Slow cookers are arguably the biggest time saver in the kitchen. Who has the time (or the energy) to prepare a healthy, balanced meal at the end of a long day? More people are coming back to slow cookers and coming home to a warm house filled with the smells of dinner already done.
For even heat, ease of use and extra features, the Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp Tracking is an excellent choice. It’s affordable, reliable and large enough to feed a crowd.
What to know before you buy a Hamilton Beach slow cooker
If you are looking for basic slow cooker meals, a slow cooker with just low, high and keep warm settings (and no other bells and whistles) might be just fine for you.
If you want to expand how you use your slow cooker, choosing slow cookers with more features and settings is a good idea. For example, when making yogurt, temperatures should stay between 108-112 degrees. Slow cookers with more settings allow you to customize to this temperature.
Size matters when selecting a slow cooker. Hamilton Beach slow cookers are available in sizes from 3-10 quarts. Most households find that a 6 to 8-quart slow cooker will meet their needs. For couples, a slow cooker with a 3-quart capacity should work well.
Have a household with more than four people? Look for 10-quart slow cookers to feed a crowd.
How (and how often) you’ll use a slow cooker
If you’ll routinely use your slow cooker for potlucks and get-togethers, hauling it across town with a car full of family, look for secure latches and a sturdy lid. If your primary use will be easy, make-ahead dinners at home, lid security is less of a concern.
Hamilton Beach slow cooker features
While the most basic Hamilton Beach slow cooker models still get the job done with just three settings (low, high and warm), others add a “medium” setting or fully customizable temperature controls.
Secure lid and large handles
These days, slow cookers are better designed with more secure lids. This allows cooks to take their contributions to potlucks and dinner parties without worrying about a scalding hot roast slopping out onto the front seat. Some Hamilton Beach slow cookers have removable latches or lid wires to hold the lid securely. Others have attached latches for even more security.
Larger handles make it easier to lift and move the slow cookers, too. Getting a firm grip on a tiny handle can be challenging, but the sturdy, oversized handles on Hamilton Beach slow cookers address that concern.
Digital options in some Hamilton Beach slow cookers mean that the cook can set the precise time and temperature they would like for their meals. You can program some models to cook for as many as 20 hours. This makes low-and-slow braises and finicky, low-temperature yogurt recipes a possibility.
Higher-end Hamilton Beach models have settings that allow you to use the slow cooker for everything from your standard slow-cooked dinner to sous vide preparations, fermented foods and more.
Some models have a temperature probe for more accurate readings and better food safety. Others also have insulated carrying cases and extra latches to keep lids secure.
Easy to clean
The lid and the crock of each Hamilton Beach slow cooker are both dishwasher-safe. Some of the larger models may be too large for the dishwasher, though. If this is the case, allow your crock to soak briefly in warm soapy water before scrubbing by hand.
Hamilton Beach slow cooker cost
Hamilton Beach slow cookers cost less than some of the other high-end slow cookers but have the same reliability. Look to spend $40-$80 for a Hamilton Beach slow cooker.
Hamilton Beach slow cooker FAQ
Why do people use slow cookers?
A. Most people use slow cookers for the convenience of putting everything in one pot to cook with no hands-on attention. Others like the fact that dinner cooks without heating the kitchen.
Is using a slow cooker safe?
A. Slow cookers cook and hold food at temperatures recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Standard slow cooker temperatures for basic settings are:
- High: 200-225 degrees
- Low: 180-200 degrees
- Keep warm: Holds food at 165 degrees
You should not warm cold, cooked food on the “keep warm” setting.
Can I cook with dairy in my slow cooker?
A. Yes, you can cook dairy in a slow cooker, but add it at the end of the cooking time for the best results.
Which Hamilton Beach slow cooker should I get?
Best of the best Hamilton Beach slow cookers
Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker With Temp Tracking: Available at Amazon
Our take: More than just your basic, set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker, this one’s got an array of features for more adventurous cooks who still like convenience.
What we like: The included probe helps monitor internal temperatures to give a better picture of when everything is done. This slow cooker also switches to “warm” mode when food is done and is roomy: a 6-pound chicken or a 4-pound roast fits easily.
What we dislike: The timer only sets in increments of 30 minutes, and the cord is a little shorter than we’d like.
Best bang for your buck Hamilton Beach slow cooker
Our take: This slow cooker is a reliable workhorse, with two temperature settings and many different modes to choose from.
What we like: The display on this slow cooker changes color when food is done. Tight clamps keep the lid secure when you take it to go.
What we dislike: Using this model is not intuitive, so consult the owner’s manual for the best results.
Honorable mention Hamilton Beach slow cooker
Our take: Feed a crowd with this basic but highly efficient slow cooker.
What we like: A 10-pound turkey or a 12-pound roast fits in this large capacity slow cooker. Choose from three temperature settings, then enjoy dishwasher-safe cleanup when dinner’s done.
What we dislike: Some cooks found that the low setting still cooked “hot.” Keep an eye on your meal the first time you use it to gauge the temperature.
Suzannah Kolbeck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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