Best Crock Pots

A slow cooker is one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen. And perhaps one of the most underutilized. It offers multiple cooking methods without having to turn the oven on, slave over a stove top, or make a mess of your pots and pans. Slow cookers range from simple set-ups to more complex units, and vary in capacity, but they allow the user to create meals without a lot of the fuss of traditional cooking.

We reviewed dozens of slow cookers to identify the best of the best. We looked at capacity, temperature settings, manual and programmable options, cleaning requirements, and whether there were any added features.

Top Pick
Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
This programmable slow cooker has the option of customizing temperature settings and cooking times to create a one-of-a-kind meal.

We chose the Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker as our favorite slow cooker. For those who would like more control over their slow cooker, this one has multiple programming options to help you create your best meal.

The 5 Top-Rated Crock Pots

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallHamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker 4.4
Runner UpHamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker
4.7
Best Budget BuyCrock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker 4.3
Best Mini Crock PotElite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker4.4
Best Triple Crock PotTru BS-325LR Slow Cookers 4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Top Pick: Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

The Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker offers you the opportunity to customize your cooking with the benefits of a ‘set it and forget it’ capability. Mix the different temperature settings with a variety of cooking times to tailor your dish to your recipe’s needs. It offers up to 20 hours of cooking. And unlike other slow cookers, this one has a wraparound heating element in the base so that it heats your food from all sides, and not just from the bottom.

The 7-quart capacity can fit a 7-pound chicken or enough beef stew to feed roughly six to eight people. If you’re not around when the cooking time has ended, there’s no need to worry. The unit automatically switches to the warm setting so your food will be ready and waiting.

This slow cooker is also easy to handle and take care of. The lid knob and pot handles are large and easy to grip. Both the stoneware insert and glass lid are safe for cleaning in your dishwasher, making cleanup a snap. The brushed stainless steel and black accent coloring give this cooker a sleek design that will match most kitchen themes.

Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker Key Features:

  • Multiple temperature settings and cooking times
  • Removable insert and lid are dishwasher safe
  • Heating element wraps around the slow cooker for even heating
  • Automatically switches to warm when cooking is done

Our Runner Up Pick: Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker

Runner Up
Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker
This extra large slow cooker offers multiple heat settings, and the lid seals tight to prevent spills during travel.

We chose the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker as our runner up pick because it’s on the larger side, and it stays secure for transporting food. Though a lot of folks may not need a 10-quart cooker, this one is convenient for taking your meal creations with you. With its large capacity and travel features, this slow cooker makes bringing hot food to parties and gatherings a cinch.

This slow cooker can fit a 12-pound roast, serving large numbers of people. Conveniently, it’s outfitted with a lid that clips tightly to the unit to avoid accidental spills. It’s easy to take on the go with extra large handles that make it comfortable for carrying. Multiple temperature settings are available, and the slow cooker includes the option of a warm setting for when your food is finished cooking. Cleaning the cooker is also easy since both the stoneware insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe.

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker Key Features:

  • Dishwasher safe stoneware insert and glass lid
  • Easy grip handles for carrying
  • Lid clips on tight for spill-free traveling
  • Extra large capacity for serving large groups

Best Budget Pick: Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker

Best for Budget
Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker
This 8-quart slow cooker has a stoneware insert, and offers a low and high temperature setting, as well as an option for keeping food warm.

The Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker wins our best for budget spot for its solid performance and lower price. With an 8-quart capacity, this cooker can hold enough food to feed a large family. The stainless steel and striking black accent exterior give this appliance a sharp look that matches most kitchen decors.

This Crock-Pot slow cooker can fit up to 8 pounds of meat. So whether you’re setting up for a party or simply want leftovers, this slow cooker will accommodate serving eight to 12 people. It offers manual temperature settings that include low and high. After you have cooked your meal on either of those settings, switch the knob to warm to keep it at 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Worried about how your dish is coming along? View the progress of your creation through the glass lid. When your food is done and you’re ready to eat, just ease the lid off with the large lid handle. The crock’s handles are also large, which makes them easier to grip if you need to move the slow cooker around. This slow cooker is also a breeze to clean since both the stoneware insert and glass lid are safe to clean in your dishwasher. What’s better than a no-mess meal with easy cleanup?

Crock-Pot Oval Manual Slow Cooker Key Features:

  • Stoneware pot and glass lid are dishwasher safe
  • Extra large capacity that serves about 10 people
  • Multiple temperature settings with a warming option

Best Mini Crock Pot: Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker

Best Mini Crock Pot
Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker
The Elite Gourmet slow cooker has a 1.5 quart stoneware insert that offers multiple heat settings.

We liked the Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker for the best mini slow cooker. With a 1.5-quart capacity, this mini slow cooker can heat up sauces, dips, and side dishes. It offers a low and high temperature setting, with the option of warm to keep delicious dips ready to eat. The handles are cool to the touch up to 120 watts, and the crock is outfitted with an indicator light so you know when it’s on. The small round size fits well on a counter and conveniently gives you more cooking options.

The Elite Gourmet mini cooker has a stainless steel finish with black accent coloring. The lid is clear glass so you can see inside the crock while your food is cooking. After your unit has cooled, the removable insert can be used for food storage and put in the refrigerator. The stoneware insert and glass lid are both safe to place in your dishwasher, so cleaning your mini cooker is also easy.

Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker Key Features:

  • Stainless steel finish
  • Handles and knob stay cool while the unit is on
  • Warm setting available
  • Insert and lid are dishwasher safe

Best Triple Crock Pot: Tru BS-325LR Slow Cookers

Best Triple Crock Pot
Tru BS-325LR Slow Cookers
The Tru triple station slow cooker has three removable oval inserts that are 2.5 quarts each.

The Tru BS-325LR Slow Cookers landed in our top spot for best triple slow cookers. This buffet style slow cooker offers three separate pots that each have its own temperature setting controls. The triple unit allows you to cook up to three different meals, and keep them warm for serving. Each slow cooker holds 2.5 quarts of entrees, side dishes, sauces, or appetizers. And each cooker is equipped with lid rests, making it easy to serve up your tasty meals.

The buffet unit has a stainless steel finish with a contrasting black accent color. The lids have cool-touch handles so you can easily serve up your food fare without burning your hands. This particular model also includes serving spoons as part of the package. And cleanup is a breeze – the removable pot inserts are dishwasher safe.

Tru BS-325LR Slow Cookers Key Features:

  • Buffet style unit with independent temperature settings
  • Stoneware inserts are dishwasher safe
  • Comes equipped with lid and spoon rests
  • 420 watts of power
  • Total capacity is 7.5 quarts

Who Should Buy a Crock Pot

If you enjoy the taste of slow-cooked foods or like the idea of dinner cooking while you’re out, a slow cooker is a good option. Since they come in a variety of sizes, even those cooking for one or two people can benefit from a slow cooker. But they definitely come in handy when you are attempting to make large batches of food for a roomful of people.

Slow cookers do take up counter space though, so the type you purchase might depend on your kitchen arrangement. But since slow cookers offer another choice of cooking method, the amount of room they take up is worth the added versatility. Slow cookers add to your cooking experience, as well as allow you to cook multiple dishes at once, when used in conjunction with your stove or oven.

If you’re looking for a crispier surface for your meats and other foods, consider The Best Air Fryers.

Top Pick
Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
This programmable slow cooker has the option of customizing temperature settings and cooking times to create a one-of-a-kind meal.

Important Features to Consider

A crock pot should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a crock pot:

  • Size and capacity. It’s important to not only have a slow cooker that is large enough for your cooking needs, but also one that is not too large. Many slow cookers need to be filled at least half way to properly cook the food contained inside. Determine what you need or want the slow cooker for, and how many people it will be serving on a regular basis.
  • Manual versus programmable. A manual slow cooker means you physically turn the knob on and off. You have to be around when you want it on, and especially when the food is done cooking. A programmable slow cooker allows you to set a timer to turn it on and off, so you don’t need to be home at the time. Each has its own pros and cons, therefore it often comes down to a matter of preference.
  • Do you want to take it on the go? Will you be using your slow cooker exclusively at home or do you want to take it to family gatherings as well? Slow cookers deigned to travel come equipped with locking lids to avoid messy spills while in transport. Those that are not designed to take on the go simply have a lid that sits on top of the pot. It is highly recommended to use a slow cooker with a locking lid if you wish to travel with it.
  • Cleaning and maintenance. No one wants a kitchen appliance that will be difficult to take care of. Check with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your slow cooker. Many newer models have inserts and lids that are safe to place in your dishwasher, but not all do. A quick, simple way to wipe down the exterior of the cooker is with a light vinegar solution. The vinegar cuts right through any grease that may have splattered on to your unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a crock pot and how does it work?

Crock-Pot is a brand name, and the original inventor of the slow cooker. A slow cooker is an electric kitchen appliance that sits on your counter. It slow cooks a number of different foods, from roasts to stews to desserts. The base of the unit is made with one or more heating elements that, in turn, heat up the slow cooker pot, thus cooking your food.

There are many ways to use your slow cooker. Typically, you place your food inside the pot, cover it tightly, turn the unit on low or high, and enjoy the fruits of your labor when the meal is finished cooking. Some cookers have a timer built in. For those that don’t, you will have to set a separate timer to know when it’s done. Slow cookers are used for soups, stews, roasts, meat and vegetable combination dishes, desserts, breads, and egg casseroles – the possibilities are almost endless.

What are the crock pot sizes?

Slow cookers range in size from 1.5 quarts up to 10 quarts. Typical sizes include 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 quarts. The 6-quart slow cooker is the average size, and what most slow cooker recipes are based on. It fits roughly 6 pounds of meat, and serves about four to eight people.

Slow cookers that are part of an all-in-one unit, such as the Instant Pot, tend to be on the smaller side, and average 5 to 7 quarts.

Can you put raw meat in a crock pot?

Yes, raw meat can be cooked in a slow cooker. Slow cooked meats are often more tender and juicy due to the enclosed moist heat that a slow cooker creates. The one drawback is that your meat will not develop a crusty or crunchy exterior, if that is your aim. Always use a meat thermometer to meet the safety standards of cooked meat temperatures.

Other ingredients can also be places in the slow cooker with raw meat, but may need to be added at different times or in different layers due to different cooking times and temperatures. Root vegetables – a popular choice to cook with meat – are better placed near the bottom and sides of the slow cooker, since they take a while to cook through. More fragile vegetables, such as asparagus, bell peppers, and celery, do better when placed in the slow cooker near the end of cooking time.

Do you need to put water in a crock pot?

Whether or not your slow cooker needs added liquids for cooking depends on what you are cooking. Most manufacturers will tell you to put at least half a cup of water in with your food, but this is not always necessary or wanted. If you are following a recipe, go by the instructions.

For foods such as baked potatoes, meatloaf, or breads, adding water will only destroy your hard work. However, greasing the insert with an oil or fat such as butter, coconut oil, or ghee is usually a good idea.

Other Crock Pots We Reviewed

Top Pick
Hamilton Beach 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
This programmable slow cooker has the option of customizing temperature settings and cooking times to create a one-of-a-kind meal.

We looked at 20 other crock pots. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best crock pot list, they’re the best of the rest, and are still great options for slow cooking. The information you need to compare each one is included with the listing.

3.5- to 4-quart Slow Cookers

Chefman Natural Casserole Slow Cooker

Chefman Natural Casserole Slow Cooker

This Chefman slow cooker offers the ability to cook on the stove top or in the oven before slow cooking. The stoneware crock has a capacity of 3.5 quarts.

Key Features:

  • 1-year warranty
  • Insert and lid are dishwasher safe
  • Lid locks tightly in place

Cost: $63

Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker

This rectangular slow cooker has a 3.5-quart capacity, and the stoneware insert is oven safe. A locking lid allows you to take the slow cooker on the go without fear of spilling the contents.

Key Features:

  • Multiple temperature settings
  • Pot insert is microwave safe
  • Extra large handles for easy carrying

Cost: $40

Cuisinart 3.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Cuisinart 3.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

This Cuisinart slow cooker offers up to 24 hours of cooking time, and has four different heat temperatures. The unit automatically switches to warm when cooking is complete.

Key Features:

  • Removable ceramic insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe
  • 3-year warranty
  • Handles are cool to the touch

Cost: $44

Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

The Hamilton Beach 4-quart slow cooker allows you to program different combinations of time and temperature for more customized cooking.

Key Features:

  • Stoneware insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe
  • Switches to warm automatically when cooking is done
  • Wraparound heating element

Cost: $35

6-quart Slow Cookers

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Oval Programmable Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Oval Programmable Slow Cooker

This cook and carry slow cooker has a stoneware insert that is both microwave and oven safe. The programming feature allows for up to 20 hours of cooking.

Key Features:

  • 6-quart capacity
  • Automatically switches to warm when done cooking
  • Lid locks securely in place for travel

Cost: $45

Crockpot Thermoshield 6 Quart Manual Slow Cooker

Crockpot Thermoshield 6 Quart Manual Slow Cooker

This slow cooker has thermoshield insulated sides, which retains heat while reducing the exterior temperature of the unit. The lid seals airtight for taking it on the go.

Key Features:

Up to 20 hours of cooking time, Automatically switches to warm when cooking is done, Removable stoneware insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe

Cost: $65

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

The Hamilton Beach slow cooker offers multiple heat settings, with the added option to program it and forget it. This cooker also gives you the option of using two different heat settings and cooking times for one meal.

Key Features:

  • Sealed lid for safe travel
  • Dishwasher safe stoneware insert and glass lid
  • Automatically switches to warm when cooking is finished

Cost: $50

hOmeLabs 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

hOmeLabs 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

The hOmeLabs slow cooker can be programmed up to 10 hours. It automatically switches to warm when cooking is complete or the 10 hours are up.

Key Features:

  • Multiple temperature settings
  • Removable insert and lid are dishwasher safe
  • Stainless steel exterior

Cost: $40

7- to 8-quart Slow Cookers

Black & Decker Slow Cooker

Black & Decker Slow Cooker

The Black & Decker slow cooker has multiple temperature settings. The stoneware pot and glass lid are dishwasher safe.

Key Features:

  • Built-in lid holder
  • Extra large cool-touch handles
  • 7-quart capacity

Cost: $44

Crock Pot 8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Crock Pot 8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

This Crock-Pot programmable slow cooker allows for up to 20 hours of cooking time. Once cooking is complete, it automatically switches to the warm setting.

Key Features:

  • Removable stoneware insert and glass lid are dishwasher safe
  • Able to fit a 6-pound roast
  • Multiple temperature settings

Cost: $70

Disney Pixar Slow Cooker

Disney Pixar Slow Cooker

The Disney Pixar slow cooker exterior is outfitted with various Pixar characters, and holds 7 quarts.

Key Features:

  • Removable ceramic insert is dishwasher safe
  • Multiple temperature settings
  • Handles are cool to the touch

Cost: $25

Presto Nomad 8-quart Traveling Slow Cooker

Presto Nomad 8-quart Traveling Slow Cooker

The Presto Nomad slow cooker offers the capabilities of a slow cooker while looking like a cooler. The insert and cover are removable for cleaning.

Key Features:

  • Large swing handle for easy carrying
  • Lid locks tight for transport
  • Built-in storage for the cord

Cost: $60

All-in-One Slow Cookers

Crock-Pot Express Easy Release 6 Quart Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot Express Easy Release 6 Quart Slow Cooker

This Crock-Pot slow cooker offers more than just slow cooking; you can also pressure cook, steam, and saute. Choosing your options is easy with the one-touch programs.

Key Features:

  • Easy release steam dial
  • Custom settings include manual pressure, simmer, and boil
  • Programmable cooking with delay timer

Cost: $90

Instant Pot Duo 80 7-in-1 Electric Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 80 7-in-1 Electric Cooker

The Instant Pot all-in-one cooker allows you to slow cook, pressure cook, steam, saute, and even make yogurt. Multiple programs are available at the touch of a button.

Key Features:

  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel parts
  • 8-quart capacity
  • Built-in safety features

Cost: $100

Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 Electric Slow Cooker

Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 Electric Slow Cooker

The Instant Pot Lux has a capacity of 6 quarts, and offers a variety of cooking options, such as slow cooking, pressure cooking, and steaming.

Key Features:

  • Built-in safety features, such as protection from overheating
  • Stainless steel parts are dishwasher safe
  • Multiple accessories included

Cost: $79

Ninja Auto-iQ Multi/Slow Cooker

Ninja Auto-iQ Multi Slow Cooker

The Ninja Auto-iQ slow cooker has more than 80 pre-programmed recipes, and four programmable cooking functions. Unlike most slow cookers, this one heats from the side, bottom, and via steam.

Key Features:

  • Programmable digital timer
  • Automatic warm setting
  • Options available include poaching, baking, and searing

Cost: $130

Other Slow Cookers

Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker

Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker

The Calphalon Digital Saute Slow Cooker allows you to sear or saute your food before slow cooking it. It’s compatible with gas, electric, and induction stove tops.

Key Features:

  • Ceramic insert is oven safe
  • 5.3-quart capacity
  • Programmable settings with automatic warming

Cost: $94

Crockpot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker

Crockpot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker

This Crock-Pot slow cooker has a removable stoneware insert that is also oven safe.

Key Features:

  • Multiple temperature settings
  • Lid has clips to seal it tight
  • Insert and lid are dishwasher safe

Cost: $27

Crockpot Round Slow Cooker

Crockpot Round Slow Cooker

This slow cooker is round and offers a 4.5 quart capacity. Temperature settings come in low, high, and warm.

Key Features:

  • Removable stoneware insert is dishwasher safe
  • Glass lid is dishwasher safe
  • Black and white design exterior

Cost: $17

Elite Platinum Triple Slow Cooker Buffet Server

Elite Platinum Triple Slow Cooker Buffet Server

The Elite Platinum slow cooker offers three 2.5-quart stoneware inserts in one cooking station. Each pot has its own multiple temperature setting.

Key Features:

  • 1-year warranty
  • Knobs are cool to the touch
  • Inserts and glass lids are dishwasher safe

Cost: $62

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