We’ve tried and tested the best slow cookers you can buy in 2021, ideal for a warming midweek dinner and lazy Sunday afternoon supper alike.
As well as dedicated slow cookers, we’ve also included the latest multi-cookers with convenient slow cooking settings, which also give you the option to pressure-cook, steam, reduce food, and more should you wish.
Best slow cookers at a glance
The Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker is our best slow cooker overall. We rate it on its versatility and powerful performance. Although it’s predominately a pressure-cooker, it has a fantastic slow cooking setting. With 4.7 litre capacity, it’s large enough to cook a full chicken or prepare enough portions of casseroles and stews for around six people- a perfect choice for large families, or those who enjoy batch cooking. We are also impressed with the keep warm function, and stylish design.
Best slow cooker overall: Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker – Ninjakitchen | £149.99
Best premium slow cooker: Sage The Fast Slow Pro – Sage Appliances | £199.95
Best budget slow cooker: Russell Hobbs 3.5L slow cooker – Russell Hobbs | £24.99
1. Best slow cooker overall: Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP100UK
A powerful and versatile multi-cooker with excellent slow cooking function
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H32 x W35 x D38cm | Capacity: 4.7L
✅ Six in one cooking settings
✅ Compact and stylish
✅ Fits a 1.5kg chicken
|❌ Design is a little imposing
❌ Bulky on the worktop
The Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP100UK is a powerful and versatile countertop appliance with a range of handy cooking features built-in. First and foremost, it’s a pressure cooker that can also crisp foods, but it comes with a slow cooking setting. You will also find settings to air fry, steam, bake and roast and sear and sauté. Switching between all methods can be done with ease, using the LED control panel.
Within the box, you’ll find a separate pressure lid, a removable cooking pot, a cook and crisp tray that comes in useful when you’re air frying foods such as chicken nuggets or chips, and a rack, which is ideal for steaming veg and fish.
Set up was simple and we found the slow-cooking feature easily accessible as it’s positioned within easy view between the pressure cook, steam and sear/sauté buttons. To give each slow cooker a fair test we prepared the same lamb tagine recipe in each model. Before we started the slow cooking process we made use of the handy sauté button built into the design. This meant we could seal the lamb and fry the onions in the same pot to give a bit of texture to the dish, without having to make any separate pans dirty. Next, we added the rest of the ingredients into the pot and selected the slow cooking feature. You can easily increase the cooking time in 15-minute increments up to 8 hours on either a high or low setting, so we chose the high for four hours.
At the end of the four hours, the control automatically switches to keep warm, which is handy if you’re not ready to eat straight away. The meat came out very tender and piping hot and we found that four hours on a slow cook was more than enough to make a tasty dish. The juices were nicely combined with the meat, carrots and courgettes and this setting didn’t make the dish feel too watery.
2. Best premium slow cooker: Sage The Fast Slow Pro
Stylish and compact with a great set of cooking features
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H32 x W35 x D35cm | Capacity: 6L
✅ Slow cooks and more
✅ Efficient and easy to use
✅ Easy to prepare food first
|❌ High price|
With its contemporary brushed stainless-steel body and digital LCD display, Sage The Fast Slow Pro is an attractive piece of kit. Its round 32cm-high body sits neatly on the worktop without taking up too much space, and can be neatly stored on the side of the worktop when not in use.
Sage The Fast Slow Pro performs 11 different tasks from pressure cooking to slow cooking, sautéing and searing, which makes it a very flexible design. Inside the box you’ll find a comprehensive recipe book with ideas on how to cook ‘tasty meals under pressure’ or ‘tender them over time’. We were instantly impressed with how easy the controls are to navigate on this slow cooker, and how simple the process of slow cooking.
Like other multi-cookers we have featured in our round-up, The Fast Slow Pro can sauté food before you slow cook, which cuts out the need for using a separate dish on the cooker top. The sauté feature heats up very quickly and our lamb and onions were browned in just a few minutes. The slow cooking settings on this model lets you switch between high and low – up to eight hours – after which the keep-warm function kicks in with a timer telling you how long since your food was ready.
We chose four hours on a high setting for our lamb tagine, which was more than enough to produce tender lamb and carrots that still had bite. What we particularly like about this model is how specific the setting can be – and as well as choosing ‘slow cook’, it lets you choose from a number of specific dishes such as casserole, Bolognaise, stew, vegetables and more, and it adjusts the setting to suit.
3. Best budget slow cooker: Russell Hobbs 3.5L Slow Cooker
A compact and great-value budget buy
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H22.1 x W35.7 x D30 cm | Capacity: 3.5L
✅ Ergonomic shape
✅ Glass lid for easy viewing
✅ Stylish finish
|❌ 3.5 litres may be too small for some
❌ Basic controls
At £24.99, we think the Russell Hobbs 3.5 L Slow Cooker is a great value buy and we’ve highlighted it here as our best budget slow cooker. The capacity of this model is 3.5 litres, and while it’s not one of the largest designs we tested, it does give you ample room to prepare casseroles, stews and more for two people with leftovers, or enough food for a small family of four.
Unlike some small-capacity slow cookers you can find that are taller than they are wide, at 35.7 by 30cm the body of the Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker is quite wide and deep. This means the inside is great for laying down large cuts of meat and ensuring a wider portion of the dish gets covered in cooking juices.
While many of the multi-cookers we have included in our test have lids that lock and keep food hidden while it cooks, one of the plus points of this Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker is that you can see through its glass lid. This lid sits neatly on top of the pot and while it doesn’t lock into place, it does remove very easily, and as it’s glass you don’t need to remove the lid halfway through to check up on your food and risk losing heat while it cooks. Both the removable pot and lid are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning after use and the handles are designed to remain cool to touch, which makes it easy to lift the pot out of the base when you want to serve up.
The control panel is basic with a high, low and keep warm setting, but it does give you all you need for simple slow cooking. We tried it on a high setting for four hours, which was more than enough time to cook the carrots and tenderise the lamb. You do need to be careful about how much liquid you add to your dish however, as this model doesn’t have a reduce button, so if you want to thicken up the sauce a little you’ll need to transfer it to a saucepan once the cook is complete.
4. Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 10-in-1 Multi Cooker
10 settings in one compact and stylish design
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H33.1 x W32.2 x D32.5cm | Capacity: 5.7L
✅ 10 settings, including baking
✅ So much more than a slow cooker
✅ Durable and easy to clean design
|❌ A little bulky
❌ Unnecessary for those who only want to slow cook
As one of Instant Pot’s latest multi-cookers, the Duo Evo Plus has so much more to offer than a standard slow cooker. This powerful 1200-watt countertop appliance measures a compact H33.1 x W32.2 x D32.5cm and comes with a 5.7 litre removable pot, which makes it large enough to cook meals for up to seven people in one go. Made from stainless steel and black plastic, its body features a comprehensive LCD display too, which makes it easy to select the correct setting.
You can choose from one of the 48 pre-set programs to cook in a number of ways from professional-chef style ‘sous vide’ to a more traditional slow-cooked method. You’ll also find settings for baking cakes, sautéing so you can brown foods before you start to cook, steaming ingredients such as vegetables and fish, pressure cooking and making yoghurt. There’s also a delay start and keep warm function. While there are a number of pre-set programs for you to choose from, you can also use the control panel to customise your preferred time and temperature.
What we instantly liked about the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus is its ergonomic design with high-quality feel and finish. It has an easy to remove and lock lid, which is dishwasher safe and so easy to keep smelling fresh and a removable pot that has handles at the side for safe lifting out when there is hot food inside. We like the mix of specific options for pre-set times and temperatures for slow cook dishes such as Rib, Poultry, Chili, Stew, Beef and Pork, with timings ranging from four to eight hours. For our lamb tagine we chose the Chili setting and it cooked at a very leisurely eight hours on a low temperature, which gave the lamb a very succulent taste.
5. Morphy Richards Red Evoke Sear & Stew Slow Cooker
Striking design with an easy-to-navigate LED display
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H24 x W29 x D42cm | Capacity: 6.5L
✅ Large capacity
✅ Three heat settings
✅ Non-slip feet
|❌ Not compatible with induction hobs
❌ No LED display
With its black and rose gold finish, the Morphy Richards Red Evoke Sear & Stew Slow Cooker makes an eye-catching design statement in the kitchen. While it may be similar in style to the Salter model also featured in our round-up, the Morphy Richards Red Evoke Sear & Stew Slow Cooker is almost double the size and has a 6.5-litre capacity. We think a design with this much space inside is ideal for large households and could provide meals for up to eight people in one cook. Its wide oval shape is also ideal for large cuts of meat or for roasting a whole chicken, for example.
This model features a removable cooking pot and glass lid that lets you see what’s inside, without the need to remove it and interrupt your dish. The cooking pot has two subtly shaped handles on either side, which can be hot to touch after a cook, while two cool-touch base handles make it easy to move the pot around on the worktop.
Control wise, the Morphy Richards Red Evoke Sear & Stew Slow Cooker gives you a little more than your standard slow cook as it features a medium setting, for recipes that state 6-8 hours, as well as high setting, for those that recommend 4-6 hours and a low setting for up to 10 hours. What we particularly like about this model is the fact that you can use the inner non-stick pot on the hob to sauté your food before transferring it to the base for the slow cook. While there isn’t a specific reduce button, if the liquid feels too watery at the end of a cook you can also take the lid off, ramp the setting up to high and simmer until you achieve the perfect consistency.
6. The Crock-Pot TimeSelect Digital Slow Cooker
Intuitive control panel to plan your meals in advance
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H29.3 x W41.2 x D25.4cm | Capacity: 5.6L
✅ Preset features for sweet and savoury foods
✅ Easy to control manual settings
✅ Cool-touch handles
|❌ No recipes included in box
❌ High price
With a capacity of 5.6 litres, the Crock-Pot TimeSelect Digital Slow Cooker can make up to seven servings in one go and has ample room for large cuts of meat such as a leg of lamb or large chicken. We love the attractive stainless steel body of this design, which we think looks good in both modern and classic settings alike.
The Crock-Pot TimeSelect Digital Slow Cooker has a stainless-steel body that features a prominent and easy to read digital display. This includes both pre-set programmes and manual options. On board you’ll find a ‘Schedule Meal’ setting that lets you choose your optimal cooking time and temperature based on your choice of quantity and food type – be it red meat, poultry, soups and stews or vegetables – and set the time you want to eat. This means you can set the dish up to 12 hours in advance to start cooking at whatever time you want, so that you have a hot meal waiting for you when you come home.
For our lamb tagine dish, we used the manual controls that let us set the slow cooker on high for four hours. The countdown timer came in useful so we knew how long we had left and when cooking time had finished the auto keep warm function kicked in. After a four hour cook on high, the meat came out very tender and pulled away easily with a fork. As the liquid was a little thin we put the stoneware bowl in the oven to thicken up the sauce a little. As the bowl and glass lid are dishwasher safe we were able to clean them easily afterwards too.
7. Russell Hobbs Sous Vide Slow Cooker
A slow cooker with restaurant-quality settings
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: xx | Capacity: 6.5 L
✅ Great for large families
✅ Restaurant style sous-vide setting
✅ Versatile range of settings
|❌ Sous vide is an acquired taste
❌ No sauté feature
With a 6.5 litre capacity, this eye-catching modern slow cooker can easily create up to eight portions in one go. Its USP lies in the fact that it can perform more than your average slow cooker as it has a special sous-vide setting, which is a way of cooking that is often used in top restaurants to create a very succulent and tender dish. The process sees the food vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and slowly cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath. The appliance also comes with a temperature probe for times when you want to cook a perfectly tender whole chicken roast or large cut of meat, with holes in the lid to neatly insert the probe.
Design-wise, the Russell Hobbs Sous Vide Slow Cooker looks good on the worktop. With a modern all-black finish, it comes with large cool-touch handles and a dishwasher-safe removable ceramic inner pot. The pot itself can get quite heavy when full, but has a satisfyingly smooth finish to it that can be easily wiped clean. While the control panel is illustrated with icons rather than text, it is relatively intuitive to follow, and you can control the temperature and time of your classic slow cook manually, selecting high and low settings for your desired time. There’s also a handy timer and keep warm function.
After four hours on high we created a very tender dish with lamb falling off the fork with ease. The liquid did come out a little thin, but this was perhaps just us misjudging how much we needed, so we added some cornflour to thicken it up a little before serving.
While we tested this machine to see how successful its slow cooking feature, we were curious to try out the sous-vide setting too. You need to place your food in bags (that aren’t included so you’ll have to shop around for these separately) on a metal rack that sits inside the pot. We tried cooking the salmon on the sous vide setting and it came out a little too soft for our palette, so we had to pan fry the skin before eating. That said, if you’re a fan of sous vide cooking, then you won’t be disappointed with this appliance as it gives you the benefit of slow cooking and sous vide in one stylish and ergonomic design.
8. Salter Rose Gold Slow Cooker
An attractive and compact design that adds style and convenience
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: tbc | Capacity: 3.5L
✅ Useful high and low settings
✅ Glass lid to view your food
✅ Attractive styling
|❌ No timer included
❌ No sauté feature
With its black and stainless steel body, tempered glass lid and rose gold temperature control dial, the Salter Rose Gold Slow Cooker is an attractive and compact design. At 3.5 litres it can make between two and four servings at a time and its deep pot makes it particularly good for soups and stews.
While there is no digital display on board, the temperature control dial is easy to operate with a low, high and keep warm setting that you can simply click into place. Online at the Salter Cookshop website you can find a host of recipe ideas, but to get you started the instruction manual includes a few ideas including German Lentil Soup, Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Beef and Ale Stew. All of these recipes recommend high or low heat settings for a certain number of hours – between 4-6 on the high heat setting, and up to 10 hours on the low heat setting.
The only thing we would like to have seen on this slow cooker is a count down timer, so you can see exactly how long your dish has been inside. When used it to make a Lamb Tagine for four hours on a high setting, but had to sauté ingredients in a saucepan on a hob before adding to the pot. We were able to see the dish through the handy tempered glass lid and realised the stock needed topping up to stop it drying out. The meat came out well cooked after four hours on high, and the vegetables had a nice caramelised finish.
It includes a ceramic pot that is ergonomically shaped at the sides with substantial cool-touch handles so you can easily lift it out once you’ve finished cooking. The pot does get very hot while cooking however, so it’s important to use your oven mitts to remove it after use. Unlike some of the slow cookers we have featured, the body of the Salter Slow Cooker also includes ample handles on its exterior, which means the complete machine is easy to lift and move around the worktop should you wish.
9. Tower Three Pot Slow Cooker, Food Warmer and Buffet Server
Cook and serve at the table
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: 3 x 1.5L | Capacity:H20 x W55 x D25.5cm
✅ Ideal for entertaining
✅ Each pot heats independently
✅ 3 serving spoons included
|❌ Lead isn’t that long
❌ Small pot capacity
An excellent choice for both the kitchen worktop and dining table, the Tower 3 Pot Slow Cooker features three compartments with a capacity of 1.5 litres each. Each pot sits snugly on board the 55cm wide black and steel base and has a tempered glass lid, which makes it easy to see your food inside. Three individual temperature controls allow you to switch between high, low and keep warm settings so you can cook different foods in each pot. This appliance would be ideal for making a delicious curry, including a dahl dish too.
In use, it’s important not to overfill the pots but keep them up to half full to ensure an even heat distribution. We used the slow cooker to make a lamb tagine, but split the meal into two so we had enough to serve up to four. We set these on High and noticed the liquid started to boil a little after half an hour, so we stirred it regularly to make sure the heat was evenly distributed and the liquid topped up. We used the third pot to make dahl, which came out piping hot. After cooking it was good to be able to switch each pot to the Keep Warm setting, until it was time to eat.
While the instruction manual explains what the settings are for, you will need to time the dish yourself as there isn’t a timer on board. You will also need to brown the foods in a separate saucepan on the hob before using the pots. The manual suggests cooking vegetable dishes and reheating food on a Low setting, and these won’t need to be stirred halfway through your cook. One hour on the high setting equates to two and a half hours on Low.
Each lid comes with a hook that allows you to hang the lid next to the dish so you can close it once you’ve finished. Although the lids get quite hot so you do need to ensure you use oven mitts, having a lid stand is handy when you’re using it at the dining table. One thing to remember is that you will need to position the appliance so it’s near a plug socket, as at 69cm it’s not the longest lead we’ve come across. Three large spoons inside is a nice touch, and come in useful when serving up.
10. Swan Retro Slow Cooker
Classic good looks in a variety of colours
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H22 x W33.2 x D26.5cm | Capacity: 3.5L
✅ Attractive pastel finish
✅ Oven safe pot
✅ Glass lid
|❌ Basic dial
❌ Small capacity not for everyone
The 3.5-litre capacity on the Swan Slow Cooker makes it a good size for cooking up to four portions at time. We love the retro styling of this model, which comes in pastel blue (pictured) as well as pastel green, grey, red, purple and yellow. There are also matching small appliances in the range, so if you’re keen to find a design that has classic good looks with a complementing kettle, toaster and more, then this slow cooker is definitely worth considering.
It comes with a non-stick ceramic pot so it’s easy to clean and the pot is also oven safe so you can use it in the oven too, which makes it a good option if you regularly cook casseroles, for example. The non-stick ceramic pot is easy to clean and oven safe, which means you can use it to perfect your casserole in the oven.
The Swan Slow Cooker comes with three settings on its basic dial, with a High and Low setting and a food warming option, which you can set it to once your food is cooked. Unlike some of the more high-tech slow cookers we’ve featured here, you will need to set the dial to the keep warm function yourself after your food is cooked. What’s more, whether you choose a High or Low setting, you will also need to time the meal yourself.
When making our lamb tagine, we found the High function on this model very powerful, and we needed to top up the liquid after an hour. The carrots were well cooked before the four hours we had planned and the meat seemed tender, so we only felt the need to cook the dish for three hours in total.
11. Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker
Contemporary design with useful settings
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H30 x W25 x D44cm | Capacity: 6.5L
✅ LED digital display
✅ Hob and oven-safe pot
✅ Large capacity pot
❌ No on board sauté setting
With its white and black powder-coated wipe-clean exterior and digital control panel, the Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker is one of the more modern-looking designs we have featured in our round-up. Like the Morphy Richards Slow Cooker we have reviewed here, the Lakeland also has a large 6.5-litre capacity, which makes it ideal for cooking up to eight portions in one go.
It comes with an easy-to-read LED digital display that clearly indicates the settings offered including high, low, keep warm and delay start. There are also plus and minus buttons so you can adjust the timings to suit your recipe. A handy cancel button means you can stop your meal cooking at any time, which comes in useful if you look through the glass lid and realise your food is well cooked before the allotted time.
A plus point of the removable cooking pot inside is that it is both hob and oven safe. This means it can be conveniently used to sauté food directly on the hob, including induction surfaces, and placed in the oven after a slow cook to reduce any liquids or thicken up sauces. In the box, you’ll find an instruction booklet that tells you how to work the slow cooker, which also features useful tips and four recipes to get you started.
We used the design to cook for four hours on a high setting and we were able to check up on our food through the slow cooker’s glass lid. Three and a half hours in we noticed a lot of the water had evaporated and we decided to top up with a little more liquid stock. The dish came out a little more caramelised than we had intended, but it was delicious all the same.