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Before You Buy Your First Slow Cooker

Updated on January 12, 2015

If you're about to buy your first slow cooker, then now's the time to get organised. Certainly you'll be excited at all these great dishes you can cook for yourself, your family - and even for your freezer, but a lot of people simply don't prepare themselves for their great new gadget to enter their home and enliven their life.

Here are some tips for you about what to do before you buy your first slow cooker - so you can use it the very day you buy it!

I just bought my second slow cooker - I live alone, so have different requirements and needs to families, so I've written some tips for slow cookers for one person, which you can read here: Best Slow Cooker for One Person.

Author's own photo: My first slow cooker.
Author's own photo: My first slow cooker. | Source

Would or Could

Now, focus hard, because this is important. Rather than spending your time eyeing up great looking slow cooker recipes in cookbooks, magazines, or even online, start to be a little bit hard with yourself.

Ask yourself if you WOULD cook that great looking slow cooker dish, or if you just COULD. Differentiating between WOULD and COULD. Gather yourself just 4-5 brilliant recipes to try that you WOULD really make with your slow cooker.

Read the ingredients, check the method. Do you have those herbs/spices already? If the recipe wanders off to use other kitchen equipment, do you have that equipment? Or would trying to replicate it by hand be too much effort? One typical "catch" with many recipes is they show you a great looking browned shepherd's pie - and the recipe tells you to place your dish in the oven for 20 minutes. If that suits you, then that's fine - but for those using a slow cooker as their oven's broken then it might not really fit with your dreams of a slow cooked life!

Make sure you have just a small collection of 4-5 recipes you really WOULD make with it.

Ingredients Gathering

Make sure that the very day you receive, or collect, your slow cooker you're ready to go. Write out the list of ingredients you'll need for those 4-5 "would cook" recipes you identified and go to the shops to make sure you've got them all. It might be that you want to just gather the ingredients for 1-2 dishes at this point, especially if the ingredients are perishable.

But, above all, make sure that the day your slow cooker is welcomed into your home you're ready to cook with it either immediately, or the very next day.

Don't leave it.

You're not making sure that you've got a recipe you WOULD make - and the necessary ingredients.

Many people have great intentions, but their Slow Cooker stays in the box - and you don't want that to happen to you. With just a little forethought beyond the initial purchase you can start making great slow cooker meals immediately, no need to put it off as you can't find a recipe, or don't have the ingredients.

After this - slowly build up your recipe collection for your slow cooker of recipes you WILL make. Dismiss and glide over those great looking dishes that contain 2-3 ingredients you never buy - and get cracking with producing great dishes that suit your existing repertoire and expand upon it, giving you great tasting food consistently, within your own lifestyle!

Author's photo: spices and herbs, storecupboard items.
Author's photo: spices and herbs, storecupboard items. | Source

Those Little Storecupboard Items

If you're trying to follow recipes - and, at first, you will, then it's those little storecupboard items that you might not keep in at present. So read through the recipes you will be making and take time to stock up on the items such as herbs, spices, stock cubes, tomato puree, Worcester sauce and any special salts/vinegars you wish to use.

It'd be a shame to find you're short of 1-2 items the day you get you great new kitchen gadget, so make that list now.

Ready to Go!

And that's it, now you're ready to go. Once your slow cooker's arrived, you can confidently go into your kitchen, knowing what you'll be cooking - and knowing you've bought the ingredients in - rather than simply putting it to one side and thinking "I really must find a recipe for that", or "Ah, I had intended to make XYZ, but haven't got ....."

I hope you enjoy using your slow cooker, remember to keep it easy at first so it's not a chore to just drop food into the bowl and walk away for 6-8 hours! You can always be a little more adventurous once it's become part of your everyday life.


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    • earner profile image

      Dedicated Content Curator 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes caseymel - what's not often mentioned is that a slow cooked meal that takes, say, 6-8 hours throughout the day, can also be achieved in 3-4 hours by using just the HIGH setting. The High setting will cook the dish in half the time the Low setting takes.

    • caseymel profile image

      caseymel 3 years ago from Indiana

      I love my slow cooker! I use it once a week on the day my kids have after school activities and I have no time to cook. It's so nice to come home to a healthy meal that is ready to eat.

    • Vivenda profile image

      Vivenda 3 years ago from UK (South Coast)

      This is very good advice! We once bought a halogen oven on impulse and never really got into using it. We gave it to our daughter and - guess what? - she's never used it either!

    • HR-Partner profile image

      Christine de Caux 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love my slow cooker - I bought a very basic one from Morphy Richards a few years ago. It is great for cooking meat, reatining all the flavour in things like goulasch and casseroles. I even "roast" a small chicken in mine.

      It is also great for ratatouille and other vegetable stews. I agree that it is a good idea to look at some recipes and then you will get an idea of just how versatile it is