Slow Cooker Size Guide: Find the Right Fit for Your Kitchen
What size slow cooker do you need?
How do you determine the best slow cooker size for your kitchen? A standard slow cooker size is 6 to 7-quarts and most slow cooker recipes are geared towards this common pot size. But sizes range from the smallest slow cooker, a 20-ounce mini crock pot, to the largest slow cooker on the market, a 10-quart extra large pot.
A general guideline is to allow one quart per person then round up a bit—keep in mind slow cookers should be one-half to two-thirds full for optimal cooking. So when choosing a slow cooker, you’ll want to consider two things: (1) the type of food you plan to cook and (2) how many people you need to serve.
Remember, all sizes offer the flexibility to scale recipes up or down to some degree. But, with the exception of one electric Dutch oven, models smaller than 4-quarts do not offer the ability to sear or brown in the unit.
1. Type of Food You Plan to Cook
Most recipes are easily adapted to fit the size of any crock pot, but the size and/or shape of your pot can limit certain foods. As a general rule, slow cookers should be one-half to two-thirds full for optimal cooking. When under-filled, food will cook faster and can burn. And when over-filled, food takes longer to cook which can pose a food safety issue.
Large slow cookers (see our picks) with their oblong-shape can accommodate large roasts or allow you to cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker. And if making recipes calling for a smaller container to be placed inside of a slow cooker—such as egg bites—you’ll need a larger pot.
Note, we recommend using a regular oven (versus a slow cooker) for baking cakes and pies, but when using the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook you’ll find dessert recipes calling for a springform pan which requires a larger cooker.
Small slow cookers (see our picks) with round pots can’t accommodate large cuts of meat, but they are useful for small batches of soup, stews, steel cut oats or slow cooker rice pudding.
More Reading: Our article What is a Slow Cooker? covers various reasons people use slow cookers.
2. Number of People Serving
The number of people you plan to serve should also guide your decision. Again, a general rule is to plan for 1+ quart pot size per person.
Most families will enjoy an average slow cooker size of 6 to 7-quarts. Even smaller families with big eaters (for example, one parent and two teens) will prefer this standard size slow cooker.
If you’re cooking for 1 to 2 people, then a 3 to 5-quart small slow cooker may be preferred. Keep in mind, your need for leftovers (or not) can determine if you choose something on the smaller or larger side. This also applies to batch-cooking and meal prep. When cooking for 1 to 2 people, our approach is to use a 4-quart cooker and freeze any leftovers in individual servings with stackable silicone trays.
What size is your slow cooker?
How big is your pot? To determine the capacity of a slow cooker—or any pot—simply measure how much water it holds: 4 cups = 1 quart
New to slow cooking?
We have a library of slow cooker resources to help you get started.
Crock Pot Sizes – The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need
There are so many crock pot sizes, so an average home cook might wonder which one to get. In case you have been asking does crockpot size matter – the answer is yes. I will explain more about different sizes of crocks so you can pick an ideal one for you.
Most logically, the more people you cook for, the larger crock pot you need. But, how big crock pot is too big?
Crock pots are practical, healthy, and useful kitchen appliances. Sometimes, they are called slow cookers, which explains their performance. They cook food slowly allowing all flavors to blend well.
Cooking in a crock-pot takes more time than in standard pots but the flavors are stunning.
I don’t take crock-pot out of the kitchen pantry for every meal, but I prefer to cook in a crock pot for special occasions and holidays.
Before we hop on to crockpot sizes, let’s learn more about this versatile kitchen utensil.
What Is A Crock Pot?
A crock pot or slow cooker is a device that allows you to cook food unattended for a long time. You can even make desserts with a slow cooker. The food is cooked at low temperature, and the device consists of three elements that maintain the low heat and cook the food evenly.
Those are the base with a heating element, the vessel – the middle element, and a lid – the top element.
When you think about the slow cooker, you probably think about the base. It has handles, control panel for temperatures. Then, the liner goes on the base, and conducts heat from the base to the cooking vessel, makes it rise and circle in the slow cooker. Additionally, there is ventilation, which prevents overheating and makes it possible to cook food unattended.
The vessel is actually a pot where you put the food. It is made from materials that maintain even temperature. The lid is essential for achieving desired temperatures and keeping it stable.
Some crockpots have vents for the steam on the lid.
You can see this video to know more:
Watch this video: Instant Pot Versus Crock Pot Versus Dutch Oven
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How Does Crock Pot Works?
What is a crock pot’s temperature? Overall, this cookware has two temperature settings on the base – low and high.
It means that you aren’t cooking at specific temperatures, for example, as you do in the oven. The slow cooker gives away low or high heat and maintains the heat level for longer, enough to cook the food in the vessel evenly.
Because it cooks at not specific temperatures, the slow cooker is good for retaining moisture, and the food cooked in it is juicy and full of flavors.
Generally, if you choose a low cooking temperature, it will take twice as much time as it would if you have chosen high. The low setting is somewhere around 170 degrees Fahrenheit, while high setting is about 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, you can check your crock pot model for more information regarding temperature settings, whether crock pot is compatible with foil, how you should use and clean this kitchen appliance, etc. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally break your crock pot.
What Food Can You Cook In A Crock Pot?
There is a variety of recipes that work well for the slow cooker. My favorites are chicken, short ribs, beef, and something unexpected – lasagna, mac & cheese, soups, and stews.
The more you research, the more you’ll stumble across crock pot recipes. For instance, there are many Mexican dishes to prepare with crock pots. Also, there are several crock pot recipes for making soups that you can make to warm yourself up during the cold days.
A crock pot isn’t a good choice when the recipe requires you to treat food with heat in a short time – such as frying. Also, avoid slow cookers for recipes that include oven use. Instead of drying the food, the slow cooker will retain moisture. If you want to put a crockpot in the oven or your recipe asks you to, note that only the removable inner parts are safe.
Therefore, whenever you see low heat in the recipe, the chances are that you can use your slow cooker to make a dish.
Irish stew is one of the dishes that taste best when prepared in a slow cooker
You can see this video to know more:
Watch this video: 5 Hearty Slow Cooker Recipes
Several Rules For Cooking In Crock Pot
To pick the right size crock, you need to be aware of the rules of cooking in a crock-pot.
First of all, know your cooking time. The shortest cooking time in the slow cooker is for sauces – around 1-2 hours on a high-temperature setting. The longest, 7+ hours is for large meat chunks, pork shoulders, and roasts, and best when cooked on a low setting.
Soups, stews, and everything else slow cooker-friendly need between two and seven hours to cook.
Here are a few rules to remember:
- When using water or other liquids, (except rice), use half the amount required in the recipe, because a slow cooker keeps moisture. Liquids won’t evaporate as they would in a standard pot.
- Whatever size of a crock pot you have, never fill it to its full capacity. Fill it up to 3/4 and cook according to the recipe.
- Cooking rice is different in the slow cooker and requires using more water than for any other food. It is also different from the diverse rice cooking procedures of the rice cooker and instant pot.
- Fresh ingredients vegetables require more time to cook than canned and frozen. I noticed it needs about four hours to perfectly cook frozen lasagna but four and a half when I prepare it fresh.
- When cooking ground beef, remove grease first by browning and draining meat.
- Pasta and some tender vegetables go in the slow cooker in the last hour.
- Seafood should be added in the last half an hour of cooking.
- Dairy products are added last in the slow cooker, just before serving.
Crock Pot – Which Size Is Right For You?
Most homes in the USA own a crock pot, or they had one in the past. A crock-pot is so easy to use and he does most of the job without assistance which is just the reason that makes it so popular. It is energy-efficient and versatile.
However, most benefits you’ll experience if you get the crockpot of suitable size. You can be something like a GoldieLocks when looking for the right size bed, but only looking for a slow cooker.
I will cover the sizes in a minute, but let’s see first how the shape of the crock pot determines the use.
Oval Crock Pots
Oval crock pots are a better fit for large and bulky food. They can be more expensive, and you can cook a large piece of meat inside.
The majority of them is in five and six-quart size.
Oval slow cookers are better for roasting whole chicken
Round Crock Pots
The round shape is more common and affordable. It is great for a variety of foods, and it comes in all sizes, from 1 to 10 quarts in capacity. They are versatile, and a superb choice for most families.
Now, let’s continue with a short overview of crockpots sizes.
Crock of 1-2 quarts capacity are considered extra small. They are good for one person meal, sometimes even two meals, depending on the food you are cooking.
If you live alone, or with a roommate, an extra small slow cooker might be an excellent choice for you. However, don’t expect to cook a meal in such a small crockpot and have enough food for a refill.
Smaller capacity crock pots are also easier to store on the countertop and don’t take much space
You can see this video to know more:
Watch this video: Small Slow Cookers – Sized Right?
The next size of crocks is from 3 to 4 quarts. These have double the capacity of the previous size but are still very limited. They are most suited for small family dinners and lunches. Again, don’t expect refill, because 3-4-quarts crockpot cannot hold enough food to feed over three or four people.
I recommend these small slow cookers for desserts or side dishes.
Most families can benefit from 5 to 6 quarts crock pot. It can be an excellent choice for families who don’t mind cooking more food and eating leftovers the second day. Because of it, medium and large families often prefer 5-6 quarts slow cooker.
The sizes five and six quarts are often considered standard crock pot sizes. They’re suitable for whipping up savory crock pot recipes to welcome the fall as well as many other dishes. 6-quart crock pots are definitely a must-have for busy families.
You can use it for soups, stews, and casseroles. Sometimes, families will own 5-6 quarts crock-pot, and use it often, and a smaller version to prepare desserts or special sauces.
Lastly, the largest available crockpot is 7-10 quarts. It isn’t practical, because it is bulky and you don’t need a pot of that size. You can cook a whole chicken and roast large pieces of meat inside. If your family is larger than seven members, the 7-10 quarts might be sufficient.
In every other case, it will be too big.
The largest available crock pot of 10 quarts, and it fits 12 pounds of meat. It is too big for most families.
Crock Pot Size: Comparison Table
Refer to the table for a quick guide on crockpot sizes:
|Sauces, rice, beans
|Soups, stews, deserts
|Roasts, whole family meals
How To Tell Capacity Of Crock Pot You Own?
The easiest method is to check the box or manual that came with the device.
However, if you have thrown it away, a trick with water will do just fine.
All you have to do is prepare water and standard, 8-ounce cup. One quart equals four cups of water. Therefore, fill the crockpot by counting the number of water cups that a crock pot can hold.
For example, if you manage to fill 14-16 cups of water, your crock-pot has a capacity of three and a half or four quarts.
Crock pot is a practical and versatile kitchen appliance that delivers delicious family meals
Can You Cook Small Meals In A Large Crock Pot?
If you own a large crock, let’s say 8-quart capacity, you might wonder if you need to use it to its full capacity. Good news: you don’t have to buy an additional crock pot to cook small meals because you can use it with reduced capacity.
Here is how to do it.
Prepare a smaller oven-safe bowl that can fit in your crockpot to adjust the recipe. I tried this method so many times, and it works perfectly.
If you don’t find the appropriate-size bowl, your food might not cook perfectly. The bowl needs to be full up to 3/4, just like a slow cooker when you use it the standard way.
If you overfill the bowl, the food will need more time to cook, because the heat cannot circulate well. Some ingredients might burn as well.
Don’t forget to use a lid, and if possible, try to open the crock pot as little as possible while cooking.
In my case, I use my large slow cooker with an oven-safe bowl when I want to cook dipping sauce.
You can see this video to know more:
Watch this video: How to Buy a Crockpot
Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Crock Pot
Crock pot is such a useful kitchen appliance, but you need to know a few tips to ensure you are getting the best possible results.
Let me share what I discovered after years of using the crock pot.
Choose Meat Wisely
Good choices for cooking in a crockpot are short ribs, lamb shanks, pork shoulders, chicken things, etc. When you cook any of these in a crock, it will get a perfect, tender texture.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend cooking round steak, sirloin, or tender meat cuts in crock-pot. These are better when cooked on the stovetop.
According to one study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, preparing meatloaf in a slow cooker result in more drip losses than after preparing in a conventional gas oven. The meatloaf maintains more beneficial ingredients, better color, and fewer drip losses when prepared in the oven.
Also, don’t forget to trim the excess fat before you put meat in the slow cooker. That way, you will prevent the grease from rising to the lid, leaving the meat to cook only in water.
Moreover, for the best taste, brown the meat first, before you put it in a slow cooker. Searing the meat on the stovetop will result in perfectly cooked meat, with all juices, aromas, and flavors.
You might learn more cooking tips for meat on comprehensive cooking classes that will ensure you use every meat cut the best possible way.
Layering Is Important
Whatever size a crock pot you have, you should know how to layer it to get every ingredient cooked well. The food that takes the longest time to cook, for example, root veggies, goes on the bottom. Meat usually goes on top of the vegetables, so it can release the juices and give the veggies extra flavors.
Understand The Recipe
When I first start using a crock, I was confused with the recommended settings. Some recipes suggest you can cook the food, for example, two hours on high and five hours on low settings. So, how to choose?
If possible, always cook at a lower temperature. The device is called a slow cooker for a reason. Slow cooking releases more juices and flavors of the same ingredients than cooking on high settings.
Cook on high temperatures when you need a quick meal or having surprise guests!
Pot Size Matters
Slow cookers come in various price ranges, and some models can be quite pricey. Therefore, you want to get the model and the size that works best for your needs. That way, you will use it to the full potential. If you have a large family, there is no point in getting a 2-quart model because you won’t be able to cook the meal for the entire family.
On the opposite, if you live alone and decide to get a 7-quart crock pot, you will give a sizeable amount of money needlessly.
Pick wisely and remember, you can cook smaller meals in larger crocks, but you cannot do vice versa!
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Table of Contents
- What Is A Crock Pot?
- How Does Crock Pot Works?
- What Food Can You Cook In A Crock Pot?
- Several Rules For Cooking In Crock Pot
- Crock Pot – Which Size Is Right For You?
- Oval Crock Pots
- Round Crock Pots
- 1-2 Quarts
- 3-4 Quarts
- 5-6 Quarts
- 7-10 Quarts
- Crock Pot Size: Comparison Table
- How To Tell Capacity Of Crock Pot You Own?
- Can You Cook Small Meals In A Large Crock Pot?
- Things To Keep In Mind When Using A Crock Pot
- Choose Meat Wisely
- Layering Is Important
- Understand The Recipe
- Pot Size Matters
Choosing a large pot | Male cooking site
May 21, 2018
Any modern housewife in the kitchen needs a set of pots of various sizes – small, medium and large. There is a use for every container. Usually in a universal set of dishes there are both small and large pots, as well as several medium ones. Each utensil is designed to prepare one or another special dish and will help make the cooking process easier and more enjoyable. The more quality dishes in your kitchen, the less time and effort you will spend on preparing daily meals and holiday dishes.
In small pots, portioned dishes are prepared, in medium ones it is convenient to cook potatoes for dinner, and large pots are convenient for preparing jelly, compote and preparations for the winter.
Of course, the choice of the size of pots depends on the composition of the family – large families often use pots up to 10 liters for cooking first courses. Delicious rich borscht in winter or cold okroshka in summer – dinner cooked in a large saucepan is enough for everyone.
Does your family like jelly? This delicious dish is never enough! In our country, many people love it and cook it with pleasure in every family, and only in large pots. Therefore, every young housewife is one of the first in the kitchen to have a large pot for jelly.
At the height of the fruit and berry season it is very useful to drink compotes, uzvars and fruit drinks. This is the best alternative to carbonated drinks. Such vitamin drinks will help strengthen the immune system and nourish the body with useful trace elements. Boil compote in a large enamel pot, then it will definitely be enough for the whole family – both children and the older generation.
A large saucepan will also come in handy when preparing dishes for the festive table, when you are waiting for guests and relatives. In it, you can quickly boil a lot of vegetables for salads or cook various first courses.
In summer and autumn, during the season of preparations in large containers, housewives sterilize, stew and prepare fragrant marinades.
Manufacturers usually make comfortable handles for large pots that can withstand heavy loads. The best fastening for massive handles is riveting. But some manufacturers have instances with handles attached by spot welding.
The most popular materials for the manufacture of such dishes are aluminum, stainless steel, enameled models are also popular.
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Advantages and disadvantages of aluminum pots: how to use and care for
It’s hard to do without a saucepan in the kitchen. Every day, housewives prepare dinners, boil water for certain purposes, or simply store food in them. But how to choose a similar product for cooking so that in the end it turns out to be of high quality and durable? This question is asked by most potential buyers.
Aluminum pans have a lot of advantages and disadvantages.
Consider the strengths and weaknesses of massive aluminum pans. And also consider their features and methods of care and operation.
Advantages and disadvantages of aluminum cookware
Pans made of aluminum are distinguished by a mass of advantages and disadvantages, and therefore are in demand and not very among consumers. Consider the main advantages of such kitchen containers.
- Production material budget. Absolutely everyone can afford an aluminum kitchen product. Manufacturers buy raw materials for a penny and make a small margin.
- High thermal conductivity. Liquids are usually boiled in such pots, as they reach the right temperature in a matter of minutes.
- Light weight is the criterion by which the cookware is considered transportable. Aluminum kitchen utensils are easy to carry with you, as they are not at all heavy.
Liquids are usually boiled in such pots, as they reach the right temperature in a matter of minutes.
Along with the strengths, there are also weaknesses that negatively affect the opinion of the buyer. Consider a few disadvantages of such containers:
- During cooking, aluminum reacts with food, which has a negative effect on the body.
- It is not uncommon for food to stick to the bottom and sides of the pot. This is due to the high thermal conductivity of the metal.
Be that as it may, the aluminum pan is relevant and in demand among consumers. And some shortcomings can be eradicated if you take into account the rules for the care and storage of such dishes.
What aluminum kitchen utensils are made of
Aluminum kitchen structures are made from extruded or cast metal. Both methods are practiced by many manufacturing companies.
Aluminum structures for the kitchen are made from stamped or cast metal.
The first production method involves the use of thin aluminum sheets. They are placed in a special installation layer by layer, giving the product the desired shape.
As for the second method, the liquid alloy is poured into a specialized container and the utensils are shaped into pots, pans, etc. Thus, the manufacturer does not have to make holders (handles) separately, since they are cast together with the body of the utensil.
What can be cooked in aluminum pans
The range of dishes prepared in such containers is small.
Aluminum containers suitable for boiling vegetables, eggs and boiling water.
Aluminum containers suitable for boiling vegetables, eggs and boiling water. You definitely won’t be able to cook stew in such a design.
Be very careful when using this kitchen utensil. After all, aluminum products cannot be used in microwave and ovens. The material is fragile and not resistant to high temperatures.
Under the influence of a high temperature regime, the dishes can simply be deformed.
Under the influence of a high temperature regime, the dishes can simply be deformed. As a result, it can be safely thrown away, as it will become unusable.
Is aluminum harmful in the kitchen. What is dangerous
There is an opinion in society that aluminum cookware is harmful and even dangerous to human health. Such guesses appeared for a reason. During experiments and numerous tests, it was found that aluminum containers are really unsafe.
Under the influence of a high temperature regime, the dishes can simply be deformed.
When cooking foods with a high concentration of acidity, the metal reacts and begins to be released into the food. Thus, a person, without knowing it, runs the risk of replenishing his diet with a large dose of a dangerous metal. Hence, there is a risk of various onco- and other diseases.
Large aluminum pot selection by volume
Large pots for cooking a huge number of servings. Of course, large-sized containers will not be purchased for home use. Typically, such overall products are purchased for catering establishments.
That’s why manufacturers create pots up to 50 liters in size. It is much more convenient (for cafes and restaurants) than cooking in containers up to 10 liters.
Pots with a volume of 10 liters are relevant for large families. Such products, despite the displacement, do not differ in large weight.
Such designs, despite the displacement, do not differ in large weight.
They can boil water, cook compotes or borscht. It’s a matter of consumer preference.
Aluminum products for 15 liters are not very different from the previous category of products. They are used both at home and for catering.
It is not recommended to store cooked food in them for a long time.
Cooked food should not be stored in them for a long time. But for storing vegetables, such a container is quite suitable.
Dimensional products of 20 liters are used in schools, kindergartens and other institutions. They boil water and prepare second courses.
Overall products of 20 liters are used in schools, kindergartens and other institutions.
Since kitchen utensils are used for cooking in the catering industry, cooks do not have to store food for a second time.
A 50 liter aluminum saucepan is in no way suitable for daily home use. Such dishes are purchased in batches in public institutions.
Such dishes are purchased in batches in public institutions.
She is no different from her smaller counterparts. Made using the same technology, the difference is only in size.
What can be cooked in an aluminum pan
As mentioned earlier, the variety of dishes for aluminum pans is very poor. They are great for cooking vegetables and meat products.
It will not work to stew and simmer a dish in such a container. This is due to the fact that aluminum is a thin material and does not differ in strength and density.
Why food should not be stored in aluminum dishes
Do not store food for long periods in aluminum containers. Because the metal actively enters into a chemical reaction with food.
It is strictly forbidden to cook compotes, jam and store candied berries in such vessels.
An acidic environment is generally not suitable for metal, as the product may change color and become dangerous for further use. It is strictly forbidden to cook compotes, jam and store candied berries in such vessels.
How to care for aluminum cookware
When caring for aluminum utensils, one should take into account the fact that it is impossible to use improvised means in the form of vinegar and soda for cleaning. They also have high acidity, which negatively affects the structure and integrity of the cookware body.
Metal scrapers are not recommended as they leave scratches and nasty marks. Through microcracks over time, under the influence of high temperature, the metal is released into food.
It is not recommended to use metal scrapers, as they leave scratches and unpleasant stains.