Slow cookers are the perfect cooking utensil for the working person, since they’re convenient, time-saving, and cost-efficient. You can make large batches of food all at once and have it almost ready by the time you’re home. The larger the batch of food, the more leftovers you have for the next day!
However, you might be wondering what size slow cooker you should buy. The answer to this will depend on a few factors.
The size of the slow cooker you buy should account for the number of people you’re regularly feeding and whether you’re batch cooking regularly. The most popular size of a slow cooker is the 3 to 5 liter which can feed up to 6 people. This is best for batch cooking and doesn’t take too much space.
If you have a large slow cooker and you live alone, this likely won’t be ideal for you. Similarly, having a small slow cooker can be frustrating if you’re trying to feed many guests or you have a large family. Choosing the right size is paramount to the success of your cooking, and will make your life easier in the long run.
Slow cookers are incredible for day to day cooking, special occasions, and especially for the lazy person. They come with multiple features, brands, and uses. Many slow cookers can even cook rice and pasta with the right accessories!
If you already have one, you know how much you value your slow cooker. However, if doubts about its capacity have crept in, I don’t blame you. Have you considered upgrading a size? Would a bigger cooker be more convenient? What size would be perfect for you?
In the rest of this article, I will discuss the different sizes and how to decide what size is right for you, and the advantages and disadvantages of using a larger slow cooker.
What Size Slow Cookers Are There?
Slow cookers come in various sizes like any other kitchen appliance. From sizes fit for a single person (1 liter or 0.2 gallon) to feeding a party (8 to 10 liters or 2.11 to 2.64 gallons), you can find slow cookers of all sizes and shapes.
The smaller sizes are better for those cooking individually or for others. Alternatively, they’re great for heating small side dishes and keeping them warm for parties.
The largest sizes are best for those entertaining regularly or those with larger families. While you can still cook smaller portions in these pots, they’re not practical unless you use them regularly.
The most popular size for a slow cooker is 3 to 4 liters (0.79 to 1 gallon). They’re medium-sized and work for a variety of recipes regardless of quantity.
It’s necessary to remember that the size of the slow cooker refers only to the bowl’s size. It doesn’t reflect the working capacity of the device. Usually, the working capacity of a slow cooker is half of the pot itself.
If you fill it too much, food will spill over the top of your slow cooker and create a huge mess. It’s recommended that you fill them up only halfway to prevent accidents.
How Many People Are You Feeding?
When deciding the size of slow cooker you’re purchasing, look at the number of people you’re cooking for. Is it just yourself or four or more members that are eating out of the pot?
If you’re feeding 1 to 2 people using a slow cooker, a smaller 1 to 2 liter (0.2 to 0.5 gallon) crock pot will be sufficient. It’s just enough to cook an entire meal for 2 without any leftovers. When you’re regularly feeding four people, a larger slow cooker is a must.
If you’re using a 4-liter (1 gallon) slow cooker, you’re all set. You can make a number of the larger dishes and even make a decent-sized roast for the group.
However, if you’re a smaller group of 3 that regularly hosts larger groups, then investing in a large 6 to 8-liter (1.5 to 2 gallon) slow cooker isn’t absurd. You could even opt for a pot greater than 8 liters if you regularly do large roasts!
Remember that a slow cooker takes up a ton of space, and tailoring it to your particular requirements regarding the number of people fed is the best choice. Additionally, if you have a very small kitchen, you’ll need to take this into account when choosing a slow cooker.
Are You Batch Cooking in the Slow Cooker?
If you’re not aware, then batch cooking refers to cooking larger than required portions of the same meal. It helps you with larger events and ensures there are leftovers.
If you are batch cooking in the slow cooker, you will likely need to get a larger size. Suppose you’re planning on regularly batch cooking. In that case, getting a slow cooker that works exactly for the number of people you have isn’t ideal.
If you’re an individual or cooking for two, you’ll need something slightly bigger than the 1-liter (0.2 gallon) slow cooker.This is helpful if you want leftovers.
Similarly, larger groups tend to cook in larger slow cookers to have some leftovers! Using a 6 to 8-liter (1.5 to 2 gallon) slow cooker even when you don’t have 8 people to feed ensures a hearty meal for the next day.
If you’re regularly hosting and need some leftovers, then consider a 10-liter (2.6 gallon) slow cooker. Not only can you feed a massive group, but you’ll have leftovers for a large group.
Batch cooking isn’t all about having leftovers. It saves you time, money, and a trip to the grocery store. Slow cookers are also best for batch cooking, so you should consider it if you’re purchasing one.
Should I Get a Bigger Slow Cooker?
You should get a bigger slow cooker if you have enough space and you want to be able to cook for groups. You should also be thinking about portion sizing, since if you have small children, this will affect your decision to get a bigger slow cooker.
Larger slow cookers mean larger portion sizes. Even if you are batch cooking, there’s only so much soup, stew or other dishes you can eat. There’s also a space issue. Larger slow cookers take up a significant amount of counter or cupboard space.
Take a look at the pros and cons to decide for yourself!
- Batch cooking. If your current slow cooker doesn’t allow for batch cooking, then a size up can certainly help you out. It saves you time, money, and effort. Upgrading a size also allows for leftovers. However, you mustn’t move to the largest size possible unless you are batch cooking for lots of people.
- You can make smaller portions. Even if you’re not constantly batch cooking, you can still make smaller portions. If you’re bored of leftovers, make smaller portions by halving any recipe you would ordinarily use.
- Growing family. If you’re a growing family, you won’t have to constantly keep switching out slow cookers. Getting a slightly larger pot keeps you from switching to a different size every time there’s an addition to your family.
- Some models are multi-functional. Slow cookers are often multi-functional. Sometimes they come with inserts that allow them to be used on the stovetop or even in the oven. You can use them like regular pots for roasting your meats, and some even let you make rice and pasta in them.
- Takes up More Space. Whether you’ve purchased a slow cooker that’s bigger in width or height, it will take up a lot more counter space. Finding storage space for the cooker might be difficult, especially when you have limited storage options.
- Usage. If it’s taking up precious cabinet and counter space, then it should come into use often, right? Slow cookers aren’t very useful in making a variety of meals. There’s a limited menu that comes with the territory. Limited usage does not validate buying a larger slow cooker.
- Accessories. Even if you aren’t batch cooking all the time and plan on cooking smaller meals, you’ll need a ton of new accessories to do so. All the accessories will take up more shelf and counter space.
What Size Slow Cooker Should I Buy?
So, you’ve thought about the number of people you’re cooking for regularly, how frequently you’re using the slow cooker, what purposes you’re buying it for, and how much you like leftovers. Now, it’s time to combine all the information to decide what size slow cooker you should buy!
The size of the slow cooker you should buy depends on the number of people. If it’s 2 people and you don’t host, 1 to 3 liters (1.2 to 0.7 gallons) is enough. If you cook for 3 to 4 people, a 3 to 4 liter (0.7 to 1 gallon) will suffice. If you host often, consider 5 to 8 liters (1.3 – 2 gallons).
Buying a slow cooker greater than 8 liters (2 gallons) isn’t recommended for non-commercial purposes. This is because you will find it very difficult to make small meals in a huge cooker, and it will take up a huge amount of space in your kitchen – which isn’t ideal if it’s a small kitchen for only a couple of people.
Additionally, buying a medium-sized slow cooker with a few accessories can make your life easier if you occasionally have people over for dinner and there are less than 3 people in the house.