Slow cookers are easy to navigate no matter your skill level. Made for hands-off cooking, they come in handy during the festive season or in the colder months when winter blues set in. With a 'set it and forget it' usability, you can assemble the meal in the morning, set the timer and come home to a ready-made dinner.
This might sound too good to be true but slow cookers work similar to ovens, allowing for food to be cooked at a low temperature for a long time. The only difference between the two is that a slow cooker requires a little bit of liquid to prevent the bottom from burning. Best of all? They come with a relatively low price tag, which might be why they’ve become a staple in most home cook's kitchens.
What to look for when buying a slow cooker
When cooking for a household of two, you'll only need a 3-4L model but if your family is double in size, go for a 5-8L model. Depending on what you plan to cook, size can matter. Oval-shaped slow cookers are best for longer cuts of meat.
There are several features you won't want to compromise on. Make sure it includes a timer, is dishwasher safe, and has automatic settings so it can reduce the temperature if you've stepped away.
"Food can be left unattended to bubble away in the slow cooker for approximately 8 hours if on the low setting. However, there are slow cookers on the market that have timers which can switch the machine to 'keep warm' at a set time," says Fiona Mair, Choice expert and test coordinator.
Another important but not entirely necessary slow cooker feature is the sear function.
"When cooking with a slow cooker, searing the meat first is very important. This allows the meat to caramelise and more flavour to develop," says Fiona.
Here are our top picks.
If you've used your last slow cooker to death and are looking for its replacement, look no further. This award-winning slow cooker is great for the meal prep fanatic but will always do a great job, even if you only pull it out once in a while.
This extra-large slow cooker has the capacity to feed up to 8 mouths or more. If you love hosting friends and family, this slow cooker from Breville should be your go-to.
Slow cook, pressure cook, saute, sear, steam and bake all your comfort food favourites in this popular product. Though the price tag is steep, it's well worth the investment.
With an easy-to-use panel and digital timer, this handy appliance will see you through the cold winter months.
This luxe slow cooker comes with many impressive features, including a triple safe lid, auto steam release, and 11 cooking settings. It's practical, easy to clean and has over 600 5-star reviews.
If you're looking for something simple yet reliable, this slow cooker from Kmart is a great choice. With enough space to cook for the whole family and a straight-forward adjustable dial, using a slow cooker couldn't be easier.
Whether you're throwing a three-course dinner party or simply catering to different tastes, this slow cooker can whip up three separate meals at once. It also has a warming function in case you're serving one meal at a time.
This one-pot-wonder covers all bases with buttons for meat, poultry, yoghurt, dessert, risotto and more. You'll be able to master any dish with this handy appliance at your side.
With in-built recipes and an intuitive digital screen that guides you through the steps, this multi-cooker does all the work. Every Cook4Me appliance comes with 150 recipes covering starters, mains and desserts and most of them take only 15 minutes!
This slow cooker is a game changer! With a clip-on lid, countdown timer and detachable probe, you'll be able to cook your dish to perfection.