Last Sunday may have been the official beginning of spring, but news stories warning of a washout over Easter suggest it’s not quite time to pack away your winter togs. If you like to turn to warming, hearty food on chilly days, a slow cooker can help to make mealtime effortless.
To find out which four slow cookers made such tasty stews that we’ve named them Best Buys, head straight to our slow cooker reviews.
Budget vs premium slow cookers
Most slow cookers cost between £20 and £40, but prices can go up to around £85. Higher prices usually get you additional features, digital controls or a larger capacity.
The Morphy Richards ‘Sear and Stew’ range and Crock-Pot Digital Sauté slow cooker allow you to sear meat in the bowl on the hob before you cook, keeping washing up to a minimum and helping to maximize flavour. While the Crock-Pot AutoStir (£65) stirs your dish at regular intervals as it cooks, to prevent any food sticking.
You don’t need to pay a premium to get great features though – Wilko’s basic slow cooker costs just £20 and has an auto cook feature. This starts to cook on a high setting before dropping to a lower temperature for the rest of the time, something we’ve found can turn out better cooking results than standard settings.
Read our guide to buying a slow cooker to find out more about the features worth having, and get advice on picking the right size of cooker for you.
Latest slow cooker reviews
The full list of slow cookers we’ve just tested is below – click on the links to read the full reviews.
- Andrew James 3.5L premium slow cooker – £20
- Argos 6.5l slow cooker 422/8826 – £20
- Breville ITP136 – £27
- Breville VTP169 – £21
- Crock-Pot Digital SCCPRC507B-060 – £43
- Crock-Pot AutoStir CSC012 – £65
- Crock-Pot SCV400RD-060 – £24
- Crock-Pot Digital Sauté slow cooker CSC011 – £67
- Morphy Richards Digital Sear and Stew 460004 – £36
- Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Compact 460751 – £49
- Russell Hobbs 19790 – £25
- Swan SF17020 – £27
- Wilko Steel 6L cooker – £22
Prices correct as of 24 March 2016.
What to cook – slow cooker recipes
As well as stews and casseroles, you can make curries, slow-cooked meats like pulled pork, and even roast a chicken in a slow cooker. They are also handy for making a batch of porridge or classic desserts like creamy rice pudding.
The best slow cookers come with an array of tempting slow cooker recipes to get you started, while other models give almost no guidance on how to adapt recipes for your slow cooker, or how long meat takes to cook. See our pick of Best Buy slow cookers to find a model that will help you to create tasty meals.