This guide is regularly updated with new models that have been tried, tested and top-rated by BBC Good Food’s reviews experts. Those featuring earned it based on their performance during rigorous, impartial product testing. Included is a selection of new releases and firm favourites that continuously hold their position against new brand models. We will only ever feature slow cookers that prove to be good value for money.
There is much to love about a slow cooker. The ease of arriving home to a hot meal ready to eat is a convenient luxury that simply makes life easier. With these hands-off appliances, there is no need to stand over the pot stirring, as slow cookers apply an even heat and don’t get hot enough for the food to catch.
The best slow cookers also help you to get the very best out of cheaper cuts of meat. Cooking at low temperatures for a long period can tenderise the meat and enhance the flavour. Slow cookers are also less energy intensive than conventional electric ovens, and therefore more economical. Finally, they offer a healthier, low-fat way of cooking and often preserve more nutrients than other methods such as baking, boiling and frying.
Slow cookers tend to be simple and easy to use too. Usually comprised of just a few components, most can be used straight out of the box. Different models meet different criteria and come with additional features like automatic timers. Some high-tech models feature sous-vide settings and specific ingredient pre-sets to help you make the most of your meal.
Different designs and technologies mean that slow cookers can vary in price.
What to look out for when buying a slow cooker?
With so many different slow cookers out there, choosing the right one for you can be confusing. Here are a few questions you might want to consider.
- Design: Are you looking for a simple, budget-friendly option that just slow-cooks (but does it extremely well) or something more versatile that sous-vides, pressure cooks, bakes and roasts too? Do bear in mind that the more technological the slow cooker, the higher the price.
- Size: With sizes starting at 1-litre through to a whopping 6.5-litres, choosing the right size for you is imperative. The smallest sizes are suitable when cooking for one or two. 3-litres to 4.5-litres (one of the most popular sizes on the market) serve four, and the large 6-6.5-litre models are super for families and batch cooking. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the capacity stated on the sales blurb is the size of the bowl, not the working capacity, which can sometimes be half that.
- Space: A slow cooker takes up space on the worktop and in the cupboard. There are two shapes, the round and tall, which has less of a footprint, and the oval, which takes up more room but can be more versatile.