How To Choose Your Slow Cooker?
Several elements come into play in the choice of an electric slow cooker adapted to our needs. This is why our site has prepared this practical buying guide for you which will allow you to know the essential criteria to take into account before embarking on the purchase of such a device.
What Is An Electric Slow Cooker?
It is an electric cooking appliance which slowly cooks food at low temperature. It consists of a tank, an airtight glass cover and an electric heating element which allows cooking the culinary ingredients under indirect heat.
Easy to use, fast and efficient, the electric slow cooker is the best kitchen utensil to make tasty dishes, such as bourguignon with blanquette, lentil soup, risotto, vegetable and chicken broths, tajines and more more besides.
What Is The Best Slow Cooker?
Below is a comparative table of the products that we put at the head of the ranking of quality slow cookers.
How To Choose A Quality Slow Cooker?
It is in relation to the capacity of your tank that you will be able to define the number of people to feast on with your preparation. For this, note in advance that a meal for one person generally requires a capacity of 1 liter.
The choice of an 8-liter electric slow cooker is therefore essential for a large family of 8 people, while for a single person or a couple, the best alternative is a smaller device. However, it should not be forgotten that a small bowl will also limit the possibility of cooking on certain foods, such as a whole chicken which requires at least a capacity of 6 liters.
Thereafter, you should also know that a round tank will be more suitable for the preparation of soups, stews and risotto. If you are more meat, chicken and fish, the best would be to opt for an oval bowl.
There are electric slow cookers in ceramic and glazed stoneware on the market. These are very good materials which ensure a long service life for the device, because they are both excellent conductors of heat and support cleaning in the dishwasher.
Electric stainless steel slow cookers are also good products, but they can cost more compared to other models. On the other hand, avoid leaning on the models of tanks with a non-stick coating, although these seduce you for their practicality and easy to maintain because they do not let stick any residue of food on the bottom of the bowl.
For the lid, the choice of a transparent material such as tempered glass is always better in order to be able to follow the progress of each cooking. Also make sure that the machine model you have chosen is equipped with handles that are large enough and perfectly insulated to facilitate their handling.
Options And Accessories
Indeed, several additional options for the slow cooker can qualify it better than another.
To give you ideas on the model to favor for its practicality and easy to use, we advise you for example to choose an electric slow cooker with timer which alerts you when cooking is finished with a doorbell. Some more modern models even allow an automatic shutdown of the appliance when the meal is cooked and automatically balance in “keep warm” mode to keep your dish at the right temperature.
Therefore, it is essential that indicator lights inform you when the machine is running, in cooking mode or in reheating mode. And for easy maintenance, the best would be to choose a device with a removable lid and tank.
These accessories will thus benefit from a passage in the dishwasher for more practicality. The removable bowl will also allow table service and independent use on gas, on an electric hob and even in an oven.
Why Buy An Electric Slow Cooker?
Vary The Dishes
What if you brought something new into your usual recipes? Thanks to the recipes for an electric slow cooker, you will be able to taste these good old dishes that your grandmother used to prepare in a pressure cooker.
Indeed, the slow cooker makes you rediscover countless tasty and particularly convivial recipes which are now forgotten and replaced by quick meals.
From now on, you will be able to make delicious, tender and tasty real dishes, including simmered meats, vegetable soups, ratatouille, chicken broth, a minestrone or even a garbure. And the recipes will be even more varied with an electric slow cooker as well as certain models with multiple use which will be able to simmer, saute, steam, make cakes, flans and many other recipes.
We obtain a significant saving of time with the use of an electric slow cooker, because it does not require any monitoring on our part.
Simply place the ingredients in the pan and the appliance will immediately start cooking them without you having to stir or wait for the end of cooking by staying for hours in your kitchen.
Especially since you have the possibility of adjusting the intensity of the appliance to 100 ° C for a long cooking of 6 to 10 hours, or 150 ° C for a higher intensity which requires only 4 to 6 hours of cooking. During this time you can perform other daily tasks or even be at the office and greeted by a nice hot dish when you get home in the evening.
Which Electric Slow Cooker To Choose?
Find the electric slow cooker that suits you among the best models that we have selected in our comparison.
The Different Types Of Slow Cookers
The Manual Slow Cooker
This is the traditional slow cooker model, very basic. There is no other setting button here except the on and off button.
Some versions of manual slow cookers nevertheless have the keep warm function, but this does not change the fact that starting and stopping the appliance requires the presence of the user.
The Programmable Slow Cooker
The programmable electric slow cooker is undoubtedly the most widespread model on the market.
It is a modern version of the pressure cooker which offers various functions, the best known of which are the delayed start, keep warm function as well as the automatic stop.
It is very appreciated for its practicality, because here, cooking is done all by itself. You only need to program the cooking, for a period of between 4 and 12 hours, so that the appliance begins to cook the food, even if you are not at home. When you return, a delicious hot stew is just waiting to be served.
The Slow Cooker With Thermoelectric Probe
For even more additional options, some slow cookers are equipped with a probe that allows you to control the cooking of meats.
It is a very practical accessory, because instead of a simple glance from the transparent cover, it offers you the possibility of monitoring the interior cooking temperature of your chicken or veal. As a result, everyone can cook their meat according to the cooking method they want, and avoid overcooking the meat, which risks being dried out.
What Is The Price Of A Quality Slow Cooker?
The price of an electric slow cooker generally varies between 25 and 250 euros, in particular depending on the model of the device, whether manual or programmable, depending on its size, but also on the various integrated options.
You will understand: the more features the slow cooker has, the higher the price. It is therefore up to you to define the model that best suits your needs in order to be able to prepare a budget suited to your purchase. People with very busy schedules will obviously be directed to an electric slow cooker model with programmer, while followers of simplicity and traditional products will opt for a manual device.
How To Use An Electric Slow Cooker?
First of all, it is very important to read the instructions for your electric slow cooker carefully. To cook for the first time, first clean the cooking bowl. Put hot water in it with a few drops of dishwashing liquid so that you can wash it by hand. Dry it and put it back in the appliance case. Once you have chosen the recipe you want to make, prepare the necessary ingredients, wash them carefully and cut them into pieces before placing them in the tank.
Start cooking and choose the temperature suitable for your preparation. While your dish is cooking, limit the openings of the lid as much as possible to avoid lengthening the cooking time. Remember to unplug the appliance when your meal is well cooked.
How To Maintain A Slow Cooker?
First, wait for the slow cooker to cool completely before you start cleaning it. You can also remove the tank from the box to cool it quickly.
Cleaning can be done in the dishwasher either by hand using water and washing up liquid. A soft cloth previously soaked in soapy water will also be effective in cleaning the inside of the casserole.
Finish the operation by rinsing the bowl with water and drying it with a soft cloth. Avoid at all costs rubbing the inside of the removable bowl with an abrasive sponge or other solid tool to avoid damaging it.