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Crock pot, part 2....which to get?

I'm a single guy....VERY small kitchen with practically no storage. I was thinking 5 qt....whadya think? Also, are there dohickeys that are particualrly useful that I should look for...like timers, adjustable heat...? any brands you especailly like (or dislike)?

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  1. You kidding!!?? The crockpot I have to use here in Colombia cost me $$$ and the ceramic pot doesn't separate from the whole unit. I don't have a replacement because I haven't been able to hand carry a new one back from the US. I packed a small one back a few months ago. It cost virtually nothing from Target. The cost to people like me living outside of the US is hand transport on flights back from the US. The cost of the thing, whatever it is, is (to us) FREE.

    Sorry for the rant. What I meant was, go out and get any good crock pot from Target or WalMart. You can't miss.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Golly, Sam...didn't mean to push that button.

      1. re: howboy

        howboy, sorry, really. Please refer to the last sentence. I brought back a 1.5 quart ChefMate. Paid nothing. Works great! But is small.

      2. re: Sam Fujisaka


        Do you need a new ceramic liner or it is designed that way? Try http://www.marbeck.com if what you are looking for is a new liner.

        Dumb question -- why can't someone in the US just send a new one to you?

        1. re: RGC1982

          RGC, the old crock pot I have is ugly and the crock doesnt separate from the base and sides; and you cant submerge the monster to wash the crock. I get extremely frustrated whenever I'm in the US and walk through the cookware areas of WalMart or Target--the stuff is soooo cheap I want it all but can't carry that much back. I could have friends in the US send stuff, but where would my list start and stop?

      3. I've used a Rival crockpot for years. They're great. A 5 quart should be fine for a single guy.

        1. There are 2 basic kinds: those with a removable crock, and those without. I recommend the removeable kind, as they're easier to clean (I've had both).

          Size depends on what you're planning on cooking, and what you do after it's cooked.

          When I was single, I used the crock pot to make large batches of something, which I then portioned out and froze. I had a small one and a large one. After I got the larger one, the smaller one never got used again. 7 or 8 quarts it was, oval shaped, I think it was a Rival brand.

          So for my usage, the larger the crock pot, the more portions I could cook at once, and the less often I needed to pull it out to cook with.

          I've never seen one with a timer, but that would have been useful. High, low and off sufficed for me, although perhaps a keep warm setting might have been useful if I had ever used it to keep food warm for a buffet style dinner.

          1. I would get a crock pot w/o a removable pot and hopefully 3 heat levels. I have never felt the timers to be that accurate or useful.

            5 qt will make plenty of chili, or a large roast.

            1. As a single person, I found that a 4 quart was good enough since I had limited tolerance for eating the same thing many days in a row. If I had a larger freezer, I guess I could have frozen meals ready and thus rotated my crock pot meals. I use one now mostly for beans and caramelizing onions.

              I got one at a thrift store and it only had low and high heat, which was fine for my use. Definitely get the kind with the removable insert, like the others said.

              1. We buy inexpensive ones and replace as necessary.
                Even the cheap ones seem to last a loooong time.
                The simpler they are the better they work and the longer they last.
                Although, for a single guy with limited storage you might find the West Bend worth considering - it has a removable pot and the base doubles as a no-stick electric griddle. We got one as a gift and it works fine.
                Look for it at Amazon (West Bend 84755 5-Quart Oblong Slow Cooker)

                Still - we use just a basic 4 qt most of the time.

                Lowes has one on sale right now for $9.97 in the store:

                Rival 3.5-Qt. Crock Pot Item #: 184214 Model: 37351-C

                2 Replies
                1. re: Boneshaker

                  I agree with the simpler the better -- if I need a timer I use an appliance timer with it or I use it overnight and then I really don't need a timer

                  The 4 qt is a good size and suggestion. There's just two of us but it has room for a lot of food.

                  1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                    There's a problem with appliance timers... they turn the thing completely off. If you're late getting back to it, you don't want to have your food sitting there at room temperature for a few hours, bacteria grows. The ones with built in digital timers switch to a setting low enough that the food doesn't continue cooking but it still stays hot.

                2. Do a 6 quart; you'll be able to cook enough for leftovers that way. Big things you want in a crock pot are a removeable crock (toss in dishwasher to clean), a light that indicates the machine is on, and a digital timer that switches the temperature to Keep Warm after the food is done cooking. This way, if you get stuck in traffic or someone invites you out for drinks after work, the food doesn't get overcooked. This one fits everything I was looking for, and is indeed the one I have at home:


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Thanks to everyone for the great advice.....I looked at some last night at KMart (no Walmart in Manhattan)....most looked too large for me to store (I mean, my kitchen is TINY). I'm going to continue to shop around, taking all your advice into consideration...right now I'm thinking 5 qts with no gimmicks. And removable crock!

                    1. re: howboy

                      And I thought my kitchen was small... apparently my kitchen would qualify as a one-bedroom in Manhattan.

                      Trust me, get one with the digital timer. It has saved my dinner.

                    2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      I've got this one too. It was on sale at costco, and I've used it about 4 times in the last two months. My kitchen is likely as small as yours, (6'x9', L shaped) but its worth storing this - especially with the holidays and potlucks coming up. I definitely agree to get one with a timer. You can buy a timer separately, but then it won't switch to the keep warm temperature afterwards.

                    3. Have you seen the new Hamilton Beach one that comes with three size crocks? They stack so they don't take up more room for storage and use the same lid. It seems really practical. Might be the one I get next.


                      1. I have the 6 qt. Rival Smart pot, but it is very large, and I would not recommend it for a single guy! It's almost too big for the two of us. I do love it though and it has great features, but you would be better off with a 4 qt, IMO. I have only used Rival ones, so can't say about anything else.

                        1. Anybody have an All-Clad Electric Slow Cooker? That's the one I think Santa's bringing me for Christmas. I'd love feedback on it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: FoodWineTravel

                            I have the All-Clad Slow Cooker. I've used both the one with the ceramic insert (mom's) and with the stove-top insert. I own the one with the stove-top insert and LOVE it. It's only my husband and I in our apartment- but I love being able to make food for a crowd or "more to store". Don't forget you can store things inside the slowcooker while it's stored also.

                            I also use it frequently for keeping food warm (pasta, mashed potatoes) for big family gatherings. Having a timer and multiple heat settings is great. (I've also owned Rival and...another one I can't remember). I love being able to brown my meat for chili, stews, etc. or start things on the stove and finish up in the slow-cooker- saves stovetop space!

                            I would caution against getting one that doesn't have a timer or removable insert... If you DO get one w/o a removable insert, consider getting those crockpot bags that's advertised on tv...reyolds makes them I believe.