* Prices may differ from that shown
I love my Crockpot slowcooker. It's one appliance in my kitchen that I just could not be without.
I bought this one new when I moved about a year ago, to replace a previous Crockpot that I had which was smaller but still brilliant.
I chose to go with Crockpot because it was a brand that I had used before and also that my mum had been using when I lived at home. As a brand/make when it comes to slowcookers, I think that Crockpot is one of the best.
I would recommend this product to any one, for various reasons!
It is easy to use - you can turn it on early in the morning and throw in your ingredients, and when you come home from work your meal will be cooked perfectly. It big enough to fit 3/ 4 portions which is great for my partner and I as we can freeze what we don't use.
Slowcookers don't use as much power as ovens or the hob, so it's efficient.
Easy to clean - you can easily remove the pot and clean with warm water which does the job, or you can put the item in the dishwasher. I find that nothing burns in the slowcooker so you don't have to worry about scrubbing it!
Slowcookers are perfect for making delicious meals using any types of meat - one thing about slowcooking is that you can get away with cheaper cuts of meat. As the meat becomes so tender and infused with your ingredients there is no taste issue with your choice of meat (I cook beef, lamb, pork and chicken in mine regularly).
I really like this product and it is a good price and looks smart in any kitchen!
Choosing & Buying My Crockpot 37401BC
I've mentioned in one or two other reviews that we installed solar last October, and how we've been trying to make sure we have electric appliances to cook with when we're making lots of electricity, and then go back to the gas when we're not making much from it. Well I've been talking for a while about getting a proper sized slow cooker because the one we had is really tiny and would barely do meat for 2 of us and you certainly couldn't fit vegetables in there too, but it gave me the experience of using one a bit before I got a proper big one.
I'd looked over various models but made no decisions, and then a few weeks ago, I was in John Lewis with mum and spotted this and decided to go for it. I have to say I paid a little more for it at £29 than I would have if I'd bought it online, but I did get it on the spot and was able to take it home and use it straight away, so sod it!
This is a 3.5 litre capacity slow cooker making it suitable for cooking reasonable sized casserole type dishes, but also a good size for cooking a whole joint or small bird.
There are just three 'on' settings - Low, High, and Keep Warm. In terms of using it, putting it on the High setting for 1 hour is about the same as using it on Low for 2 hours. Keep warm is just that - not a cooking setting, but one to use when your food is cooked, but you're not ready to eat it just yet.
At maximum power, it uses just 210watts which for me is great because the lower power the appliance, the more items I can run at the same time without going away from using our own solar made electricity and onto bought electricity.
It should be noted here that there is no Power Light, and no Timer on this appliance. I use the timer on my oven if I feel the need for one, and haven't had any problems with the lack of either of these, but I know for some people this would be an instant no.
Looks & Style
I personally think this is a fairly stylish looking item. Mine is a sleek brushed silver colour base with a black pot sat inside it and a clear glass lid with black handle. It does also come in both black with black pot and white with white pot. If I'm honest, if I'd realised it could be bought in white before I got it, I might have opted for the white one so that it matched other appliances I have in the kitchen like the breadmaker for example, but that's more an aesthetic thing than anything else. It's pretty sturdy looking but at the same time I was very surprised by how lightweight it is. The metal base part is incredibly light, and the crock pot part fairly light compared to similar oven-able dishes.
One thing I do really like about this is that when you're done cooking, you can easily lift the inner crock pot out and transfer it over to the table as its own serving dish. It looks pretty good when used this way, and certainly doesn't look out of place on the table.
Cooking By Crock Pot
One of the first things I've had to learn is that when you cook with a slow cooker, you need a lot less liquid than you might think! It sounds really strange, but on most occasions, I've ended up with far more liquid than I would making the same dish in the oven. I guess this is to do with the temperature it's being cooked at meaning that liquid doesn't evaporate off, although I'd always sort of assumed that I didn't lose much cooking in a sealed casserole dish in the oven, I now know differently!
Another really important factor is that with a crock pot, you don't remove the lid to stir things as you might with a casserole. For this reason, it's good to have a glass lid as it means you can see what's going on, but don't need to remove the lid which of course you don't want to do.
Cheaper cuts of meat - cheek, shin etc. are all brilliant for cooking in this. In the oven they do ok if you cook them slowly over a few hours, but in this they do way better, becoming tender and juicy and keeping a lot more of their flavour. I find I can cook a really delicious stew now using the absolute cheapest cuts making this a very economical way of cooking in terms of ingredients as well as power usage.
I've not yet tried cooking a whole chicken in it, but I plan on doing this next week. One thing you do have to remember with anything like this, is that you need to brown off the meat first or it won't have any colour and won't look very appetising. I've done this with duck legs and other smaller pieces of meat in the frying pan and it works very well, not sure how well the same technique would work with a whole bird - it might be a little awkward to do, but I'm aiming to give it a try and see soon!
This is one of the simplest dishes to clean I've owned. The crock pot itself - the bit the food actually sits in - looks just like a regular casserole dish (although for some reason it's not oven suitable), when the meal has been eaten, you can wash it in your bowl with soapy water or in the microwave just as you would any other dish. I've not found anything burning on to it either - this could be to do with the temperature the food is cooked at, and the fact that no liquid is lost in the cooking, so there is no residue forming on the sides of the dish.
A Few Things I've Noticed While Cooking
If you're cooking meat and vegetables together, having the veg at the bottom IN the liquid and the meat sat on top of the veg at least partly out of the liquid does seem to work best - again quite different to a casserole dish where mixing them together is the norm. Veg also takes longer in this than I expected it to somehow, so making sure all the veg is covered with liquid does seem to be quite important.
The less liquid thing means you need to think about it when you adapt regular oven cook recipes for use in this. In the booklet that came with this it advised that generally you only want about half the amount compared to oven cooking, and this has held true in my experience.
A Few Other Thoughts & Comments
One thing I've decided I must get is a worktop saver to stand this on. Something heat proof. It's not that the surface gets very hot, it doesn't, however it does stay reasonably hot for quite a long time during the cooking process, and I don't want bubbling in my work surface to occur over time, so I think this may be a wise move. It may just me being over cautious, but I do worry that using it a lot over several years may cause damage. At the moment I've been standing it up on my cooling rack but that doesn't seem to stop the heat transfer much so I'm thinking a heat mat like the sort used for hair straightners may be the way to go.
I have to admit that I thought cooking in this would be simple - and it CAN be... however, I think perhaps I was a little naive in thinking of it as an electric casserole dish because it's in fact quite different because of the lowness of the temperature that the food is cooked at, and in fact a lot of slow cooker recipes require preparation that involves browning, semi-cooking or frying off various items before you place them in the crock pot. This is ok, but being used to a cast iron casserole dish which can be used on the hob to brown meat and soften onions etc. before being moved to the oven, it does take a little getting used to.
I've not yet had any experience of screw ups where not having a power light or a timer has been a problem, but I can see that it might be easy if you were in a hurry to forget to turn the power off and then not realise it because there's no warning light.
One huge advantage to cooking with this is I can stick frozen meat straight into the slow cooker as long as the liquid that I include is warmed first - I believe it talks in the booklet that comes with this of the liquid acting as a cushion to prevent sudden changes in temperature which sort of makes sense. It does take a few hours longer (a couple on high power, double that on low), to cook from frozen, but it's an extremely useful thing if you're forgetful like I am!
Overall, I highly recommend this product as long as you're not prone to forgetting to turn things off! If you are, then it might be better to go for one that has a power light and/or timer on it. It cooks food well, is very very easy to use, and is large enough to cook for four adults easily, and possibly more if you were cooking potatoes or rice etc. separately.
I've owned my crock pot for nearly four years now. I originally wanted a slow cooker after reading that they are a great money saving tool as you can use cheaper cuts of meat, which come out nice and tender. I also thought it would be ideal for winter time when I like to make a lot of stews and casserole type meals. I also thought it would be handy since I could make a meal in the morning and leave it in the slow cooker until evening, when I'm generally quite busy.
I read lots of reviews and asked friends and family for recommendations before settling on a Crock Pot. The model I have is the 37401BC which has a 3.5 litre capacity. This size is recommended for a household of two to three people although I'd say if you have young children who only eat small portions, then it's more than big enough to feed four, maybe even more.
The slow cooker is quite large, which is something you should be aware of if you have limited bench space. I used to keep mine out on the bench until my kitchen was re-designed and they took over half of my benches out (don't ask, it's a sore point!). I have now had to take a shelf out of a cupboard to accommodate it.
The actual slow cooker itself is very simple in design and doesn't really have a lot of features. The outside of the cooker which has the plug attached is a brushed silver colour with a black dial on the front and a black plastic handle on each side. This dial has four settings: off, low, high and keep warm. The actual pot itself is black and sits inside of the silver metal base. It has a lip on each side which makes it easy to lift the pot out when it needs to be washed. The lid is glass, with a black handle on it. It has always bothered me that the handle is not straight on the lid - it is at a sort of diagonal angle - I'm not sure if it's just mine or if that's how it's meant to be, but I really wish it was straight, as it really bugs me!
Using the slow cooker is easy. You simply put the food in, making sure there is enough liquid so that it will not dry out and then switch the cooker on. There is no power indicator on the unit, which annoys me as it takes a while to warm up and I often think I'd prefer if I knew for sure it was switched on. I was a little bit worried about leaving the unit switched on for many hours at a time, but I've had no problems with it overheating or anything like that.
A few recipes are included in the leaflet that comes with the slow cooker, but I bought a slow cooking recipe book at the same time I purchased this. I was really naïve when I bought this - my understanding was that I would throw a load of raw meat and veg into the cooker, pour a bit of gravy over, switch it on and hey presto six hours later I'd have a meal! Of course it does take a bit more preparation than that and in most cases you will have to brown the meat before you put it into the cooker and I would certainly recommend buying a recipe book rather than just trying to wing it! I find meat comes out especially well in the cooker - chicken and beef in particular work well in a slow cooker as they retain the moisture and don't dry out. This is perfect for making soups, stews and casseroles. You can even make puddings in the slow cooker, although I'd admit I've never been brave enough to try.
In my experience, if I follow a recipe and cook it on the setting given, this slow cooker cooks it well in the time given. The keep warm function is really handy as it means if I have made too much, I can then keep the food warm until I want a second helping. I've only ever had a problem once, which was my own fault. I left the cooker on the keep warm setting overnight by accident as I thought I'd turned it off. Thankfully it didn't cause fire, but I was left with lots of burnt on black stuff and a flat that stunk of burnt meat! Again I think a power light would be beneficial here to prevent accidents.
Cleaning the slow cooker is easy. Simply remove the pot and then wash with warm water and a dash of washing up liquid. I find that even when things are burnt on it washes off easily, but as the pot is black it is sometimes a little difficult to see where you are cleaning. The inner pot is also suitable for the dishwasher, but since I don't have one I can't comment any further on this.
I paid £29 for this slow cooker four years ago and having checked it is now £27.95 from Amazon.
Overall, I would recommend this. It's a very simple piece of equipment, but it works well and I've had no problems with it. The only thing I think they could improve is to add a power light.
We have had our Rival Crockpot now for about one year and we do use it very regularly. It is a 3.5 litre capacity and just about right for the three of us , me, my other half and the little lad. It is oval in shape in stainless steel with a black insert pot inside which is removable. We love the fact that it has a clear glass lid and also the fact that it actually has a handle to remove the lid to check what is going on inside - and not a knob, like we have had on some previous slow cookers.
This cost us £24.95 and we have had it quite a while now as I say, and it has proved to be sturdy and hardwearing. We wash it in the dishwasher as it is dishwasher safe and usually it is very easy to clean, depending, of course on what it is you have been cooking in it.
It has no power light indicator though, and this is probably the only downside of the Rival Crockpot as it means you do not know if the power is actually on or off! It has three heat settings, low, high or keep warm and it cooks food well (and quite quickly we think) every time we have used it.
We mainly use it to cook casseroles and joints of meat with vegetables sometimes, such as chicken or lamb stew. It makes perfectly cooked meals ready from when we both get in from work and when the little lad is back from school, so it is very good at saving time as we prepare the food the night before.
It is non stick and we can vouch that food will not stick to it at all. We like the fact that it has a clear lid so that you can actually see the contents of the pot and how it is cooking without having to actually take off the lid. There is a bit of condensation however, so this can steam up the lid a bit at times and make seeing inside the pot a bit problematic. However, this is not really a complaint, just an observation.
All in all, a great slow cooking pot and one we can all really highly recommend.
Brushed chrome slow cooker with black ceramic interior pot and black plastic handles. Will complement the decor in the majority of kitchens.
Retails for circa £25 - £35. A lot cheaper than comparable cookers.
Can cook enough to feed up to six people.
Interior ceramic pot can be removed for easy washing. Both the pot and the lid are dishwasher safe.
There are 3 cooking settings: low, high and keep warm. The low setting cooks food in approximately 6 hours, the high setting cooks food in approximately 3. The keep warm setting maintains the temperature of food once it has been cooked.
If you go over the timings the food can break up so use the keep warm setting after 6 / 3 hours.
Takes a lot of hassle out of kitchen; items to be cooked can be thrown in together and are then ready when you come to serve after the designated time.
I have cooked everything from small chicken breast pieces to joints of lamb and beef. The low setting which takes 6 hours gives the tenderest meat.
Slow cooking gives nicer, tenderer meat than conventional roasting.
Winter is here ! and a great time for good old fashioned meals.
Nothing old fashioned about this Stainless Steel rival Crok Pot though !.
What could be nicer than walking through your front door to the delightful aroma of a ready meal waiting for you.
The beauty of this product is its simplicity, 4 settings.
On-Off/High/Low and Keep Warm for that extra second helping.
The Stoneware dishwasher safe interior lining is easy clean as is the dishwasher safe glass lid.
The Stoneware Crok and Glass Lid may also be used in a microwave.
My Wife and I bung in chopped veg, gravy, and inexpensive cuts of meat for a very tasty casarole cooked slowly but very gently in next to no time.
I'm sure that for those of you out there with bigger imaginations and lots of ideas would be able to make many uses of this nice addition to any kitchen.
I originally got this crock pot as a time saving device when both me and my husband were working full time. We didn't have time to cook a proper meal in the evening and so bought this on a recommendation from a website for busy women. I used to chop all the vegetables and meat in the morning before work, put it all in the slow cooker and set it off. When I got home from work, it would be smelling lovely and ready to eat. I liked the fact that it was all done in just the one pot and also that it was so easy to make a delicious, nutritious meal.
This crock pot has two heating settings, low and high. If for any reason I wasn't able to get the meal ready in the morning before work, I would pop home at lunchtime and get the food ready then, put the setting onto high and it would still be ready when I got home from work.
I still use the crock pot now even though I do not work anymore. It is very versatile and is large enough to fit a medium size whole chicken in to roast. Once roasted the meat just falls off the bones and so it means that every bit of meat is used and there is no waste.
This is a family size pot, which can be removed and washed easily. You can even use the pot and lid in the normal oven if you want to.
I can make a stew in the pot which will serve our family of 2 adults and 2 kids and still have a couple of portions left to freeze and eat another time.
There is also a warm setting which means that if different members of the family are eating at different times, you don't have to cook different meals at different times. Just time for the first sitting of family, then switch to warm to keep the meal heated for other members of the family later on.
This was given to me as a housewarming present and I honestly couldn't live without it. I've always been a fan of slowcookers, because my Mum had one when we were kids and I used to see how she's throw some ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and then we'd effortlessly have a nice meal in the evening.
I can't fault this particular slow cooker - it is easy to use, you can fit a good amount of food in there and it's easy to wash. I don't know how much it cost (with it being a present) but I'd recommend it to anybody, you will soon make your money back from it. The product is perfect for the demands of modern life.
This slow cooker comes with a book of recipes and you can cook your food on a low heat, a high heat, or a temperature to just keep it warm. I particularly like the later function, it means that when you get back from work you can do your jobs and come back to a warm mean that is fully prepared.
You can only really use this item if you are cooking a big group of people, or you plan to freeze portions of food. It isn't really something you would use to prepare a meal for one / two people.
The thing I love most about this product is that it's cheap to run (it uses about the same amount of power as a light bulb) and it also makes cheap cuts of meat taste good. As well as that, this product will save you buckets of time. Buy it, you won't be disappointed!
My wife and I went to target last month and got this slow cooker, the one which we have dream for near two months. It cost us about $20 because it was on sale.
After bought it, the slow cooker became the most useful cooking tools in our family. Both of us have to work all day and don't have time to cook, but we'd like to go back home and have dinner together. So, before the time of slow cook, it is quite harsh for us to prepare veg and meal, and cook them and eat, that just make a simple dinner exhausted. Now, I can chop the veg last night and put them into the slow cook. The next morning, I will put some meat in it then turn it on the small fire. Then, after we went back home at noon, dinner is right here waiting for us! That is so fantastic, just like we hired a clever maid without money.
What is more, I think the dish made by slow cooker is more nutrients, because it will not break down them like fry.
I was given our crock-pot slow cooker as a wedding present, though I believe that it will have cost about £30-£40 (sorry I can't be more precise but I didn't buy it!)
It is definitely one of the most useful wedding gifts we were given and has been well used in the 3 months that we have been married. I love being able to make a tasty stew so easily. The night before we want to eat I'll chop the veg then I'll leave them in the bowl (switched off) overnight so in the morning all I have to do is add the meat and turn it on, then there's a lovely dinner waiting when my husband gets home from work and I haven't had to touch it all day! I know that this is a benefit of all slow cookers though.
The crock pot is so easy to use, you turn it on to cook by simply turning a clearly labelled dial on the front to the setting you want (1 for normal cooking, 2 for faster cooking, keep warm for when it's finished cooking and you want it to stay warm). I've been very happy to serve straight from the ceramic bowl, just lift it out of the metal holder and put the black ceramic straight onto a trivet on the table. It looks great and the family/guests can all take as much or as little as they want.
Cleaning up is really very easy, the metal shouldn't get dirty but if it does then you can just wipe it with a damp cloth. The ceramic bowl and it's glass lid are both dishwasher safe. I've not generally cleaned them in our dishwasher though because they are large, and they are easy to clean in the sink. Although not advertised as non-stick I've not found much sticking to the ceramic bowl, it wipes up easily in soapy water, using a plastic scourer for any slightly stubborn bits.
Our crock-pot came with a useful set of plastic utensils, so look out for special packs with extras in. Any plastic utensils could be used though I think I would avoid using metal utensils because I'd be afraid of damaging the glaze on the ceramic. This may just be me though and it could be fine.
The crock pot has a feel of being very sturdy and well made, I very much trust it and will be completely shocked if it breaks in the next few years.
If I had to pick a complaint with my crock pot I'd have to say it's too bulky to store. I do have the 6.5L version and I have to keep it in the dresser in the lounge as I don't have enough space in the kitchen. Saying that though it's not a problem with this design as I don't think a folding one would work! Without the option for a folding bowl then a 6.5L bowl is going to take up at least 6.5L of storage space!