This Slow Cooker Will Change Your Mind About Slow Cookers

Best Slow Cooker

May 28, 2015   28 Comments

I bought my first slow cooker five years ago at Target. It was at the end of an aisle and on sale.

That slow cooker lasted me five years, but I never loved it. I spent about $40 on it – it was a Crock-Pot and I speak of it in the past tense because it is gone.

A few weeks ago, the ceramic insert broke in my hands and I rushed outside to the garbage can before my husband could suggest buying another insert for it. I was DONE with this Crock-Pot.

I was finished for all the reasons that I hear people don’t like slow cookers:

  • The food tended to taste like the inside of a slow cooker.
  • It sat on warm for too long and my food ended up dry.
  • My dinner is a pile of mush!

The issue with slow cookers is that they have been advertised as “set and forget” but that doesn’t actually work. A friend of mine who leaves the house at 8:00 AM and gets back at 6:30 – 10 1/2 hours out of the house – wanted to know if it could just turn off and not stay on warm.

The problem is then you have a food safety issue if food sits at room temperature. That is why slow cookers never simply turn off when finished.

My solution to this problem is to make sure that I am around when the cooking time is completed so my food doesn’t get ruined by sitting at “warm” for hours. I use my slow cooker more on the weekends.

But, I wasn’t totally happy with the food. It wasn’t brilliant and it should have been because a slow cooker is simply a pot sitting over a low fire for hours. The flavors should deepen and tough cuts of meat should become tender if it works correctly – which it didn’t really.

When my Crock-Pot broke it was good news because I could foray out into the world and find a new one. I have a copy of “Slow Cooker Revolution: Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition” and it is a pretty good book. I usually change the recipes to suit me because I find the food bland – but it has some beautiful pictures and good recipes.

The book is by America’s Test Kitchen and it talks about all the slow cookers on the market – and they test them all. Their recommendation is the “Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker, SCVT650-PS, 6.5 quart” and it costs $80.

$80!! Ouch.

I decided to go for it because I have such hope for slow cooker meals. They should be awesome. Actually, all food should be awesome.

(and I figured I could return it if it failed me)

Well, go and break your $40 slow cooker because this one is absolutely wonderful. I have turned out 5 or 6 meals and each one of them is better than the next. The meat becomes tender, the flavors meld, nothing gets burned or becomes mushy. It seems to hold the temperature much more consistently and the top doesn’t allow the juices out.

I still use it on the weekends when I know I will be around when it finishes cooking as a precaution against dried-out or mushy food. My book has some great slow cooker recipes in addition to these:

Have you found success with new technology? Please share.

Snack Girl bought this Crock-Pot with her own money. Crock-Pot did not sponsor this post (the company probably doesn’t know Snack Girl exists).

Snack Girl receives a small percentage of sales from links to Amazon.com.

Crock-Pot 6.5-Quart, Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker, Silver, SCVT650-PS

  $62.99

Amazon.com


Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition

$26.95   $20.45

Amazon.com   Barnes & Noble


Snack Girl to the Rescue!: A Real-Life Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Healthy with 100 Recipes Under 400 Calories

$17.99   $13.94

Amazon.com   Barnes & Noble


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First 20 Comments: [ see all 28 ]

I'm confused. You didn't like any of your slow cooker meals but you put them in your book?

on May 28, 2015

@Elisecas - Good question! I did recipes for the site and the book that worked in my $40 slow cooker. For the book, I created a chicken stew, beef stew, and split pea soup that all turned out great. But many recipes that I made have been less successful and consistent than with the new cooker - which makes consistently perfect meals.

on May 28, 2015

Lisa you aren't the snack girl that I once knew.. Now you are just out there pushing products for your own capital gain..

on May 28, 2015

might have to check this out. Mine is sooo old and I use it quite often. I love the size of mine and it is important that it be BIG. Wondering if this is...hard to tell

on May 28, 2015

I am not for slow cooker ...II like cooking conventional way,however I am very greatful for any suggestion from Lisa and do not think she is "pushing" products.Thank you for all ideas, some will be for me and some for someone else that will do things differently.Thank you,

on May 28, 2015

Lisa,
You are in no way pushing anything. I love you and found your review very helpful as I have been wanting to upgrade my 20 year old crock pot to a newer version but have found so many mixed reviews that I always just end up keeping the one I have. I trust your opinion. I love your honesty. Thank you for all your efforts.

on May 28, 2015

I love the last line: "Snack Girl bought this Crock-Pot with her own money. Crock-Pot did not sponsor this post (the company probably doesn’t know Snack Girl exists)." You crack me up! I love my slow cooker and mostly make pulled meats (Pork, chicken), soups and chilis, stews, and pot roast in mine. My last endeavor was a bag of bl/sl chicken breasts, cooked for 4 hours, drained the liquid, added 2 tubs of salsa, and let them tenderize and flavors meld. I shreded them with a fork and was a great go-to meal for the following days with different concoctions - quesadillas, tossed on salad, in a stir-fry, etc. I'd love to venture out more, though, and try some new things. Thanks for the recommendations!

on May 28, 2015

I recently purchased a KitchenAid Slow Cooker because it was recommended by America's Test Kitchen. It was expensive (over $100) but I've always had the problem of the cooker having hot spots. This one is the best I've ever used! I had a programmable Crock Pot like you show above, but ended up getting rid of it because of the hot spot problem. Good luck with yours!

on May 28, 2015

As a fan of America's Test Kitchen, I'm going go look at both the slow cooker, and the book. One problem I always have with the recipes is portion control. Often, the recipe gives nutritional info as something like 6-8 servings. I wish they'd say something like a serving is one cup. Otherwise, outside of removing everything, splitting it up into 6-8 servings, etc., how do ya know?

on May 28, 2015

Crock pots are wonderful devices for keeping previously cooked foods warm on informal occasions.I borrow one when I need to use one but I do not own one.I must say they are wonderful for making soup. I suggest that you should save your coins for a nice enameled cast iron Dutch oven. You won't believe how versatile they are!

on May 28, 2015

Hmmm, like your idea of having the liner 'break' Snack Girl. Mine is 41 years old (gag)(wedding present)(how times have changed, but that is a differnt topic!) and I would like one that is more up to date and a bigger size and oval instead of tall!

on May 28, 2015

I love my Crock Pot. It's been amazing. 0 issues. It's digital and switches to 'warm' when done cooking. Every meal that comes out of it is fantastic.

on May 28, 2015

I live in Florida and my crock pot is a summer essential....delicious meals without heating up the kitchen. However, for me, $80-$100 is too expensive. I actually have two....a small oval and a large oval, both were much less expensive, and I have had no issues with either one.

on May 28, 2015

I love your Taco Tuesday recipe - it is a staple for me. It is very forgiving of anything else I add (mostly the wrong amount of salsa) and it freezes really well.

on May 28, 2015

Lisa! You should not need to apologize for sharing and recommending any/all products or gadgets you use! It's information that's useful. AND if you receive some percentage of sales from Amazon, good for you! You deserve remuneration for the service you provide too. I look forward to your email every day whether it always applies to my needs or not and I'm happy you can make a successful business from researching and sharing and helping so many of us. Keep up all your good work and thank you! :)

on May 28, 2015

i agree with Barb L

on May 28, 2015

I enjoy my crock pots (1 lg & 1 sm), never had any problems but would love to have a new programmable one. Like Kris, I too live in Florida so they really come in handy as the temperature rises and you can start the cooking process by sticking the liner in the microwave and get things hot instead of waiting to the pot to boil. Then take out the liner and put it in the preheated base and you are already cooking with no waiting. Lin

on May 28, 2015

What size crockpot do you recommend for two people? I have a large one and like it when making meals for a lot of people, but it does not work well for recipes for 2.

on May 28, 2015

I think, as with anything, it is personal preference. I have a $40 (maybe less) crockpot from Target and have had no issues. It has 3 options - high, low, and warm. Yes, if I am gone all day, my meat can dry out so I have to time when I start it but for the most part it is a "set it and forget it". I think how well done your meal gets depends on what you are making. As for "capital gain", anyone who knows anything about how Amazon Associates works should know that you will get literally pennies on the dollar for basically writing a review. If they don't like it, unsubscribe from the email list.

on May 28, 2015

I completely agree with Barb L., too! I appreciate your tips, recipes, recommendations and humor! Thank you for the crock pot review. I have yet to find one I love. Perhaps I'll try this one...

on May 28, 2015

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