Crock-Pot Has Been Making Weeknight Dinners Easy Since 1971, and Its Latest Launch Makes Them Even Easier

What first attracted me to cooking was the precise rituals that are a key part of the process. Whether it’s setting up my mise en place with all my ingredients arranged in tidy bowls or meticulously chopping vegetables into even pieces, cooking has always felt a bit like meditation. This is why, I think, I never got a slow cooker. An appliance that did all the work for me felt like using a cheat code, and even the idea of it completely eliminated all the work that made cooking feel so triumphant and satisfying.

But as I got older and busier, and both family life and career became more demanding, I started to wonder if a shortcut or two in the kitchen might actually help ease some of the stress in my life. So when I saw that Crock-Pot, the brand synonymous with slow cookers, launched a sleek cream-colored slow cooker with a sous vide function, I knew I had to try it. The brand was kind enough to send it to me, and after using it for a couple of weeks, I’m glad I waited for this slow cooker to come out. Oh, and it’s on sale, too.

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At first glance, it might seem surprising that a stalwart brand like Crock-Pot, which has been doing the same thing since it launched in 1971, would introduce a sous vide feature. However, it actually makes a ton of sense when you think about it. Sous vide, a cooking method that only seems to be deployed by experienced chefs, is not as complicated as it seems: It just involves sealing meat or fish in bags and cooking them at low temperatures over several hours in order to achieve a tender texture without using oil or butter — and it’s perfectly suited to a slow cooker. The ceramic pot it comes with can be filled with water, and the appliance itself is designed to cook everything low and slow anyway.

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The Crock-Pot sous vide slow cooker comes in both 6-quart and 7-quart sizes, and two colors, stainless steel and oat milk — a cream-colored neutral that is surprisingly stylish for a slow cooker, which always seemed a bit old-fashioned to me. The 6-quart size is quite large, weighing 12 pounds and measuring 17.50 by 11.37 by 9.13 inches, so I can’t deny that it was tricky to find a large enough storage space for it (I eventually rearranged the contents of a cabinet under the oven to make enough room for it) and when it’s on the kitchen counter, there isn’t room for much else. However, the amount of space that it takes up is a worthy trade-off for how much easier it makes my life.

Effortless Settings for Stress-Free Cooking

There are just three settings: sous vide, slow cook, and keep warm. Once you pick your setting, just set the temperature and the cook time — most slow cooker recipes will specify both of those for you, so there is very little guesswork involved. The front panel with the controls doesn’t take any flipping anxiously through a user’s manual to interpret.

I used the Crock-Pot straight out of the box to slow cook thawed chicken breasts with sun-dried tomatoes in a garlicky cream sauce. The slow cooker feature worked as expected: I was so pleasantly surprised by how well the chicken was cooked — juicy and tender with no dry spots, and it absorbs the flavors from the seasonings well. But this was all table stakes, I expected a Crock-Pot to be this effective.

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Sous Vide Function: A Game Changer

As for the sous vide function, this is what truly sets this Crock-Pot apart from other slow cookers. I decided to test out how it works with two petite sirloin steaks. The slow cooker comes with plastic sealable bags, but importantly, I don’t own a vacuum sealer and this appliance doesn’t come with one, so I had to submerge the bags in water as I slowly squeezed the air out (altogether this involved more effort than I’d hoped). Once you fill the ceramic pot with water, you have to preheat the Crock-Pot — the instruction manual recommends heating water in a kettle before adding it to the pot, which will cut down on preheat time, but using regular tap water it took about 20 minutes to preheat.

The lid is cleverly designed so that you can stick the temperature probe through a hole in the top. That way it’s fully submerged in water throughout the process, and you can monitor the temperature without ever opening the lid. For the small steaks I cooked, the whole process took about 90 minutes, but for tender pork chops and fish, you may need as much as three hours. The steaks were cooked evenly when I removed them from the bags, although I still had to quickly sear them in a skillet to achieve a crisp exterior.

Overall, this sous vide Crock-Pot lived up to the slow cooker hype, and even more exciting, this one is on sale right now. It actually does cut down drastically on the amount of time I would usually spend preparing dinner, so that I can spend more time with my family and tackle the rest of my to-do list. With the press of a button, I have a delicious, low-maintenance meal on the table in a few hours — a guarantee, which is essentially priceless.

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Further Reading for Enthusiasts

For those looking to dive deeper into the nuances of rice cookers, our complete Ultimate Guide to Rice Cookers offers a wealth of information. Additionally, if pairing your meal with perfectly cooked rice is your goal, our handy guide on How to Use a Rice Cooker is essential reading.

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