A crockpot, as slow cookers are sometimes referred to, helps you save time, enhances convenience, and is an excellent aesthetic addition for your kitchen. Kitchen appliance makers are always innovating new ways to make your cooking experience enjoyable, and there are new technological developments on the slow cookers available in the market.
One of the notable innovations that kitchen appliance makers have come up with is the timer for slow cookers. The timer function makes it possible for you to cook even when you are not at home. The timer function is also advanced to help you delay the start of the cooking time, which makes the slow cooker fit into your lifestyle even better.
What is even more, slow cookers with a timer reduce the chances of your food burning or damaging the cooker. But before evaluating the various slow cookers with timers in the market, do you need a slow cooker, you might ask.
Why Do You Need a Slow Cooker with a Timer?
You already have a cookstove, oven, and other cooking appliances and wonder whether you also need to get a slow cooker. However, the different cooking appliances require that you continuously monitor the cooking, or you risk burning your food and (god forbid) the entire house.
On the other hand, slow cookers with timers enable you to cook your food without necessarily being present, as we shall discuss in a few paragraphs. But first, here are the benefits you will get from a slow cooker:
1. A Slow Cooker Encourages You to Eat Healthily
Juggling between your social and work responsibilities can take too much energy. The thought of firing the oven to cook at the end of a tiresome workday can derail the most determined kitchen lover, leading most people to eat out in restaurants. Or not eating at all.
The downside of eating out is that healthy restaurant foods are relatively expensive. As such, most people end up grabbing something at a fast-food joint on their way home, without thinking about the health consequences of fast foods.
On the other hand, a slow cooker with a timer allows you to come home to a hot, healthy meal. All you need to do is prep your food in the morning, throw it into your slow cooker, set the timer, and leave for work. The slow cooker will automatically stop cooking when your set time elapses but keeps the food warm for you.
Additionally, you can use your slow cooker to prepare food that you can consume for a few days and refrigerate. You can then warm the food during your weekday nights when you are too tired to cook and still eat a healthy meal.
2. Make Otherwise Hard Food Soft
Some foods will not just become soft no matter how long you heat them in a pot over your stove. Foods like meat and chicken wings, among other chewy foods, can prove hard to chew, especially for children, older people, or generally anyone with dental challenges. The chewing difficulties can cause you and your family to miss out on the said foods’ culinary and dietary benefits.
However, when you use a slow cooker to prepare chewy foods, you end up with tender, easy-to-peel foods that your family will enjoy eating.
3. Slow Cookers Are Multipurpose
You can prepare anything on a slow cooker – starting from meat, vegetables, and grains to just about anything that comes to your mind. You, therefore, do not need to have multiple cooker sets to be able to prepare your food.
The multipurpose nature of slow cookers makes it easy for you to try out various recipes. Trying out new recipes makes your food experience enjoyable and also encourages you to eat healthy food.
4. Slow Cookers Make Easy Kitchen Time
The convenience that comes with a slow cooker with a timer makes your kitchen experience enjoyable. The cooking procedure is reduced to prepping your ingredients, throwing them into a slow cooker with a timer, and eventually, get a well-cooked meal. The slow cooker will also keep your food warm, and you only need to serve the food.
Additionally, slow cookers do not need you to supervise the cooking, and also the risk of burning your food is reduced. What is even better is that slow cookers are easy to clean and save you time and energy.
What to Consider When Buying a Slow Cooker with Timer
Buying a slow cooker with a timer can sound like an easy affair. However, there are many brands of slow cookers, various shapes and sizes, construction materials to choose from, which makes it somewhat complicated to find the perfect slow cooker for your kitchen. Here are three primary considerations to make when buying your slow cooker:
1. Construction Material and Design
Slow cookers come in various materials that include porcelain, ceramic, and metal. While all the materials are durable, your personal preference comes into play, and also, the level of care when handling the cooker affects your choice.
Slow cookers also vary in terms of the position of the heater. Most of the slow cookers in the market have heaters located at the pot’s base, while others have the heater extending to the sides of the pot. Cookers with heaters extending to the sides keep food warmer for longer.
Your slow cooker’s shape is also a consideration to make. The cookers are either oval or circular. While the shape may sound like a frivolous thing to consider, it is essential to think about the slow cooker’s aesthetic value and the storage of the appliance.
Another consideration to make regarding the slow cooker is the ease of cleaning. The whole idea of buying a slow cooker with a timer is to enjoy the convenience and save time. If you have to spend the time you save cleaning the slow cooker, then it beats the logic. Your slow cooker’s design should allow for easy disintegration of the various parts, making for quick cleaning.
Finally, slow cookers with glass lids enhance convenience when cooking. You will lose a lot of cooking time and energy if you have to open the cooker to see how your cooking is going. As such, a glass lid makes it possible for you to see your cooking without removing it.
2. Size of the Slow Cooker
Slow cookers come in various sizes, and your choice depends on the number of people you plan to cook for. As you decide on the size, it would help if you put in mind that you fill your cooker to only two-thirds when cooking. Slow Cookers come in sizes ranging from 1.5 to 8 quarts.
You can consider using the following parameters as a guide to slow cooker sizes:
- 1.5 to 3 quarts if you cook mostly for yourself.
- 3 to 5 quarts if you have a standard family, or if you love cooking food that you can warm over different meals
- 6 to 8 quarts if you have a large family or host a substantial number of guests
This list is not the universal recommendation, so you should be free to consider sizes in between the above suggestions.
3. Your Budget
Slow cookers come in various styles and sizes that can entice you to spend more than you had planned on the slow cooker with a timer. Before shopping for a slow cooker, ensure that you are conscious of the amount that you plan to spend, or you will end up with a designer slow cooker with nothing to cook in it.
Before you get the review of various slow cookers with timer, here are few practices that will give your slow cooker longevity, keep you safe, and help you make the most from your appliance.
10 Slow Cooker Safety Tips to Follow
Slow cookers with timers are relatively expensive appliances. The following tips will delay your need to hit the shops again shopping for a slow cooker:
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator before cooking in the slow cooker
- Make it a habit to half-fill your slow cooker and not more than two-thirds (do not put too little or too much)
- High for the first hour, slow cooking afterwards
- Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray before cooking as it makes it easy to clean
- Always ensure food is covered when cooking to preserve energy
- Add quick-cooking foods last, or they will become mushy. Also, add milk, butter, or cheese later. Finally, add soft vegetables in the last phase of cooking
- Use a food thermometer to test whether food is ready
- Avoid waiting too long to wash your slow cooker
- Cook on flat surfaces
- Keep slow cooker cords short to prevent accidents
- Store leftovers properly
7 Best Slow Cooker With Timer Reviews
Below is a recommendation of the seven best slow cookers available in the market. You will realize that the list cuts across different slow cooker sizes, brands, and types. You will also find buying an appliance that serves as a slow cooker only or buying a multifunction cooker with the slow cooker function.
This Prestige – Digital Slow Cooker has a 6-hour keep-warm function, which is ideal if you arrive late from work or have a few things to accomplish before settling down for your meal. The keep-warm function also helps you have warm food in the kitchen at various times of the day or night. The keep-warm function automatically comes on when the set time elapses.
You will also enjoy washing this digital cooker as it is easy to remove the ceramic pot, clean it, and put it back.
- Easy to disintegrate and clean
- Its automatic keep-warm function helps you to find a hot meal even if you are late
- It has a programmable, easy-to-use timer displayed on a clear LCD screen
- It is smaller than the conventional 3.5L slow cookers
- Its high mode produces relatively lower heat compared to other slow cookers
Wahl James Martin Digital Slow Cooker is a relatively large slow cooker for a 3–5-member family. But the size is ideal, mainly because you have enough space to cook in when you have a guest. You will also always have extra food in case anyone needs a second helping.
Another plus for this 4.7-litre slow cooker with a timer is that you can remove the pot from the heater and use it as a serving bowl. The fact that you can use it both as a slow cooker and a serving bowl at the same time makes one less item to wash.
Speaking of washing, Wahl James Martin Digital Slow Cooker has an easy-to-remove ceramic pot, which makes it easy to clean. It also has a glass lid to help you peek at your cooking food without having to open up and slow down the cooking process.
You will also enjoy this slow cooker’s timer with delay, and you can set the time you want the slow cooker should start cooking even after you leave the house. The only downside with Wahl James Martin Digital Slow Cooker is that it has only two heat settings – low and high, and no medium.
- Large enough for a reasonably big family
- You can separate the pot from the heater and use it for serving
- Its timer has a delay function which enhances cooking time conveniences
- The high heating setting can be too hot for some types of foods
- It has only two heat settings – high and low
This slow cooker’s hub-safe pot is ideal, especially if you need to sauté ingredients before slow cooking them. You can also use the pot to heat things in the oven, and it is made from durable non-stick material.
Crock-Pot Dura Ceramic Digital Saute Slow Cooker with Hob-Safe Pot is large enough for a relatively large family and entertaining guests. You will also find this slow cooker with a timer ideal if you have a smaller family but cook dishes enough to last more than one meal.
- It has a multipurpose pot
- It has a 20-hour timer for easy meal planning
- It has an easy-to-use LCD screen and controls
- It does not have a delayed timer
- It is relatively expensive
This slow cooker has a 24-hour timer with a delay function to plan when the cooker starts cooking. Lakeland Digital Family Sized Slow Cooker’s timer is displayed on an easy-to-read LCD screen and simple controls. It also has various lights that indicate whether you have put the slow cooker on and which heating option you have selected.
This slow cooker is easy to clean, as you can remove the pot from the central unit to wash it. What is even better is that the pot is made from non-stick materials for durability and ease of washing. It also has a glass lid that is dishwasher safe.
- Large enough for reasonably large families and entertaining guests
- It has easy to use controls
- It has LED lights that indicate when the unit is put on and the heating option you have selected
- The non-stick coating can peel off easily if not properly washed
- It is hotter than standard slow cookers, and you might need to reduce the cooking time
It has a multipurpose detachable pot that you can also use as a shatterproof serving bowl and a strong lid to help you easily monitor your cooking. Additionally, the pot and lid are dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning easy.
This slow cooker has a well-displayed timer and has plastic carry-handles, making it easy to move even when it has hot contents. The pot is made from non-stick material, which enhances durability and the pot’s overall aesthetic value. The unit has a sear and stew function if you would like to brown your ingredients before slow cooking.
- It has the sear function
- It has plastic handles for ease of movement
- Easy to clean
- It is only available in red
- It does not support the delay timer function
It has an easy-to-use control panel and a programmable timer displayed on an equally easy-to-read LCD screen. It also has 14 inbuilt programs to suit various cooking requirements. Its automatic keep-warm function turns on immediately the cooker finishes cooking.
You will also love the reduced noise the cooker provides and its energy efficiency. Finally, the cooker emits little heat or steam.
- It is a multifunction cooker
- It cooks silently
- It has inbuilt programs to suit various cooking functions
- People with smaller families may find this appliance too big for them
- It can be bulky if you have a small kitchen
This 5.6 Litre stainless-steel multi-cooker can serve as a slow cooker, steamer, and sauté. The Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker CSC051, 12-in-1 Programmable Multi-Cooker has eight inbuilt programs that you can quickly select for various cooking types.
The multi-cooker is made with durable non-stick material and has a tight-fitting lid that enhances safety if you are pressure cooking. It also has a timer displayed on a larger screen and easy-to-use controls. You can also switch between manual operation and pre-set delay timers.
- Easy to use interphase
- It can serve other purposes in addition to being a slow cooker
- It is quite easy to use
- It has a plastic lid which makes it impossible to monitor your cooking without opening-up
- It can prove wasteful if you only use the slow cooker function
Go for Convenience
Before purchasing a slow cooker, it will help evaluate your needs, budget, and durability of the slow cooker you are looking to buy. It is also prudent to think about how the slow cooker enhances your cooking experience and fits into your lifestyle.
When thinking about the slow cooker’s size with a timer, it is not enough to consider your family size. The slow cooker will serve you even better if you reserve space for the occasional guest and whether you would like to cook large amounts of food to warm and serve during other meals.
There you have it. Good luck with your shopping for a slow cooker with a timer.