Finding time to cook at home can be difficult when balancing family and working life – so we’ve shared our pick of the best value slow cooker UK, to help you cook delicious meals without the hassle.
When we’ve returned home from a long day at work, rustling up a healthy, wholesome and filling dinner that the whole family are going to enjoy can feel like an impossible task.
Whether you’re too exhausted to even think about it, or have to contend with a family of fussy eaters, cooking at the end of a hectic day can sometimes have us desperate to reach for the laptop, to order a takeaway.
But that’s where the handy slow cooker comes in.
What is a slow cooker?
A slow cooker is big, oval sized pot that doesn’t need a hob or oven to cook food. Simply add in your food and plug the slow cooker into the wall, and it will cook your ingredients over a couple of hours, for a juicy, flavoursome and tender meal.
On most slow cookers, you can use a high, low or medium setting depending on how quickly you want to cook your food, or on what temperature you want to cook it.
How can a slow cooker help you save time?
There are few kitchen items that can make our lives easier than a slow cooker. In a slow cooker, you can make a range of dishes – from a spaghetti bolognese, chicken tacos, a curry, stew or a stroganoff. Yes, really!
For most slow cooker recipes, all you normally need to do is add a couple of ingredients inside in the morning, and allow it to cook for the best part of the day. Of course, you’ll need to prep your ingredients before adding them in.
Then, arrive home to a tender, tasty dinner all ready to go. What could be easier?
But if you’re thinking of purchasing a slow cooker, you’re probably aware that there are a huge number of them on the market. So which one is right for you?
When we’re looking to buy a new kitchen gadget, we obviously want to make sure it’s good value – in fact, that’s one of our most important criteria. If we’re spending a fair bit of money, we want the quality to be brilliant. But it’s also vital for it to be affordable, functional, and easy to use.
So in order to make the task of finding the perfect one a bit easier, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best value slow cooker UK, to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your menu prep…
These are the best value slow cookers in the UK
This slow cooker is at the more expensive end of the spectrum, but has rave reviews and - if you can afford to spare the money - seems well worth splashing the extra cash on. It's got cool touch handles on, and can fit up to 3.5 litres of food in it. One huge benefit of this slow cooker is that it can sear your food first, before cooking them through, giving it a brilliant flavour and the browned charred texture to meat that you may not get in other slow cookers.
This affordable option is a great choice if you're cooking for one or two people. The Crock-Pot is an internationally recognised brand, so you can count on quality too.
One of the most affordable slow cooker models out there, this Swan option is highly praised by customers. While it's a smaller model which best serves only one or two people, it's super low maintenance, being handily dishwasher safe for easy cleaning!
If you're looking for your slow cooker to make more than just the one dish, try the Lakeland 2-pot slow cooker. It certainly works hard for just £35, allowing you to cook two different things on two different heat settings. You can also use the pots as serving bowls too, transferring straight from cooking to the table top.
You can get this Tower slow cooker in three different sizes - 1.5 litres, 3.5 litres, or 6.5 litres, with the former ideal for one person. It's got handy non-slip feet for secure fitting on your worktop, and the removable pot is ideal for easy cleaning. It's an Amazon bestseller, too.
If you've got a bit more money to spend, this digital Crock-Pot is a great investment. As well as slow cooking, this machine also sautes, roasts, steams and bakes! But one major perk of this one is the digital screen, which allows you to see the exact temperature your food is cooking at, as well as the the time left to cook. You can set your own timer for the food too, so if you know you're going to be out for longer than you want the food to cook, it will turn off by itself. The 'warm' function on this Crock-Pot is automated to turn on after the actual cooking is finished, so your food won't go cold either.
If you're after value for money, you won't get much better than this Tefal Multi-Cooker. It certainly works hard - it can slow cook your food, but can also prepare your meals in seven other ways! Steam vegetables, cook rice, prepare porridge, or even make desserts in the machine. And best of all, it's under £50.
This slow cooker will look ultra-stylish in your kitchen, with a chic retro look that's completely timeless. It's also a great price - at just £24.99, you get a ceramic bowl that also works well for serving, and auto, low and high heat settings to cook your food on.
This Daewoo model has an indicator light, meaning you can easily see the status of your food cooking inside, and comes with a low and high cooking setting. It's got some great reviews online, with one customer on Amazon saying, "decided to purchase this big 6ltr one and I'm totally pleased with it, i can make 6 meals out of it easily. "
An affordable option, this does exactly what it says on the tin. Allowing you to slow cook your meals for between half an hour or 20 hours (!), it's ideal for almost any dish. After cooking is finished, it'll immediately go into 'keep warm' mode, so your food will be ready whenever you are.
The kids will love this one - give them the chance to write on the chalkboard surface and make meal times much more fun! It's also a handy feature for you, letting everyone know what's coming up at dinner time as they pass through the kitchen during the day. It's got the basic 'high', 'low' and 'warm' settings to adjust your food how you see fit.
This is another multi-purpose machine that does everything you'll ever need to do in the kitchen! You can slow cook food on both low and high settings, but you can also bake bread, poach fish, cook pasta, rice, or even roast foods. It's also got a handy timer, so you can set the slow cooker to come on later in the day, if you're leaving the house too early.