Outgrown my slow cooker, buy a new one or go with out?

loves2cook4sixMarch 6, 2013

Two kids are now off to college so I find myself cooking smaller portions. My 6 qt slow cooker is just too big for us for most things.

Right now I have a triple recipe of a chicken enchilada soup in there, of which 3/4 will end up in the freezer but for the most part I'm cooking just 4 chicken breasts, etc.

Do you think it's worth getting a smaller one or just using an LC DO in the oven? If I get a smaller one, the bigger one has to go. No room for both.

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I do not have a large or small one, and so I would recommend using the Dutch oven in your oven, unless your oven is especially inefficient. If you are tight for space, it might help to get rid of the large cooker. I would do this by first storing it in the garage for a couple of months to see if you really need it. Personally, I would love to get rid of something large in my kitchen to make more space. You might find that the space is more helpful to you in the long run.

Lars (I've been on the Organizing the home forum too much lately)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:59PM
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I think it depends on how much you use the big one. If you have a lot of favorite meals that you make in the crockpot, or you use it a lot while you are out of the house, then I'd say replace it with a small one, I got one at Meijer for $16.95 and it works fine. CrockPot brand, but I use my 6 quart Nesco roaster a lot more.

If you don't use the crockpot very much, I'd say don't bother to replace it, get something else that you would use more often to take up that premium kitchen space.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Can't you use the induction cooktop for some slow cooking? I'm still learning.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:48PM
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What?!? There's an organizing Forum now. Whoot!!!! Off to check it out.

Cathy, induction wouldn't work for slow cooking IMO because there is no surround heat, just from the bottom. Fine for soup, but not for a roast, I think.

I used to use my slow cooker a few times a week, now it's a couple times a month.

Anyone have any ideas on how to convert recipes from slow cooker to oven and I'll give it a go before actually giving away the one I have.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:55PM
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I love a slow cooker, but use it only once maybe twice a month. I sure wouldn't get rid of it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Hi Neighbor!

I don't have a crockpot but at times, I have wanted one. I use pots on the cooktop or in the oven.

I used a cast iron dutch oven tonite for a chuck roast, pot roasted on top of my induction cooktop. Worked beautifully. Browned (without browning), reduced, tender, tasty. The metal sides (iron)of the pot do transmit heat to the food, even if the air around the pot is not heated. And the heat from the bottom cooks everything, too.

I broke rules. I crowded about 4 lbs of boneless, trimmed meat into a 2.75 or 3 quart dutch oven. I needed to use a can of sloppy joe manwich, so I did and it was great. No onions, no celery, no carrots, no flour, no nothing. I took a chance and it worked. (I bought the can for dd to use, but she didn't , so I did.)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:12PM
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I do have 3 crockpots all different sizes and use them all. I got the latest one at a thrift store just to see if I would use that size so I'm not out much $--just storage space.

I can't believe two are in college!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 3:53AM
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Cathy - yes, you can use induction in place of a slow cooker. We never use our crockpot any more. Induction gives a very gentle even heat on any of the hobs, and it has a timer to turn the heat off if you're as forgetful as I am. You may have crockpots to add to your "pots needing a good home" thread.

Induction also does a better job of cooking rice than most rice cookers. Do you have a rice cooker about to become obsolete? Or a double boiler?


    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:06AM
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I also use my induction and LC as a slow cooker. No need for a crock pot. Also, my oven has a "slow cooker" setting but I tend to cook things like pot roast stovetop now since getting the induction.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Keep your larger SC and use it for gatherings and holiday meals. It come in very handy then!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:58PM
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I bought a mid sized one for my Mom and she loves it. I think it is a 3 qt. It seems the larger ones were too big and the small ones, what can you even get in there???

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:48PM
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The only thing I use my slow cooker for anymore is tapioca pudding. But, I think a lot of people use them to hold mashed potatoes for holiday meals. I've not tried that trick yet as I use an insulated bowl to hold the mash. But the slow cooker allows you to make them farther in advance than the insulated bowl does. Anyways, even with limited use, I'm not going to give up my crock pot. Mine is one of the old original ones and I even have a back up one down in the basement since I've read so many complaints about the newer ones.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:30PM
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I find most crockpot recipes can be adapted to being made on top of the range--usually in an hour or less. And I can rework many of them to be done in under half an hour. Just doesn't make sense to me to have a slow cooker--waste of energy to have a heat-producing appliance running for hours, cooking all the nutrients out of the food.

So guess you know my answer--none needed, large or small.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I have one too (which needs to go) as I never use it. I'm with LTC46 - there's an organizing forum? Hope there is a beginners section there (this girl needs help!). After all these years you'd think I'd explore a bit more - probably just too unorganized.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Yup, there is a Home Organizing Forum, it's my fav next to the CF.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I have a sm and a med and I need a larger one. There are only the 2 of us, but I like to cook once and have leftovers. There are also days when we know we'll be out all day and it's great to come home to a meal all ready for us...esp if we're out with friends and want to bring them back home for a supper. I also like to use it when I have company like a patio party where I can plug it in outside and forget it or when I have a dinner party and want to spend more time with the guests than with the food....I use the little one for desserts like bread pudding and rice pudding or for hot appetizers at a cocktail party. GF uses hers during big holiday meals...she'll do the ham in her crock pot to save room in her oven for other things....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I had never had or wanted a crock pot or small roaster. But a couple of years ago I bought one of the new crock pots. Used it maybe two or three times. It worked okay. Did the job. And then I found a good sale on a Nesco 6 litre roaster and because of the wonderful reviews here I bought it.

Again , I've used it maybe 4 or 5 times. It works great, BUT, it is just as easy for me to put a roast or something that I want to slow cook into a cast iron dutch oven and slow roast in the oven.

I thought that I would use it more on the days that I worked. But it hasn't worked out that way.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:31AM
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One thing handy about the slow cooker and Nesco's is that you can leave them outside all day cooking under a covered patio and reduce the heat build up in your house during the summer saving a bit on a/c. THey use a lot less power too than a slow oven.

This post was edited by pkguy on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 0:24

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:23AM
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As I've related before, I threw out my Crock pots after using the Nescos a while. There was no contest. For a one or two person household it's much more practical, not just for slow cooking (since I still like to simmer something on the stove or in the oven occasionally) but for the functionality of the oven ability. Do you really want to heat up that however many cubic foot oven to bake a couple potatoes, maybe roast a few veggies for a couple people or bake a single loaf of banana bread? I don't (very often). I tried toaster ovens too and they went out the door after one use.

The other appliance that used to get a lot of use around here was the electric frypan.

But yes, the Dutch Oven's sides will definitely heat up. Touch it sometime. It gets hot. Actually, many (if not most) slow cookers heat from the bottom and it's the crock that brings the heat up the side.

But if it's slow cooker or (dedicated) slow cooker, I'd say skip it or keep what you have and see if you use it at holidays or something. I just don't like one-trick ponies unless they do their job extraordinarily well like my can opener or toaster. If it's a choice between slow cooker or a Nesco, no doubt in my mind. I use my oven far less since having them. Turkey breast, pot roast, baking potatoes, baking bread, making garlic bread, any of the smaller portions of anything that would go in an oven. There's other things I can live without if space is at that much of a premium. But your situation could be different.

This post was edited by cynic on Thu, Mar 14, 13 at 17:20

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I had a slow cooker, which DH took to the barn and began using for cleaning small engines. Honestly, I never missed it. However, I started investigating sous vide cooking very recently, and several people here mentioned that one way to set up your own sous vide apparatus is with a crockpot paired with, say, an Auber Instruments element and sensor. If you are thinking about that, you may want to search for the sous vide threads. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:11PM
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NOt at all interested in sous vide, and I seldom use the crockpot, but I use the Nesco a lot.

As cynic mentioned, I can put it outside on the deck in the summer when it's 90F or so (I don't have air conditioning), when I wouldn't even consider turning on an oven.

And, like cynic, my gas oven is going to use a lot of expensive fuel in 5 hours, it's much cheaper to run a Crockpot or Nesco.

I've had a couple of house fires and just cannot leave my gas oven on when I leave the house. A couple of weeks ago I had some drain work done outside and the gas company came to make the lines. The worker was telling me how old the gas lines were and how they'd had leaks and explosions because no one could even find the old lines. In addition, a couple of houses in this county have actually blown up from gas ovens left on low, so if I'm gone all day, it's the Crockpot, which makes a pot of beans or split pea soup while I'm out fixing fence or whatever. Elery assures me that there is much greater chance of having a breaker blow from the Crockpot than having a fire or explosion.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:02PM
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