5f5a74feac603172

on April 07, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I just got the biggest one that they had at Target at the time. Nothing fancy, I just wanted to be able to put a big roast in there with plenty of room to spare. I find sometimes that even the big one (7 quarts) isn't big enough for all of the veggies I want to put in to it. As for brands, this is what I got: http://www.amazon.com/Crock-Pot-SCV700SS-7-Quart-Manual-Stainless/dp/B003OAJGJO/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1302203038&sr=8-9. I'm pretty happy with it over all, but have considered getting a second crock pot for when I really want to cook up a storm.

1
9722850c9a1c47b79edf7c4233040248

(1276)

on April 08, 2011
at 12:42 PM

I have one with three different-sized inserts (and different heat settings for each one). It's very nice that the same machine can be used for a small amount of meat, or a soup, or a huge pork shoulder, and the inserts stack for storage, which is good in my little apartment. Since we're only two people it's nice to have the small option. If we were a big family I'd only need the bigger size or two, so it depends on how many people you're cooking for and what kind of leftovers you can handle.

1
03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

on April 07, 2011
at 07:56 PM

Modern slow cookers are too hot, due to concern over food safety. Get one with a "warm" setting, which should be around 160-180F, much better for slow cooking roasts.

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on April 07, 2011
at 07:13 PM

My only advice: get one with a removable insert. After inheriting one from my mother that was all one piece, I was so very very glad to finally get one with a removable crock.

Check your local thrift store - I found a nice family sized crock pot for about $15.

0
Cd2ff8c68dd1f1d539ad7f0ee94b0421

on April 08, 2011
at 03:40 AM

I bought my wife (us, really) a Fagor 3-in-1 6 quart multi-cooker. It's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker in one, with a browning cycle for meat and a warmer. It has a removable insert that is very easy to clean (it has some magic coating). We are very, very pleased with it. I got ours from Amazon. They are $112.95 USD as I type.

0
1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

on April 07, 2011
at 08:03 PM

Got a small one with a ceramic insert two black Fridays ago from Wally World(10.00) that has been great for cooking smaller amounts of food my bf won't eat(pork roasts,bone soups,my chili recipe).Also have a larger,older one for shared meals and big roasts.Being able to remove the pot is a huge step up from the 70s and 80s models that were a pain to clean.(do not immerse in water?Then how the %^^&* do I wash it???)

0
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Cooks Illustrated rates (or at least did about a year ago) the All-Clad as #1 (the one with the ceramic insert, not stainless). It is, however quite expensive. Also, a bunch of Amazon buyers say it arrived with the ceramic broken.

I love the All-Clad. It has high, low, and warm settings. I think the latter is key.

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