With a little planning and the right ingredients, even the most basic slow cooker can serve up a sensational leg of lamb, beef stew, authentic curry, or a hearty casserole, or go with it in a marathon batch cooking session. They’re the best kitchen gadget for the time-consuming home cook who wants to eat well but doesn’t want to have fun with complex cooking setups and other kitchen gadgets like tech like air fryers and rice cookers.
There’s something great about starting the slow cooker and forgetting it. It is true that if you are working from home, the delicious smells that come up the stairs can distract you, but if you are away from home, there is nothing better than finishing work knowing that dinner is already arranged.
The latest designs also don’t simmer and simmer. Many now offer the speed of pressure cooking, the versatility to sauté, broil and even air fry. But which one is better for your budget?
What characteristics should I look for in a slow cooker?
The most basic slow cookers will have two or three temperature settings (low, warm and / or high), a large capacity ovenproof pot, a lid and a timer and that’s it. Be sure to choose a model with a removable pot for easy cleanup and also countertop use for browning ingredients without using a separate skillet.
More advanced slow cookers offer greater control over temperature, but also more importantly over time, meaning it can tell you when you want to dine and it will calculate cook time accordingly.
The latest generation of multi-cookers, particularly from Sage and Ninja, allow you to cook under pressure, as well as bake, fry, cook in the oven, and even dehydrate and air fry. Pressure cooking allows you to cook dishes in a fraction of the time, which is useful if you forgot to turn on your slow cooker before work.
These all kinds of song designs are tempting, but they can be large, complicated, and expensive. If all you want is a good beef chili, you’d better stick to the basics.
What should I cook with a slow cooker?
Large cuts of meat, like pulled pork, cook brilliantly in a slow cooker because the tough muscle fibers break down during the long cooking time, allowing the meat to become nice and tender. Stews also work well because cheaper cuts of meat can be used and the vegetables won’t overcook. Most countries and kitchens have signature dishes that are ideal for simmering. As a result, there are literally hundreds of great slow cooker recipes, from perfectly fluffy rice, tajines, paellas, curries, dahl, ribs, kleftiko, and chili. That said, it’s pretty hard to ignore a classic steak and beer (or sweet potato and lentil) casserole.
Shop GQ’s selection of the best slow cookers you can buy …