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How to choose the best slow cooker

For hearty soul food without the fuss, slow cookers are a kitchen game-changer. Which one to buy? Follow this guide.

Tomatoes, pesto, garlic and onion with thyme sprig on a wooden shopping board

STEP 1: Choose your size

Coles magazine recipes are tested in a medium-sized (4-6L) slow cooker and generally serve 4-6 people. Small (3L-4.5L) and large (6.5L-8L) cookers are also available - these may be useful for small or larger families.

Remember, most slow-cooked recipes are freezer-friendly, so it’s easy to cook more than you need and freeze some for later. If you’re using a smaller or larger cooker, make sure the cooker is only half to three-quarters full - if it’s too full it won’t cook properly and may overflow. If it’s not full enough the food may overcook

STEP 2: Choose a shape

Slow cookers come in round, oval and rectangular shapes. If you’re cooking larger pieces of meat in the slow cooker, look for one that fits them easily. Think about where you’re going to store the slow cooker too - a rectangular one may fit better in a cupboard or on a benchtop and take up less space than a round one.

STEP 3: Extra features

A keep-warm function, extra heat settings and automatic programs may come in handy, and some slow cookers even have a brown function for one-pot cooking. A non-stick surface makes cleaning easier too. But while these nice-to-haves are great, for easy and effective slow cooking, you really only need a simple cooker with high and low heat.