What size Crockpot do I need?? Is it just me, or is this sometimes a question that comes up a lot when talking to new or experienced crockpot users?? And what accessories are best to use with my slow cooker.
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Sure, cooking is therapeutic, but not when you have fussy kids in tow – that’s when you seek quick and easy solutions. Exactly what crockpots do, these godsend cookers are ideal for busy moms and dads who want to put together healthy meals without spending hours in the kitchen. You put meat, veggies, and spices in the Crockpot, punch in the cooking time and return to a piping hot, healthy meal.
But, to enjoy all these benefits, you need the perfect Crockpot first. Since slow cookers come in different sizes, first-time buyers will likely pick out the wrong size. Now, this is why I felt like explaining everything you need to know about crockpot sizes and their accessories. You’re in the right place if you don’t want to waste your money and effort on a useless crockpot.
Thanks to my long-standing experience with slow cookers, I have a good chunk of information that can help you. So, before splurging on a crockpot or its accessories, read this easy guide to be on the safe side!
Why Should you Choose a Crockpot Size Carefully?
If you’re a newbie with crockpots (or cookware in general), you might not know why these quart sizes matter because most of these pots look similar. But the truth is, selecting a crockpot that suits your family’s cooking needs and cleaning schedule is half the battle. So, here is why searching for the right pot is essential:
Cooking Capacity– You don’t want to wind up with endless slow-cooked leftovers, nor do you want that delicious stew to finish in one go. Therefore, estimating your cooking preferences is smart. The number of your family members will determine how big or small a crockpot you need.
Room for Boiling and Food Rising– Food boilovers can mess things up quickly. If you don’t want to see the slow-cooked soup boiling out of the Crockpot, make sure the pot is not too small. It’s good to get a 1-quart bigger size than your average cooking needs to prevent these situations.
Protecting the Food Texture- No one wants mushy meat and soggy vegetables for dinner. But if you stuff the Crockpot with uncooked food to ensure everyone gets a plateful of serving, you might not like how the food turns out. There must be some breathing space for your food.
Cleaning Effort – Imagine rubbing and scrubbing an 8-quart crockpot when you only cooked 2-3 food servings. That doesn’t sound fun, right? That’s why you need an easy-to-manage but practical slow cooker that doesn’t increase your workload.
What Size Crockpot To Buy:
Now that we know why choosing a practical crockpot is important, here’s a quick sizing chart to ease your decision:
Number of People
6 & more people
7 & more servings
What Are 1-2 Quarts Crockpot Meant For
This is the smallest crockpot size you’ll come across during your research. If you live alone or have different dietary needs than other family members, a 1–2-quart slow cooker will make your mealtimes easier. You can cook 1-2 delicious food servings in one go and quickly clean your Crockpot in the clean-up phase. Or this is a good size to keep warm dips warm at potlucks.
Uncanny Brands Star Wars 2-Quart Slow Cooker- Kitchen AppliancePioneer Woman Small 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker 2 Pack Set Sweet Romance Floral and GinghamCrock Pot Slow Cooker Dip Master 1-1/2 Qt. Glass Lid, Stoneware White
What Are 3-4.5 Quarts Crockpot Meant For?
3–4.5-quart slow cookers are for smaller families who prefer home-cooked, healthy meals. When you don’t get time to cook for the kids or yourself, set up your medium-size Crockpot, get busy with other chores, and come back to a fresh meal after the designated time. Busy parents love medium crockpots for their sufficient cooking capacity and easy cleaning, which suit their routines more than other pots.
Crock-Pot 4-Quart Smart-Pot Programmable Slow Cooker, SilverCrock-Pot, Red SCV401-TR 4-Quart Manual Slow CookerHamilton Beach 3-Quart Slow CookerCrock-Pot 3.5 Quart Casserole Manual Slow Cooker, Charcoal
What Are 5-6 Quarts Crockpot Meant For?
If skipping healthy meals is not an option in your home (that’s how it should be), make space for a big crockpot in your kitchen arsenal. Whether you cook on weekends or alternate days, a 5-6-quart crockpot will ensure you never struggle. You can easily accommodate uncooked food in such a hefty slow cooker and enjoy tasty meals without compromising food texture or aroma.
Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Set & Forget Digital Programmable Slow Cooker with Lid Lock, Temperature ProbeHamilton Beach Portable 5-Quart Slow Cooker With Lid Latch Strap for Easy Transport, Dishwasher-Safe CrockCrock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel
7 and Above Quarts Crockpot Good For?
Let’s talk big now!
If you’re responsible for feeding five or more people daily or often host dinners/lunches at your place, investing in a big crockpot is in your best interest. A 7-quart or bigger slow cooker brings along plenty of cooking space and built-in features to ease your tasks. My 8-quart Crockpot is my personal favorite, and the leftovers are amazing. But since these big crockpots are pretty expensive, you should choose a credible brand and list your cooking needs before getting one. If you hardly have guests over or prefer other cooking mediums instead of a crockpot, a 10-quart pot will be a waste of money.
What is the Best and Most Common Size of Crockpots?
If your cooking needs keep changing and you want to fully enjoy the comfort a crockpot brings along, find a middle way. A crockpot 1-quart bigger than your everyday cooking requirements is a safe bet because it gives you room to experiment and prepare bigger food batches. A 4-6-quart crockpot is ideal for most families because it falls in the medium category. You won’t have to deal with frequent boilovers or mushy food if you follow this Crockpot’s food capacity.
Besides being the most popular, a 4-6 quart is equally suitable for most cooking types. You can make vegetable lasagnas, meat stews, soups, desserts, and casseroles in this Crockpot. If you lead a busy life, this slow cooker will ease your meal prep day and give you enough food in one go-to store for later. Opting for a 2-4-quart crockpot is not a very viable decision in my opinion, because your cooking needs and preferences keep changing. So, instead of letting your food get soggy in a small crockpot, get a moderately-sized appliance to enjoy its usability for years.
Is a 10-Quart Crockpot Too Big for You?
I have a 10-quart crockpot, and I love it for feast dinners and lunches. When I have to cook a whole chicken, turkey, or meat stew for the fam, I put the raw ingredients in my 10-quart slow cooker, set a relaxed timing from its digital display, and relax. Within 4-6 hours, my food is ready, and there’s very little chance of its texture or aroma getting bad.
So, if you often host big dinners or do biweekly meal preps, a 10-quart crockpot is really not that big a deal. Yes, you cannot use such a hefty cooker for everyday cooking, but it’s a lifesaver for feast meals. If you already have an everyday-use slow cooker and want to ease family meals that take hours on a stretch, investing in a big crockpot is totally worth it.
Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker, Extra Large 10 Quart, Stay or Go Portable With Lid Lock, Dishwasher Safe Crock, BlackHamilton Beach Slow Cooker, Extra Large 10 Quart, Black (33195) & Portable 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Best Accessories For A Crockpot?
Now, we know why picking a suitable slow cooker is important and which sizes should you look into. But is getting the Crockpot your only task towards hassle-free cooking? Certainly not! You also need some add-ons to use with the Crockpot that makes cooking tasks easier, keep you safe, and help you store surplus food. Some of these add-ons are optional, while others are often mandatory; you’re free to choose according to your budget and cooking preferences.
If you’re starting out with slow cooking, here are some accessories I’d recommend investing in (oh, by the way, I use these and don’t plan on ditching them anytime soon):
Imagine not having to scrub a big cooking pot even when you cook something like meat stew or casserole. Sounds hard to believe, no? Well, enjoying this comfort is totally possible if you have crockpot liners to the rescue. When you line the slow cooker’s ceramic pot with a disposable liner, you don’t have to deal with grimy food particulate or burnt mess later. Instead, you take out the BPA-free nylon crockpot liner, dispose of it, and that’s it. You’ll only have to wipe the crockpot one time, and you’ll be good.
So, the next time you cook something sticky, line your Crockpot for an easy and quick clean-up. But if you mostly cook vegetables in the Crockpot and there’s no insane amount of grease you have to deal with, you don’t need these liners. Just don’t overstuff your Crockpot and choose the correct temperature level to prevent food burning incidents.
If you love tender meat, your Crockpot is the ideal cooking appliance to savor that divine taste. But when you put bigger chunks of meat in the Crockpot, you need a tool for shredding it for even cooking. Once you notice that the meat is soft enough, use ultra-sharp handheld shredding claws to divide it into edible pieces. I use shredding claws when I cook ribs or stew to ensure the gravy has that perfectly dense flavor instead of feeling watery. You might think that you can cut the meat before adding it to the Crockpot, but that way, you’ll notice a difference in the gravy’s flavor and texture. So, put the big meat piece in your slow cooker, and shred it later.
Although all good-quality crockpots have pre-built digital displays where you punch in the temperature and timing, a spare thermometer will still come in handy. Since slow cooking takes hours on a stretch, you must check the uncooked and cooked meat’s temperature to know if it has reached the safe limit. A meat thermometer is useful is you often cook one-pot meals and cannot compromise on food texture. If you prepare half-done crockpot meals and keep them in the fridge, this thermometer will help you stop cooking just at the right time because chewy or mushy meat is no good.
Microwave and Refrigerator-Safe Containers
Slow-cooking is an art, and you need some tools to make the most out of it. If you cannot spare time to prepare crockpot meals every day, you’ll have to cook in bulk and store the surplus food. If your family loves slow-cooked meat dishes, you should cook in bulk instead of redoing the whole effort every other day. And once you get the hang of your slow cooker, you’ll need some microwave and refrigerator-safe food containers to accommodate the surplus food.
Whether you half-cook some dishes and store them for later or have fully-cooked leftovers that need to be sorted, get BPA-free plastic containers, and you’re good. This way, you can keep slow-cooked food in the fridge for several weeks and reheat it without having to change the container. I have a whole range of safe and easy-to-wash storage boxes; you should too.
Rubbermaid Easy Find Vented Lids Food Storage Containers, Set of 30 (60 Pieces Total),Snapware | Meal Prep and Food Storage Container Set | 10 Piece Square Container Set with LidsEZ Prepa [20 Pack] 32oz 3 Compartment Meal Prep Containers with Lids – Bento Box
Rubber Pot Holders or Mittens
One-pot dishes require some mixing and shuffling. But since crockpots are quite big, you cannot turn them with one hand or mix the ingredients in them from afar – you’ll have to hold the pot from one side and mix it with a spatula/ladle. When that’s the situation, there’s a high chance of your skin receiving the hot air or touching the scorching Crockpot. Therefore, you should always use rubber pot holders or wear oven mittens to keep yourself safe. If you already have kitchen mittens, you don’t need specific potholders. But if you don’t, get holders instead of mittens to enjoy a better grip on the slow cooker.
Extra Long Oven Mitts and Pot Holders Sets: Heat Resistant Silicone Oven Mittens with Mini Oven Gloves and Hot Pads PotholderPack of 6Honla 4 Piece Oval Pot Holders with Pockets,Heat Resistant to 500 F,Flexible Non Slip Silicone Grip Hot Pads,BlackHOMWE Professional Silicone Oven Mitt, Oven Mitts with Quilted Liner, Heat Resistant Pot Holders, Flexible Oven Gloves, 1 Pair, 13.7 Inch, Empire Red
A crockpot should be your next investment if you want to cook delicious meals without sweating for hours in the kitchen. These smart cookers let you cook faster, easier, and mess-free family meals without requiring supervision. Once you decide to bring home a slow cooker, make sure its size suits your cooking needs and it’s easy to handle. Since I love my Crockpot and often whip up finger-licking dishes in it, you can take my word for it and rely on a slow cooker. So, instead of breaking a sweat in the kitchen, follow the size guide I have explained above and get the helpful accessories to enjoy slow-cooking even more. I wish you luck!
Looking for amazing crockpot recipes??
Crockpot Recipes To Check Out
Crockpots are versatile and perfect for making meals without much work or effort. I use mine constantly! Below are some of my favorite collections of recipes I’ve made in my kitchen. Slow Cooker recipes are an easy way to get dinner on the table.
- Chicken Crockpot Recipes
- Crockpot Soup Recipes
- Weeknight Dinner Recipes
- Ground Beef Crockpot Dinners
- Crockpot Cinnamon Rolls