To make sure you get the best out of your slow cooker, aside from using it properly, the brand should also be of high quality. And since there are numerous choices to choose from, you may get confused. To help you determine what products offer brilliant and innovative performance, here are the top six slow cooker brands. Note that I listed them in alphabetical order.
1. All-Clad – Having been in the business since 1967, this U.S. company began as a small metallurgical company that specialized in formulating bonded metals for a variety of industries. They are famous for their innovative, high-performance bonded cookware handcrafted in the USA by American artisans using American steel. They have their Copper-Core collection, d3 Armor collection, d5 Brushed collection, stainless collection, specialty cookware collection, and four others.
2. Crock-Pot – According to this company, “If it doesn’t say Crock-Pot, it’s not original.” They debuted over four decades ago as a simple bean cooker and now, they are still recognized as one of the best brands that home cooks trust. They aidbusy moms prepare affordable, tender, and delicious meals to their families. They have set the standards of slow cookers and their products are always loved by their customers. Crock-Pot is widely known for their line of ultra-portable Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry.
3. Cuisinart – “Savor the Good Life®” is Cuisinart’s mission.Founded in 1989, this brand is owned by Conair Corporation. This American home appliance brand isknown for their wide variety of products for professional and home chefs. They bring innovative products on the market. They keep up with the current needs of a modern kitchen. They offer food processors, espresso makers, rice cookers, toasters, specialty appliances, and slow cookers.
4. Hamilton Beach – Selling over 35 million appliances every year, Hamilton Beach is renownedfor their goalto help their customers apply Good Thinking®.They also have other brands, namely Eclectrics®, Proctor Silex® and TrueAir®. Their blenders, coffee makers, slow cookers, convection ovens, indoor grills, and breakfast makers won’t disappoint. Their products are always rated high by satisfied customers and they never fail to give the bestengineeringin every product.
5. Lakeland – With over 50 years of experience, Lakeland is acknowledgedfor offering creative kitchenware, practical ideas for the home and garden, and inspiring gifts from all over the world. They aim to make life easier and that’s what customers get from their products—an easier life that leads to a better life. Havingnearly 70 stores in the U.K., they provide everyday utensils and preserving basics, to never-seen-before cookware. You’ll surely appreciate their products because of the quality they possess.
6. Ninja – As one of the several house-care brands by SharkNinja Operating LLC, Ninja offers small household appliances and cleaning solutions to suit their customers’ busy lifestyles. They are noted for their cutting-edge, state-of-the-art products that impact people’s lives positively every single day.They also offer coffee brewers, slow cookers, and blenders.The company’s products are distributed widelythrough major big-box retailers, specialty stores, and through its websites.
Before I enumerate the steps on how to use a slow cooker, let me answer the question:
How does a slow cooker work?
A slow cooker is made up of three main components: the base, which contains the heating element, the vessel, and the lid. The base includes the handles, a temperature knob or a control panel, and the feet of the cooker to keep it from steady on your counter.The liner is a thin metal insert molded onto the inside of the base and it houses the heater bands that conduct heat around the bottom of the cooker. The bands help cook your food evenly. The cooking vessel or inner pot is where the ingredients are put.The lid helps the cooker reach the appropriate cooking temperature. Without it, the slow cooker won’t be able to work efficiently.
Now we can move on to the steps on how to use a slow cooker
1. Clear your kitchen countertop. You’ll be leaving the cooker to cook on its own so for safety purposes, clear some counter space and make sure you place it at least five or six inches away from walls or any other appliance since the heat needs to dissipate.Remember not to place it near the edge as well.
2. Get your ingredients ready. Follow the procedure for the recipe. If some vegetables need to be cut, cut them ahead of time. Browning the meat and searing the vegetables will contribute to a better flavor of the dish but it takes time.
3. Add the ingredients in your slow cooker. Never overfill the slow cooker. It should only be between half to three-quarters full. If your dish requires water or broth, it should only be halfway up the ingredients or less. Don’t put too much liquid since only little of it evaporates while cooking.
4. Cover your slow cooker. Make sure that the lid is tight to prevent steam from escaping. If the lidcannot tightly seal the pot, wrap a sheet of aluminum foil over the top.
5. Set the cooking time. The low setting usually cooks the food between 8-10 hours and cooks the food gently. The high setting cooks the food between 4-6 hours and cooks the food quickly.
6. Let it do its job. This time, you can leave the slow cooker to do your own job. Stirring the contents won’t be necessary unless the recipe says so. Usually, additional ingredients are added at the last hour of cooking.
7. Let the dish cool off before serving it. Unless your slow cooker has a Keep Warm Mode, you have to be around when the cooking time is up to prevent it from burning.
Tips to Remember:
1. Never add raw meat to your slow cooker to get the most delectable flavor out of your dish.
2. Brown the meat on the stovetop before adding it to your slow cooker.
3. Use the right type of meat. Be sure your meat is applicable to the recipe you’re cooking and they’re cut evenly to allow all the pieces to be cooked at the same.Remember not to cook lean mean for a long time because they can get tough and stubborn.
4. Never open the slow cooker during cooking. This is where the glass lid becomes beneficial. It will allow you to check the progress without removing the lid.
5. Never add the dairy products too soon because they will curdle.
If you’re on the looks for a new slow cooker, we have collected a list of the best 5 slow cookers.
Roast, roast, roast the beef, gently in the pot
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, serve it while it’s hot
If you need to impress your guests or your family members with your cooking or prepare dinner for a special occasion, then a beef pot roast is the best choice.Follow this recipe and you’ll get positive comments from your guests and family members. The preparation time for this recipe is between 20-30 minutes, the cooking time will be 6 hours and 30 minutes, and the food will be ready after 6 hours and 50 minutes.
1 (5-pound) bone-in beef pot roast
2 ½ cups chicken broth
3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 stacks of celery, cut into chunks
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour (or as needed)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Step 1. Season both sides of the roast with salt and paper.
Step 2. Sprinkle flour over the top until it’s thoroughly coated. Pat the meat afterward and shake off excess flour.
Step 3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heatuntil hot.
Step 4. Sear the roast on both sides for 5-6 minutes each, until they’re well-browned.
Step 5. Remove from the skillet and set it aside.
Step 6. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms and butter.
Step 7. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Step 8. Stir in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions become clear and begin to brown.
Step 9. Add garlic and stir for one minute.
Step 10. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of flour. Cook and thoroughly stir for one minute.
Step 11. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute again.
Step 12. Add the chicken stock slowly and stir to combine the ingredients. Then return to a simmer. Remove skillet from the heat.
Step 13. Place carrots and celery in the slow cooker.
Step 14. Place the roast over the vegetables. You may also pour the juices that accumulated.
Step 15. Add the rosemary and thyme.
Step 16. Pour the onion and mushroom mixture over the top of the roast.
Step 17. Get the lid and cover the slow cooker.
Step 18. Turn the heat setting to high and cook the roast for 5-6 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
Step 19. Remove any fat from the surface and remove the bones as well.
Step 20. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 21. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, serve it while it’s hot!
You may serve this dish with mashed potatoes since it would be more presentable and the flavors of the dish and the potatoes would go well together.
Slow cookers are more versatile than you think. They can cook rice as perfect as the rice you cook when you use your steamer or saucepan. Regardless of whether you’ll cook white or brown rice, the slow cooker can cook each grain perfectly. Others even mix raw rice with other ingredients in a slow cooker to save some time since it would be more taxing to cook the rice separately.
If you want to cook rice, prepare the things you’ll need and just follow the steps below.
1 Tbsp. of butter or margarine
2 cups of rice
4 cups of water
Salt (two-three pinches)
Step 1. Get your butter or margarine and coat the sides and bottom of your slow cooker with it.This will prevent the rice from sticking as it cooks.
Step 2. Add two cups of white or brown rice to your slow cooker.
Step 3. Pour in the four cups of water.
Step 4. Sprinkle with two to three pinches of salt. You wouldn’t want to get your rice tasting too salty.
Step 5. Carefully cover the slow cooker with its lid and set the heat setting to high. White rice will take two hours to cook, while an additional hour will be needed for brown rice to cook.
Step 6. Stir the rice onceduring the cooking time. Do this step gently.
Step 7. Grab a teaspoon and taste your rice and cook for an additional of 10-20 minutes if needed.
Step 8. Voila! You’re done!
If you prefer to cook the rice together with your meal, that would be more practical and time-saving. Follow thisrecipe by livestrong.com.
Vegetable oil spray
4 Tbsp. of unsalted butter or low-fat margarine
1 can of low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 can of low-sodium chicken broth
1 can of low-sodium celery soup
1 soup can-full skim milk or water
1 envelope of low-sodium onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups of uncooked white rice
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Step 1. With your vegetable oil spray, spray the sides and bottom of your slow cooker. Like in the previous recipe, this will keep the rice from sticking to the pot as it cooks.
Step 2. Add the soups, skim milk or water, 1 tbsp. of dry onion soup mix, and 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter or low-fat margarine in a saucepan.
Step 3. Stir to combine.
Step 4. Heat the mixture on a stovetop over medium heat. Stir once every minute or until the butter or margarine melts.
Step 5. Again, spray the sides and bottom of your slow cooker with your vegetable oil spray.
Step 6. Add 1 ½ cup of white rice and 2/3 of the soup mixture to your slow cooker. Stir thoroughly to make sure that the soup mixture blends with the raw rice completely.
Step 7. Set the chicken breasts on top of the rice and pour the remaining soup mixture on top of the chicken.
Step 8. Sprinkle the remaining dry onion soup mix over the chicken breasts as well.
Step 9. If you want, use paprika to garnish.
Step 10. Cover your slow cooker and set the heat setting to low. Let the chicken and rice cook for about two hours.
Step 11. Remove the lid and stir.
Step 12. Put back the lid and cook for an additional of 4 to 4 ½ hours. Don’t raise the cover or stir the rice even once this time.
Step 13. Serve while hot!
Remember that cooked rice can stay warm in your slow cooker until two hours after you turn the heat off.
Barbecue ribs + Slow cooker = Perfection
If you want to cook delectable barbecue ribs for your family, you will need a slow cooker to attain perfect barbecue ribs. There are numerous recipes to cook ribs in a slow cooker, but this simple barbecue ribs recipe will make you desire for more.
2 pounds of pork baby back ribs
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
1(18oz) bottle of barbecue sauce
1-4 tsp. of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2. Season the baby back ribs with salt and pepper.
Step 3. Place it in a shallow baking pan and brown in your oven.
Step 4. After 15 minutes, turnover the ribs and brown the other side for 15 minutes againto drain fat.
Step 5. Mix the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and oregano in a bowl. Set the bowl aside.
Step 6. Place the ribs in your slow cooker.
Step 7. Add the sauce over the ribs.
Step 8. Turn it over to coat.
Step 9. Putthe heat setting of your slow cooker on low for 6-7 hours.
Step 10. Stir once during cooking time to prevent the ribs from sticking to the sides of the slow cooker and burn.
Step 11. You’re done! Serve with potatoes! Or not!
This recipe is good for four people, but two extremely hungry people can finish this.
Here’s another recipe for ribs, in case you prefer one with only seven ingredients instead of 10.
1½ kg meaty pork ribs
1 bottle barbecue sauce (350g approximately)
2 pork stock cubes
2 bay leaf
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp peppercorn
Step 1. Put all ingredients in your slow cooker except for the barbecue sauce.
Step 2. Put 4 tbsp. of barbecue sauce along with the rest of the ingredients.
Step 3. Pour water on top of the ingredients. The water should be enough to cover the ingredients (about 1.5L).
Step 4. Set the heat setting on low and cook for 8-9 hours or until the meat is tender but not until it falls completely off the bone.
Step 5. Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Step 6. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker using tongs or a slotted spoon. Do this carefully so as to avoid the meat from falling off since it will be very tender during this time.
Step 7. Baste the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce and lay on an oven tray that should be foil-lined.
Step 8. Cook for 20-30 minutes until it’s starting to become crispy on the outside.
Step 9. Serve your perfectly cooked ribs!