My vote for world’s best crock pot

By Mir
August 3, 2011

I own several crock pots. As in: four. Yes, I own four crock pots, and don’t judge me, because when you’re juggling Thanksgiving dinner on the racks of your oven, I’m enjoying a glass of wine while surrounded by crocks. It works. (Also, I keep one in our camper. And the Little Dipper doesn’t even really count. And why are we arguing about this?)

Last year I threw a “party like it’s 1970” party for my husband’s landmark birthday, and that, of course, meant that I made every crock pot-able food I could think of. It also meant that I ran out of crock pots. So I borrowed one from a friend to supplement mine. It was the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n’ Forget Programmable slow cooker, and I loved it so much, I immediately began talking about buying one for myself after I had to return my friend’s. (In my defense, I only had three crocks, back then.) I was lucky enough to receive it for Christmas and have been singing its praises ever since.

If you only buy one crock pot, this is the one to buy (and at $38, it’s currently at its lowest price on Amazon in a year). It heats consistently, is programmable for whatever considerations you may have (like, if you need to throw food in it in the morning and then be out at work all day, you can program it to switch to “warm” after 8 hours rather than cooking your meal into mush), and the fancy little probe thermometer is just the icing on the cake. Also, the fact that you can clamp the lid shut means this is the crock you’ll take with you to potlucks, and it’ll never slosh food onto the floor of your car, no matter how many sharp corners you take.

Yes, I just raved about a crock pot for three paragraphs. This is not the glamorous life I once pictured for myself, but on the other hand, I make a mean crock of chili, so there’s that.


  1. I’ve had this crock pot for almost two years now and I love it! I use it at least once a week.

  2. Love the locking lid! Can we have your chili recipe, Mir?

  3. Love, love, love this crock pot. Perfect for carrying meals out–it has latches that keep the lid from flying off (and the mean chili slopping all over the floor mats) as it travels.

  4. You’re gluten-free right? I assume you know about Stephanie O’Dea’s crockpot cookbooks and website?

  5. I got it! I got it! thank you! I’ve been wanting a crockpot but was overwhelmed with the choices. A rec is always welcome.

  6. I don’t want to hijack the thread … but I’ve been wanting to begin crock-pot cooking this fall, not EVER having done it before. I just followed the link and bought this one. But now I do need to know what to cook (and how). Any recommendations of crock-pot cookbooks, especially ones for easy dishes and/or ones that kids will eat?

  7. I have five, if you count the little dipper. But when my daughter moves away (which will be soon, sniff, sob) she’ll take her 2 quart with her. Since we’ll be Empty Nesters, I might need to buy a 2 qt. size for myself.

  8. Heidi, not a hijack at all! Remember the giveaway a couple of week’s ago for Stephanie O’Dea’s latest book? She has two fantastic crock pot cookbooks available, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow. Many of her recipes can also be found on her blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.

    One of the things I love about Steph’s approach is that many people think crocks = soups/stews/roasts, and while they do a wonderful job with those foods, they can cook so much more than that! Don’t wait until winter to use your crock; I use mine all summer long to avoid heating the house up, and I use it on everything from meatballs to fish to breakfast casserole. A well-loved crock pot is a thing of beauty. 😉

  9. Thanks Mir!
    Love stephanie’s books!!! and site!
    LOVE my crock pot! Love the one i got on her recommendation,
    the cuisinart 4 qt, but didn’t want to stomach the cost of a bigger
    cuisinart but really want a bigger one to replace my 20 year old one,,,
    SO BINGO! happy back to school!
    love you mir!!!!

  10. I have this slow cooker and ADORE it. I thanked my husband for breaking the stoneware of my last one after I got – and fell in love with – this one. I have three crocks. THEY ROCK.

  11. Is this a worthwhile investment for vegetarians?

  12. WHAT am I doing buying a crockpot at almost midnight!? All on your recommendation. 🙂 Okay, I’ll have – will use and enjoy my (now 2) crockpots. I love the program capabilities of this one, the lock-down lid, AND that you said you would share your chili recipe. 😉 (kidding!)

    I am seriously down-sizing/simplifying life — this will help in so many ways.

  13. I have this one too and it is WAY better than my old one! Though I still keep the old one around for occasional double-crock-use. 🙂

  14. I need a SMALL programmable crock pot. There are three of us, and the 6 quart is too big. When will they make one!?

  15. I just 2 days ago (when I did my 1st whole chicken in the crock – delicious and it didn’t heat up the whole house!) I told my husband I wanted a programmable crock pot. We have the one we got when we got married 11 years ago but since we both work it doesn’t get much use. Sometimes I’ll run home at lunch to turn it on (like I did on Tuesday), but a programmable one is what we need.

  16. Very tempting…I have a slow cooker and it has two settings–low and high, just like they did back in 1970! No locking lid, no programmability. I’m sold!

  17. …and now I own two crock pots! 🙂 Thanks for the great review and heads up on the deal, Mir.

  18. OK so my question with these programmable pots is can you dump the contents of your dinner in before work in the morning and set it to start cooking three hours later (doesn’t the food spoil?) or do you just dump the ingredients in and start cooking right away and then have it warm for three hours ’til dinner (doesn’t the food get nasty sitting and waiting all that time?).

    How does this work? I want to buy one but I’m just not sure.

  19. Courtney: I would set it to cook right away, switch to warm later. It doesn’t get “nasty” on the warm setting, I promise. 🙂

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