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Two Slow Cooker Q's

veronica320's picture

Have hunted about here plus Amazon reviews w/o finding what I'm after. The time has come to replace the old equipment. I want a slow cooker, nee crockpot, with removable insert, which seems fairly standard. I've seen a Hamilton Beach model w/lid rest and locking lids, features I really like. So my questions:

Programmable: If you have a cooker with timer functions, do you use them and are they worth the extra cost?

Settings: how many do I really need and are they reliable? From what I've read here and there, some cookers' low settings are too high. Seems a huge drawback. Need recommendations on number of settings and particular brands where low means low.

Any other suggestions? Looking forward to shopping, with your help.

Edited 11/19/2008 4:59 pm by veronica320

Edited 11/19/2008 5:05 pm by veronica320

Risottogirl's picture

(post #56261, reply #1 of 14)

First let me say I think slow cookers are extremely limited in use :)

That being said, IMO basic is best. I have two - an older 4 quart Crock Pot and a newish but very basic 6 quart Hamilton Beach.

The low setting on the HB is a lot higher than the low setting on the CP. I think the low setting isn't that low on the newer models.

If I had to buy one now, I'd try to find an older model at a tag sale :) It is not something I'd spend much $$ on, even new.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Edited 11/20/2008 7:17 pm ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

SquarePeg's picture

(post #56261, reply #2 of 14)

The timer and delay function is like gold to me. I put steel cut oats and water in the night before and set it to start.

I would make sure to get one with a removable insert.

I use the LOW and HIGH function, but I also use the HOURS function, too.

all worth it to me...........

I have an all clad.

Gretchen's picture

(post #56261, reply #3 of 14)

What RG says. The new ones DO cook hotter and faster. I don't think they are worth spending any more than $30 on, personally..


Edited 11/20/2008 6:52 pm ET by Gretchen

veronica320's picture

(post #56261, reply #4 of 14)

This is surprising. I don't mind spending real money on quality stuff that I'll use forever, but am getting to be borderline anti-consumerism.
Thrift stores and 99 cents stores probably represent my favorite shopping experience, next to nurseries perhaps.

The old equipment I have IS a tag sale item, but it's an old dish-on-burner deal that cooks way too hot to leave on unattended. Still, I want a slow cooker for those times when I just want to hurl some meat and vegetables into an automated device and call it dinner. Unless I read a good rationale for coughing up, I'll hit Goodwill or get a cheap deal at BBB or Amazon. I think you probably saved me some money. Thanks.

Gretchen's picture

(post #56261, reply #5 of 14)

I don't think that RG meant that kind.  The kind with the crockery sleeve in a "cooker". And it is only that they do cook "slower".  But I really just couldn't spend a lot because I just won't use it that much.


Rae's picture

(post #56261, reply #6 of 14)

Do you have a Linens & Things near you? They are going out of business and have really good prices now.

Adele's picture

(post #56261, reply #10 of 14)

Do you have a Linens & Things near you? They are going out of business and have really good prices now.

Yes, they really do have good prices, says she, who has a petite four pan sitting on the counter awaiting tomorrow morning to be filled with something scrumptious.  Beautiful, heavy pan.  Might just have to lean it against something so I can see it on a daily basis.  LOL

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Rae's picture

(post #56261, reply #11 of 14)

I bought a 10" square spring form pan - the last thing on earth I need! I couldn't resist.

Gretchen's picture

(post #56261, reply #12 of 14)

I gave one of those to a niece last year for Christmas. She likes to bake. Thought it was very cool.


Rae's picture

(post #56261, reply #13 of 14)

It is very cool. I'm not sure what to make with it, any thing besides cheesecake come to mind?

Gretchen's picture

(post #56261, reply #14 of 14)

I really thought about for any kind of cake. Such a good size.


teebee's picture

(post #56261, reply #7 of 14)

I would agree that the "older" kind are better. I had to replace the crock pot that I had forever (they break if you drop them on a tile floor!). I bought a "smart" pot (Rival, maybe?). When you turn it on, you choose how long it cooks and at what temperature, which seems nice. I put in a roast one day, chose the setting, and made sure that it was starting to get warm before I left for the afternoon. Apparently shortly after I left, the power blinked off briefly. The "smart pot" thought that it was shut off. When I got home a few hours later, the settings were blinking, and the roast was still red (DH had to bring home pizza). We now have a generator, but there is still about a 15 second delay before it kicks on, so the pot would need to be reset. Where we live, power blinks are common, so I don't use the pot unless I am home (which defeats the purpose, in my mind). My old crock pot had a switch, so the pot was either on low, on high, or off (the power blink would not have affected it since the switch was a manual knob and remained where I set it).

Just something to think about.

BoofyQ's picture

(post #56261, reply #8 of 14)

I use my crock pot all the time, especially in winter. It only has low and high temp settings, both of which are pretty darn warm. I don't care about having any additional temp controls or timer controls. The lid rest thing would be handy, but again, I can live without it.

I got this crock pot maybe 4 years ago at Target for less than $40, I think.

I think the removable sleeve is pretty standard these days. That is definitely important to me -- I rarely used my old crock pot because it was such a hassle to wash.

chefd's picture

(post #56261, reply #9 of 14)

I am retired now and use the slow cooker less and less.  Good for some soup and stews, bbq beef, maybe a pot roast.  I agree don't spend a lot of money.  Buy good quality and basic.  I got mine @ Costco some time ago.  It came with a little pot that I use for dips.