How to Meal Prep: The Best Slow Cookers for the Job
When it comes to how to meal prep, the best slow cookers can help make your life just a little bit easier. Every kitchen gadget seems to have a million iterations available on the market, so we've taken the time to sift through the slow cooker options for you. Check out our choices below for the perfect match for anyone's meal management system.
Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Digital Slow Cooker
Did you even know that Crock-Pot is a brand, like Kleenex, that has lent the name to an entire industry of products? This version, the Cook & Carry Digital Slow Cooker, is easily one of the best slow cookers, boasting all the basics you need to cook well and a little extra, to boot.
- Easy-to-use heating modes.
- Glass lid with lid locks.
- Cord wrap.
This one offers the low-maintenance cooking people expect of slow cookers. It's also conveniently portable (good for traveling fit) with a lid and stoneware that are dishwasher-safe.
The biggest mark against this one is that for some, the warming feature keeps food too hot.
KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Solid Glass Lid
Another one of the best slow cookers comes from well-known brand KitchenAid. The KitchenAid 6-Quart Slow Cooker with Solid Glass Lid, recommended as a top choice by Cooks Magazine, offers a great option for how to meal prep.
- Four settings, including a â€˜keep warm' setting that lasts up to 4 hours after the timer goes off.
- Digital, 24-hour programmability.
The size of this slow cooker accommodates the large amount of cooking you may need for a whole week's worth of meals. (In fact, 6-quarts in general is ideal for the best slow cookers, as the more size is better when it comes to this kitchen appliance.)
Some people have noted problems with the insert, but you can easily purchase replacements. And, if you're not making extensive slow cooker meals all the time, you may not need to replace it as often.
Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
The Hamilton Beach Set 'n' Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is an affordable option for best slow cookers, while still containing plenty of excellent features. As the name suggests, you simply â€œset â€˜n' forget"!
- LED programmable display.
- Auto-warm feature.
- Clip-tight gasket lid. (Great for traveling fit!)
The temperature probe mode cooks the food until it is at a specific temperature, which is great for cooking meat. This temperature is also displayed digitally so you can get a reading while the food is cooking.
Some customers have had problems with the slow cooker shutting off seemingly at random. Others have described an unusual smell that comes from the rubber gasket.
Ninja Cooking System
The Ninja Cooking System packs quite the punch in terms of best slow cookers for how to meal prep. If you consider yourself an amateur chef and have the time and counter space, this is one of the best slow cookers to consider.
- Prepares meals 30% faster.
- Extra cooking modes, such as steam infused roasting.
- The ability to sear and bake in the pot over its own heating element.
The unique cooking functions are a bonus for creative home chefs, and it performs well as a multifunctional gadget that could even supplant your oven and stove, to a smaller degree.
If you need to travel fit with your slow cooker, the Ninja is probably not your best choice. It's also the most expensive, and not exactly low maintenance.
Once you've made your choice among the best slow cookers, it's important to be safe when using it in how to meal prep.
Stay informed with our slow cooker safety tips:
- Store meat and vegetables separately in the refrigerator, and always thaw meat before cooking in slow cookers.
- Make sure the amount of food matches the slow cooker's capacity. (Instruct the manual for specifics.)
- Don't put a cold insert into a preheated slow cooker. They should heat up together.
- If the power goes out while you're away, get rid of the food. It might look done but it's not.
- Be mindful of temperature differences, as they can lead to cracks. For example, a hot stoneware pot should not go immediately into a cold refrigerator.
- Don't reheat leftovers in a slow cooker. Use the stove or microwave instead.
Check out our recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chops here, and for even more awesome slow cooker recipes, dive into the healthy crock-pot recipe database at Bodybuilding.com. For another take on slow cooper recipes, check out this Lifehacker guide to making almost any recipe work in a slow cooker!
Get inspired to up your how to meal prep game with the best slow cookers out there. Whether you roll with a gym backpack, sports duffle bag, or gym tote, we know how important meal prep is to you. Find out more in our How to Meal Prep series, and don't forget to check out a new recipe every Sunday in Meal Prep Sundays!