Best slow cookers UK 2021: do they save energy? and our favourites from Lakeland, Currys, Robert Dyas
If you're after a means of cooking that takes next to no effort, but yields delicious results, these machines are godsend – and more cost effective than always ordering takeaways
Why buy a slow cooker?
Slow cookers are a must for anyone who’s looking to make cooking easier. The appliances make cooking all kinds of dishes a doddle: you simply plug them in, prepare your ingredients, go about your day and leave it to do its job for at least four hours. By the time you come back, your meal will be ready and perfectly cooked, without you needing to stir, check or add ingredients in the meantime.
Convenience isn’t the only reason to go for a slow cooker. They’re energy-efficient and economical to run, they offer a healthier method of cooking and they also allow you to maximise and retain the nutrients and flavours in your ingredients.
What is out there?
So what kind of slow cooker should you opt for? Slow cookers range from those that cost under £15 for a basic option, to those costing hundreds of pounds for a gadget with multiple functions. Which one you should go for depends on your lifestyle.
Do you simply need a cooker in which you can chuck all your ingredients and come back to a perfectly cooked meal? If so, a cheap and cheerful option will probably suit you well.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit fancier with more advanced functions, you can invest in a cooker with smart features, such as those that allow you to steam, sear or sauté.
Consider the size
You should also consider what size to go for, as this can range hugely across slow cookers and you’ll need to find somewhere to store it. If you don’t have much storage space and you’re cooking for yourself only, a small, 1.5L slow cooker will probably be ideal, whereas if you’re cooking for a larger family, you might want to size up to one of 6L or more.
We tested a range of slow cookers across different budgets, cooking a range of meals in them to test out their various features. We took into account the appearance of the slow cookers, their functions and features, their value for money, their ease of use and how effectively they cooked and retained flavours. Whatever your budget and priorities, you’ll find a slow cooker to suit.