Taking It Slow
Kitchen fads come and go, but those slow cookers introduced in the 1970s have stood the test of time. It’s still hard to beat low, steady heat when it comes to drawing out delicate food flavors, especially on chilly nights.
What’s your slow cooker style?
1. NO FRILLS
With one dial and three settings, the retro 4-quart Crock-Pot Manual Slow Cooker does the job without beeps or blinking lights. $24.99; crock-pot.com
Best for: New and budget-conscious cooks who don’t mind using a separate timer.
2. READY WHEN YOU ARE
The Hamilton Beach IntelliTime 6 Quart Slow Cooker makes a recipe work around your schedule, not vice-versa. The timer function heats the cooker more slowly or quickly depending on the time you need so nothing turns out overcooked. $59.99; hamiltonbeach.com
Best for: Busy cooks who can’t always be in the kitchen at the end of a specified cooking time.
3. LARGE AND IN CHARGE
With the adjustable settings in the 7-quart Cuisinart Multicooker you can simmer, steam, and sear in the same pot. $159; surlatable.com
Best for: Frequent users with plenty of counter space to keep the cooker on hand.
4. ONE FOR THE ROAD
The 6-quart Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Digital Slow Cooker with Heat saver Stoneware is all about the tight-clamping lid that lets you take hot foods anywhere without making a mess. $59.99, crock-pot.com
Best for: Potluckers, tailgaters, and partygoers who need a reliable take-along option.
5. STOVE-TOP FRIENDLY
With an insert that can go from stove top to slow cooker, the 7-quart Breville Slow Cooker with Easy Sear lets you start recipes with a sauté or sear, then go low and slow. $129.99; brevilleusa.com
Best for: Cooks who prefer more control over starting temperatures.
get the recipes
Japanese Noodle Soup
You can adapt this light, satisfying soup to your schedule. Done in about five hours, it can continue to simmer in the slow cooker up to four hours more without turning mushy. The broth just gets richer.more
Vegetables with Farro
Here, farro is paired with firm vegetables that stand up to low heat and long cooking times. If you have a slow cooker with a sauté or sear function, you can briefly brown the vegetables first for richer flavor, then set them aside to be added to the dish inmore
Warm Pear-Pistachio Cobbler
This easy dessert was designed for a smaller (3- to 4-quart) slow cooker. If you’re using a larger model, double the recipe to ensure you have enough topping to cover the cobbler.more
Slow Cooker Squash Gratin
Slow cookers offer an energy-saving way to cook gratins, which usually need an hour of oven time. Double the recipe if your cooker’s capacity exceeds 4 quarts.more