A crock pot is a slow cooker. It’s one of those kitchen tools that people either love or hate, whether it be for its convenience, the results produced by cooking with it, or because there are better things to spend money on in this world. We here at EverythingCrockPot.com happen to love our crock pots and we believe that you can do some serious culinary magic with these wonderful appliances.
The problem is: not all crock pots are created equally and not everyone has the time and/or patience to figure out which model will suit their needs best. That’s why we’ve put together this handy little article – so you can learn about some of the best portable crock pots available today and decide if they’re right for you.
Just What the Heck is a Crock Pot Anyway?
Before looking at specific models it’s probably helpful to understand what makes crock pots so wonderful. Basically, any full-sized crock pot can be considered portable since they are designed to travel with you, but some of the smaller crock pots on this list make it possible to use your crock pot while out camping or while traveling in an RV. We’ll also look at some “mini” crock pots that are small enough to use on top of your desk during those long days at work when you need something warm and comforting waiting for you when you get home.
But why would someone use a slow cooker instead of regular cooking methods? Well, unless you’re a pro-level cook there’s a pretty good chance that you can’t stand in front of the stove for hours on end. Most people benefit from using a crock pot because it allows them to prepare dinner early and then come home late without worrying about getting everything done too soon or having to spend all evening cooking.
If you’ve never used a crock pot before we’ll first explain how they work and what benefits they provide so you know whether this nifty tool will be right for your household.
What is a Crock Pot?
Unlike an oven, which heats food from the outside in, the heating element of a crock pot is located near the bottom where it produces low heat but radiates up into the container holding the food. This means that when you use a crock pot it heats everything inside, but not too quickly or to very high temperatures. It’s sort of like having your own portable version of the pre-historic “caveman” style cooking where you throw in some meat and veggies, cover them in clay ,and then let them cook for several hours over an open fire.
Top Portable & Small Crock Pots
Instant Pot 6 Qt Duo Nova
- Best for beginners: An upgrade to the all-time bestseller Instant Pot Duo series, the Duo Nova combines 7 appliances in 1: Pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute pan, food warmer, and yogurt maker. The 6Qt model is the most popular size, with a capacity to cook for up to 6 people – if you’re on the fence about which size is right for you, you can’t go wrong with the 6Qt
- Healthy & consistently delicious: Duo Nova is powered by a sophisticated micro-processor that monitors and adjusts pressure, temperature, time, and heat to cook food up to 70% faster than other methods and deliver consistent, delicious results every time
- Smart lid: The new easy seal lid gives you one less thing to worry about because it automatically seals your Instant Pot. Steam release is also a breeze with the fast, safe push of the quick release button. And it even comes with a bonus sealing ring
- Worry-free cooking: 10+ safety features with UL certification let you “set it and forget it.” You’re free to do other things while the Duo Nova cooks your dinner safely and quickly, with minimal mess and easy clean up. The Duo Nova’s food-grade stainless steel 304 (18/8) cooking pot is dishwasher-safe and durable, with no chemical coating.
- Clear, simple controls: Elegant blue LCD intuitively indicates the cooking process of the multicooker. Convenient one-touch control of 13 programs can be customized to remember the way you like to cook
Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker
- 3 quart capacity
- HIGH/LOW cook settings
- Removable round stoneware; Cord length 24 Inches
- Dishwasher safe stoneware and glass lid
- Polished silver, stainless steel exterior with black accents and plastic handles
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker
- 6 quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker serves 7+ people
- Digital countdown control lets you program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes up to 20 hours; shifts to Warm setting automatically once cook time completes
- Easy to use locking lid featuring lid gasket provides extra seal for less mess on the go
- All Crock Pot Slow Cooker removable stone inserts (without lid) may be used safely in the microwave and the oven set up to 400 degree F; If you own another slow cooker brand, please refer to your owner’s manual for specific crockery cooking medium tolerances
- Works on 240 Watts at 120V A.C; and 60Hz
Maxi-Matic 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker
- 1.5 Qt removable inner stoneware pot
- Convenient LOW / HIGH / KEEP WARM settings
- Attractive white finish
- Tempered clear glass lid
- Cool-touch handles and knobs
Cuisinart 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Oval-shaped programmable slow cooker with 3-1/2-quart ceramic pot
- Touchpad control panel; 24-hour LCD countdown timer; 4 cooking modes
- Automatic keep-warm; glass lid; nonslip rubber feet; stay-cool handles for safety
- Dishwasher-safe pot and lid; instruction manual with recipes included
- Product Built to North American Electrical Standards and BPA free Features: Touchpad control panel with LED timer display|24-hour cooking timer|Off/On Keep Warm Simmer Low and High settings|Removable 3.5-quart oval ceramic cooking pot|Automatically shifts to Warm when cook time ends|Brushed stainless steel housing|Glass lid with chrome-plated knob|Dishwasher-safe lid and ceramic pot|Nonslip rubber feet|Instruction/recipe book|Limited 3-year warranty|BPA Free
Benefits of Using a Crock Pot
There are many advantages to using a crock pot over oven roasting and the stovetop depending on what you’re making. Some people swear by their crock pots because they can prepare dinner early and come home late without worrying about overcooking anything or spending hours standing in front of the stove tending to food. If you work for several hours every day cooking with a crock pot can allow you to come home to a hot, fresh meal without much preparation.
Crock Pot Tips : The first few times that you use your crock pot it’s highly recommended that you actually follow the recipe , especially if it’s the first time using the particular one that you bought. Most contain high levels of sodium and other spices so they taste very different depending on what brand you purchase or how long/short an ingredient list is. Many people find out their appliance is defective only after trying to make a certain dish for the first time. As long as you read all of the instructions before attempting anything really complicated, however, there are easy-to-prepare recipes available for nearly everything.
When you first begin using a crock pot it’s important to understand that the cook time will not be the same as a conventional oven or stove-top. While a thermometer can never provide a perfectly reliable temperature reading, if you want to know whether your meal is cooked correctly place it in the center of the pot and wait until it gets up to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit before eating it. The safest way to ensure that your food is cooked all the way through is by waiting until this temperature has been reached before serving anything.
Most people don’t realize that there are several different types of pots available for nearly every type of slow cooker on the market today – here’ll look at some information about what types of crock pots are available so you can pick the best one for your needs.
The first type is a ceramic pot which uses a glazed coating to prevent anything from sticking to the sides or burning at the bottom while heating exponentially. To clean these types simply make a mixture out of baking soda and warm water, scrub it down with a rag ,and then rinse everything off before placing it back in the stove if you’re using one that’s designed to be used as both an oven and slow cooker. While this style isn’t as popular as other ones it does have plenty of benefits that others don’t – however, instead of going into those we’ll explain why there probably aren’t many people still utilizing this kind of crock pot.
The main reason that the ceramic style isn’t used as much is because, unlike other types, it’s not safe to use on the stove top or in an oven for any length of time. While it might be convenient to clean up after dinner by simply throwing away the slow cooker liner and rinsing out the pot , if you have a ceramic one cleaning requires special tools that aren’t always easy to find around the house – this also means that it’ll take longer to get rid of any food that’s burned onto the sides during cooking.
If you’re still considering purchasing one despite this information there are several benefits to doing so. The first thing is that ceramic pots are very sturdy , meaning they can easily take a few falls without breaking. If you enjoy recipes that require transferring hot ingredients between different containers this makes it much easier to transport the food, plus doing so won’t result in any broken dishes.
The other benefit is that these pots are for more for preparing foods than they are for using as an oven or stove top which means you’ll be getting better quality meals when using them in your home. While certain kinds of ceramic pots work great in conventional ovens others cannot stand up well enough to the heat that’s produced in order to prevent cracking or chipping- if you’re planning on cooking bread or something else with a tough texture you might need to get another type because ceramic isn’t ideal for dealing with soft dough .
There are many different types of crock pots on the market today – before settling on one it’s important to consider which one is right for you. If you’re looking for an appliance that can be both used as a slow cooker and oven then you might want to consider purchasing one with the stainless-steel pot . While they aren’t as popular as ceramic pots since they don’t offer any additional benefits over their counterparts, these ones are definitely the most versatile due to being able to work in several different capacities. Since they’re designed to take much better heat than their ceramic counterparts consumers have been using them more frequently, plus there’s a larger variety available because of this increased demand.
When compared with other types of cookware the stainless-steel pots are typically the heaviest, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to using them for certain types of slow cooking. After all, you might not want something that’s too heavy if you’re planning on preparing meals while camping or tailgating . Despite this downside there are several advantages that these have over their ceramic counterparts which makes them popular in nearly any kitchen setting.
First is that since they’re made out of steel cleanup is much simpler than with ceramic models , meaning you can throw away the liner after use and still be able to clean up within a matter of minutes. Another benefit is the durability – while most people don’t have issues with ceramic pots , some consumers who live in areas where temperatures are below freezing have found that these types of pots can crack after being placed outside during the winter.
If you’ve ever shopped for a crock pot before chances are that you’ve come across one that’s labeled as “dual-function.” This means that it’s made to do two things, keep food warm and slow cook – which is exactly what it sounds like. Generally speaking there isn’t much difference between this kind of pot compared with the others on the market today , however one thing consumers should know about them is they tend to be more expensive than other types due to both their design and durability .
If you’re planning on utilizing your slow cooker often it might be best for your wallet to purchase one that works double duty , however if you only plan on using it occasionally and don’t need the functions included you might consider going with a different one. The main downside to doing this is that because of their design they tend to cook food more slowly, meaning that the appliance will spend less time in use .
Finally there’s the electric pot , which like the dual-function ones simply has two settings: keep warm and slow cook. There isn’t much difference between these models and those that are labeled as “dual-function,” although there are some minor differences in quality. While ceramic pots tend to be high in quality so too do most electric models, however consumers can avoid paying top dollar by purchasing any of them used or refurbished. Many people who purchase these appliances notice that because of their design they tend to cook food more evenly.
When it comes down to the different types of crock pots you have plenty of options available, however when buying one it’s always important to consider what you’re looking for in regards to both convenience and quality . This way no matter which model you choose you can rest assured knowing that your slow cooker will be safe, easy to use, and efficient.