Slow Cookers & Crock Pots | Programmable Oval Casserole Dishes

slow cookersA slow cooker is an electric kitchen appliance popular in most kitchen households. Most meals take hours to cook inside one of these appliances, but the convenience and ease of preparation is often well worth it.

The typical slow cooker recipe involves both a protein and a liquid (which helps keep the meat from drying out during cooking) placed in a ceramic or porcelain pot. A lid is placed on the pot in the cooker, and the heating begins. The temperature can be set to Low or High, so a good slow cooker recipe will specify which heat setting to use. Then, after 6-8 hours on average, the meal is ready to eat — tender, juicy, and extremely fragrant.

Slow cookers are extremely versatile, too. You can pick a recipe for just about anything and find a way to make it in a slow cooker: casseroles, eggs, soups, pot roasts, hot cereals, desserts, even a Thanksgiving turkey.

History of the slow cooker

Most would think of Rival as the inventor of the slow cooker, but it was actually the Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago who created the first Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker. In the early ’70s, Rival bought the company. They soon re-invented the Naxon slow cooker and called it a Crock-Pot, a household name popular in kitchens to this day.

Rival Crock-Pots

The term Crock Pot is similar to Kleenex or Jello; it is a patented name brand that has become synomomous with a certain kind of product. Rival manufactured their first Crock-Pot in 1971 and still makes them today in a variety of shapes, sizes, and digital features.

Two Rival slow cookers that we like are the Oval 5.5-quart Crock-Pot and the Rival Roaster Oven. The former Oval Crock-Pot is a sturdy appliance with programmable features that let you set the cooking time to your convenience. The latter Roaster Oven is a spacious 22-quart model best suited for large dinner parties and special occasions, since it’ll fit up to an 18-lb. turkey.

Rival is currently owned by Sunbeam Products, which also owns West Bend and Hamilton Beach. Both of these brands produce slow cookers with different features, like this West Bend Oblong model — the pot removes so that you can use the base as a griddle.

Tips To Remember When Using A Slow Cooker

Make sure that the lid remains in place during the entirety of the cooking cycle. Slow cookers do their job best when they remain at a constant temperature; removing the lid lets heat escape and compromises this process. Shop for a slow cooker with a clear glass lid so you can see what’s going on inside. And with some slow cooker recipes, you may need to coat the sides of the pot with a bit of non-stick spray to keep food from sticking on the edges. That way, you don’t have to lift the lid and stir the contents.

If nutritional content is important, try lightly sauteeing vegetables before adding them to the pot. The length of time that fruits and vegetables are exposed to the temperatures inside the slow cooker can break down their enzymes, losing nutrients in the process. Sauteeing is one way to pre-cook produce items to retain a bit more of their nutritional value.

Raw kidney beans and fava beans are foods that should never be cooked in a slow cooker. They contain toxins that are boiled off when cooked normally. But in a slow cooker, the temperatures aren’t high enough to effectively remove these toxins. Use pre-cooked beans, or boil raw beans for at least 1o minutes and then rinse before adding them to the recipe.

Read all of our slow cooker reviews below:


Breville Slow Cooker Review

Stove & Oven Insert Saute Pan, Stainless Steel Nonstick BSC560XL

Breville Slow Cooker Review | Stove & Oven Insert Saute Pan, Stainless Steel Nonstick BSC560XL

A lot of thought went into this Breville slow cooker, rated "Best" by Cooking Light Magazine. I can tell that the manufacturers wanted to incorporate extra elements in this product that would actually be improvements, not just extra bells and whistles.

One feature that stands out is the EasySear Insert with ...





Rival Roaster Countertop Oven 22 Qt.

Chrome Enamel Steel Pan | Large Slow Cooker

Rival Roaster Countertop Oven 22 Qt. | Chrome Enamel Steel Pan | Large Slow Cooker

The Rival 22 Quart Roaster Oven does more than roast full size turkeys -- this particular model can be used as a spare oven, capable of baking, roasting, or even slow cooking soups and stews. Maximum turkey size for this device is over 18 pounds, with room left ...





Hamilton Beach 3 In 1 Slow Cooker

White Nested Crock Pot Set 33134

Hamilton Beach 3 In 1 Slow Cooker | White Nested Crock Pot Set 33134

I truly didn't believe the crock pot could be improved upon. My mind has changed. This set comes with crocks in three sizes which fit into a single base. The glass lid fits all three sizes. Now I can cook and store in the choice that fits my ...





Rival Crock Pot Oval Slow Cooker

Programmable Red 5.5 Quart

Rival Crock Pot Oval Slow Cooker | Programmable Red 5.5 Quart

Don't we all wish at times that there was someone to do the cooking for us? With a Crock Pot product, you get as close as possible to
that wish without having to hire a personal chef. Add your ingredients, press the button, and do your housework, errands, or head to ...





Sanyo Micro Computerized Rice Pot

Slow Cooker 5 1/2 Cup ECJ-HC55S

Sanyo Micro Computerized Rice Pot | Slow Cooker 5 1/2 Cup ECJ-HC55S

On my first visit to a real Asian home kitchen years ago I was immediately disappointed to find that it ran on a Sanyo electric rice cooker and a propane fired wok. Then I ate the food and I was happy.

Carefree efficiency, easy cleaning, and dependability made the original ...





West Bend Versatility Deluxe Everyday Slow Cooker

Stainless 6 Quart 84846

West Bend Versatility Deluxe Everyday Slow Cooker | Stainless 6 Quart 84846

West Bend has an excellent reputation for creating durable cookers. This West Bend cooker comes with a lift out roasting rack, a glass cover, and three settings: low, medium, and high. The oval shape is better designed to hold meats for roasting. The stainless steel cooking pot can be used to heat ...





Reco International Classic Romertopf Clay Baker

Terra Cotta Slow Cooker 14 Pound

Reco International Classic Romertopf Clay Baker | Terra Cotta Slow Cooker 14 Pound

The clay pot Romertopf allows you to benefit from the wisdom of generations through an ancient method of cooking. Some of the more creative seasoning involves the use of beer, wine, spices or butter, but you can cook without adding any fat or liquid to your dishes if you choose. They will ...





West Bend Oblong Slow Cooker

Crock Pot 5 Quart 84905

West Bend Oblong Slow Cooker | Crock Pot 5 Quart 84905

Prepare small or large amounts of food in a variety of ways in the West Bend Slow Cooker. The vessel has a nonstick interior cooking surface. The cooking pot is safe for the oven, stove, and freezer, and comes with a glass lid. The base can also be used by ...





Sanyo Rice Cooker

Digital Crock Pot 10 Cup ECJ-HC100S

Sanyo Rice Cooker | Digital Crock Pot 10 Cup ECJ-HC100S

With rice being the number one food eaten worldwide, it's no surprise that there are many high tech devices for preparing the perfect pot of starchy goodness. Even if rice isn't a part of your daily meals, this machine really raises the bar for what a rice cooker can help you accomplish ...





Fagor 3 in 1 Electric Multi Pressure Cooker

Stainless Crock Pot Rice Automatic

Fagor 3 in 1 Electric Multi Pressure Cooker | Stainless Crock Pot Rice Automatic

If you have a small kitchen and want to maximize counter space, or upgrade from an old slow cooker to a slick new feature packed model, then this might be the appliance for you.

The Multi-Cooker from Fagor combines three very useful cooking functions in one rather modern looking unit. ...





Hamilton Beach Oval Slow Cooker

Stainless Steel 6 Quart 33162H

Hamilton Beach Oval Slow Cooker | Stainless Steel 6 Quart 33162H

Hamilton Beach really dominates the slow cooker market, due to their practical approach to addressing the needs of their customer base. The company slogan is Good Thinking and it tends to show in products such as this model.

Destined to be a workhorse in your kitchen, this slow cooker has a generous ...





Hamilton Beach Set ‘N Forget Slow Cooker

Digital Stainless Crock Pot 33967

Hamilton Beach Set ‘N Forget Slow Cooker | Digital Stainless Crock Pot 33967

This Hamilton Beach model is a six quart programmable cooker with a flat LED digital control panel. It allows you to set three cooking options (Program, Manual, Probe). The set comes with a thermometer probe for meat, a clip on spoon, and a clip tight lid with gasket seal. It ...





Westbend Slow Cooker

Electric Stainless Steel 6 Quart Pot 84866

Westbend Slow Cooker | Electric Stainless Steel 6 Quart Pot 84866

Aah, the venerable slow cooker. Much like a tea kettle, this appliance does not need the latest breakthroughs in technology to do its job well. A large pot and a steady controlled heat source are all you need to prepare awesome meals well ahead of time.

This model from West Bend has ...





All-Clad Slow Cooker

Best Crock Pot | 6-1/2 Quart Stainless Steel 99009

All-Clad Slow Cooker | Best Crock Pot | 6-1/2 Quart Stainless Steel 99009

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Slow Cooker is one of the prettiest kitchen appliances I have ever seen: stainless steel housing, black ceramic insert, glass lid, gently curved edges. The product also offers a nice twenty six total hours of cooking time and three temperature settings (high, low, keep warm). It uses ...





Harsch Gairtopf Miracle Fermenting Crock Pot

5 Liter Stone Model ME7409

Harsch Gairtopf Miracle Fermenting Crock Pot | 5 Liter Stone Model ME7409

Imported from Germany, this is old school technology. Composed of stoneware (ceramic, lead-free clay) with a lead-free glaze finish, the Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock makes pickled veggies, sauerkraut, and other fermented dishes. A special cast gutter in the rim and water sealing system are made to create a seamless airlock. ...





Cuisinart Slow Cooker

#PSC-400 4 Quart Programmable

Cuisinart Slow Cooker | #PSC-400 4 Quart Programmable

A very similar product to the Rival SCVI600B-SS Crock-Pot 6-Quart Premium VersaWare Slow Cooker, the Cuisinart version is a bit smaller in size, but surpasses in extras it offers. All crock pots allow the home chef to prepare one pot meals, desserts, and side dishes. The ...





Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker

#SCVI600B-SS 6-Quart Premium VersaWare

Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker | #SCVI600B-SS 6-Quart Premium VersaWare

Rival introduced the Crock-Pot name in the early seventies, but since then the term has come to refer to slow cookers in a generic fashion. Similar to the Cuisinart PSC-400 4 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, the Rival's most outstanding individual feature is the oval stone pot which ...





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