I LOVE my slow cooker! It makes preparing healthy meals so easy that I have no excuse for not eating properly. I just toss in the ingredients in the morning, turn on the cooker, and then come home from work to a great-tasting, healthy meal. Even the recipes are super-easy to follow, as you can see for yourself on my slow cooker recipe page.
Of course, to make these slow cooker recipes, you need to have a slow cooker. Not got one? No problem? Just check out my article Best slow cooker for you before you buy one. In it, I talk about everything you need to consider before parting with your money.
Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, from very small to batch-tub huge! Many people think bigger is better, or figure that because they mostly make meals for one person, smaller is best. However, neither of these opinions is necessarily true.
1) Batch cooking
If you want to batch cook meals for later in the week, I suggest you buy a bigger slow cooker – say four or even six quarts. This means you’ll be able to make four or more servings of your meal, freezing the unused portions for another time. This is a good way to save time, and always have healthy food available to eat.
I do this almost every Sunday – I make a big stew or similar, eat one portion Sunday night, and then save the rest for later in the week. Then, as I go to work, I defrost the meal so that, when I get home, it’s ready to warm up and eat in minutes.
2) Big families
If you live alone, or with just one other person, you probably won’t need a huge slow cooker, and two to four-quart size will probably be okay. You won’t be able to batch cook so effectively, but you’ll still have leftovers that you can freeze to make another meal.
But, if you have a big family, a large six-quart slow cooker makes preparing meals really easy. You can even serve the meal straight from the pot.
3) Making small quantities
You cannot effectively cook small meals in big slow cookers. The ingredients will be spread too thin, and that could mean they overcook, or even burn. I’ve done this myself, and it leads to an unpleasant, even inedible meal.
If you anticipate making small, single-serving meals, you’ll need a small slow cooker, maybe as small as two quarts. But, if you want small portions and only have a big slow cooker, you could just eat what you need, and freeze the rest for another time – simple!
4) Cooking for friends
I often use my slow cooker for cooking for my friends. For this reason, I prefer a larger model. That way, I can start cooking the meal hours before my friends arrive, and don’t need to spend the day in the kitchen. Instead, I can be a good host, and spend my time with my friends. Sometimes, I even cook a meal at home, and then take it to my friend’s house.
If you anticipate cooking for larger groups of people, a large slow cooker is your best choice.
Smaller slow cookers are generally cheaper than big slow cookers. If you are working to a tight budget, small may be best. But, when you buy and use a bigger slow cooker, you can batch-cook your meals, which may save you money in the long-term.
Deciding what size slow cooker to buy can be tough, but that’s why I discuss this in my buying guide Find the best slow cooker for you. Once you have the right slow cooker for you, you have the perfect kitchen helper for making effortless, healthy meals. I know that, once you start using a slow cooker, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!