Which slow cooker should I get?
January 8, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Are there any set and forget slow cookers 4 quarts and under?

Ordered a 6 quart slow cooker. Since I'm a one man show, that's probably an overkill.

But I can't seem to find any programmable crockpots 4 quarts or smaller. Does one exist? Or should I just cook smaller portions in my 6 quart pot (but water level might be problematic?)?

I want something that I can just leave on without worry.
posted by pakoothefakoo to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most recipes are for 6qt-ish sized slow cookers. I would just use the 6qt - it's not that big.
posted by radioamy at 9:37 AM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have always used an outlet timer to be the "set it and forget it" part of my (usually minimally-functioned) slow cookers, if that's something that works in your situation -- just feed it power when you want it to come on, and cut off the power when you want it to turn off.
posted by brainmouse at 9:37 AM on January 8, 2014

I can highly recommend the programmable Cuisinart PSC-400.
posted by Bardolph at 9:41 AM on January 8, 2014

You can always freeze what is leftover.
posted by Riverine at 10:05 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I looked at a bunch of slow cookers this summer though I got the newer version of the one you got (33969) since the reviews of the older one seemed to indicated electrical failings that were fixed in the new version.

Anyway, like radioamy suggests practically every recipe is for 6 qt. cookers. You just divide up and freeze the leftover servings. In reality though I cook a large batch of curry or whatever to make several meals worth. The larger ones also let you "roast" something like a whole chicken. They're also big enough to "bake" in (e.g.)

I'd keep the one you have. (Or, perhaps upgrade to the newer model if you haven't yet used the one you have.)
posted by sevenless at 10:07 AM on January 8, 2014

Sure. Try this Cuisinart.
posted by bearwife at 10:29 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had many many issues with programmable crockpots, from insane computers through delicate electronics (power flickers even on a strip, dinner is ruined as the machine doens't power back up) and uneven heating causing scorches and cold spots.

I'd suggest this crock instead. This exact Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks, Stainless Steel isn't sold through Amazon at this time, but I picked mine up at a local store and have been happy with it for nearly a decade.
posted by tilde at 11:33 AM on January 8, 2014

Don't get the Breville Slow/Fast cooker. The Sweethome has an overview of slow cookers and recommends the Hamilton Beach Set and Forget. Sweethome reviews aren't always right, but at least they try and explain their reasoning and can be informative.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:48 AM on January 8, 2014

I have always bought the el-cheap-o Crock Pot slow cooker. The $20 one. I turn it on in the morning and off when I'm ready to eat the contents later that evening. Works every time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:13 PM on January 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are you sure you want a smaller one? Crockpots work best when they aren't full to the top - I think about halfway to 2/3 full is where the recipes I've made end up. So a 4 quart crock is only giving you about 2 quarts of food, which isn't more than about two meals worth. A smaller crockpot will also be less energy efficient because of the higher surface area:volume ratio.
posted by momus_window at 1:33 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You could also look into a wonderbag when they become available. I've done some haybox-style cooking and this looks good.
posted by tilde at 1:42 PM on January 8, 2014

> I have always bought the el-cheap-o Crock Pot slow cooker

Yup, same here, this one. The crock can go in the dishwasher. It works just fine. I'm on my second one -- there was a problem with the lid on my first, but they've changed the design -- and I'd probably get the same one again if I needed a third. I'm usually cooking for two people when I use it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:42 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can highly recommend the programmable Cuisinart PSC-400.

Me too. It's a great slow cooker. Never worried too much about adapting six quart recipes, but then I never follow slow-cooker recipes to the letter anyway.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:04 PM on January 8, 2014

Response by poster: Amazingly informative replies. Thanks!
posted by pakoothefakoo at 9:17 AM on January 9, 2014

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