Take the Time to Choose the Right Size Crock Pot
Slow cookers, also known as crock pots, are one of those kitchen appliances that, once you have one and use it, you will never give up.
However, making the decision to buy one is MUCH easier than deciding WHICH one to buy.
The Correct Crock Pot Size is Important
While there are a number of factors to consider, including price, the primary factor needs to be the size of the crock pot.
Crock pots, at their simplest, consist of a pot and a heating element that the pot sits on or in. Ingredients are added to the pot, the lid is placed on it, and it cooks away for hours.
Slow cookers are designed to cook without being disturbed, and in fact, taking the lid off can cause a severe loss of heat. A crock pot can take as long as 20 minutes to get back up to the right cooking temperature after the lid has been lifted!
Because of the way they work, it is important that any recipe used be specifically for that size pot.
All of these factors lead to my main point, you can’t cook different amounts of food in the same crock pot. You are committed to cooking that specific amount of food. For example, if you have a large slow cooker – in the 6-7 quart range- you won’t be able to successfully create a small recipe in that model.
As a result, I consider it important that you choose the size cooker you need before considering price or features, or any other factors.
Choose the Right Size First
If you are purchasing your first slow cooker and plan to use it primarily, be sure to buy one to match your basic needs.
If you are a small family, but leftovers are a favorite, as is our situation, it actually may make sense to buy a larger crock pot. We have a large oval model that is 6-7 quarts.
If you just like to make hot dips for appetizers, you would probably do best with a smaller model, maybe 3-4 quarts. I recently saw a double model with two small pots, each with its own temperature control. This would be great for dips if you do a LOT of entertaining, or if you are a small household and you like variety but don’t care about leftovers.
I have seen a three in one three pot model with individual 2 qt, 4 qt, and 6 qt pots. This looks like a really good solution except that you can only create one dish at a time, since there is only one base. For most folks, this probably would not be an issue, for a rabid cook, it may make no sense at all.
I have a close friend whose chicks have moved out of the nest. While Deb cooks a lot, she and Charlie are usually the only ones eating dinner. Having said that, she is very active socially in her church and actually has TWO large crock pots (one of them was inherited from her mom) and she frequently uses them both. Sometimes she makes two batches of the same dish, other times she brings two different meals.
As you can see, it is important to accurately access your actual crock pot needs.
As I mentioned at the start, I think that choosing the right size is the most important factor. Once that decision is made, you’ll find yourself balancing features and pricing.
Unfortunately, if you have purchased the wrong size crock pot, the features and price are likely to be moot and your slow cooker may sit unused, gathering dust.