The BBC Good Food logo
We’ve picked products we think you’ll love and may earn commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust BBC Good Food reviews.
Slow cookers on a green background

10 of the best slow cookers for delicious faff-free meals

Published: February 22, 2022 at 10:30 am
loading...

Discover our top slow cookers, plus recipes and practical cookery advice. We tested leading brands including Morphy Richards, Ninja and Crock Pot.

This guide is regularly updated with new models that have been tried, tested and top-rated by BBC Good Food's reviews experts. Those featuring earned it based on their performance during rigorous, impartial product testing. Included is a selection of new releases and firm favourites that continuously hold their position against new brand models. We will only ever feature slow cookers that prove to be good value for money.

Advertisement

There is much to love about a slow cooker. The ease of arriving home to a hot meal ready to eat is a convenient luxury that simply makes life easier. With these hands-off appliances, there is no need to stand over the pot stirring, as slow cookers apply an even heat and don't get hot enough for the food to catch.

The best slow cookers also help you to get the very best out of cheaper cuts of meat. Cooking at low temperatures for a long period can tenderise the meat and enhance the flavour. Slow cookers are also less energy intensive than conventional electric ovens, and therefore more economical. Finally, they offer a healthier, low-fat way of cooking and often preserve more nutrients than other methods such as baking, boiling and frying. For inspiration, check out our collection of healthy slow cooker recipes.

Slow cookers tend to be simple and easy to use too. Usually comprised of just a few components, most can be used straight out of the box. Different models meet different criteria and come with additional features like automatic timers. Some high-tech models feature sous-vide settings and specific ingredient pre-sets to help you make the most of your meal.

Different designs and technologies mean that slow cookers can vary in price, you can pick one up for as little as £10 or as much as a few hundred pounds.

Slow cooker recipes are hugely popular and can be used to cook a range of delicious stews, casseroles, soups and curries, as well as less obvious dishes such as yogurt, grains, dhal and puddings.

Read on to learn more about the different kinds of slow cookers on the market. For over 200 buyer’s guides, visit our product review section and find reviews of the best air fryers, best pressure cookers, best food processors and much more.

Jump to section:

Best slow cookers 2022 at a glance

  • Best blowout multi-tasking slow cooker: Ninja 9-in-1 multicooker OP350UK, £199
  • Best budget slow cooker: Daewoo slow cooker, £24.99
  • Best simple slow cooker with timer: Morphy Richards Easy Time, £41.99
  • Best large slow cooker for low and slow cooking: Swan 6.5L retro slow cooker, £34
  • Best multi-tasking slow cooker: Ninja Foodi OP300UK, £199.99
  • Best slow cooker and pressure cooker: Sage the Fast Slow Pro, £169
  • Best hob-safe slow cooker: Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew, £39.99
  • Best slow cooker for automatic functions: Crock Pot Time Select, £69.99
  • Best no-nonsense slow cooker: Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker, £30.87
  • Best slow cooker for experimental cooks: Russell Hobbs 25630, £87.98

What to look out for when buying a slow cooker?

With so many different slow cookers out there, choosing the right one for you can be confusing. Here are a few questions you might want to consider.

  • Design: Are you looking for a simple, budget-friendly option that just slow-cooks (but does it extremely well) or something more versatile that sous-vides, pressure cooks, bakes and roasts too? Do bear in mind that the more technological the slow cooker, the higher the price.
  • Size: With sizes starting at 1-litre through to a whopping 6.5-litres, choosing the right size for you is imperative. The smallest sizes are suitable when cooking for one or two. 3-litres to 4.5-litres (one of the most popular sizes on the market) serve four, and the large 6-6.5-litre models are super for families and batch cooking. It's also worth bearing in mind that the capacity stated on the sales blurb is the size of the bowl, not the working capacity, which can sometimes be half that.
  • Space: A slow cooker takes up space on the worktop and in the cupboard. There are two shapes, the round and tall, which has less of a footprint, and the oval, which takes up more room but can be more versatile.

Best slow cookers 2022

Ninja 9-in-1 multicooker OP350UK

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 multicooker 6-litre OP350UK

Best blowout multi-tasking slow cooker

Star rating: 5/5

  • Pros: nine functions in one countertop cooker, accompanying recipe book, clear instructions
  • Cons: requires an additional slow cooker lid, large footprint for storage

This is a newer, more sophisticated step-up from Ninja Foodi's 6-in-1 multicooker, packing in nine functions for performing key kitchen tasks, plus a couple for fun. We're talking slow cooking (which is very user-friendly) searing/sautéing, air-crisping, grilling, dehydrating, baking/roasting, yogurt-making, pressure cooking and steaming. It has a modern-feel with intuitive controls and an outer casing that only gets warm to the touch, rather than excessively hot. It's the ultimate kitchen gadget.

Read our full Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 6-litre multicooker review

Daewoo slow cooker

Best budget slow cooker

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: two-year warranty, dishwasher-safe pot and lid, three heat settings
  • Cons: warm outer, 'keep warm' setting isn't the most powerful

Despite the price and its relatively cheap steel outer, the Daewoo is a front-runner for its ability to cook gently, creating deliciously tender meat chunks for beef stew and softened vegetables overnight without singeing around the inside. This is a 210W slow cooker with the capacity to feed a family of four, or two with leftovers the next day.

Read our full Daewoo 3.5-litre slow cooker review

Morphy Richards Easy Time Slow Cooker

Best simple slow cooker with timer

Star rating: 5/5

  • Pros: hob-safe cooking pot, auto-keep warm setting, easy to use controls, clear countdown timer, non-stick pot, lid forms a good seal
  • Cons: pot not suitable for induction

Simple, manual slow cookers are great for the job at hand, but often the only thing missing to elevate them (without overcomplicating things) is a timer. The Easy Time slow cooker ticks that box. It comes with three settings: high, medium and low, and has an automatic timer that runs for up to 12 hours in one-hour increments. We all know that life can throw us curveballs, so if you’re not able to get home before the timer is up, the Easy Time slow cooker will keep your food at the optimum temperature for two hours. A basic slow cooker, with just a little bit extra.

Read our full Morphy Richards Easy Time Slow Cooker review

Swan 6.5L retro slow cooker

Swan 6.5L slow cooker

Best slow cooker for low and slow cooking

Star rating: 5/5

  • Pros: stylised 1950s design, large size, effective cooking
  • Cons: impractical cream-coloured dish, cheap-feel lid handle

If you want to slow cook a whole extra-large chicken overnight to feed a family of six or batch cook a stew for storing in the freezer, this gadget is a great choice. It's incredibly gentle but effective in its cooking, producing meat that simply falls apart with zero burning after a full eight-hour test. The light colour of its dish is a bit impractical and may stain over time. The 1950s design also won't be to everyone's taste, but those that like it have a choice of over 10 colours.

Read our full Swan 6.5-litre retro slow cooker review

Ninja Foodi OP300UK

Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker on a white background

Best multi-tasking slow cooker

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: great price for multiple gadgets
  • Cons: bulky, requires two heavy lids

This well-built multi-cooker has many functions. These include slow and pressure cooking, air frying, roasting and grilling. The sear function means you can prepare meat and veg without having to use pans on the hob. Its size makes it perfect for families and batch cooking. The tested recipes were excellent, with thick sauces and fresh flavours.

Read our full Ninja Foodi multi-cooker review

Sage the Fast Slow Pro

Sage the Fast Slow Pro on a white background

Best slow cooker and pressure cooker

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: stylish appearance, impressive functions
  • Cons: expensive

The Fast Slow may be expensive and have fewer functions than some multi-cookers, but it's worth the investment for its great looks, searing, sautéing and reducing functions. It has a relatively small footprint for a multi-cooker and the build is solid – all features feel robust and well-built, from the strong handles to the hinged lid.

Read our full Sage Fast Slow Pro review

Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew

Best hob-safe slow cooker

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: large capacity, main pot can be used on the hob, simple design, dishwasher-safe pot
  • Cons: carrots still a little firm, no recipes in manual

Crock Pot is the name synonymous with slow cookers. The Sizzle and Stew is a brilliant example of Crock Pot's simple but effective engineering. This model has a large 6.5L capacity, ideal for big families, meal preppers or when entertaining. Unlike other models that come with a hefty ceramic bowl, the Sizzle and Stew’s pot is made from heavy-duty aluminium. This pot is hob-safe (gas and electric), meaning you can sear any meat or cook ingredients on the hob before transferring it to the slow cooker. Not only does this save on the washing-up, but it also means you don’t lose any flavour.

Read our full Crock Pot Sizzle and Stew review

Crock Pot Time Select

Best slow cooker for automatic functions

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: lots of useful functions, bowl and lid dishwasher and oven-safe, capacity markings on bowl
  • Cons: no recipes in the manual

Another model from well-known brand, Crock Pot. The Time Select is a lot more high-tech than the Sizzle and Stew above, but still produced fantastic results. This model features automatic cooking functions for meat, poultry, soup and vegetables. Simply select your main ingredient, input the weight and desired finish time, and the Time Select will automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature of the ingredients to get the best results. For your much-loved tried and tested recipes, there’s also a manual setting.

Read our full Crock Pot Time Select review

Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker

Best no-nonsense slow cooker

Star rating: 4/5

  • Pros: available in a range of designs, simple to use, dishwasher-safe pot
  • Cons: a little plasticky

This compact little slow cooker from Tower is a fuss-free option. It’s a modest option owing to the three simple settings: low, high and keep warm, but it gets the basics right. The design is simple, but if you’re looking to add a pop of colour with your new slow cooker, this one is available in pink and navy blue, as well as simple black and grey.

Setting this model up is easy to do and it handled our beef stew recipe with ease; the meat was tender and the veggies still had some bite. Our only quibble was that the sauce was still a little watery.

Read our full Tower 3.5L Cavaletto Slow Cooker review

Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker and Sous Vide 25630

Best slow cooker for experimental cooks

Star rating: 4.5/5

  • Pros: temperature probe included, lid locks into place, clear control panel, digital display
  • Cons: control panel isn’t intuitive, power cord quite short, no sous vide bags provided

This slow cooker is a fabulous option for the home cook who loves experimental techniques and gadgetry. With an option for sous vide cooking as well as a temperature probe, this model is so much more than a slow cooker. It did a fantastic job on our slow cooker test though; the locks kept the lid firmly in place and our beef stew had been nicely reduced, though the meat was ever so slightly dry.

Consult the manual before using as the control panel is made up of symbols only, so isn’t overly intuitive. But for versatility and quality of the results, this Russell Hobbs model is a great option in our eyes.

Read our full Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker and Sous Vide 25630 review

How to use a slow cooker

  • No liquid escapes from a slow cooker, so when adapting a recipe not specifically written for a slow cooker, reduce any added liquid by a third.
  • Don't remove the lid too often to avoid heat loss.
  • The inner pot needs to be at room temperature before you start cooking. If you've kept a slow cooker dish in the fridge, you must wait for it to warm up before turning it on.
  • Slow cookers vary considerably, so follow your manufacturer's manual for guidelines on temperatures and cooking times.
  • Rice and pasta dishes work best cooked on high for the shortest time possible. Always use easy-cook rice, rinsed well first – the more starch you rinse from the rice, the better the finished result.
  • Take time to brown your meat really well. Slow cookers tend to leach meat of its colour, so it’s important for appearance and flavour that they are well browned to start with. Flavours won't become more concentrated because the liquid doesn't reduce, so try to pack in as much flavour as you can.

Slow cooker brisket with golden ale gravy & horseradish mash in a casserole pot

Slow cooker recipes

Low carb slow cooker recipes
Healthy slow cooker recipes
Slow cooker chicken recipes
Summer slow cooker recipes
Slow cooker curry recipes
Slow cooker beef recipes
Our best ever slow cooker recipes
Slow cooker Christmas recipes
Slow cooker mince recipes
Kids’ slow cooker recipes
Vegan slow cooker recipes
Vegetarian slow cooker recipes
Slow cooker curry recipes
Slow cooker chicken recipes

How we tested slow cookers

We put a variety of slow cookers through their paces by cooking BBC Good Food’s slow cooker beef stew recipe. As the meat requires searing before cooking, if we were able to do this straight in the cooking pot, we did so. We looked for three key qualities in our final stews: tender and succulent meat, well cooked vegetables that retained some bite, and a flavorsome, slightly thickened sauce.

We also scored the slow cookers against the following criteria:

  • Capacity and size: the bowl capacity and the footprint for using and storing in the kitchen
  • Heat retention: how the cooker holds heat for safety on the worktop and whether the food catches or burns
  • Ease of use: how easy it is to assemble and use
  • Functions: additional functions on the slow cooker including browning, reheating, reducing and whether it is hob or oven-safe
  • Versatility: does the cooker make a range of dishes?
  • Quality of material: the material and the construction of the machines
  • Design features: the type of lid, handles, automatic warming, countdown timer and indicator lights
  • Finished results: the tenderness of the meat and vegetables, the consistency of the cooked sauce and the heat of the food when serving
  • Manual: how helpful was the instruction book and did it include recipes?
  • Sustainability: excessive use of plastic in packaging was scored negatively. We wanted to see brands pointing us in the direction of spare parts and transparency around how to recycle the product after use and where the product was made.

We test hundreds of products from kitchen appliances, cooking tools and food every year. To find out more, head to our how we test page.

Other slow cookers we rate

Tefal Multicook 8-in-1 multi-cooker
Tower Infinity 3.5-litre slow cooker
Lakeland Digital slow cooker 6.5-litre
Crock-Pot Lift & Serve digital slow cooker
George 3-litre stainless steel slow cooker
Morphy Richards Sear, Stew and Stir slow cooker
Salter EK2842 chalkboard 3.5-litre slow cooker

Advertisement

Related reviews

Best air fryers
Best food processors
Best blenders
Best toasters
Best kettles
Best soup makers
Best slow cookers
Best microwaves

If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content