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Thanks to their ‘set and forget’ convenience and relatively low price tag, slow cookers have been dominating the home-cooking scene.
Whether you want to whip up a stew, casserole, roast, pulled-pork or even a cake, the slow cooker is one of the most versatile kitchen tools. Just consult one of the many Facebooks groups dedicated to the trusty gadget.
Food Director at Taste.com.au Michelle Southan credits their popularity to their convenience and ease of use.
“We all live busy lives and many of us are working at home but with the slow cooker, you pop your casserole, stew or soup on in the morning, set the timer and that’s it. It makes getting dinner done so easy and stress-free,” she told news.com.au.
“You can now buy ones with multiple functions, so you can saute your onion and brown the meat prior to the slow-cooking process all in the one pot, saving on washing up.”
RELATED: Slow cooker recipes from taste.com.au
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Once you build up a collection of recipes, you’ll discover they absolutely deliver in terms cost-per-use as well. If you need inspiration, Taste.com.au have hundreds for you to choose from.
“Slow cookers aren’t just for your classic winter stews. You can bake bread, make quiches, lasagne and even cook desserts, like dumplings, self-saucing puddings, and crumbles, in them, too,” adds Michelle.
If you’re on the hunt for a slow cooker, there are plenty of options to suit your needs.
THE ONE WITH MILLIONS OF FANS
Instant Pot, Duo Nova Electric Multi-Use Pressure Cooker 5.7L, Amazon, $269
Get your value for money with this seven-in-one multi-cooker that works as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker and food warmer. It happens to be one of Amazon’s top-selling products of all time, with a dedicated cult-following that’s spanned multiple Facebook groups with millions of members. The groups are filled with so many genius recipe ideas (think a lot of pastas, chillies, stews and desserts), you’ll never be stuck for a dinner idea again. The Instant Pot is also available in two other sizes – a 3L version which would suit two-person households and a 8L version for larger families.
THE BUDGET BUY
Maxim, Kitchen Pro 3.5L 240W Stainless Steel Food Slow Cooker, $33
It’s everything you could want or need in a slow cooker for a fantastic price. This savvy purchase offers three heat settings and a one-year warranty so you can have peace of mind.
THE EXTRA VERSATILE ONE
CrockPot, Choose-a-Crock One Pot Cooker, Amazon, $99
Avoid leftover fatigue with this clever design which gives you two interchangeable pots which can be easily switched out. You get one 5.6L crock and another 2.4L divided crock which lets you cook two meals at once. It’s the perfect appliance for those who want to increase their home cooked meals but would rather spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. For example, you can make a potato bake and bolognese in the divided pot for dinner and whip up a tasty curry for your lunches in the other. As a bonus, the lid can be placed in the dishwasher and the stoneware cooking dishes are oven safe too.
THE PRESSURE COOKER
Cuisinart, Electric Pressure Cooker Plus, $142.49 (from $259)
Unlike slow cookers that cook your food at a low temperature for a prolonged period of time, pressure cookers use hot steam and pressure, drastically speeding up the cooking time of a dish. Although, they’re great for time-poor households, they do require more supervision and are more expensive too.
THE AWARD WINNER
Philips, All-In-One Cooker, $239
Dubbed as ProductReview.com.au’s best slow cooker of 2020, this all inclusive cooker has scored a glowing 4.6 stars out of 71 reviews. Fans have praised it for being a “one pot wonder” and you can use it to sear and saute your ingredients too.
THE ONE FOR BIG FAMILIES
Russell Hobbs, 7L Slow Cooker, $59
Not only is this model dishwasher-friendly with cool touch handles for little hands, it’s huge 7L capacity makes feeding the hungriest of mouths a cinch. You’ll be able to bulk prep weeknight dinners with ease while ensuring there’s leftovers for lunch the next day.
THE DOUBLE BURNER
Westinghouse 2 Pot Slow Cooker, $62.72 (from $98)
If you want to have multiple dishes on the go at the same time, this is the appliance for you. For example, on one side you could make some gooey golden syrup dumplings, while prepping a lush beef ragu in the other.
At 2.5L, the pots are a bit smaller than your average slow cooker, making it great for small households or if you need to cook for people with different dietary requirements.
Tefal, Fast And Delicious 6L Multi Cooker, $229.95
Slow cooking, baking and pressure cooking are just three of the 25 settings that come with his multi cooker. You can make anything and everything from roasts to bread and casseroles too. Just think of that cost per use.