Best slow cookers of 2024 in the UK - tested by us, for easy homecooked meals

Our tried and tested guide to the 10 best slow cookers will have the perfect model for cooking up curries, stews and soups for your kitchen

Best slow cookers on Ideal Home style background
(Image credit: Future)
Best slow cookers: Jump Menu

The list in brief
1.
Best overall: Ninja Foodi
2. Best affordable: Morphy Richards
3. Best Ninja: Ninja Combi
4. Best Instant Pot: Instant Pot Pro
5. Best with griddle: Cuisinart Cook In
6. Best for families: Crockpot Lift & Serve
7. Best large capacity: Russell Hobbs
8. Best functionality: Ninja Foodi
9. Best batch cooker: Sage The Fast Go Slow
10. Best smart: Drew & Cole Cleverchef
How we testFAQs

Everyone should have a good slow cooker in their arsenal of kitchen gadgets - they save on energy costs while still prioritising tasty home-cooked meals. We've tried a variety of the top-rated slow cookers out there, including picks from Crock-Pot, Sage and Ninja, to tell you all about their selling points, and any features that have missed the mark.

As these appliances are versatile buys, many of the slow cookers featured below have extra functionalities or accessories for steaming and multi-level cooking, with the cross-over between the best multi-cookers and slow cookers evident in both of our guides.

Keep reading to discover all of the slow cookers that we've loved after testing at Ideal Home, and delve into what really makes them great for home-cooked recipes.

Best slow cookers

The best slow cooker overall

Ninja Foodi Possible Cooker Slow Cookerproduct badge

(Image credit: Ninja)
The best slow cooker overall

Specifications

Digital : Yes
Capacity : 8 litres
Features: 8 functions, hob and oven safe, included spoon, dishwasher safe

Reasons to buy

+
Cooking pot is also oven safe
+
Intuitive control panel
+
Cooking pot doubles as tableware
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Large capacity
+
Lots of cooking modes

Reasons to avoid

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Fewer cooking modes than Ninja multi cookers
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Outside can get hot
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Pot can be heavy when full

If you haven't yet been convinced to buy a Ninja because of the hype around the best air fryers, then you might still be converted to this brand with the PossibleCooker. Packed with eight different functions, including searing, braising and simmering, this appliance will make whatever you want to cook taste better than ever.

Our expert reviewer Helen can vouch for that. When she tested it, she first made a beef stew, using the sear function to brown the meat, before moving on to slow cooking. The results were excellent, with softened beef and a hearty taste – all of which was improved when she popped the pot into the oven with some mash on top too.

Yep, as well as having all of those functions, the pot of this cooker is also ovenproof up to 260°C and can be served straight to the dining table to save on washing up too. Though it is expensive, our reviewer Helen's final verdict was that it's worth it thanks to its versatility which saw her cook stew, bolognese, steamed veg, chicken stock and even a cake in the cooker.

Our Ninja Foodi Possible Slow Cooker review has the full details.

Best affordable slow cooker

Best slow cooker Morphy RichardsBudget buy badge

(Image credit: Morphy Richards)
Best budget slow cooker

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 3.5 litre
Features: Hob and dishwasher-safe bowl, three temperature settings

Reasons to buy

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It's lightweight enough to easily store
+
The pot insert can be used on the stovetop
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There are three cooking modes
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It's dishwasher safe
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The handles don't get too hot

Reasons to avoid

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There is no keep warm setting

Feature-packed, versatile and so simple to get the hang of, you’ll be slow-cooking everything you can with the Sear and Stew. Its pot is made from aluminium rather than ceramic, meaning you can use it on the hob (not induction) to brown meat and veg. You can then transfer it to the base to slow cook on either high, medium, or low heat.

The Morphy Richards slow cooker's high setting can also be used to reduce liquid after cooking. In tests, it was used to make a delicious slow-cooked curry, first sautéing meat on the hob. The pan’s base was slippery on the cast-iron support of a gas burner, so it had to be held in position when stirring. This required gloves as the handles grew hot. After, it was transferred to the base to cook on high for four hours.

The slow cooker was easy to set, and although it lacks a keep warm setting, we found that the low heat setting was a suitable alternative. It's not digital, so it won't be able to automatically turn itself off, but while cooking, it certainly bubbled away well. The exterior of the base only grew slightly warm. Both the pot and the toughened glass lid are dishwasher-safe so clean-up was straightforward.

Our Morphy Richards Sear and Stew 3.5 Litre Slow Cooker review has the full details.

Best slow cooker and air fryer

Ninja Combi multicooker

(Image credit: Ninja)
The best slow cooker and air fryer in one

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity : 12.5 litres
Features: combi meals, combi crisp, combi bake, steam, rice/pasta, prove, grill, air fry, bake, sear/saute, slow cook

Reasons to buy

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Very multi-functional
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Intuitive control panel
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Replaces several kitchen appliances in one
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Side hinged door gives easy access to foods
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Non-stick trays clean easily

Reasons to avoid

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Industrial appearance
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Emits a lot of steam
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Can’t air fry on two levels simultaneously

The Ninja Combi is an unbelievably clever appliance. It has more functions than you can count on your two hands and even better, allows you to perform two of those settings at one time.

Our expert reviewer was impressed when she tried it, though she did admit to there being a pretty steep learning curve with picking up the controls. It brings in a new age of cooking, designed to save you time and increase efficiency in the kitchen. She was particularly a fan of the slow cooker function, which she used with great effect to cook a bolognese. In fact, she called it 'faultless'.

What's even better about this cooker is that it's also kitted out with an air frying function, and plenty of space to do so, making it a crowd-pleaser to the extreme. This is a great buy if you're looking to get inventive with an appliance, but those looking for a more traditional buy (and a less industrial looking one!) may want to look elsewhere.

Our Ninja Combi review has the full details.

Best Instant Pot

Best slow cooker Instant Potproduct badge

(Image credit: Instant Pot)
Best Instant Pot

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 5.7 litre
Features: 8 cooking modes, dishwasher-safe settings

Reasons to buy

+
Cooking pot has silicone handles for easy lifting
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Compact size
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All accessories including lid are dishwasher safe
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Plenty of functions and pre-set programs
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Thousands of recipes online and a free recipe app
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Easy steam release switch
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Favourite buttons can store your settings for your most used recipes
+
Delay start of cooking by up to 24 hours

Reasons to avoid

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No recipes or cooking charts included in the box
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Cooking pot isn’t non-stick
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There’s not really 28 pre-set cooking programs

Instant Pot has been making waves in the States for some time, but it's never quite had the same buzz here, and we think it's a very underrated buy. The Instant Pot Pro is one of the most premium options on offer from the brand, with a huge range of smart settings on offer. The functions here range from cooking rice and pressure cooking to steaming – you can browse through them and save your favourites or most-used on a custom setting bar.

Our reviewer loved practically everything about the Instnat Pot Pro, even down to the matte black colour (which is much nicer than the stainless steel in our opinion). She made a vegan lentil daal, which had a perfect texture, perfected brown rice, and lasagne filling with the pot. She used the slow cooking function for chicken, which emerged perfectly softened and succulent too.

Amazingly smart, the Instant Pot Pro is also very safe to use, and the pot allows you to sear either on the hob or inside the cooker before adding stock or tomatoes and setting your meal on to slow cook.

The lid screws into place and can even go in the dishwasher after you're done. We found that it took just three and a half minutes to preheat and allowed us to preset your cooking mode for up to 24 hours. Our principal complaints is that the pot itself isn't strictly non-stick, and that the included recipe manual was lacking a little. Overall though, we were mega-impressed.

Our Instant Pot Pro review has the full details.

Best slow cooker with griddle

Cuisinart Cook Inproduct badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)
Best slow cooker with griddle

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 3.5 litre
Features: Chalkboard exterior, dishwasher safe

Reasons to buy

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Simple controls
+
Multi-functional
+
Storage is easy
+
Quick cleaning
+
Gets quite hot

Reasons to avoid

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No specific temperature controls
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Pre-heat takes a little while

The Cuisinart Cook In is one of the most versatile slow cookers on the market, with an efficient heating base and a removable griddle plate that can be swapped out for the slow cooking base to sear your aubergines before baking them into a delicious parmagiana.

We really enjoyed the wide and more shallow pot of this slow cooker, which offers a lot of versatility when compared to a regular slow cooker, including the ability to griddle with it. That enabled our reviewer to master a classic shakshouka, after grilling peppers to begin before adding tomatoes and eggs.

Sure, it has only one simple temperature dial but turning it offers a lot more variety than the usual options, which tend to come with a low, medium and high mode. This feature was especially good when it came to our reviewer's lamb stew, as she customised the temperature to get the perfect pull-apart texture.

As far as cleaning is concerned, all removable parts (including the glass lid) can go in the dishwasher, and there is also a steaming rack for added options. For one-pot meals on a budget, you absolutely can't go wrong with this Cuisinart buy.

Our Cuisinart Cook In review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for families

Crockpot slow cooker in blackproduct badge

(Image credit: Crockpot)
Best slow cooker for large servings

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 4.7 litre
Features: Hinged lid, lift-out pot

Reasons to buy

+
Hinged lid and lift out pot
+
Good capacity
+
Excellent cooking results
+
Available in white and black

Reasons to avoid

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The controls can take a minute to adjust to

Some things can deter us all from cooking. Having to transfer food from a pan to a pot, cleaning up or that annoying puddle of water you get from putting the lid down on the worktop when it comes to the best slow cookers. If that's you, you need this model, which can act as a cooker and a serving pot that you can plonk down straight on the dining table.

This slow cooker has been designed to be as easy as possible to use, including with the addition of a hinged lid, which makes checking on the progress of your curry or stew much less hassle. It's also dishwasher-safe, and the inner pot is oven friendly, if you need to transfer it over.

The digital control features three heat settings – high, low and keep warm – and there’s an indicator light to let you know which one you're on. We think it can take a minute to get used to the controls, as clicking between the modes is a bit harder than it needs to be, but after your first use, we think you'll have the hang of it. We made a fantastic Bolognese sauce in four hours on high and a rich and tasty curry on the lower setting with perfectly cooked meat and veg during testing. The large size also makes it perfect for a Christmas ham, when the slow cooker comes into its own!

Our full Crockpot Lift and Serve slow cooker review has the full details.

The best large capacity slow cooker

Best slow cooker Russell Hobbsproduct badge

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)
Best large slow cooker for families

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6.5 litre
Features: Sous-vide, timer settings, keep warm mode, temperature probe

Reasons to buy

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Eight cooking functions
+
Large capacity pot is ideal for families
+
Clear and easy-to-use interface
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The removable control panel allows for the pot to be carried to the dinner table
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The pot is made from durable cast aluminium

Reasons to avoid

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The instruction booklet could come with recipes and more information
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Difficult to wash up

The Russell Hobbs Good to Go Multicooker is a true multi-tasker. Armed with a variety of capabilities, you can make sure that your meat is cooked just right before you cut it open, or fill up a water bath for succulent sous vide fish or veggies.

This digital slow cooker comes with a removable control dial on its front control panel, which has pre-set modes for steaming and stewing as well as high and low manual temperature levels. There is also a keep warm mode.

We tested the Russell Hobbs Good to Go Multicooker out on slow cooker stews, as well as a whole-cooked chicken, which was possible thanks to just how large the pot is with this cooker. Our tester also managed perfect rice with this cooker, as well as a tender stew.

Instead of a removable pot this slow cooker has a single layer of aluminum housing, which can be pulled away from the control panel and base of the slow cooker and placed straight in the dishwasher.

Our Russell Hobbs Good To Go 6.5L Electric Multi Cooker review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for functionality

Best slow cooker Ninjaproduct badge

(Image credit: Ninja)
Best slow cooker for range of functions

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6 litres
Features: Air frying, grilling, sear, pressure cook, keep warm, adjustable time and temperature

Reasons to buy

+
Uncomplicated controls
+
Includes lots of cooking charts for guidance
+
Cooking pot has a non-stick coating
+
Dishwasher safe accessories
+
Lots of recipes available online
+
Keep warm function

Reasons to avoid

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No pre-set food programs
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When pressure cooking the hinged crisping lid can’t be removed
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Bigger footprint than other multicookers
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Noisy when using the crisping lid
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Cooking pot doesn’t have a flat base

The Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker is a high-cost investment, but if you like your gadgets it could be the best one you make for your kitchen yet. You can of course just use this multi-cooker as a slow cooker, for which it has a generous 6 litre capacity, but you can also take advantage of the sear setting to brown meat and veggies before slow cooking for a more rich flavour.

When we tested its slow cooking mode we found that it's almost too good at retaining moisture. Recipes that came out more saucy in some slow cookers were a little less rich because it's also designed to be an airtight pressure cooker. That can be remedied though by adding less liquid or taking into account the liquid that will come out of meat and veggies when you add them.

All in all, our reviewer baked a (perfectly moist) cake, roasted a chicken, air fried chips and steamed sweetcorn. While the chicken was probably a little too large for the pot, the results were still impressive, and slow cooking has always yielded soft and tender results for us.

You can place the cooking pot in the dishwasher or wash by hand fairly easily. The Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker also has a basket insert and can be used to air fry other treats when not in use as a slow cooker. Is this the future of slow cooking? We think so.

Our Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP350UK review has the full details.

Best slow cooker for batch cooking

Best slow cooker Sageproduct badge

(Image credit: Sage)
Best slow cooker for batch cooking

Specifications

Digital: Yes
Capacity: 6 litre
Features: Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté/ sear, sous vide, reduce

Reasons to buy

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Automatic pressure release
+
Good capacity
+
8 pressure settings
+
Controls are easy to use and clearly laid out
+
Handles on the base unit make it easy to move
+
Keep warm function
+
Choose between pressure cook and slow cook for several of the pre-sets

Reasons to avoid

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Cluttered fascia
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Expensive
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Not recommended to wash cooking bowl in dishwasher
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Hinged lid is fiddly to remove
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Lid marks easily with fingerprints

Removing the need to sauté in a pan before transferring to the pot, the Sage Fast Slow Go is as useful for slow cooking converts as it is to experienced cooks. Functioning as both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, it includes sensors at the top and bottom to monitor temperature. This makes inconsistently cooked stews a thing of the past.

The controls are a little cluttered, but the illustrations make the Sage The Fast Slow Go easy to use and very clear. The lid his hinged, which we don't love, but it does mean the Sage The Fast Slow Go will transition easily between slow cooking and pressure cooking for a range of the cooking modes.

You can activate a keep warm setting to keep your food ready for as long as six hours after your cooking mode has finished. The sear mode took only a few minutes to pre-heat and we were able to brown our onions before adding curry ingredients, which delivered a lot of extra flavour, with the overall result being wonderfully cooked. The slow cooker's 'reduce' function was useful for bubbling away excess liquid after slow cooking.

Our Sage The Fast Slow Go review has the full details.

Best smart slow cooker

Drew & Cole Cleverchef slow cooker with blue digital screenproduct badge

(Image credit: Drew & Cole Cleverchef)
Best slow cooker for app pairing

Specifications

Digital: No
Capacity: 4.8 litre
Features: Non-stick pot, keep warm function, digital display

Reasons to buy

+
Compact size
+
Pre-set programs make it easy to figure out cook times and settings
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Non-stick inner pot
+
Plenty of recipes available on the app
+
Keep warm function
+
Great size for a 4-person household
+
Intuitive to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Steaming results were unpredictable
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Accessories have to be washed by hand

We tried everything from baking a cake to pressure cooking rice in the Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro, and it's a smart multi-cooker that also wows when slow cooking. The inner pot is non-stick which made cleaning a breeze, and we made good use of the keep warm function which switched on automatically when the recipe had finished cooking.

One of the best things about the Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro is the app, which comes with a huge range of recipes at the touch of a button. Compared to a lot of multi-cookers the Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro has an uncomplicated display that's simple to customise. A great choice for those who want a smart multi-cooker.

Our Drew and Cole Cleverchef Pro review has the full details.

How we tested the best slow cookers

We tested every slow cooker featured in this guide, applying the same principles we use to assess every product we recommend at Ideal Home. You can read more about those guidelines on our page dedicated to how we test products.

Each product has a link to an in-depth review too, to help you find out more about each of the products we mention.

When testing these slow cookers we were keen to try out each of their main cooking settings, so while a more simple manual slow cooker was used to make a stew or simple curry, we pressure-cooked meat and steamed fish in the more complex slow cookers on the market. When slow cookers came with digital settings we attempted delay-start recipes and tested how easy they were to use.

Finally, any good slow cooker should be easy to clean, so we made sure to see which slow cookers could have their removable pots placed through the dishwasher, and where they didn't we tested to see if cleaning by hand was a faff.

FAQs

Why do I need a slow cooker?

Slow cookers have got so much going for them, it’s hard not to love them. Not only will a good one save you time and effort in the kitchen, it’ll save you money too. Slow cookers transform cheaper cuts of meat into tender dishes and liven up economical healthy pulses, like lentils, beans and peas. Plus, while they can be on all day, it’s at such a low wattage that it will only cost pennies.

Slow cookers are also brilliant for less-than-confident cooks, easily creating all those meals that seem a bit scary on the hob. That’s because slow cooking develops the flavours of food for richer, tastier results. It’s not just dinners that slow cookers excel at making either. They make great porridge, granola, stewed apples, bread and butter pudding, fudge and dips. You can use your slow cooker to melt chocolate, as a Bain-marie.

How much should I spend on a slow cooker?

Slow cookers are one of the most affordable small appliances, and you can buy one for as little as £20. At this price, it’ll be pretty basic in terms of features. Also, the dish may be the traditional choice of heavy, potentially breakable, ceramic. However, you should still be able to simmer and stew whatever you like.

Spend more and you’ll find a greater array of features, such as automatic functions. A bigger budget will allow for a durable metal pot that can be used on your hob and is dishwasher-safe. Stretch your budget to the £100 mark and your slow cooker may also double up as a multi-cooker, so it can cook fluffy rice and steam food, too.

What are the main features of a slow cooker?

Slow cooker capacity

The first thing you need to consider with any slow cooker is its capacity – each will list its bowl size in litres. Bear in mind that this won’t translate to the same amount of food, as you shouldn’t fill slow cookers to the brim. This gap allows your food to bubble and simmer properly. The usable cooking space will be around three-quarters of its bowl size, for example, a five-litre cooker can accommodate around four litres of food.

Slow cookers range in size from a compact 1.5 litres to a 6.5-litre bowl, so be sure to choose the right size for the way you intend to cook. As a rough guide, 1.5-3 litres will feed one or two people, 3-5 litres, three or four people and anything over five litres should suit a large family, with six litres or more ideal for batch cooks who like to fill the freezer. Alternatively, a larger cooker is great for those who like to eat what’s leftover for lunch the next day.

Slow cooker controls

Most slow cookers will have similar standard controls – high heat for meals cooked in less than a few hours, low heat for all-day cooking. A 'keep warm' mode should hold food at a serveable temperature without actually cooking it. Some cookers will switch to 'keep warm' automatically after an elapsed cooking time, while more basic models need this altered manually.

Slow cookers with digital controls may also have a delay start, which is ideal if you’re out of the house for more than eight hours. This means you can start cooking at a time to suit you – while it’s hard to overcook recipes with a lot of liquid, this gives more freedom with dishes that could potentially start to dry out. A timer is another handy feature – this will either turn the machine off after cooking or put it into a limited time keep warm mode.

One-pot solutions

Basic slow cookers won’t get hot enough to sauté meat or vegetables, so you’ll need to do this in a pan before transferring the contents to the bowl. However, more expensive models offer a different one-pot solution. This can either be bowls that you use on your hob or in your oven in place of a pan (some will even be induction compatible). They will need to be moved to the slow cooker base. Machines with a sauté function for high-heat browning can simply be switched to slow cooking.

The advantage of this is not leaving all that lovely seared flavour behind in a pan, and it reduces washing-up. Finally, look for a slow cooker with a transparent lid, so you can keep an eye on your food’s progress. Lifting the lid of a slow cooker while it’s in use lets out heat and steam, prolonging cooking time. It’s always best to be able to see what’s going on without doing so.

With one of the best slow cookers, you'll be able to craft more convenient dinners straight away. There's nothing better for extracting great flavours from a variety of foods.