The 5 Best Slow Cookers

Best Slow Cooker UK

Slow cookers are simple to use, yet are capable of producing an incredibly versatile range of dishes. Just set it up in the morning and you can head off to work knowing that when you get home, you will be met by mouth-watering smells and a perfectly cooked meal.

They used to be seen as only useful for stews or soups, but now you can make them work hard with thousands of creative possibilities including glazed ham, pulled pork, baked potatoes and even roast chickenOpens in a new tab..

While they remain one of the most straightforward kitchen gadgets, there are now offer a growing number of features and programs. Unfortunately, this can also mean that they can be more expensive. 

I’ve looked carefully at the market and selected those that I think perfectly balance their functionality with value for money.

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Choosing a Slow Cooker?

A slow cooker is a budget friendly countertop cooker used specifically for gently simmering food over longer periods of time. Particularly useful if you have limited space, prefer to prep your meals in advance or just prefer a more relaxed style of cooking which involves little checking up on.

You may have heard slow cookers referred to as a Crockpot. Crockpot is a US brand that has become synonymous with slow cooking, in the same way that many of us in the UK refer to a vacuum cleaner as a hoover.

What Can a Slow Cooker Be Used For?

The overwhelming reason to use a slow cooker is for cooking cheaper or tougher cuts of meat. Slow cooking is one of the easiest ways to make use of beef cuts such as shin, leg, cheeks, brisket, skirt, oxtail and one of my favourites, short rib.

If pork is your thing, a slow cooker can be used to cook a shoulder which can then be pulled and covered in sauce. Again, the cheek can be used, which I highly recommend if you haven’t tried it, as can the trotters, knuckle and shank.

If you are vegan or vegetarian don’t despair, meat isn’t the only food group that works in a slow cooker. I also use mine for making delicious hearty soups, curries, casseroles, rice and pasta dishes. You can also get creative, there are some incredible recipes for veggie lasagne, mac and cheese and many other delights.

Pros

  • One step prep
  • Convenience
  • Tenderising cheap cuts
  • Flavour
  • Energy efficient
  • Less washing up

Cons

  • Cannot brown meat
  • Difficult to reduce sauces
  • Vegetables are slower to cook

Advantages

  • You can prepare your food, turn it on and go about your day whilst your food gently cooks. No checking needed.
  • Coming home from work after a long day and having food ready is rather pleasing!
  • Slow cooking can help to bring out the flavour in certain cuts of meat.
  • Using a slow cooker uses less energy than an oven. On average, slow cooking for 1 hour will use 3kWh which works out a roughly 3p. A standard oven will use around 2- 2.2kWh.
  • More expensive models include timers. This means you can prepare in the evening, set the timer to start in the morning and come home to tea.

Disadvantages

  • Slow cooking won’t brown your meat. This will need to be done in advance and means using an extra pan. Even then, the colour will fade during slow cooking and sometimes completely disappear.
  • The inner pot must be at room temperature before cooking. So, if you marinate in the pot, it needs to be removed from the fridge well in advance of cooking.
  • The liquid won’t reduce in a slow cooker, this means more challenges to creating a thick sauce and full flavour. You will also need to start with less liquid than if you were cooking on the hobs or in the oven.
  • Vegetables are slower to cook than meat. This needs to be factored in as if your meat only takes four hours you may need another 2 for the veg to finish. A simple solution here is to cut the veg a little smaller than usual.

Choosing Your Slow Cooker

Most slow cookers are relatively inexpensive, my first one cost £5 from a local charity shop. This lasted me almost 10 years and would have lasted another 10 if I noticed sooner that I had trapped the cable between the heating element and the pot when cooking. It was basic and had three functions, slow, high and warm. It was perfect for me and it did everything I needed it to.

How much you spend, will entirely depend on your needs, wants and of course, budget. If money is no object that’s great, just find the one that has the features you need and go for it. If not, you should take a moment to consider your priorities.

  • Does it need to be a certain size to cook for a large family or fit into a small space?
  • Do you need a timer and other functions such as auto start?
  • Would you like the most energy efficient model to save on electricity costs long term?
  • Do you have a limited budget and if so, what can you find within that range?

How Much is Reasonable to Spend?

You can get a basic slow cooker for between £10-30 depending on the capacity. If you are looking for extra features such as timers and temperature probes your budget will need to be nearer to £50-60 and possibly much higher if you seek a larger capacity.

If you are short on space and want a multifunctional slow cooker that can crisp, sear and grill you can easily pay £200-250.

What Size Slow Cooker

The size of slow cooker needed is simply down to two things. How many people you are cooking for and the space in your kitchen. The chart below should help you quickly decide what capacity sizes you should consider. Note that the capacity sizes listed are overall size, generally the amount you can cook will be about 2/3 of this.

CapacityFamily SizeUsesSpace Needed
1.5 – 2.5 Litres2 – 3 PeopleDips, small one pot meals.Approx. 30cm X 24cm
2.6 – 3.5 Litres3 – 4 PeopleSoups, casseroles, stewsApprox. 37cm X 27cm
3.6 – 4.5 Litres4 – 5 PeopleSmall/medium joints of meat and veg.Approx. 36cm X 32cm
4.6 – 5.5 Litres5 – 6 PeopleLarger cuts of meat, whole chicken.Approx. 41cm X 30cm
5.6 – 7 Litres6 PeopleLarge chickens, hams, large stews.Approx. 42cm X 37cm

Features

There are a number of features beyond the standard low, high and warm functions found on a basic slow cooker. For many this is all you will ever need. However, there are times when some extra features will be of use. Before making your choice consider whether you will truly need any of the following functions.

  • Timer – A timer can be used to turn the slow cooker on automatically and to turn it off again so a full meal can be completed whilst you are at work.
  • Auto Cook – This is used to help speed up the cooking process. It will start on high, which cooks at around double the speed of ‘low’, before automatically reducing to low for the rest of the cooking time.
  • Additional cooking modes – Some slow cookers include crisper, sear and grill functions. These multi-purpose devices will cost more but are useful if you have a larger budget and are limited on kitchen space.

Energy Efficiency

Unlike larger kitchen appliances, slow cookers don’t come with energy ratings so you can quickly ascertain how efficient it is. Instead, they have wattage listed in their specs. If saving energy is a key to your purchase you should seek a device with lower output.

Look for an output of under 200 watts if energy efficiency is key.

Easy to Clean/ Maintain

All slow cookers are pretty easy to clean and maintain. You just have a pot and a lid to wash up. Occasionally you will need to wipe down the outside but this is pretty simple. The only thing to consider is if the weight of the internal pot. These can be quite heavy as they are made of ceramic. If you have problems with grip, it may be better to seek out a slow cooker with a lighter pot.

Other Recommendations

  • Clear lid – Removing the lid slows down cooking. A clear lid enables you to track progress without losing heat.
  • Round or oval – Shape doesn’t make much difference to cooking, the shape you choose will depend on the space you plan to use it and the dishes you cook.

Best Slow Cookers


CROCK-POT SCCPRC507B-060

Crock-Pot SCCPRC507B-060

If you want the best slow cooker money can buy, look no further than the CROCK-POT SCCPRC507B-060. This elegant device looks great in both traditional and modern kitchens thanks to its digital interface and classic design. Made with a ceramic cookpot, it’s quite heavy at 5.3kg, giving it a reassuring heft. Both pot and lid are dishwasher-safe for low-maintenance care.

The highlight of this slow cooker is its ability to program mealtimes. Set the digital timer anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours using one of two heat settings, high or low. It would be nice to see more heat settings, but honestly, the existing temperatures work fine. This is especially true since you can more carefully monitor cook time with this slow cooker. When your meal is finished, you have the option to select the ‘keep warm after cooking’ function which keeps everything at a comfortable temperature until you’re ready to eat.

With a 4.7 litre capacity, the CROCK-POT SCCPRC507B-060 is certainly not the largest slow cooker on the market but is still large enough to serve the average four-person family. A smaller capacity also means that even though this slow cooker is quite heavy, it’s compact enough to store easily in most cupboards.

Equipped with a digital interface, built-in timer, warming function and rugged parts that will surely last the test of time this is the best slow cooker available today. The only downside is the higher price tag. Despite having to spend a little more, it would be a welcome addition to any kitchen.

Pros

  • 4.7 litre capacity
  • 5.3kg total weight
  • Keep warm function
  • Cook timer with touch controls and digital display.
  • 220W power
  • Glass lid

Cons

  • It may be too much for some budgets.
  • Will not be suitable for larger families.

MORPHY RICHARDS Evoke 461016

Morphy Richards Evove 461016 Best Slow Cooker

The MORPHY RICHARDS Evoke features a gorgeous stainless-steel exterior with rose gold trim. It’s also surprisingly light at just under 3kg. This is in part due to the light, yet durable, dishwasher-safe aluminium cooking pot. Like the other Morphy Richards on this list, the Evoke’s pot is hob and oven safe. This allows you to bake or sear your meats before slow cooking, all in the same dish.

The three distinct heat settings, high, medium, and low, give you more control over the temperature than those with just two settings. This spacious slow cooker also features an extra-large 6.5 litre cookpot – plenty of room for large, hungry families.

The MORPHY RICHARDS Evoke presents few downsides, but the most glaring is the lack of a timer. At this price, a timer and digital settings are all but expected. However, the Evoke’s simple control scheme makes it easy to use, and there are plenty of other great features that earn it its place on this list.

Pros

  • 6.5 litre capacity
  • 2.93kg total weight
  • Stylish black and rose gold finish
  • Three heat settings
  • Aluminium cook pot
  • 163W power
  • Glass lid

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a timer

MORPHY RICHARDS 48705 

Morphy Richards 48705 Best Slow Cooker

The MORPHY RICHARDS 48705’s cook pot is burner-safe, meaning you can heat it on the stovetop to achieve a quick and easy sear on meat before cooking it in the same pot. What could be easier than that? With a 6 litre capacity, this spacious slow cooker is large enough to serve four or more people. Cook whole joints of meat to fall-off-the-bone perfection.

Choose from three cooking temperatures, set by the manual switch on the front. The settings are curiously listed in the order “high”, “low”, and “medium”, which is counter-intuitive. It may take some time to get used to this odd sequence of temperature settings, but it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

All parts of the MORPHY RICHARDS 48705 are low-maintenance and easy to clean. The glass lid is dishwasher safe, the stainless-steel exterior wipes clean with a damp cloth and the non-stick cooking pot is a breeze to clean. One thing to note is that the non-stick surface is prone to scratching when you use metal utensils. For that reason, I recommend using only plastic or wooden utensils with this slow cooker.

Pros

  • 6 litre capacity
  • 3.35kg total weight
  • Three timed programs
  • Non-stick cooking pot
  • 163W power
  • Glass lid

Cons

  • The non-stick coating is easily damaged by metal utensils.

CROCK-POT CSC031 

Crock-Pot CSC031 Best Slow Cooker

The CROCK-POT CS031 offers a large 5.7 litre capacity and some added features that make it unbeatable value on almost any budget.

By far, users are most pleased with this slow cooker’s hinged lid. I must agree that this little feature is pretty ingenious. Other slow cookers require you to lift the hot, heavy, dripping glass lid off by hand, causing a huge mess and potentially burning your fingers. Smartly, the CROCK-POT CSC031’s lid flips securely back on a hinge instead. This makes checking on and serving your food a breeze.

It also heats up very quickly, which is rare to find in this price range. The strong, consistent heating element ensures that your dishes are done on time. Nothing’s worse than coming home after a long day to find that the vegetables in your stew haven’t softened yet.

It’s difficult to find fault with this slow cooker, but if I had to choose one thing, it’d be the lack of a timer. Since this is common with even the best budget slow cookers, I’m willing to overlook it for the CROCK-POT CSC031.

Pros

  • 5.7 litre capacity
  • 5.5kg total weight
  • Keep warm function
  • Two heat-settings
  • Cook timer with touch controls and digital display.
  • 220W power
  • Glass lid

Cons

  • There is no timer

Best Budget Slow Cooker – CROCK-POT SCV400RD 

Crock-Pot SCV400RD

Simple and cheap, the CROCK-POT SCV400RD is a dependable, no-frills slow cooker fit for every budget. This may be the most affordable slow cooker, but it’s still well-built and cooks effectively. Also, it comes with a 2-year warranty for added peace of mind.

At just 3.5 litres, this slow cooker is suitable for 2-3 people and is ideal for small families or small kitchens. It’s light and portable, as well as easy to store in kitchen cupboards. Of course, the pot is both oven and dishwasher safe for added versatility and convenience.

Although lacking in some advanced features, this is one crockpot that certainly does its job. Choose from high and low heating settings as well as a warming mode. The warming mode is especially handy after your meal is finished cooking but you aren’t eating right away.

So, what doesn’t this slow cooker have? First and most obvious, the CROCK-POT SCV400RD is on the small side. It may not be the best choice for families of four or more. This slow cooker also lacks a timer, so be sure to set your alarm when starting a meal. Beyond those issues, this is an attractive, affordable and reliable budget slow cooker.

Pros

  • 3.5 litre capacity
  • 5.3kg total weight
  • Keep warm function
  • Two main heat settings
  • Smart red finish
  • 210W power
  • Glass lid

Cons

  • It may not be suitable for large families.
  • There is no timer

Conclusion

All of these slow cookers deliver consistent heating and some other useful features. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll likely find a model here that’ll perfectly suit your kitchen. Each model offers some of the best value your likely to find in the UK market.

Hopefully, you’ve found this list useful and it’s given you a place to start on your hunt for a new slow cooker. If you have had any experience with any of those mentioned, we would love to hear about them – so drop me a comment and I will get back to you ASAP.

Brenden & Tim

The Cooker Base team, Brenden and Tim. Together we research, debate and write up articles listing the highest rated cookers and kitchen appliances available in the UK.