What size crockpot?

My parents are going to give me a crock pot/slow cooker for my birthday, and they want to know what size I want. We have a family of 4, but freezing meals for later might be good, too.

So, if you have a crock pot, how big is it? Is it a good size, or do you wish it was smaller or larger? How big a crock pot should I get?

For a family of 4, definitely the big one. Eventually you’ll probably want a big one (six and a half quarts?) and a littler one (four?) because if you don’t double some recipes they do cook too fast in the big one. But you can’t do two pounds of dried beans in the little one.

On a related note, I bought a Rival Crock-Pot (the real branded one) a few years ago, long enough to be out of warranty. A little plastic bit broke, and I e-mailed to see if they’d send me a replacement. Free new crock pot!

I’ve got a family of 5 and I have this5-Quart slow cooker. It’s got a digital thermometer attachment that is *extremely *helpful when cooking pork. I’ve had it for about a year and am really happy with it.

One thing that is real nice about some of the new ones is a removable cooking crock. It’s just the nature of slow cooking that some of the stuff high on the sides dries out and get stuck on crusty.And it makes life so much easier if you can just throw the thing in the sink to soak.

We have this one and love it. Very versatile.

Why choose? I have this 3in1 crockpot for my family of two!

http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-33134-Cooker-6-Quart/dp/B000R8BT0A

I have had it about a year and I use it a couple times a week, never had a problem.

You also might consider asking for an oval-shaped cooker instead of a round one. Whole chickens, some roasts, etc. fit better in the oval ones.

Petek

I have a 4 qt. and a 6 or 7 qt. I end up using the 4 qt. most of the time. Make sure to get some crockpot liners, too. They are by the plastic wrap, etc. in the grocery store & make clean up a breeze. I use mine almost weekly–next week corned beef, cabbage, & root veg in the crockpot!

I have a 4 quart crockpot for 2 people - most recipes make enough for 1 meal + 1 more meal of leftovers (or for up to 4 of us if we have guests). I’d think for a family of four a 6 or even 8 quart model would be reasonable, but if you can, you might want both a large and a small one. Sometimes I see crockpot sets with two size crocks for sale together.

Get the large oval one. In addition to being able to cook whole chickens and roasts, you can use the liner bags to cook two separate meals at once and heat one up the next day if you want smaller meals. (I once cooked some chicken breasts with mexican seasoning for tacos, and in the other bag italian seasoning to eat with pasta.)

I’ve got two. One is large and oval in shape and is big enough to accommodate a whole large chicken or (at a squeeze) a shoulder of lamb. I use this one for cooking, well, things like chickens and meat on the bone, and for large party-sized batches of soup or stews.

The other one is small and round - probably three pints - I use this one to to make soup or stew if I’m catering only for myself, and I use it to make family-sized batches of bolognese sauce or meat pie fillings - family sized casseroles too if I’m to accompany them with potatoes and additional veg cooked separately.

I can’ts just make do with the big one, as it tends to dry out smaller amounts of food.

Although we have a large oval 6 qt. crockpot and a truly tiny, 1 qt. micro round crock pot with the the traditional glazed earthenware insert crockery, my favorite slow cooker is a medium sized metal, combo, teflon slow cooker, serving dish, chafer, casserole dish, and hot plate/griddle from the 80’s that we got at a garage sale. It’s the best James Bond multitasker gadget in the kitchen, or especially in an RV galley, handsdown. The closest modern slow cooker that I could find that is similar to my garage sale find is this West Bend 5 Quart Oblong Slow Cooker or this Magic Mill 6 Qt. Slow Cooker, but these seem to be missing the oven safe casserole lid… The beauty of this model (or at least my old model) is that the base is a hot plate griddle, perfect for frying a couple eggs and a pancake, it has five heat setting levels for frying/slow cooking/warming/chafing. The teflon non stick coated “pot” simply lifts off the base to double as a serving dish, and the pyrex lid simply flips over and doubles as a casserole dish that you can put in the oven.It’s really a very simple and perfect piece of kitchen engineering and is really an effective slow cooker all around. It satisfies Alton Brown’s multitasker rule that I subscribe to, as well.

Oh, and 5 and 6 six quarts are about the perfect size for an average user or family.

Any chance you could post some pics of this miracle machine?

Another little thing about my metal/teflon crockpot pot and the 5 heat levels, is that you can turn it all the way up, let it sit to achieve temperature, and sautee/brown/ caramelize meats and ingredients right in the pot, then turn it down to slow cook. Can’t do that with a “traditional” crockpot.

Nope, but it looks practically identical to this magic mill 6qt slow cooker that I have linked here. Although I’d guess that my machine is actually 5 quarts.

A recipe that requires you brown meat is not a crockpot recipe.

In my experience, I’ve seen a number of crockpot stew, roast, and soup recipes that suggest and require the searing or browning of meat and chicken for enhanced flavor and texture before adding to the crockpot for the long wet braise. It’s not at all uncommon, and some recipes benefit markedly in flavor from the searing and the flavors developed through caramelization.

Then make it in the oven. It’s missing the whole point of having a crockpot, which is you don’t have to do anything.

Well, you see I don’t have to choose with my particular slowcooker, that was my whole point. I can just toss it in and let it go too, or I have the option to spend five minutes searing my whole fryer parts and developing a proper brown on the chickenskin for crockpot cacciatore, makes for a better texture and flavor, IMHO. I can do it either way in my slowcooker.