This kitchen appliance is not one size fits all.

By Lisa Cericola
May 09, 2018
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Amazon.com

My very first slow cooker was a 10-quart beast. I won it at a white elephant gift exchange at an office holiday party. After a very strong drink, I decided that slow cooker was mine. Nothing was going to stop me. I "stole" it from a co-worker, then my boss "stole" it away from me. After another drink, I took it back from her. No one dared get between me and the slow cooker after that bold move.

I lugged the enormous box home, up two flights of stairs, set it down in my matchbook-sized kitchen, and realized I had made a huge mistake. My husband and I couldn't eat 10 quarts of anything. I tried to put it away in a cabinet and I couldn't even shut the door. The next day, I left the slow cooker in my boss's office. We had a good laugh about it and after that, I basically swore off slow cooking.

Fast forward several years later. Now I have a toddler, a house with a normal-sized kitchen, and much less time on my hands to do things I enjoy—like cook. Re-enter the slow cooker. While I had my doubts that a bulky appliance would change my cooking life, I figured I should give it another try. So I did my research, and decided to scale down to a six-quart model from Hamilton Beach. Why buy a bus when you only need a sedan?

WATCH: This is the Best Way to Make Stock

I chose this model because of the overwhelmingly positive online reviews, but also because it has a countdown timer and automatically switches to "warm" when the cook time is over. Which is very useful when something is simmering away for a long period of time, like when you're away from the house, or better yet, sleeping. It also has a locking lid, which makes it easy to transport. Just in case I ever felt like bringing six quarts of soup to a party. You never know!

I unpacked the slow cooker, found a spot for it in my kitchen where it wouldn't get in the way, and promptly made some brisket chili. And then a batch of pulled pork ragu for pasta. And then some vegetable stock. And then some soup. Everything turned out deliciously, and was mind-bogglingly easy to prepare. It hardly felt like cooking. I didn't have to worry about fitting it in my cabinet because I couldn't put the thing away.

It turned out that a slow cooker was exactly what I needed, I just needed to get the timing—and the size—right.