The Best Slow Cooker Brands According to Our Test Kitchen
Slow cookers are responsible for all our favorite slow cooker recipes. Our Test Kitchen found the best-rated slow cooker brands for bringing those comfort foods to life.
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We bet you never thought twice about your trusty slow cooker, but it turns out, there are plenty of differences between slow cooker brands (beyond just size and color). Some offer expanded cook options outside the basic low and high, while others advertise themselves as being travel-friendly with special clips to keep that lid on tight—who among us hasn’t tipped over a slow-cooked dish to pass on the way to a potluck?
Considering all these features and how much we rely on this appliance, our Test Kitchen had to find the best slow cooker out there.
What We Tested to Find the Best Slow Cooker
Our culinary team used several slow cooker options to prepare your recipes. Over several months, our cooks and food stylists got a feel for each brand. Then we created a series of tests where we could see how each performed side by side. To find out which brand was best, our staff recorded how each gadget handled these essential tasks:
- Slow cooking dishes in our Test Kitchen: We test dozens and dozens of recipes every month. How did the slow cookers do prepping our readers’ recipe submissions? (Share your best recipes with us!)
- Slow cooking a beef pot roast: We cooked beef on the slow cooker’s lowest setting. How tender did the meat become?
- Controls, settings and features: Were the controls and settings easy to understand and use? Were the extra features useful?
- Price: Is the product affordable? Is it well priced for how well it performed?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Slow Cookers
After weeks of testing, a few slow cookers rose to the top. Find out which fit your slow cooking style.
Best Features: KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker
When it comes to controls, most slow cookers give you high, low and warm—not KitchenAid. This KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker boasted an extra setting (medium) and featured a timer allowing you to program the start of your dishes up to 24 hours in advance—perfect for slow cooker bread. Our Test Kitchen loved the versatility that this machine offered and found that it performed perfectly recipe after recipe. In monitoring temperatures, our squad of experts found that KitchenAid kept the most steady heat throughout for true low-and-slow cooking.
- Capacity: 6 quarts
- Features: 4 temperature settings, 24-hour programmability
- Price: $100
Best for Big Batches: Cuisinart 6.5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Have a big family? Host a lot of parties? Chances are a little three- or five-quart slow cooker just won’t cut it. If you like to work in big batches, try the Cuisinart 6.5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. This slow cooker can hold a lot of your family’s favorite chili recipe or an oversized pot roast without you having to worry if it’ll simmer over.
Our Test Kitchen found that this slow cooker made perfectly tender pot roast and chicken breasts—nothing was dry our tough coming out of the crock. And when everything was cooled down, our cooks loved how the cord curls up inside of the mechanism (no dangling cords in your kitchen cupboards!).
- Capacity: 6.5 quarts
- Features: 24-hour timer, automatic warming function, included wire rack for steamed dishes
- Price: $100
Best Slow Cooker to Take On-the-Go: Crock-Pot 7-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker
If you tend to take your slow-cooked dishes to get-togethers, you’ll want to invest in a slow cooker designed for easy transport like the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker. This Crock-Pot comes fitted with special clips that keep the lid secure while you tote your slow cooker from kitchen to kitchen. Besides this trip-ready functionality, our Test Kitchen found the controls to be simple to use and the slow-cooked dishes prepped inside to be hot and tender—in other words: perfect!
- Capacity: 7 quarts
- Features: 20-hour timer, locking lid
- Price: $60
Best for Slow-Cooked Casseroles: Crock-Pot 3.5-Quart Casserole Crock Slow Cooker
Some of our Test Kitchen’s favorite slow cooker meals come in the form of a casserole. Your go-to slow cooker will do in a pinch, but if you’re serious about slow cooker lasagna, green bean casserole and baked french toast, investing in a casserole-ready cooker is wise. For these dishes, the Test Kitchen recommends the Crock-Pot Casserole Crock Slow Cooker. Besides being the perfect size and shape for all these go-to dishes, our Test Kitchen loves how you can bake in the oven-safe insert and then place in the base to keep it warm. Like Crock-Pot’s Cook & Carry model, this one also comes with clips to keep the lid in place if you’re on the move.
- Capacity: 3.5 quarts
- Features: Snap-tight lid for transport, the removable insert is oven-safe
- Price: $58
What to Make in Your Slow Cooker
We know you’re a slow cooker pro at this point, but who doesn’t love a few new recipes? These recipes take advantage of our favorite slow cooker’s A+ low-and-slow cooking and all-in-one crock. They’re the perfect dishes to prepare and let heat on a long, lazy weekend. Our favorite new recipe? A slow-cooked cinnamon roll—it’s a great way to make breakfast for the holidays without taking up valuable oven space.
How to Take Care of Your Slow Cooker
You may love your slow cooker (who doesn’t?), but are you taking care of it the right way? A little dish soap works wonders, and guess what: With our cleaning method, you won’t even have to remove the insert if you don’t want to!