They are the current must-have kitchen appliance. It’s not surprising either, the benefits of using a slow cooker are plenty!
Throw your food into your slow cooker in the morning and head off to work. Walk in the door 8 hours later and you’ve got a delicious pot of rich, meaty, juicy food to feed the whole family.
Other than being a time-saver, slow cookers have a tonne of other benefits. If you’re one of these people that say “what do I need a slow cooker for, can’t I just use the oven on low..” keep reading.
1. Slow Cookers Can Save You Money
Without a doubt, the tougher cuts of meat cost less.
One of the main advantages of slow cooking is that you can use cheaper cuts of meat that you wouldn’t normally use if you were in a hurry.
When you cook meat on a low temperature for several hours, the collagen and connective tissues have a chance to soften, which tenderizes the meat. Slow cooking brings out the best in their flavour and it can transform cheap cuts of meat into delicious, juicy chunks of meat that fall apart in your mouth.
Another tip if you want to save a few quid on your meat shopping is to get it online. There are several online butchers that offer next day delivery at a fraction of the cost compared to meat on the high street. We did a MuscleFood review for one of our articles and we loved the quality, price and speed of delivery.
2. Slow-Cookers Are Energy-Savers
Compared to an electric oven, slow cookers use considerably less energy. Your standard oven uses around 4,000 watts of power each hour it runs. Slow cookers, on the other hand, use just 300 watts.
Yeah but if I have to cook my meat for hours on end, surely that can’t be cheaper? Wrong.
Let’s say you’ve got a hunk of beef brisket that would take 2 hours to roast in an oven but 6 hours in a slow cooker. Even with the longer cooking time, the slow cooker would use a total of 1,800 watts. The oven would use 8000 watts. Since electricity is priced by usage, using a slow cooker is much greener and cheaper!
3. The meals are super-easy to make
Everyone can master meals with slow cookers, since nearly all the ingredients the recipes require are added at the same time. You may have to stir them together once to coat them with the liquid and seasonings but that’s it. Place the lid on and leave it, the cooker’s cover seals in all the moisture and flavour.
Only a handful of recipes require some intermittent stirring. For 99% of slow cooker recipes it’s just fine to leave it untouched for hours at a time. In fact, most recipes specify that you not lift the cover before the cooking period is over.
[Related: Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Ragu Recipe]
4. There’s a bazillion slow cooker recipe books
Since these small appliances have been around since the mid 20th century, you won’t find a lack of cookbooks on Amazon, charity shops and library shelves. Their recent surge in popularity means you won’t ever run out of recipe ideas and there are specific slow-cooking recipe books that cater for all kinds of diets.
If you’ve got one of the larger slow cookers it makes meal-prep a complete breeze! Most recipes are for around 6-8 servings so you’ll have plenty of meals that will last you for several days.
Rather than phaffing around in the kitchen every night trying to do meal prep you could just do 3 or 4 slow cooker dishes and it would last you for the week.
5. They’re very safe to use
Are slow cookers safe to use? Yes! They are designed to be left unattended. Their maximum wattage is 300, which is similar to leaving three 100 watt light bulbs running.
Unless you’re using some old banger with a frayed cord or doing some hookie home electrical work, these cookers are safe to use while you’re away or as you sleep.
It’s almost impossible to burn your food too. Since the cookers are tightly covered, there’s little danger of food drying out excessively and burning, something that’s always a concern when oven or stovetop cooking.
6. The meals taste amazing
Since the food cooks at low heat over an extended period, flavours tend to stay true.
One pot dishes blend the flavours together in intriguing ways and the meat is always ridiculously tender.
7. Its easy to make meals healthier
Food that’s cooked low and slow tends to retain more vitamins and serving the dish with the gravy it was cooked in helps increase its nutritional content.
If you’re a fussy eater slow cookers can be great too! It’s very easy to throw a tonne of different vegetables into the slow cooker. Because the veg is cooked with the meat, they take on a delicious rich, meaty flavour.
If the thought of boiled carrots doesn’t float your boat, throw them into your favourite stew in the slow cooker and the flavours will transform.
There we have it. Slow cookers are very easy to use, they’ll save you money on both the cuts of meat you need to buy and on your electricity bill and they produce some delicious meals.
Thinking about getting one? This is the one we recommend: Morphy Richards Oval Slow Cooker, 6.5 Litre
It’s the larger size, with a 6.5L capacity so it means you knock-up more meals in one go. It’s very easy to clean, it’s got a low, medium and high powder setting and it’s less than £30 on Amazon.