The Best Slow Cookers in 2021
The idea behind a slow cooker seems like a dream come true - just drop in the food, then go about your day while your kitchen runs on autopilot. Of course, theres a little more to it than that. Well take you through how to get the most out of your slow cooker, and our recommendations on brands for 2021.
What Does a Slow Cooker Do?
Many people know Slow Cookers as Crock Pots - but that refers to a specific brand made by the company Sun Beam. A slow cooker is made up of three parts. First is the pot, normally made out of porcelain or ceramic. Next is the glass lid. Lastly are the electrical components that heat the pot. Traditionally, slow cookers would bring food to a low boil and keep it there. Modern versions often have advanced settings to let you control the temperature as you prefer over time.
To use a slow cooker, all you need to do is put in whatever you want to cook, which must include a liquid - this could be water or stock. Then cover the ingredients with the lid and flick the On switch - thats it! Most slow cooker recipes call for the food to sit for multiple hours, letting you start a meal early in the day and eat it later. The ceramic pot is an excellent holder of heat, transferring the generated heat into the liquid inside.
How To Get The Most Out of Your Slow Cookers
While we fully encourage you to go wild with your slow cooker, there are a few general guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your appliance.
First, experimenting is great, but following a basic recipe (at least if your an amateur home cook) will produce the best results.
Second - and perhaps counterintuitively - cheaper cuts of meat tend to produce better results with slow cookers. Generally speaking, cheaper cuts of meat tend to be fatty off-cuts like the shoulder. A slow cooker will melt the fat and produce fork-tender results. Pricier cuts like the tenderloin dont have the high-fat content to produce that deliciously tender texture.
Slow cookers are great for leaving root vegetables like potatoes tender as well - put them at the bottom for best cooking so the juices drip down on them.
Another important tip is not to overfill your slow cooker either. Unlike other cooking methods, liquids in slow cookers dont leave through evaporation, being trapped in the lid. You just need enough liquid to cover the food inside. Since the liquid isnt evaporating, some new users find that their slow cooker meals turn out a little watery - try adding some flour for a thicker result.
As tempting as it might be, dont open your slow cooker during cooking. This can ruin the careful accumulation of heat. There are some delicate foods, like leafy herbs, you might want to add at the end of cooking.
Our Favorite Slow Cooker
There are a lot of great slow cookers out on the market. One of our personal favorites is the Brentwood 3.5 Quart Diamond Pattern. It features a durable metal body, cool-touch handles, and Low, Warm, and High settings, letting you adjust your cooking to the time you have. Another similarly great option is the Better Chef 3.6 Quart Slow Cooker.
Interested in Slow Cookers?