Test Kitchen Tip
The slow cooker is a champion in your kitchen! No other method of cooking gives you the flexibility that this appliance does. To make the most of this convenient time-saving machine, follow our kitchen-tested guidelines, then delve into our incredible recipes.
Size Slow cookers range in size from 1 to 8 quarts. Most slow cookers fall somewhere in the 4- to 6-quart capacity, which is a good size for families. A cooker in the 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-quart range is ideal for appetizers and cooking for two.
Shape Small slow cookers (the 1 1/2-quart size) usually are round. Slow cookers 3 quarts or larger are round or oval; the oval shape allows more flexibility for fitting in such larger cuts of meat as ribs, brisket, or even salmon.
Controls Basic slow cookers have three heat settings: low (185 to 200 degrees), high (250 to 300 degrees), and off. Many models also have a warm heat setting, which holds the contents at about 165 degrees. Newer programmable models will automatically switch to the warm-heat setting once the food is cooked.