Imagine, in the morning you pop some meat and/or veggies in a pot, you go to work, do your thing, and you come home in the evening to a hot and delicious meal ready to be served. For once, this is actually not too good to be true. Say hello to your new best kitchen-friend: the slow cooker! Apparently slow cookers have been around for years, but recently there has really been an increase in popularity (thank you Pinterest and everyone who is sharing wonderful recipes!), which might explain why I only just discovered this wondrous device.
Let’s explore the wonderful world of slow cookers. I reviewed three different ones for you to have a better idea about prices and options.
The Solis 280 is a mechanical slow cooker with a ceramic crock. Mechanical means that you can’t programme it. You set it on low or high and that’s it, it will keep going until your turn it off or change the settings. These settings are: keep warm, low and high. The keep warm mode will do just what it says: it keeps your meal nice and warm and ready to be eaten.
"A no-nonsense slow cooker"
It fits up to 3 litres, which is great if you have a small household. A big plus is that the heating coils in the outer casing surround the crock (except for the top of course), so your food will be cooked evenly. Some other models only heat your food only from below which means you have to be more careful with layering the ingredients: hard veggies first, then meat etc.
This is a no-nonsense slow cooker which does the job, and does it well. Even though Solis is relatively high end brand which offers good quality products and that this slow cooker has heating coils surrounding the crock completely, this slow cooker is quite expensive for its size and the fact that it isn’t programmable.
Crock-pot is the biggest manufacturer of slow cookers. They have been producing slow cookers for four decades so they sure know what they are doing. They even trademarked crockpot as a brand name, which is why all other brands actually call them slow cookers instead of crockpots.
"They sure know what they are doing"
The Crock-Pot CR507 fits 4.7 litres and has a ceramic pot. It also features a timer function, so it is what they call a ‘programmable’ slow cooker. This timer function can actually really come in handy if you leave the house while your slow cooker is on. You can pre-set the timer and it will automatically switch to the keep warm mode once the cooking time has finished.
Design wise I like this one the least of all three, but that is just me. It is still sturdy though and the buttons are sealed so they are safe to push even when you have greasy fingers.
This one is actually the priciest of the three. Is it really that special? Let’s see. So, it has a timer, which may come in handy. Like the other Crock-Pot it will automatically switch to the keep warm mode when cooking time is over. It fits 6 litres, which also makes it the biggest slow cooker of the three. You can prepare a big meal for around 7 people or prep lots of meals for yourself.
"You can use the crock to sauté your food"
The design is elegant and it has a steady look and feel (no wonky buttons). The biggest difference compared with the two other slow cookers, is the crock itself. First of all, the crock is not fully enclosed by the outer casing, which seems inefficient because like this the heat might get ‘lost’ more easily. On the other hand, the pot itself is also made of a different material, fancily named DuraCeramic. DuraCeramic is a durable, scratch resistant and non-stick coating. The biggest plus is that it is stovetop safe! Why would you need that for?
When cooking meat or poultry you can fully benefit from your DuraCeramic crock! Suddenly stovetop safe is a thing. For the other two slow cookers you would need to use a frying pan to sauté your meat. Also for onions it is a good idea to soften them in a frying pan before adding them to your crock. This extra step means more dishes (please no!) and more effort. So a big plus from this slow cooker is that you can use the crock to sauté your food as well.
So yeah, the stovetop safe part is actually really handy. And it is big and it has a timer as well. For the rest it does what it has to do, like the other two models. So it really depends on what you want out of your slow cooker.