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What to Look for in a Slow Cooker

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While writing The Great American Slow Cooker Book, authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (the same guys who wrote “Slow Cooker Secrets“) developed more than 600 recipes in three different-size cookers. Figuring they know a thing or two about this hugely popular piece of kitchen gear, we asked them to tell us about the features they look for in a slow cooker.

Here’s what they had to say in order of “must-haves” to “nice touches.”

  • A machine that automatically switches to “keep warm” after the cooking is a must. After all, the whole point is to not have to be around while your dinner is cooking.
  • A removable stove-safe insert lets you sear without dirtying another pan. If it’s dishwasher safe, even better.
  • A glass lid lets you see what’s going on inside without letting heat escape.
  • An oval shape gives you more room to accommodate large cuts of meats, like roasts or whole chickens. That said, if you plan on making a lot of cakes in your slow cooker (you can!), a round shape is going to give you a more traditional look.
  • We also like a long cord because you never know where you might be plugging this baby in!

We also asked our editors for some of their recommendations.
“Consider getting more than one slow cooker and in different sizes. They’re great for entertaining; I use them to keep food warm for a buffet.” – Abby Simchak

“My recently departed slow cooker (RIP) had a thermometer probe that I loved. With it, I could cook a big hunk of meat to a certain temperature rather than for a certain time.” – Layla Schlack

“If someone could come up with a self-cleaning one, I’d be all over that.” – Juli Roberts

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