Slow and steady: The best slow cooker for your kitchen

Slow cookers can help even the most novice home cooks whip up delicious meals at the touch of a button. But which one is best for your kitchen?

In today’s fast-paced world, there’s something truly special about the art of slow cooking. The humble slow cooker is a favoured kitchen gadget that has stood the test of time.

One of the greatest benefits of slow cooking is its simplicity and ease of preparation. With just a few basic ingredients and minimal effort, you can create mouthwatering meals that rival those prepared by professional chefs. Simply combine your ingredients in the slow cooker, set the timer and let it work its magic while you go about your day.

2024’s best slow cookers on the market

  1. Russell Hobbs Searing Slow Cooker, $82, Amazon
  2. GreenPan Slow Cooker, $319, GreenPan
  3. Breville the Searing Slow Cooker, $249, Folders

The best slow cookers to buy now in New Zealand

1. Russell Hobbs Searing Slow Cooker

$81.54 (usually $81.54) at Amazon

Best for: Cooks who want delicious flavours without slaving over the stove

If I had one qualm with my old trusty – but ancient – slow cooker, it would be that to begin the cooking process, I had to first sear meat in my Biroix pan to lock in flavour, before transferring it all over to the pot. That’s no longer an issue with this 6L Russell Hobbs slow cooker. It has a removable, non-stick cooking pot that can be heated directly on top of the stove, allowing you to brown ingredients with ease. Then place it back in the slow cooker to do its thing – no oven mitts required, thanks to the cool-touch handles.

Key features:

  • Digital display
  • Dishwasher safe non-stick pot
  • 6L capacity


2. GreenPan Slow Cooker

$319 (usually $399) at GreenPan

Best for: Keen home cooks who like the best of the best in their kitchen

We’re a touch obsessed with this powder blue slow cooker that is so aesthetically pleasing, it shouldn’t be hidden away in a cupboard between uses. Keep it loud and proud on the bench: its heat-resistant base and silicone feet stop it from slipping.

It comes in a range of colourways but Blue Haze is our current favourite – and happily, it’s currently on sale. It’s another all-in-one number: give your meat extra flavour by searing it directly in the pot, before setting it to slow function to finish the job over a number of hours.

Key features:

  • Diamond-infused ceramic no-stick pot
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe pot
  • Chemical-free: no PFAS, lead, or cadmium in the non-stick coating
  • 6L capacity


3. Breville the Searing Slow Cooker

$399.99 (usually $419) at Folders

Best for: Those who want an all-in-one gadget to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner

If you’re looking for a multifunctional slow cooker, this Breville number is the one. Not only does it slow cook, its ‘steam’ function can be used to steam dumplings, fish, vegetables or desserts. The yoghurt setting means it can also make up to 3 litres of creamy natural or flavoured yoghurt.

The large stainless steel steaming tray can also be used to cook roasts, while pre-set browning settings seal in flavour and caramelise ingredients. That’s dinner, sides, and dessert sorted — your other kitchen appliances might feel left out.

Key features:

  • Dual-locking handles to ensure even temperatures
  • Aluminium non-stick bowl
  • Digital temperature control
  • 6L capacity


4. Crock-Pot Digital Slow Cooker

$82.59 (usually $104.49) at Amazon

Best for: Home cooks who love the classics

There is a reason the brand Crock-Pot has become synonymous with slow cookers – they’re one of the original brands and remain one of the best. This solid stainless steel Crock-Pot has a hinged lid to make stirring and serving easier. This slow cooker can be left on for up to 20 hours, so set it the day before if needed.

Key features:

  • Dishwasher-safe bowl and lid for easy cleanup
  • Digital timer
  • Oven-safe 4.7L ceramic bowl


5. Sunbeam SecretChef

$69 (usually $159.99) at Folders

Best for: University students after a cheap and cheerful kitchen gadget

Teen flying the nest? Gift them this kitchen and they’ll be the flat winner for months. Slow cookers are primo for poor uni students – cheap cuts of meat become fall-off-the-bone tender and they’re great for feeding a crowd.

This Sunbeam Secret Chef slow cooker is a fantastic entry-level option: it’s simple to use meaning even those without too many kitchen skills can whip up curries, stew, and other warming dishes. This one is currently on sale down to $69, so snap it up and send it to the flat STAT. (It won’t clean the bathrooms for them though, sorry).

Key features:

  • Warmer setting to prevent overcooking
  • Wrap-around element to ensure even heating
  • Dishwasher-safe pan and lid
  • 5.5L capacity


6. Kmart Large Slow Cooker

$57 at Kmart

Best for: Large families who don’t need any bells or whistles

Want a simple-to-use slow cooker that does exactly what it says on the tin? This Kmart number is exactly that. With multiple temperature settings and a removable ceramic pot for ease of use, it keeps the cooking process fuss-free.

With nearly 200 five-star reviews, it’s a fail-safe option that can be picked up at your local store.

Key features:

  • LED display
  • High, low, keep warm settings
  • Stainless steel housing
  • Ceramic pot
  • 6.5L capacity


How big does my slow cooker need to be?

Select a slow cooker that is appropriate for you and the quantity of food you typically cook. For smaller households or individual servings, a smaller slow cooker (around 3-4 litres) may be sufficient, while larger families or batch cooking may require a bigger version (6-8 litres).

How can I get the best out of my slow cooker?

Firstly, make sure to layer ingredients wisely. Place denser harder ingredients like root vegetables and meat at the bottom, with softer ingredients like leafy greens and delicate herbs on top. This ensures even cooking and prevents delicate ingredients from overcooking or becoming mushy. Also make sure to use the right amount of liquid. Slow cooking requires less liquid than traditional stovetop or oven cooking, as minimal evaporation occurs during the cooking process. As a general rule of thumb, aim to cover ingredients with just enough liquid to reach about halfway up the sides of the slow cooker. Add additional liquid if necessary, but be mindful not to overfill the slow cooker as this can lead to overcrowding or uneven cooing.

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