In family reunions or gatherings like Christmas, you’ve probably seen your lola pull out her slow cooker to reduce cooking time to prepare multiple dishes. From its name, a slow cooker slowly cooks your food on a low heat for several hours without the risk of burning or drying it out. You just toss the ingredients in, set the timer, and you’re done.
You may have even seen slow cooker recipe hacks online ranging from enchiladas, mac and cheese, to brownies. A slow cooker is not just for special occasions; you could use it to conjure everyday tasty meals without the added elbow grease. We’ve put together a guide to help you find the best slow cooker. Let’s get cooking!
A slow cooker is a handy tool to have in the kitchen if you are too busy to prepare food as you can basically leave it to simmer on your countertop and it will do the job for you. This way you have extra time on your hands to handle other tasks that needs to be done. Think of it as a rice cooker for your ulam, slowly cooking your food to perfection.
Although they are typically used for soups and stews, as the slow cook time is ideal for tenderizing tough meat and bringing out flavors, there are plenty of recipes that could be done with it. Take for example, those Coca-Cola marinated pulled pork ribs or you could even bake a cake in it. The sky’s the limit with slow cookers.
Slow cookers have evolved to include sophisticated settings and functions that allow more options for you to cook a dish, making it a versatile companion in the kitchen.
The first thing you want to ponder on before buying a slow cooker is its size as it works best when it is only half-full and not filled to the brim. Of course, this would also depend on how much counter space you have and the number of people you want to cook for.
Slow cookers typically come in three sizes; small, medium, and large with the capacity measured in quarts. A small would range from 1-3 quarts, which is ideal if you’re single or a couple, a medium from 4-5 quarts enough for a small family of 4.
A large would have 6-7 quarts for 5 people or more although there are sizes that go up to 10 quarts. Usually recipes are designed for a 6-quart cooker and it is ideal if you want to work with large pieces of meat so you can fit a whole chicken for example.
Slow cookers come in two basic shapes; oval and round. There really isn’t any significant advantage of one over the other - it depends on where you would use it. Round shapes are smaller and less expensive. It is perfect for soups, stews, and curries. You could even use it to serve sauces if you have a lot of people over.
On the other hand, oval shapes are larger and roomier than round ones so you can fit more food such as chicken, pork chops, brisket, or ribs. Food also cooks much faster because it has more surface area. It is perfect if you have a large family and you can even use it to cook in batches if you have a social affair or gathering.
Another thing you want to consider about a slow cooker is the settings. It comes in two; manual and programmable. A manual is inexpensive and can provide basic functions while a programmable lets you have more control over your cooking.
Manual cookers are fairly straightforward; they usually have a button or knob with low, medium, and high settings. Some manual models do not have a timer setting so you would have to monitor the cooking process to keep it from drying out or becoming overcooked.
However, newer models have a keep warm setting although you would have to adjust it manually. It is ideal as it would keep meals warm but not overcook it. It is inexpensive and ideal if you are starting out using a slow cooker.
They have advanced settings and features that allow you to “set and forget” meaning you could pre-set the cooking time, leave for work, and return to a cooked meal without worrying about burning or overcooking it. Some cookers even have additional functions such as a sear function so you don’t have to brown meat on the stove.
Once the timer is done, it automatically switches to keep warm mode, which stops the cooking process and just keeps your food warm for hours. It is more expensive but it lets you have more control as you can customize the cooking process, which is ideal if you are more adept to using slow cookers.
The pot of the slow cooker is called a crock or insert, which is where the food is cooked. It is usually made of ceramic or stoneware, as well as aluminum or stainless steel. What is important about the inner pot is that it is removable as it can be a hassle to clean.
Ceramic and stoneware pots are heavier and sturdier and it is functional for home use. These inserts are usually non-stick, which makes cooking and clean up easier. When exposed to high temperatures, they do not emit toxic fumes or toxins. They are also stovetop and oven safe.
If you want a crock that can brown meat without having to sear it on the stove, then choose aluminum and stainless steel. It is lighter and ideal for browning, searing, or caramelizing ingredients within the cooker itself. Some have non-stick coating that could be placed in a microwave or oven for reheating.
From advanced digital programmable cookers with multiple settings to reliable simple ones, we've rounded up the best slow cookers for you.
Set & Forget Digital Programmable Cooker With Temperature Probe, Lid Lock, Stainless Steel
Programmable Cook & Carry
Digital Sauté Slow Cooker, Dark Stainless Steel
Digital Slow Cooker
Slow Cooker Stainless Body
Electric Slow Cooker
Chalkboard Slow Cooker
Electric Slow Cooker
Round Slow Cooker
Slow Cooker 2 Qt Stainless Steel Body
Let Your Cooker Do the Work for You
Cook and Carry for Potlucks and Gatherings
One Pot Feature for Golden Brown Meats
Tempered Glass Cover to Seal in Flavor
Make Easy Kaldereta for the Budding Home Cook
Cook Food and Make Bread in this Versatile Cooker
Leave Messages for Family Members on this Cooker
Make Rice Pudding in this Handy Cooker
Slow Cook Your Broths for Optimum Flavor
Make Juicy Meals for Yourself
|Price Starts at||₱6,716||₱6,114||₱11,213||₱2,700||₱1,900||₱2,288||₱2,495||₱1,682||₱1,200||₱1,200|
|Capacity||6 Quarts||6 Quarts||5.3 Quarts||6 Quarts||3.5 Quarts||3.5 Liters||3.5 Liters||1.5 Quarts||3 L||2 Quarts|
Here is a recipe that adds a twist to your usual adobo and combines it with poutine. Did you know could use your slow cooker to upcycle old favorites into something new? Introducing the slow cooker Adobo Pulled Pork Poutine.
For the adobo:
For the gravy:
Having new appliances can encourage you to get creative with cooking instead of seeing it as a chore. Check out these other picks to get inspiration for your next meal.
A slow cooker is a handy tool to have if you don’t have a lot of time in the kitchen to prepare food. It is not just for special occasions as newer innovations have made it more versatile in producing more hearty meals without breaking a sweat.
Author: Justine Cuizon
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