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The best slow cookers in 2021

The slow cooker has been a household staple for decades. From braised beef to berry cobblers, this kitchen appliance is the perfect way to make meals in bulk while still having time for other things you also need to do. With more and more modern conveniences like smart appliances, will the slowcooker remain relevant?

The “best small slow cooker 2021” is a product that has been in the market for a while. It can be used to make delicious meals.

One of the most forgiving kitchen appliances is a slow cooker, which is a set-and-forget gadget that allows you to cook a whole dinner while you work, go to school, or do other things. Even complete novices can prepare a nice and hearty supper for their whole family with the help of a good slow cooker.

Over the course of 100 hours, we cooked 48 chicken breasts, 11 pounds of black-eyed peas, and hundreds of onions to identify the finest slow cookers. It was a long — and tasty — process, but in the end, we discovered three excellent models that will allow you to cook amazing meals with no effort.

The greatest slow cooker in general

The Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker cooked our meals well, and although it’s simple to operate, it has the most functions — browning, sautéing, and steaming — of any of the slow cookers we tried.

The best slow cooker for luxury

If you want the greatest fit and finish in a slow cooker, the All-Clad stands up to the company’s reputation for excellence, with longer cook durations and better temperature control than the competition.

The best slow cooker on a budget

The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget provides you a flexible timer and a built-in temperature probe for not much more money than a basic manual slow cooker, plus a latching gasketed cover making it excellent for carrying meals anywhere.

The Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker performed well and had the most useful features of all the slow cookers we examined. We used a 4-quart pot, which comfortably serves four people – the right quantity for many families’ breakfast, lunch, or supper. If you have a larger group to serve, it’s also available in 6- and 7-quart sizes.

CNN/Jennifer Yellin

Cuisinart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker

Because it can brown, sauté, steam, and slow cook, the Cuisinart is officially a multicooker. It isn’t as feature-rich as an Instant Pot, but it is designed for slow cooking, with the additional functions primarily intended to let you to prepare all stages of a meal in the same pot, minimizing the number of pots, pans, and dishes you have to clean. The 3-in-1 slow cooker even enables you to switch between cooking settings with a single touch, eliminating the need to turn the slow cooker off and on. The slow cooker will automatically switch to the warm setting for up to eight hours after your dish is entirely cooked.

The pot is made of aluminum with a nonstick coating for multifunctionality. As a result, it’s exceptionally light and dishwasher-safe. While the coating is PFOA-free, as are all nonstick coatings sold since 2015, numerous additional PFAS are still in use, and it’s unknown which chemicals may be present in recently manufactured nonstick cookware (and in many other consumer products). It’s something to keep in mind if you’re worried about that particular chemical class.

Aside from an absolutely excellent supper, we enjoyed that the housing and the handles remained cold to the touch throughout all of our cooking tests. This makes it easier to move the slow cooker and ensures that no small hands are burned. This slow cooker’s cable was also one of the longest ones measured, which is beneficial if your outlet socket is a little farther away from your cooking area.

We went one step further and tested the browning and sautéing capabilities of this slow cooker since it was one of our favorites. We browned both the chicken wings and the onions before slow cooking them, and although the procedure does not switch settings automatically, we found it to be quite simple. We got crispy chicken wings that fell off the bone and delectable onions with a hint of additional flavor thanks to this innovation. Most of the other slow cookers we tried didn’t have this feature, so you’d have to brown your items on the stovetop first before putting them in the slow cooker.

The 6.5-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker plays up to the brand’s high-end cookware reputation. This slow cooker, with its stainless steel body, handles and rivets, and ceramic insert, not only looks great but also cooks your supper precisely. It also has the greatest programmability and one of the longest cooking periods out of all of the models we looked at.


CNN/Jennifer Yellin

All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker

We first put each cooker through its paces by filling it with water and observing how soon it reached and maintained a safe cooking temperature. The All-Clad heated up quickly, reaching a safe target temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit in about two hours and maintaining that temperature for the next four hours. The temperature decreased immediately after switching to the warm setting, staying between 155 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of the test. This slow cooker also has a continuous runtime of 26 hours (up to 20 hours of cooking + six hours of warming), which is longer than the majority of the ones we examined.

We were able to get excellent outcomes because to the steady — and predictable — temperature. Our pulled BBQ chicken dish turned out to be wonderfully cooked and tasty. The meat was tender and readily torn apart. Our bean dish had the ideal consistency and was evenly heated.

The All-Clad is the only model we evaluated that allows you to choose two settings for a single cooking cycle. If your recipe calls for you to put your slow cooker on high for a particular amount of time before switching to low for the rest of the time, you may do so at the start of your program and walk away. If you’re cooking a dish that needs both the high and low temperatures, you’ll have to manually change the settings on the other slow cookers we tested, which will require you to be home to make the transition.

Of course, no slow cooker is perfect, and although the All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker is a great slow cooker, at such a premium price, we wish it had a few more multicooker features, such as browning, sautéing, or steaming options. The base’s buttons and labels were similarly tiny, and the lid’s handle became quite hot while cooking. However, if you have the funds available, this kitchen equipment will not disappoint.

Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker, Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart ($64.99;”> Best cheap slow cooker: Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker

If you’re on a budget, the Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Slow Cooker is one of the better options. This programmable slow cooker features three settings: program, manual, and probe, giving you a lot of flexibility while using it. While the Hamilton Beach took a bit longer to heat up than some of the more costly models we tested, this had no effect on the quality of our test meals, which were cooked to perfection.


CNN/Jennifer Yellin

Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker

In program mode, you can choose a time and temperature, however in manual mode, you can just cook on low, hot, or warm. In probe mode, you may tell the slow cooker to cook until a certain temperature is achieved, rather than a specified time, and then switch to the warm setting. The temperature is measured using an attached thermometer that is inserted via a tiny hole in the lid. As the Hamilton Beach cooks, the temperature is also indicated on the LCD panel. Even if you don’t use the probe cooking mode, the port allows you to check the temperature without having to remove the lid, which allows heat to escape.

The lid of the Hamilton Beach Portable is secured by latches and sealed with a gasket, making it completely spill-proof. Whether you’re heading to a party or tailgating, this makes it simple to travel. The side handles are a little tiny, but they remain cold throughout the cooking process, allowing you to transfer the slow cooker simply after it’s finished.

Other features include interrupt protection, which keeps the timer running so the slow cooker can keep cooking even if the power goes off for a short period, a one-year guarantee, and a dishwasher-safe lid and pot.

The fit and quality aren’t quite as good as our top option, but for a fraction of the cost of a manual slow cooker, the Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart is ideal for anybody on a budget looking for a fully working slow cooker.

A slow cooker allows you to cook at low temperatures for extended periods of time, making it ideal for soups, stews, and other one-pot dishes that don’t need much supervision after the prep work is done. Because the temperatures are low, you may leave them unattended, making them ideal for busy chefs or anybody who wants to prepare supper before going to work and have it ready when they return home. The slow cooker is usually circular in form, with a heating element encircling a pot, which is usually constructed of a ceramic-like substance.

Simple manual slow cookers feature few controls, usually simply high and low temperature settings, which are sufficient for making simple recipes like chili. Slow cookers with additional features may be programmed to cook at different temperatures over time, brown and sauté, pressure cook, steam, crisp, air fry, and more. With all of them, the idea is the same: put your food in, season it, set the timer, and watch the magic unfold.

While most slow cookers have the same form (oval), they come in a variety of capacities ranging from 1.5 to 8 quarts. So whether you’re a one-person party or a ten-person party, you have alternatives. If you’re feeling more creative with your cooking, consider the 3-in-1 functionality, which includes browning and sautéing, or the Instant Pot multicookers, which steam, pressure cook, brown, sauté, sous vide, and bake. You may also have a preference for materials such as ceramic (the most prevalent), stainless steel, or aluminum with a nonstick coating.

The purpose of slow cookers is to cook your meals while you’re gone, regardless of the materials used or whether you pick a manual or digital and programmed gadget. Prepare in the morning and have a ready-to-eat dinner when you get home from work. The name of the device tells it all: you’ll be slow-cooking your dinner.

While it’s always wise to get to know your slow cooker’s features before throwing a load of food in and hope for the best, there are a few things to keep in mind when using any slow cooker. If yours has a timer, use the recommended time for whatever you’re cooking, and double-check that it will automatically switch to a “keep warm” option if you’re not home after the cooking program or cycle is over. If it doesn’t have a timer, set an alarm for yourself to remind you to turn it off or manually switch it to “stay warm.” Also, don’t open the lid too much to check on the meal while it’s cooking. Allowing the heat to escape might increase the cooking time by 15 to 20 minutes.

What’s the difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker? To call any slow cooker a Crockpot is like to referring to a tissue as a Kleenex. Crockpot (formerly “Crock-Pot”) is a brand name for a range of slow cookers manufactured by Rival since the 1970s, when the company purchased the device from inventor Irving Naxon, who patented the design in 1940. Cuisinart, Instant Pot, Calphalon, Black+Decker, KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, Breville, and, of course, Crockpot all make slow cookers these days.

We selected 11 of the most popular and well-reviewed slow cookers, ranging in price from $38 to $250, to assist you in finding the best solutions for you. We prepared two distinct dishes — pulled BBQ chicken and black-eyed peas — and ran a water test to determine the temperature accuracy of each slow cooker throughout our testing.

We filled each slow cooker with 10 cups of water at 67 degrees Fahrenheit for our water test. On the lowest cooking setting, we tested the temperature of the water every hour for six hours. We wanted to make sure that each slow cooker attained the appropriate cooking temperature of 185°F to 200°F. A temperature measurement that is too low indicates that the meal is undercooked, whereas a temperature reading that is too high indicates that the food is overcooked.

After six hours of cooking, we switched each slow cooker to its warm setting (either automatically or manually, depending on the device) for another four hours. At one hour, two hours, and four hours, we took the temperature. This indicates if a dish continues to cook at a high temperature, resulting in overdone food, or whether it just keeps the meal warm. We also needed to make sure the temperature didn’t drop below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, since food left at temperatures below 140 degrees Fahrenheit might promote bacterial development, according to the FDA.

Pulled BBQ chicken: We prepared and cooked the identical pulled BBQ chicken meal in each slow cooker. Because chicken breasts may quickly dry up if overdone, we chose chicken for the test. We looked at whether the chicken was undercooked, overdone, or just right, as well as if it was easy to tear apart.

Black-eyed peas: We made a black-eyed pea meal to check whether the beans would remain intact (maintain their form) after being cooked until soft, or if they would turn into mush.

Following all of the cooking, we evaluated each model using the following criteria:

Construct and design

  • What were the materials used to make the lid, pot, and base? Was the lid held in place by a gasket or did it slip around?
  • User-interface design: Is it simple to use the controls? Were there too many controls, or were they so complicated that you had to consult the instructions every time you cooked?
  • Is the overall construction of the base, pot, and cover of good quality? Did the lid or any of the handles become too hot to touch, or did they remain cool to the touch and allow for simple transport?


  • Cooking functions: Did you have any other options except slow cooking?
  • Taste of the recipes: How did the recipes turn out? Was there a problem with the flavor or consistency?
  • Temperature accuracy: On both the low and high settings, did the slow cooker reach the correct temperatures?
  • Temperature stability: Did the meal maintain its proper temperature during the cooking process? Is it possible that it become too hot or too cold?
  • Additional features: In addition to slow cooking, do slow cookers have any additional features?

Maintenance and upkeep

  • Cleaning time: How long did it take you to clean both the pot and the lid?
  • Dishwasher-safe: Can the pot and/or lid be washed in the dishwasher?


  • Was the price of the cooker acceptable in comparison to the features and overall performance?

Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker (; $119.99)

The Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker is capable of much more than slow cooking. While you can’t sear, brown, or sauté your meat and vegetables directly in the slow cooker like you can with the Cuisinart 3-in-1 option, the pot is designed to be removed and used on the stovetop, which is a unique feature among the slow cookers we tested. This allows you to get the most flavor while keeping things simple.

The pot features a nonstick ceramic coating, which may be an issue for individuals who want to avoid nonstick cookware (it’s PTFE- and PFOA-free, like all nonstick cookware presently on the market, however there’s no way to verify there aren’t any additional PFAS present). Although the pot is lightweight and simple to clean, it is not dishwasher safe, and the handles were quite hot throughout the cooking process.

The pot is also circular in design, while the others are oval, which makes it difficult to cook a roast or a whole chicken in it. However, with a 5.3-quart capacity and tall edges, this slow cooker will take up the least amount of counter space.

Our primary problem with this slow cooker was that during our water test, the water began to simmer at the four-hour mark on the low setting, and by the five-hour mark, it was totally boiling at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Because most slow cookers don’t reach boiling temperature until about seven to eight hours, your meal may be simmering for longer than you’d want with this slow cooker. While this had no effect on our bean dish, it did make our chicken dish dry and less tender than we had hoped.

6-quart KitchenAid ($109;

The KitchenAid 6-Quart slow cooker is really simple to operate. It’s easy to switch your slow cooker on and off, as well as adjust the cooking stages and timer, thanks to the few buttons. In addition to the “low” and “high” settings, this slow cooker has a “medium” option, which is a unique feature. The wire may also be coiled below the base for simple storage thanks to the plug storage.

We did notice that this slow cooker didn’t get as hot as the others, so you may need to add a little more time to your recipes. We achieved this by increasing the cooking time for our chicken dish by 30 minutes and for our bean dish by 15 minutes to get the same flawlessly cooked outcomes as the other cookers.

You can cook on low for 24 hours in this slow cooker, which is the longest duration we’ve seen. While the warm option will only remain on for four hours, it did drop to 145 degrees Fahrenheit during our water test, and while that’s above the food safety threshold for bacteria development, we wouldn’t advocate leaving it on the warm setting for much longer.

Crockpot Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker, 6-Quart ($69.99;

The locking cover on the programmable Crockpot makes it ideal for transporting out of the home. There’s also a plastic gasket around the lid, so the top remains put and liquid doesn’t escape while you’re on the road.

Although configuring the slow cooker was simple, the screen is tiny and difficult to see. Outside, it was scorching hot – one of the hottest we’d ever seen (along with the manual Crockpot appliance). The pot also lacks handles, making it more difficult to grasp the ceramic component.

6.5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker by Cuisinart (99.95;

Aside from the standard high, low, and warm temperature settings, the Cuisinart 6.5-Quart Programmable has a simmer option. The user interface is simple to use, and your meal will stay warm for up to eight hours. If you’re cooking in the evening and want to wake up to a hot breakfast, this is the way to go.

The stainless steel shell, chrome-plated knobs, and simple push-button controls give this slow cooker a stylish appearance. This is also the only slow cooker we evaluated with a retractable cable, which is convenient for both looks and safety. However, the whole rectangular base made this choice considerably larger than the other slow cookers we tried if you’re seeking to save some counter space.

($129.95; Instant Pot Pro 6-Quart 10-in-1

We wanted to adore the Instant Pot Pro, but despite its vast selection of cooking settings, the well-known pressure cooker fell short in our tests as a slow cooker. All of the lights and whistles didn’t result in a supper that was as wonderful as we’d had from other, simpler cookers.

Our chicken dish had a chewy texture when cooked on a low heat. We believed the chicken required additional time to cook, even though it had an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The identical recipe was then made again and cooked on high, however the chicken was a touch too rough for our taste.

Our bean dish had similar outcomes, and after three hours on high — the same setting as the rest of the slow cookers — it didn’t have the same consistency as the others. It needed another hour to thoroughly cook.

If your family is concerned about PFAS chemicals, the stainless steel pot may be a better option than a slow cooker with a nonstick coated or ceramic insert.

Breville Fast Slow Pro ($199.95; is a slow-cooker from Breville.

The Breville Fast Slow Pro was another pressure cooker we tried. With so many features — including 14 pre-programmed shortcut programs — you can use the gadget for a variety of culinary methods, including slow cooking. If all you want to do is slow cook, though, there may be too many buttons for you.

This is one of the few slow cookers we tested that required us to read the instruction booklet before using. It wasn’t as simple to use as the others, but we ultimately got it to cook our prepared meal.

Unlike the Instant Pot, however, our chicken came out perfectly cooked after the right amount of time on a low setting. The chicken was easy to take apart, and the beans were perfectly cooked.

The Breville Pot, like the Instant Pot, is made of stainless steel if that’s what you choose. Black+Decker 7-Quart Slow Cooker ($43.46)

This was our first manual slow cooker, and we immediately saw the advantages of a programmed cooker. The absence of a timer on the Black+Decker 7-Quart Slow Cooker detracts from the pleasure of using a slow cooker to prepare a dish in the morning and coming home to a flawlessly cooked meal. Once the time is up, this slow cooker will not automatically shut off or transition to a warming mode. Instead, set your own external timer and make sure you’re home when it goes off, or you’ll have to deal with the consequences of cooking on your specified setting continually until you arrive home.

During our water test, this slow cooker also heated up quickly and simmered for the bulk of the cooking time. During all of our testing, the lid shook a lot and made a lot of noise when cooking. This slow cooker’s ceramic pot was also the most difficult to clean of the group. The sauce from the chicken we cooked was left on the side, and cleaning the saucepan needed a lot of soaking and elbow grease.

Manual Crockpot 7-Quart Slow Cooker ($39.99 at

Crockpot produces a variety of slow cookers, including a simple manual one. The Crockpot 7-Quart Slow Cooker, like the Black+Decker slow cooker we reviewed, has a basic dial with three settings: low, high, and warm.

If you aren’t going to consume your dinner straight away, you must manually switch the slow cooker off or into the warm setting. It’s not a “set and forget” gadget, like the other manual cooker we examined; the chef must pay attention to produce consistent results.

We advocate investing a bit more for a programmed slow cooker unless you want the simplest possible gadget — at an incredibly low price point — that you’ll normally use while you’re around. The manual Crockpot is available in a range of sizes and colors (including 3-quart, 4-quart, 6-quart, 7-quart, and 8-quart models).

More from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing may be found here:

The “best small slow cooker 2020” is the best option for those looking for a small appliance that will cook your food evenly. It also helps to keep your kitchen clean.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best slow cooker to buy?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer to your choice of slow cooker(s).

Which is better a crockpot or slow cooker?

A: Crockpots are better than slow cookers because they use heating plates that transfer heat to the food, which helps it bake faster. Slow Cookers rely on just electrical current for cooking and do not give off the same amount of heat as crockpot does.

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