Tried and Tested – Slow cookers
Best for families
Crock-Pot Lift & Serve 4.7L Digital Slow Cooker CSC052 £59.99, amazon.co.uk
This features an integrated programmable timer, so simply pop in your ingredients and set the cooking time to high or low. When the set cooking time has finished, the cooker will switch to the ‘keep warm’ settings. Our lamb hotpot cooked over five hours was melt-in-the-mouth delicious. The 4.7-litre ceramic pot easily holds enough for a family of five and what’s more it can be removed from the slow cooker to double as a serving dish and is dishwater-safe too.
Best for meat lovers
Andrew James Sizzle to Simmer 3.5L Slow Cooker £44.99, andrewjamesworldwide.com
Packed with features, this has a removable aluminium crock pot that can be used on electric and gas hobs to sear meat before popping back in the slow cooker to add the rest of the ingredients, saving on pans used. We liked the easy-to-use timer delay and digital display so you know how long you’ve got to wait, and the glass lid so you can check on whether or not to add more liquid without lifting the lid. Casseroles, curries and pulled pork recipes came out perfectly and it served three hearty appetites or four normal ones easily.
Best for entertaining
VonShef 6.5L Red Slow Cooker £24.99, domu.co.uk
This is super easy to use – just plug in and turn the dial to high, medium or low. While the settings seemed to work well – a soup cooked on high turned out beautifully – our tester felt that the lid didn’t fit tightly enough as chickpeas cooked on low over several hours dried out. Despite its large capacity – great for batch cooking or if you’re entertaining – it didn’t take up too much space on the worktop and fitted into a kitchen cupboard. A great-value buy.
Tefal Multicook Advanced 45-in-1 Multicooker £94.99, amazon.co.uk
Despite its sleek design, the size of this unit means it may have to be kept out on the kitchen counter or in the utility room. However, its versatility – 45 functions from frying to boiling, baking to steaming – means that you could easily use it every day. The LCD control panel was easy to navigate with the help of the instruction booklet. The five-litre cooking bowl will cook a substantial casserole – when set on the slow-cooker function, ours turned out perfectly. We also cooked a sponge cake which was a little like a steam pudding – light, fluffy and delicious served with custard.
Best for couples
Judge Electricals 1.5L Slow Cooker £38, horwood.co.uk
With a capacity of just 1.5 litres, when filled, this compact cooker made enough soup for two generous servings. It’s incredibly simple to use – simply plug in and then turn the dial to high, low or keep warm. A beef stew, cooked on low for five hours, turned out perfectly. The dish comes out easily for washing-up and the unit takes up minimal space in the cupboard.
Salter 3.5L Chalkboard Slow Cooker £39.99, amazon.co.uk
This slow cooker is extremely lightweight, yet has a decent capacity to feed a family of four. It’s so straightforward to operate that our tester’s seven-year-old daughter was able to make a chocolate cake in it, which turned out both light and moist. The vegetable chilli was thick and tasty – the best one our tester has ever made! The outer chalkboard design not only looks stylish, but means you can let the family know what’s inside for dinner and when it will be ready, and it even comes with its own chalk.