A Simple Yet Fabulous Slow Cooker [Product Review]

The Best Simple Slow Cooker Tested and Reviewed

The Stay or Go slow cooker is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances that makes mealtime quick and easy whether it’s breakfast, dinner, or dessert.

When I got married, over ten years ago, we were gifted many wonderful kitchen gadgets, utensils, and appliances. One appliance that gets the most use in our kitchen is our slow cooker.

The slow cooker we have is a simple model, but it’s been used often over the past 12 years and has consistently amazed us with its durability and reliability. Whether we’re cooking hearty stews, tender roasts, or comforting soups, this trusty appliance never fails to deliver mouthwatering results. Its convenient size and user-friendly interface make it a breeze to use, and its timeless design ensures that it seamlessly fits into any kitchen decor.

What sets this slow cooker apart from the rest is its consistent performance and longevity. Despite countless hours of use, it shows no signs of wear and tear, surpassing our expectations time and time again. Its robust construction and high-quality materials make it a true workhorse in the kitchen, capable of withstanding even the toughest culinary challenges.

This slow cooker has truly been a game-changer in our kitchen. Its exceptional performance, durability, versatility, and ease of use have made it the best slow cooker we’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, this appliance is sure to become an essential tool in your culinary adventures.

Originally Published On: February 1, 2018

Last Updated On: September 19, 2023

Why a Slow Cooker is Useful

When you can’t all eat together, everyone gets a warm meal

I often use my slow cooker when I know we will have a busy evening and may not have the chance to all sit down for dinner together since we can each get our meal when we are ready. We are all part of Cub Scouts, the boys have after-school clubs, and Justin often has meetings on the same days so dinner can be a little tricky.

You have more time in the morning to prepare dinner than you will in the evening

Those evenings that you know are going to be crazy are perfect days for a slow cooker meal. You can prep it all in the morning, set the slow cooker, and have a nice warm meal ready in the evening. I’ve also gotten most things ready the night before and put it all in a container in the refrigerator. In the morning, set up your crock pot, put everything in, and go! The only thing you have to do ahead of time is brown meat that will go in there. Even at high heat, it won’t cook enough and food safety is important, you don’t want to get everyone sick!

Make meats more tender

If you have some meats that are the less-expensive cuts that aren’t high quality, you can cook them in a slow cooker, and they will be nice and tender when you are done because of the slow low heat cooking.

Use less heat and electricity

A slow cooker is perfect for making those warm, hearty soups in the winter, but also works great in the summer for keeping the temperature in the house down since they don’t use nearly as much heat or electricity as the oven. There are many delicious meals you can make that are perfect for the summertime, especially appetizers and dips. 

Which Slow Cooker is Best?

So which cooker is the best to use? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. I prefer the simple models because they seem to last longer since there is less to go wrong with them. We have the Hamilton Beach 6 Quart Stay or Go Slow Cooker and it is perfect for our family.

We have the Hamilton Beach model called the Stay or Go. It’s perfect because it’s simple without a ton of extra features and digital controls. Just a simple knob to turn it on and off. Of course, you can look for programmable models, the Instant Pot Duo, and ones with an LCD display, but that opens you up to more troubles in the future if something goes wrong. This is perfect to use as a simple crock pot in manual mode at the right price point. 

Simple to Use

Just put everything in, set it for the temperature you need, and put the lid on. The cooker has three heat settings: high setting for quick cooking, low setting for true slow cooking, and a keep-warm setting to keep cooked foods warm without overcooking. Without a crazy control panel, you have limited options, but that keeps things simple and easy. 

There are three basic temperature settings. You can go from low and slow simmering to rapid and intense simmering. This appliance allows us to prepare a wide range of dishes with ease. Its generous capacity also makes it ideal for cooking large meals for gatherings or meal prep for the week.

Easy to Clean

The inner stoneware comes out to clean separately from the base with the heating element. I typically let the inner pot soak while cleaning any other dishes from dinner, then scrub it out. As long as it soaks for a little bit, you will have an easy cleanup. For really stubborn food, I will leave the ceramic insert soaking overnight and clean it out in the morning. 

Seals

Clips seal the glass lid so you can take it to a potluck party without worrying about it spilling on the way. It makes for easy transport if you are on your way to family gatherings, potlucks, holiday meals, etc. I once made my spiked hot apple cider in it and brought it to a party without any spills in the vehicle. 

Great Size

6 quarts is a large capacity, enough to make most soups and chilis, a 6-pound whole chicken, or a 4-pound pot roast with vegetables. You could even cook for large families with this as we always have leftovers for our family of four. 

Its compact and lightweight design also means that it’s easy to store when not in use, making it an excellent addition to any kitchen with limited counter space.

Carrying Handles

Also great for when you are taking this somewhere so you can carry it easily. When I do my food photography, if I am working on a crock pot recipe, there are times I move it back and forth around my kitchen. Having handles makes that easy for me. And the handles don’t get hot, maybe slightly warm after it’s been on all day long. 

Dishwasher Safe

The lid and inner stoneware can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The outer piece with the power cord and heating element can not be submerged. Mine doesn’t get dirty often, though, and can usually be wiped with a warm wet cloth. 

Looks Nice

With the stainless steel exterior and black accents, the slow cooker looks nice when it’s out on the counter. Most of the time, I store mine in a cabinet, but in the winter we use it so often that I sometimes will leave it out. The colors match the rest of the appliances in my kitchen, including my air fryer, so it doesn’t look out of place. 

Added Bonus for Parents

If you use the clips on the locking lid while you are cooking, there is less worry about a curious child pulling at the cooker and having the lid and the hot contents spill out onto them. Of course, it will still be heavy if it falls, but most, if not all, of the hot food will stay inside as long as the lid is clipped on. Even with my boys being 8 and 10, I still clip it closed when in use. 

​Best Value

Since this is a basic cooker, the price point is low on it. It’s a perfect cooker to get started or for most families. Sometimes, the simple models are the best. My parents have an old slow cooker that still works that I believe is older than me!

Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow cookers can be used in a variety of ways. From meals that you build right in the crockpot. To meals that require a bit of prep work. To dump-and-cook freezer meals. But remember, it can be used for more than just dinners. There are recipes for breakfasts, desserts, drinks, gravy, and so many other delicious recipes.

View all of my Slow Cooker Recipes HERE.

Okay yes, I did just watch that episode of This is Us, but my slow cookers/crock pots do not have a faulty switch. And besides, I don’t like to run it if I’m not home, and I always unplug it as soon as it’s done! Just figured I should throw out a few safety tips because we all know about #thisisus and the problem it caused!

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28 thoughts on “The Best Simple Slow Cooker Tested and Reviewed”

  1. theclutterboxblog

    I love your first one about everyone getting a warm meal. That is seriously so important to me when I have people in my house! I really need to get a slow cooker!

  2. I always wondered how a slow cooker worked and now I know! They sound like a great idea and I like how many different dishes you can make in it.

  3. I love our slow cooker! I love going for a walk up the mountain with the dogs with the slow cooker on and then coming in to the delicious smell of the food cooking, it’s like someone’s been in the kitching conjuring up something so good.

  4. My friends Frank and Polly absolutely adore their slow cooker!! The things they make sound and look incredible! I’m hoping they’ll cook something for me with it at some point!

  5. My mom loves cooking in slow cookers… The flavorful aroma just fills the house and entices you! We have a big slow cooker at the moment and looking into getting her a more conveniently sized one and this looks perfect!

  6. My slow cooker is my life. <3 There are so many days that I get to come home to a fully cooked yummy meal that I didn't have to slave over and it's the best. My next one will definitely have a clip on lid for potlucks though!

  7. Slow cookers are definitely an amazing way to cook. I know that for me it takes the stress off of cooking a meal at the end of the day. This cooker looks amazing.

  8. This is the best slow cooker you can buy. And thanks for the recipes too! I’ve been looking for some.

  9. Slow cookers have really stepped it up when it comes to special features. I love this slow cooker’s features!

  10. I’ve had a few slow cookers over the years. My latest one had a cute Mickey Mouse print on it but the handle would pop off every time it got hot. So… I got rid of it and haven’t replaced it yet. I miss it.

  11. I absolutely love slow cookers. They make it so much easier and take away a lot of the stress of cooking. I do have to get a new one though soon, I’ll have to put one on my wishlist!

  12. Bedabrata Chakraborty

    Honestly I was not aware of the slow cooker. I am huge on pot meals and not a big fan of elaborate cooking. I am surely going to invest in one of these. Thanks for providing the sources. Quick question – does red meat cook well in slow cookers?

  13. Jennifer Prince

    Ha! My crockpot is something I’ve had forever. I need to check what brand it is, now that you mention it. It’s almost the season to start making soups and such in my crockpot. Yum!

  14. This Stay or Go slow cooker is indeed a kitchen powerhouse! I’ve had mine for three years now, and it’s a game-changer. From savory stews to mouthwatering roasts, it delivers consistent, reliable results.

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