WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Slow cooker recommendations

Posted October 4, 2012


One of our readers, Sue, needs your help picking out a new slow cooker. She also has some questions on using this fabulous small appliance. Can you help her out?

Here is her e-mail request:

"I very rarely use my slow cooker, but would like to start more often, especially with the cooler weather. I think more people start to use their slow-cookers in the fall, and I need all the help I can get since I flunked slow cooking for dummies ;)

My problems are:

1. I think my slow cooker may be defective -- do they all spew out large amounts of boiling water all over the counter?

2. Since I'm pretty sure my machine is defective, and I tossed it in the trash after a total failure trying to make a brisket today, I'm hoping some of the knowledgeable slow cooking folks on the blog can tell me the make/model of the slow cooker they use. I've been interested in the one that you can brown the meat in first, but don't know if it is worth the $$$. Would you ask if anyone uses that kind and what they think of it?"


My slow cooker has never spewed out large amount of liquid (or any liquid at all) while in use. I am not sure how full you are filling the slow cooker, but I don't fill it any more than 3/4 full.  I don't know anything about the slow cookers that brown the meat first.

The make and model I mainly use is a Crockpot 5-Quart Smart Pot.  It works well, but I am not sure I recommend it, especially if you need to leave your slow cooker on for more than 7 hours while you are away from the house. It tends to run hot so I don't leave food cooking in it all day long. Most dishes are done on low in 5.5 - 7 hours and will get burned if left in too long. The warm function tends to run pretty hot as well.  I also have a smaller Crock-pot that is quite old and no longer available. It works well for side dishes, but I use the 5-quart primarily.

The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 qt. slow cooker has been recommended by Consumer Reports and it was rated high on Amazon HERE.   Do any of you use this slow cooker?

I really like to read the consumer product reviews on Amazon and other online retailers.  Obviously if a product has received many negative reviews (like the Crockpot I use - lol), it's not one you probably want to purchase.

What other slow cookers do you all recommend for Sue to consider?


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • 3boys3 Oct 5, 2012

    My crock pot is old, but works great!..I got it from BB&B..they always have great coupons..ofr up to 20%off too! I have a debilitating disease that makes it hard for me to make it throughthe day...I'm not great in the am! The medication robs me of even more engergy. I use the crock pot for everything! I put my onions, peppers, hamburger, tomatoes and cook my spaghetti sauce right there. All I have to do in the eving is boil the noodles. I also make a chicken a pastry in the crock pot...whole chicken on low for several hours with onions, garlic, lots of black pepper. When I take the chicken out and de-bone and put back in pot, I add frozen peas and some carrots. You only start with 2 cups of chicken doesn't stick. And whoever said to get the type of pot that can be reoved from the hub is absolutely correct..and oval shaped...the chicken fits in there better and you can put the rinsed pot right i the dishwasher for easy clean up!

  • Supie Oct 5, 2012

    I have the same Rival cheapo crock pot I bought in the 70's. The trick is you don't have to use a lot of liquid. You CAN of course, but you only need a bit in the bottom and the whole thing cooks by magic. My favorite thing is cabbage, chorizo, apples, a hit of vinegar and a hit of sugar and a bit of water.

  • luvstoQ Oct 4, 2012

    I have the 6qt. Rival Crockpot Smartpot that automatically switches to warm, and I absolutely love it. Have never had a problem with it burning anything or spewing liquids while cooking. I especially like it for stews, soups, and other winter cooking - smells so good!

  • ilovelucy31 Oct 4, 2012

    If the brand is CROCK-POT I feel good about using it.. And I LOVE my crock pot dishes.. I have never had one overflow.. I would get a crockpot brand crockpot. I have never had issues with them that's what they are in the business of so I'm sure their customer service would be fine if you had an issue with one of their pots....but I really think you won't have an issue.. I also prefer oval shape as meat is usually that shape and fits better in the oval.. Then just google crock pot recipes and follow them directly and you should have some fantastic dishes.. Easy too!! I just couldn't live without my crockpot.. I love it!!

  • momof2inHC Oct 4, 2012

    I used to have a crock pot that spit too. It was like the steam had to escape somehow. Now I have a Hamilton Beach, not sure of the exact name. It had a rubber gasket around the lid that can be locked down for carrying to church or other gatherings. Love that it will not spill in my car.
    I also have cooked a variety of frozen meats in my crockpot. Turkey breast is awesome!

  • tarheelfan4life2005 Oct 4, 2012

    I use my crockpot all the time and of course crockpot liners as well for easy cleanup. I have an oval Crockpot brand that works well and I put frozen meat in it on low to cook all day and never had any issues with it. I however, have never used a pressure cooker since my grandmother had one blow up in the house and sent peas all over the joke, what a mess!! Use these pressure cookers at your own risk and I will stick with my crockpot...

  • ddunn1956 Oct 4, 2012

    Just got an email today from Big Lots sale on Crock Pots - for recipes I have been using Crockin' Girls on Facebook a new recipe every week and their website is full of recipes! I find that I have been using my crockpot much more recently!

  • nakabi Oct 4, 2012

    heremeaj-I had the same problem with my Rival and they replaced it as well a while back. I had received it as a wedding gift 5 years ago and the handle broke off about a year ago and they replaced it. I would contact the company that manufactures your crockpot and see if there is anything they can do.

  • shelleycole Oct 4, 2012

    Slow cookers are awesome. Definitely get one with a removable crock, but be very careful about putting it in the fridge if it's not cooled. I cracked mine, because I didn't let it cool enough. Crock pot liners are worth every penny too!Try this recipe too, best chicken ever! 1 large pack chicken breast, 1 lg can cream of chicken soup, 1 big tub cream cheese, one packet of dry italian dressing, cook on high for 4 hours, or 8 on low. I take a big spoon and tear the chicken up a bit and serve over rice or pasta (I prefer rice). My kids beg for this!

  • heremeaj Oct 4, 2012

    nic6977- what company sent you the new crock pot? My handle broke and I would love a s new top. we have a Rancher oval shaped crock that I inherited when my parents downsized. That is really great customer service.