There are several varieties of slow cooker. From large models with several pots, to smaller apartment-sized models perfect for students.
A slow cooker has many benefits, from saving you money by tempting you away from takeout, to making you the life of a party, thanks to its ease of transport.
In this article, we’ll scratch the surface of the perks of a slow-cooker, over one-pot dishes on a stove top
1. Little prep.
Most slow cooker meals are designed to be made in a single pot. You may need a few utensils, but overall, your kitchen setup and cleanup will both be minimal.
And since the food is cooked slowly overtime, one of the best things about a slow-cooker is you don’t have to keep an eye on it.
Set the timer, and the slow cooker will cook your meal, and keep it warm when it’s finished. No matter the hours you keep, you’ll come home to the smells of a delicious dinner.
Note: Make sure to use a slow cooker a few times while you are at home before you decide it is safe to leave unattended.
Slow cookers usually have two or three settings, but the specific temperatures of those settings can vary, and you’ll want to be familiar with the recipe and the slow cooker, before you leave it alone.
Of course one aspect of a slow cooker is the fact we just mentioned. But it’s also convenient in other ways.
Firstly, using a slow cooker frees up your stove top burner, if you are cooking a large meal. It also usually has a setting to keep food warm, without risking boiling or burning, as you would with a stovetop burner.
It’s also incredibly portable, no matter the size. A favorite of potlucks everywhere, it can be plugged in and left to sit.
You can cook a meal in a slow-cooker, unplug it, drive across town, and plug it back in. Just try not to hit any potholes on the way!
3. It can help you save money
A slow cooker is a great option for cooking in batches. It’s not only perfect for soups and chili, but it’s great to cook an entire chicken, or roast, which can then be portioned throughout the week.
It’s also great if you don’t have the money to spend on the best meats.
Because the cooking is done slowly, it’s a great method to tenderize cheap cuts of meat. Steaming also brings out more of the meat’s flavor.
4. You’’ll save energy
Not just your own, thanks to not having to stand around cooking. But if you are using an electric oven, you should know a slow cooker takes far less energy than a conventional oven.
If you’re concern about conserving energy, especially cooking for one, this is a great option. It also won’t heat up your kitchen the way an oven does.
So no unexpected smoke alarms in a small space, and you won’t bake yourself while cooking in the summertime!
5. Less foodborne illness
Because slow cooking involves covering and steaming while cooking, more food bacteria will be destroyed, even when you’re cooking raw meat with vegetables.
*Note: It is possible to safely cook chicken or pork with vegetables in a crock pot, thanks to the slow method of cooking.
However, if your recipe needs beef, you should still cook the beef ahead of time to avoid any contamination.
6. Easy healthy, flavorful meals
Foods cooked in a slow cooker are cooked at very low temperatures, and tightly covered.
They tend to retain much more vitamins and minerals than traditional stove-top methods, like frying and boiling.
They also retain a lot more flavor, thanks to everything cooking down together.
If you’re looking for ways to make healthy, filling meals, a slow cooker is a great decision. More on that below.
7. It’s easier to watch your fat intake
Because of the flavors in a slow cooker cooking together, slow cooking involves less fat, oil and salt.
The mix of flavors don’t generally need a lot of added salt, and cooking in a slow cooker means the natural oils will be enough to cook.
No adding extra oils or salt. That makes them a lot healthier than cooking on a stove top, where you need to use oil to avoid things sticking to the pan, especially where vegetables are concerned.
*Note: Adding salt is down to personal taste. But it’s a lot easier to watch your salt intake, if you don’t need to add extra salt to several pots or dishes, while cooking, and can instead add it to everything at once.
8. Easy cleanup!
Like we mentioned before, one of the best things about a slow cooker is the short prep time. There’s not a lot of cleanup involved in slow cooking.
Because everything stays at such low temperatures, it’s very unlikely for food to ever stick to a slow cooker, the way it does to a pot left on the stove.
If it does happen, most slow cooker pots are made of stoneware or ceramic, or some other material which resists scorching, and is easy to clean. Even without scrubbing or soaking!
9. Lots of variety
Gone are the days that a slow cooker was for Sunday roast or chili cook-offs, and left in a drawer the rest of the year.
With a little searching, it’s easy to find recipes for every occasion that can be made in a slow cooker. It’s even possible to make classic desserts, like apple crumble, in a slow cooker.
And it’s just as simple as prepping your ingredients and pressing the button.
No doubt about it, everything from prep time, to cooking, to cleanup is easier with a slow cooker.
Not only does it use a lot less energy than your conventional oven, it’s really convenient, and incredibly portable.
It even helps you cook healthier meals, since steaming helps pack more flavor, and more nutrients into all your slow cooker dinners.
And who needs to order takeout when you come home and it smells like dinner is already ready? It’s obvious there are more reasons to get a slow cooker than there are not to!