Help! Which slow cooker should I buy to cook healthy meals?
Here at the Healthy Mummy we LOVE slow cooking. You can take something simple and create an amazing meal for the whole family.
By popping everything in the slow cooker in the morning, you can come home to a delicious home cooked meal without much effort at all.
You can even use it for your breakfast!
Why invest in a slow cooker?
Slow cookers are perfect on those days when everyone has different activities too – for instance if you had some Chilli con Carne in there on the ‘keep warm’ setting, everyone could just help themselves as they get home.
You can use cheaper cuts of meat as they really benefit from the low, slow cooking process (like drumsticks for this Taiwanese Chicken).
It’s also perfect for a roast dinner (like this Lamb Roast) or for making pulled pork.
If you are in the market to buy a slow cooker, we’ve done the hard work for you and asked some of our Healthy Mummy members which ones they have.
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all the slow cooker that are available, just a snapshot of which ones some of our Healthy Mummy members have.
The main things to consider when buying a slow cooker are:
- Timer. Do you want a timer so that you can set it and then it will automatically switch to ‘keep warm’ when done?
- Do you want a digital display or a manual switch?
- What capacity will you need. For instance, for large legs of lamb you will need a larger one compared to cooking for one or two people?
- Do you want to be able to sear the meat in the slow cooker or are you happy to do this in a separate pan?
- How much are you willing to pay, as there are great options available at the lower end of the scale too?
Lee is the food editor at the Healthy Mummy. “I’ve got a Sunbeam HP5590 slow cooker, it was $55 from Target. It great because it’s nice and big, easy to clean and works like a dream.
“For some reason the display on mine doesn’t work all that well, and you can’t set the timer for any longer than 12 hours (I would cook chicken stock longer than that), but other than that I love it and would buy again. My old one didn’t have a timer so this is great.
“I love cooking the lasagne soup in mine, and then eating it for lunch for the week. I also pop my Bolognese in there after I’ve finished the initial cooking on the stove, so that it can bubble away all day and be ready for dinner. My kids also love the Porcupine Meatballs.”
Melanie has the Adesso slow cooker, which is available for $39 from Woolworths.
It has a dishwasher-safe insert, making cleaning super easy. Not many other slow cookers mention that as being a feature of their product, which we think gives the Adesso the edge.
Melanie says, “This slow cooker from Woolies has lasted me 10 years without a hitch, and everything always cooks perfectly.”
- Pros: good price, dishwasher safe.
- Cons: none to report.
- Melanie’s favourite recipe: Beef with Sweet Potato and Peanuts (recipe available to members of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge).
Trins has a Kambrook KSC120 slow cooker, available from the Good Guys For $59.95. “We have had it for 8 years, it was given to us as a wedding present.
“I love making curries, stews and am currently making the slow cooker ragu. I love that it has warm, low and high choices but I don’t like that warm is after high on the button cause it confuses people.”
Bec has a Kambrook too. Bec has a great idea for utilising your slow cooker while you get on with other tasks in the kitchen.
“I make my chicken stock in the slow cooker while I meal prep – I throw in chicken bones and left over veg scraps and ends as I go while meal prepping.” What a brilliant idea!
Tamara is another happy Kambrook owner. Hers has a digital timer though as opposed to the standard slow cooker.
Her favourite dishes to prepare include “pasta sauce, chilli, lemon and rosemary roast chicken, roast beef and veggies, pork chops and veggies.
“I love that I can prep everything, drop it all in and it cooks all day ready with a minimum of fuss after a busy or lazy day!”
Naomi has a Breville BSC500 slow cooker. “It’s almost eight years old and still going strong! It was an engagement present.’ You can buy one from Appliances Online for $99.
She loves the size of it, “I can make meals for our family of four with leftovers to spare. It fits a small leg of lamb or a whole chicken easily and the two heat settings mean I can either slow cook or reallllly slow cook.”
As for anything that could make it even better – “a timer would be an awesome addition.”
Pros: nice and big for cooking large roasts.
Cons: no timer means you have to be home to switch it off.
Naomi’s favourite recipe: the Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala (recipe available to members of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge).
Sunbeam Secret Chef
The Rolls Royce of the slow cooker world (RRP $169 from the Sunbeam website).
Mandie says that she has a few appliances but “my favourite is my Sunbeam Secret Chef as it has a keep warm function and a digital timer, plus the insert is a light metal material so not too heavy to lift out.”
Despite the fact that it can brown the meat in the pot (so you don’t have to brown the mince or drumsticks in a frying pan first) Mandie actually doesn’t like or use this feature.
She says, “I dislike the sear feature as it keeps the slow cooker too hot, so it cooks extra hot and can burn the bottom of the dish.”
Mandie says she has too many Healthy Mummy slow cooker recipes to choose a favourite, but she is partial to making the Devilled Sausages.
- Pros: digital timer and keep warm function.
- Cons: sear function leaves the insert too hot to slow cook after.
- Mandie’s favourite recipe: Devilled Sausages.
She leaves out the apple for the slow cooker version, and throws in more veggies and potatoes. Simply follow the instructions in the recipe above and then pop everything in the slow cooker after cooking the onions.
Get more delicious slow cooker recipes on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a family-friendly, affordable and customisable program designed to help mums reach their weight loss goals and tackle their health.
Our Challenge includes:
- 28 days of at-home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and family-friendly and breastfeeding-friendly meal plans
- Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes!
To find out more on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge click here.