Slow Cookers To Make Dinner Simple

A slow cooker delivers show-stopping recipes that require little effort.

Woman cooking in kitchen using slow cooker

by Natalie Corner |
Updated on

It's easy to mistake just how versatile the best slow cookers really are, as there are so many different things you can make in them without using your oven - it's not all about stew and casseroles. Slow cookers are an underestimated cooking appliance that will really bring life to some of your menu staples for every season.

Think outside the box for breakfast with slow cooker porridge, lasagne, slow cooker pulled pork, mulled wine, meatballs, mac and cheese, cakes, pies, and even jacket potatoes.

Best Slow Cookers At A Glance:

Best slow cooker for meat: Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow Cooker – View on Amazon UK
Best slow cooker for leftovers: Crockpot 4.7L Hinged Lid Digital Slow Cooker – View on Argos
Best slow cooker for small households: Lakeland 3.5L Slow Cooker – View on Lakeland

The best way to get the most out of a slow cooker is to write up a list of dishes ahead of your week, prep your ingredients, like chopping any veg or browning meat, and then pop them in to cook first thing in the morning when you wake up, overnight or while you enjoy a day out.

If you own one already or are looking to upgrade your cooking skills, we've also got the best slow cooker recipe books to inspire you.

Best Slow Cookers

Best slow cooker for meat

Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow CookerAmazon/Morphy Richards

This appliance from Morphy Richards helps you get the best out of cheaper cuts of meat. Sear and Stew is different to traditional ceramic slow cookers, due to its aluminium non-stick hob-proof pot, which means you can sear and slow cook from start to finish in one cooking pot - making the slow cooking process even more efficient. Get your meat started on the hob in the hob-safe pot, then move it across to the slow cooker base. Once your pot is in the slow cooker base, simply select either the high or low cooking setting and set the countdown timer depending on when you want your meal ready for and in anything from four to 12 hours, you will have a delicious casserole, chilli, curry or a multitude of other warming favourites.

Customer review: "A fab purchase - easy to use and clean and lightweight too - works brilliantly with slow cooker liners too for fuss free cooking that means no cleaning."


  • Straight from hob to slow cooker
  • Easy to clean


  • Cook pot is not compatible with induction hobs

Best slow cooker for leftovers

CROCK-POT SCCPRC507B-060 Slow CookerArgos/Crockpot

The ceramic pot is detachable which means you can serve it up at the table and makes it really easy to clean. When buying a slow cooker, go for one that feeds slightly more than you need. This Crock-Pot is 4.7 litres and feeds up to six people, which is perfect for leftovers. You don't have to fill it every time if you'd rather not have leftovers, but it's great if friends or family are coming to stay and you need to feed a few more.

Customer review: "The food comes out very tasty even if I put in lower quality cuts of meat. It saves money because I can use cheaper meat and put in more vegetables."


  • Keep warm setting
  • Great size
  • Sturdy


  • No sear function

Best slow cooker for small households

Lakeland 3.5L Slow CookerLakeland
Price: £29.99 (was £39.99)

This no-prep slow cooker from Lakeland will allow you to cook delicious healthy meals effortlessly with time to spare. Just prepare all our ingredients, add them to the slow cooker, select one of the three cooking modes available (High, Low, Auto) and set the timer. The removable ceramic pot is easy to clean, and you can also clean the ceramic pot in the dishwasher for extra convenience. Plus, there's an encircling element for ease of even and efficient cooking.

Customer review: "I am very pleased with my slow cooker. It's easy to use, economical and feels sturdy. Also, it looks smart on the worktop. Very reasonable price too. I wish I had bought one years ago."


  • Easy to use
  • Three heat settings - low, high, and auto
  • Dishwasher-safe ceramic cooking pot


  • Lightweight - feet are slippy

Best slow cooker for scheduling


Crockpot TimeSelect 5.6L Slow CookerArgos/Crockpot

Another entry from Crockpot, this new TimeSelect Digital Slow Cooker, offers two ways to cook so you can tailor your meal to the amount of time you have to prepare it - ideal for busy households. Its large capacity means you can whip up a batch of your favourite chilli or slow-cooked curry or cook an entire chicken that will make plenty of meals during the week. Its nifty schedule feature enables you to set up your meal but delays the start time of the cook for up to 12 hours, so it's timed and ready for when you get back in from work or wherever you've been.


  • Easy to clean
  • Spacious
  • TimeSelect automatically adjusts the heat as your food cooks
  • 2-year guarantee included


  • Mains lead is short

Best slow cooker for advanced recipes

Instant Pot DuoAmazon/Instant Pot

If you don't like the idea of lots of different gadgets and appliances cluttering your kitchen and cupboards, then this is the solution. This Instant Pot performs seven different functions in one. As well as being a slow cooker, this pot can also be used as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, sauté/browning, yoghurt maker, steamer and warmer. The large, easy-to-use control panel has 14 built-in programmes, dual pressure, automatic keep-warm and three temperatures for sauté and slow cook.

Customer review: "I love my instant pot it gets used every week for something, it’s a really good accompaniment to my air fryer I hardly use the oven at all. I was a bit nervous about getting it because I’ve never used anything with pressure before. However having watch some YouTube videos, this gave me some confidence and it’s actually a breeze to use. I love it. It’s brilliant at making casseroles, stews makes an amazing gammon joint. You can do a stew in 30 minutes with dumplings. I would say if you are a bit nervous about this just go for it because it is real brilliant thing to use in the kitchen just as a family with lots of kids it reduces the time you spend cooking. I can do mashed potatoes in four minutes. There are so many recipes out there on the internet you really can’t go wrong. It just reduces how much time you spend cooking which is brilliant if you’re a busy mum or just a busy person in general."


  • Fast cooking
  • Great for large portions
  • Advanced recipes


  • Tricky to clean

Best slow cooker for large families

Lakeland 6L Slow CookerLakeland
Price: £39.99 (was £59.99)

This slow cooker is great for large families thanks to the 6-litre capacity. The cooking element encircles the cook pot, which ensures even heat distribution. Normally, the element is beneath the pot, and food can get encrusted on down there. This Lakeland 6L Slow Cooker is a well worthwhile investment for cheaper family meals and batch cooking.

Customer review: "The cooker is great for batch cooking like stews or a chilli con carne. Portioned up and put in the freezer, so easy and money saving. This is a kitchen must gadget that everyone should invest in. Enjoy. You won’t be disappointed."


  • Energy efficient
  • Ideal for batch-cooking
  • Even cooking


  • Very heavy

Best budget slow cooker

Morphy Richards 460017 3.5 Litre Ceramic Slow CookerAmazon/Morphy Richards
Price: $150.23

Morphy Richards 460017 3.5 Litre Ceramic Slow Cooker is a versatile choice for a medium-sized household. The oval-shaped 3.5L ceramic pot is ideal for joints of meat as well as casseroles, curries and chillies. The easy-to-use dial allows you to select your cooking temperature; Low (6-12 hours), Medium (4-10 hours) or High (3-8 hours). A variety of recipes are included within the product instruction manual for you to enjoy. The toughened glass lid means you can view the cooking process without letting heat escape, and the removable ceramic pot is an ideal serving dish. When you're done, simply pop the ceramic cooking pot in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

Customer review: "As someone who cooks plenty and a busy working woman. I needed a slow cooker that was easy no fuss to use, easy clean, stylish and reliable. This product ticks all the boxes. I can easily get 4/5 big portions for the family. Best thing I've bought, highly recommend."


  • Heats up fast
  • Medium option


  • High setting not very hot

OUR VERDICT: Which Slow Cooker Is Best?

Both the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew Slow Cooker and the Morphy Richards 460017 3.5 Litre Ceramic Slow Cooker are our favourite picks for the best slow cooker to buy.

The sear and stew give you the option to cook your meat directly in the cooker without having to add more washing up using an extra pan. With many customer reviews saying the slow cooker delivered delicious-tasting meat dishes. The Morphy Richards 460017 offers a fantastic budget option for those who are dipping their toe into batch cooking, and while it's on offer it's under £40 – you can't go wrong.

Key Features To Consider When Buying A Slow Cooker

Capacity: Most slow cookers will give you an idea of how many people it can comfortably feed, plus its volume capacity in litres. We advise going for one a little bigger - i.e. if you're a couple, look for one that feeds three to four people. It's handy for batch cooking and means your slow cooker can also be used for entertaining.

Settings: Often there will be three options - high, medium and low - giving you control over how long you want the meal to cook for and when you want it to be ready. Simpler slow cookers will only have off and on, but modern slow cookers give you at least these three options.

Timer: Some slow cookers have timers, others don't - which just means you need to make note of when you turned it on so that you know when it will be ready. There are slow cookers which also have timers you can set for when you want the slow cooker to turn on, which is handy for some recipes that only call for four hours of cooking time, but you plan to be out of the house for longer.

Ceramic pot: Most of the slow cookers on our list feature a ceramic pot, which is detachable. Not only does this mean easy cleaning (they are all dishwasher safe too), but it also means you have a ready-to-go pot for serving. So less washing up all around.

Toughened glass lid: Because of the way slow cookers work, you're better off leaving them alone to cook rather than opening the lid to check on your dish. A glass lid means you can peek at your culinary creation without reducing the heat inside the pot.


What can I cook in a slow cooker?

With a slow cooker, you get the joy of coming home to a hot dinner that's ready and waiting for you. It's a one-pot meal wonder - from porridge, and lasagne to mulled wine - there's no shortage of inspiration for delicious recipes online. An even heat is applied, and food is cooked at a low temperature over a longer period. Therefore, slow cookers get the maximum flavour out of the cheapest cuts of meat and save extra pennies. It's the ideal appliance for batch cooking. With a little planning and preparation, you can save energy and time with a slow cooker. Once cold, you can fill up your fridge freezer with portioned servings of all your slow-cooked favourites, such as Bolognese, kedgeree and comforting sausage casserole.

Should I choose a digital or manual slow cooker?

This comes down to a personal choice. Digital slow cookers, with LED screens and timers, can be handy if you'd like to keep track of how long it's left to cook. Digital cookers also usually come with more settings or venture into multicooker territory. To find out more, read our review of the Crockpot Turbo Multicooker.

Natalie Corner is the Commercial Content Editor across the Specialist Portfolio for Bauer Media. She specialises in all things coffee and tea related for A Modern Kitchen. When she's not hopped up on caffeine she's testing the latest space-saving hacks to organise her small kitchen.

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