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Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Hamilton Beach 3-Quart Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach
3-Quart Slow Cooker
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Great for Couples
Bottom Line

This well-made cooker comes from a great brand and has a great price, says our cooking expert.

Pros

Keep-warm function convenient for busy nights. Stoneware crock can be used in conventional and microwave ovens. Three-quart capacity and oval shape ideal for vegetables and long cuts of meat.

Cons

Actual usable capacity may be less than 3 quarts.

Best Bang for the Buck
Elite Gourmet 1.5-Quart Slow Cooker
Elite Gourmet
1.5-Quart Slow Cooker
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

A mini slow cooker ideal for personal meals and party dips.

Pros

Round shape and 1.5-quart capacity cooks meals for one or two. Keep-warm function maintains food temp without overcooking. Removable ceramic crock is dishwasher-safe.

Cons

Some buyers mentioned the lack of a sealing gasket.

Instant Pot Mini Duo 7-in-1
Instant Pot
Mini Duo 7-in-1
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Feature-Packed
Bottom Line

A dependable reputation and massive multifunctional capability earn this our expert's praise.

Pros

Three-quart multicooker offers seven cooking methods. Quick-heat function browns and sears foods prior to slow cooking. Can go from slow cooking to pressure cooking and back. Keep-warm function ensures ideal serving temperature.

Cons

Somewhat steep learning curve.

Crock-Pot 3-Quart Manual Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot
3-Quart Manual Slow Cooker
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This slow cooker from a trusted brand makes dinnertime easy; earns our expert's approval.

Pros

Three-quart capacity fits stews, soups, and braises. Warming function keeps food at serving temperature without overcooking. Stoneware crock is dishwasher-safe.

Cons

Outside can get hot.

Crock-Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot
2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker
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Best for Small Spaces
Bottom Line

This slow cooker is perfect for making smaller dishes; our expert loves its style and miniature shape.

Pros

The locking lid allows you to easily transport this slow cooker to a potluck or family gathering. The mini size and oval shape are also perfect for casseroles.

Cons

This is a much smaller model than most popular ones, so it's not suitable for large batches of food.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

57
Models
Considered
105
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for Best mini slow cookers

No kitchen should be without a slow cooker. With this simple appliance, you can create sumptuous soups, stews, and chilis, tender cuts of meat, and other delicious dishes. The biggest plus: you can fill the cooker up in the morning and let it cook all day, resulting in a complete and delicious meal that’s ready to eat the moment you return home.

A regular-size slow cooker can be a bit too much for some households. Enter the mini slow cooker. This is a great alternative for those who want the convenience of a slow cooker with a scaled-back output.

Mini slow cookers are great for singles and couples who don’t need nearly as much chicken cacciatore or beef stroganoff as a larger family. It’s also handy for those who want a compact cooker for side dishes or a way to keep leftovers warm.

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If you are new to slow cooking, look for a product that ships with a robust collection of slow cooker recipes to start you off.

Construction

Any mini slow cooker you consider should be rugged and long-lasting. The exterior should be stainless steel or another other material that resists rust. Note, though, that stainless steel tends to get hotter than some other materials while the cooker is running.

The pot should be attractive enough that you would want to display it in your kitchen or in a party setting. A neutral color like white, while more susceptible to showing stains, would blend well with the majority of kitchen color schemes. If that’s not your style, however, don’t worry; there are enough mini slow cookers on the market that you should be able to find one that matches your decor.

Other primary construction elements to consider include the following.

  • Feet: Many slow cookers have rubber feet that provide extra stability on your counter.

  • Handles: Any handles for carrying should be rugged and attached sturdily to the main housing of the slow cooker. Cool-touch handles are ideal for safety.

  • Lid: Many consumers prefer a see-through lid made of tempered glass. With this type of lid, you can easily keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking.
Expert Tip
You can reduce the amount of cooking liquid by roughly a third when you’re using a slow cooker. Because the lid is sealed so well, water and other liquids don't evaporate. Instead, liquid gathers on the lid and drips back into the pot.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Size

Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, but a “mini” slow cooker may be considered one that holds four quarts or less. Even within this narrow range, you will find a considerable difference in how much food a mini slow cooker can accommodate. Slow cookers with a four-quart capacity generally hold enough food for two to three people. Slow cookers with a 1.5-quart capacity size are much better suited for one or two diners.

How easy is it to clean?

The majority of slow cookers have an exterior shell that holds the electrical elements and an inner chamber made from stoneware, ceramic, or a similar material. Ideally, the inner chamber and lid will be dishwasher safe. The exterior shell should be easy to clean with a simple wipe-down. Note that touchpad controls will be easier to clean than protruding controls like knobs or buttons.

How many cooking levels does it have?

The majority of slow cookers provide a number of cooking levels that may include low, medium, high, and warm options. The more levels a slow cooker has, the more flexibility you’ll enjoy in your preparation of foods. The warm level is particularly useful if you plan to use your slow cooker frequently as a chafing dish.

Cooking levels are usually set via a knob, although you will find some slow cookers with touchpads.

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Expert Tip
Leave the lid alone. Just like cooking in an oven, opening a slow cooker causes heat and moisture loss.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

What other controls does it have?

While the majority of slow cookers are simple in terms of feature sets, you will occasionally find one that offers up a bit more. The primary advanced feature that you might run across is a timer. With a timer, you can set the cooking time for a meal and then walk away and forget it. When the time has expired, the cooker will switch to the warm level to keep your meal heated until you are ready for it.

Some slow cookers also give you the option of cooking rice, steaming vegetables, and engaging in other types of food prep. A slow cooker like this is a lot like an Instant Pot.

Mini slow cooker prices

Mini slow cookers can start out under $20, although the majority run in the $20 to $50 price range. Expect to pay a little more for slow cookers with advanced features and for those that have additional cooking methods built into them.

Tips

  • Don’t lift the lid to peek at your food! If you do, the slow cooker will lose heat, and you will add to your cooking time.

  • Be aware that some mini slow cookers don’t actually cook food; they simply warm it. Double-check which type you are buying so you’re not disappointed later.

  • If you plan on traveling with a full cooker, choose one with clamps or some other fastening system so the lid stays secure during transport.

  • The majority of slow cooker inserts are made of a stoneware or another substance that’s easy to clean — often in a dishwasher. The exterior housing should never be submerged in water, however.

  • Wattage affects how quickly a slow cooker heats up. The more watts it has, the faster it works.

  • Mini slow cooker cords tend to be on the short side. Shop around for one with a longer cord if it is a feature you need. The cooker should also offer an easy way to store the longer cord.

  • Don’t overfill your mini slow cooker. Using the right size for the right recipe will help your food cook evenly.

Expert tip
Slow cookers are great for cooking cheaper cuts of meat like beef brisket, lamb shoulder, or chicken thighs. You can use less meat, and the long cooking time extracts the flavor. Add a few more veggies to make a hearty meal.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert
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Don’t be afraid to experiment. The slow cooking method removes much of the guesswork from cooking, giving you a stress-free way to stretch your culinary muscles.

FAQ

Q. Can slow cookers inserts be used in the oven?

A. In addition to being dishwasher safe, some slow cooker inserts can be used to cook dishes in the oven or to store cooked foods in the refrigerator. Check your manual carefully to learn what you can and cannot do with your slow cooker insert.

Q. How can you tell when meat is done cooking in a slow cooker?

A. Slow cooking is based on the length of time you are cooking something at a specific heat level. For example, a recipe might call for you to cook something for eight hours on low or five hours on high. At the end of the cooking time, your food is done. You can back this up by purchasing a slow cooker that includes a temperature probe, or you can use your own meat thermometer to double-check food temperature.

Q. Can I brown meat in my slow cooker?

A. One area in which slow cookers fall short is the browning of meat. If you want to add color to your meat, there are workarounds, however. You can start meat off under a broiler or in a pan and then transfer it to your slow cooker. If you do use a pan, be sure you deglaze it with wine or stock and add all the meat bits to the slow cooker for added flavor.

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