Weekend cooking: Crock pot – what to buy?

This week I have no ideas or recipe to share, but rather have some questions. In the last months I have read quite a few posts about crock pots or slow cookers.

I must admit that I had never heard of slow cookers before and nobody else I know has one. They are not too popular or common in Germany (or maybe I just know the wrong people).

It seems a very convenient way to cook, so I decided to get one for myself. The first (and only) source – apart from some dubious sellers – is amazon. I looked around and found a rather small selection. crockpot_amazon

There are only two brands, it seems, that are worthwhile looking at, Morphy Richards and Crock Pot. Never heard of any before. Do you know them? Which brand do you have? Which do you prefer? Are there any differences at all (except maybe the price)?

Then there is the size. There are 3.5l (3.7 quarts) and 6.5l (6.87 quarts) pots available. 3.5l sounds small to me, is that big enough for a family of four? If I want to cook to freeze some on top of what is being eaten right away, do I need a 6.5l one?

I am clueless as to what to buy! Can anyone help me out and give me a few tips?

Your advice is much appreciated.

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish reads.  

15 Comments Write a comment

  1. I haven’t done much research into crockpots but I have 3 Rival-brand (official “CrockPot” brand) slow cookers.

    Favorite features of the ones I own: (1) removable crocks so cleanup is easy; (2) oval shape, which seems to be a more convenient shape than round; (3) different inserts — one of mine came with a regular crock and a divided crock (I use the divided crock to cook two different things at the same time).

    What feature I think I want: programmable (so I don’t have to remember to change the temperature if a recipe calls for that); maybe digital so temperature setting is more accurate(??)

    I love my crockpot but I don’t use it as often as I should because I usually don’t think about cooking dinner until too late in the day. I think big is good because you can then freeze the leftovers or have your dinner ready for the next day.
    Beth F’s last post ..BEA- Hot Book Club Titles Panel

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  2. The only things I would add to getting the larger one is that you can use the crock inset to raise dough and definitely get one that the insert is removeable for easy cleaning. We had a smaller one and it was difficult to clean but the newer one I bought is great; removeable insert and much larger.

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  3. I have one and use it occasionally and agree with what’s been said. Removable insert and get a larger rather than a smaller one. Also an oval, rather than a round one, I think would be better. Mine is a stainless Rival and it’s served me well. It runs hot, but I never use it unless I am going to be home and just don’t feel like fussing with cooking. If you want a great recipe for your slow cooker, this Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches is so good!
    Carol @ There’s Always Thyme to Cook’s last post ..Biscuit Tortoni

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  4. I love my crockpots! I have both sizes, but use the larger one more frequently. Great advice in the comments above. There are also several great slow cooker cookbooks – find one that appeals to you. Experimenting is fun (it helps that my family has grown more adventurous over the years).

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  5. I love my crockpots too and I’m so glad you are getting one. Over the years I’ve had many but I prefer the Rival Crockpot brand. It’s sturdy and dependable and doesn’t run hot. Definitely get the one with the removable crock. You will thank us later when it comes to clean-up.

    Every week I have at least one crockpot meal and sometimes more. It’s so good to fix food in the morning and get on with the rest of the day knowing dinner will be ready later. In addition, the house smells so good all day.

    I’ve collected various recipes to use in the crockpot from so many different sources – magazines, cookbooks, and now the internet. I followed a blog two years ago where the woman’s goal was to do something in her crockpot every day for a year. The website is still “live”. She’s still crock-potting. Here’s the link: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ (I just checked and her latest recipe is for Carrot Pudding.) You can do so many things in a crockpot that you will be surprised. I’ve done bread, melted crayons in muffin tins, in addition to actually preparing food. As I said, I love my crockpot. Good luck with yours and let us know what you get.

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  6. I have had several crockpots over the years, and my favorite is my current one; it is a Rival with a removable stoneware pot that can actually be used on the stove to brown things first. I would go for the larger one; I have never felt that my crockpot was too large, but I have had the experience of feeling that one was too small.
    TheBookGirl’s last post ..A good idea that never quite took off

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  7. I LOVE my crockpots! I have a 6 Qt. oval programmable one I use for main dishes and a 1.5 Qt that I use for making oats so they’ll be ready in the morning, and also use it for sides/appetizers.

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  8. If you are a family of four, you definitely want a larger crock pot. Since our kids are grown, we have a small one. I had to go look to see the brand, and it says, ‘Crock-Pot the original slow cooker.’ We’ve been very happy with it.

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  9. Thanks everybody for your advice. Now I know what to look for, big one, removeable pot, oval, possibly digital.
    Rival seems to be very good, but I have to look whether I can find them over here. I’ll let you know what I end up with.

    @Margot, thanks for the link to the blog. I bookmarked it, it looks fantastic. That woman IS obsessed with her slow cooker, :).

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  10. Great post and good question… I have a 6 court which I love. When I cook… I tend to cook BIG. It also is a must that the container removes from the heat so you can store it in the frig for cleaning etc… most do – but there are some still out there that do not.
    Sheila (Bookjourney)’s last post ..Weekend Cooking- Spiced Almonds

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  11. Thanks, Lyneen and Sheila. I ordered a crock pot yesterday and will report back as soon as I have it and tried it out. I can’t wait!

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  12. we ve the large one with the pot you take out ,I would get this type ,my earlier one was a built in pot and I found it hard to clean ,the large one is great for family coming as you get loads in ,all the best stu

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