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What size crock pot?

I am trying to use my crock pot more this year.I have a 6qt crock pot which is great for making stock, but it's a bit big for meals for one or two even when I plan leftovers. Would you recommend having a smaller pot as well or is it ok to use smaller quantities in the larger. For many recipes it barely fills 1/4 of the way.

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  1. I'd get a smaller crockpot. They're not super expensive (I got a 2qt one that I love from Family Dollar for a steal--9.99--and I've had it for years), and as with most cookware, it's all about heat distribution. You could rig something up (a bain marie with a smaller ceramic dish inside) but for the relatively low cost of slow cookers, I'd go for it. We have an 8 qt, a 5 qt and a 2 qt for our tiny family.:-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Yea I just looked and the 2qt are like $20 so definitely worth it. There are many things I want to try but just won't work in the big crock.

      Is the 2qt enough for say a lb of chicken and liquid?

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        ETA, I've used a modified version (less taters, more veg) of this recipe in it with great success.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          The rule of thumb is 1qt cooker = 1 lb meat, so that should be fine.

      2. I would get a smaller (3-4 qt) slow cooker as well. I started out with the smaller cooker & added a 6 qt later for potlucks, cooking to freeze, etc. But since I am usually cooking for 1 or 2, I find that smaller quantities cook more evenly in the smaller cooker. Also, it's easier for me just to leave the small one on the counter instead of trying to find storage space for it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lyden

          Perfect. I think I'd use a smaller one more often even for simple things I usually would cook on the stove but can just plop in the crock without making enough for the neighborhood.

        2. The Hamilton Beach 3 in 1 is really nice, if you don't need any programming. It has 2, 4 and 6 qt bowls. But it only has high, low and warm, no timer setting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rasputina

            I second this. We have one and it's perfect. Nice having all 3 sizes available in one unit.

          2. I have a 6 quart and a 4 quart, use the 4 more. I'm cooking for 2 adults and a toddler.

            I also like having an extra around for parties to keep things warm. I might not make the pulled pork in it, but I can pop it in there for over a grazing event like the Super bowl. You can also use them to sous vide veggies in them. Totally changed how I felt about radishes

            1. Depends on how much food I'm cooking. Size of crockpot has become an issue since I was widowed and now cook only for myself. I still use the 6-quart if I'm cooking something I intend to freeze, like barbecued beef or goulash soup or beef in beer, but my little 1-qt is most useful for just meals. It makes a single portion of meat with vegetables. I also appreciate it for vegetables cooked the southern way (a long time with a piece of ham)---fresh green beans or one bag of frozen collard greens.

              1. I have 5 slow cookers, 3 of them are 2-2.5 qts. I love them, and find that they get used more in summer, the big ones in winter for soups.

                The small ones are perfect for turning a pork tenderloin of 1lb chunk of pork loin into pulled pork for for sandwiches or tacos. Same thing with chicken. Throw in a pound of boneless chicken with some seasoning and salsa, 4-5 hours later I've got pulled chicken tacos.

                Small crocks are good for a lot of things, as you'll discover. One caveat - they do tend to cook a bit faster than their big brothers, so adjust your recipes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: DuffyH

                  Thanks. My current 6qt boils at any temperature so I'll be sure to watch the little one as well.

                2. I have a 4 qt. and a 6 qt. and use the 4 qt. much more. It is perfect for smaller amounts of stock, soup, chili, etc. I am cooking for 4.

                  1. Thanks to all. I stopped by the store today and bought a 2 and 4.5 qt, both look like they will be very useful.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      LOL, you are an "all in" kinda gal, aren't you?

                      1. re: tcamp

                        I'm an indecisive kind of gal. I couldn't make up my mind and they both seemed useful. Even with my mom on the phone telling me I only needed one, I bought both :) They were pretty inexpensive and as luck would have it, the lady in front of me at the checkout got a $6 off any appliance coupon with her receipt and handed it to me so I think it was meant to be.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          What a lovely thing for her to do! Little things like passing a coupon to a stranger are such nice reminders of how nice most people are. Since we are inundated with daily horror in the news it is easy to forget all the small ways available to us to spread a little happiness.

                          As long as you have storage space I don't think you will regret your purchase. Once in awhile I find that a bit of condensation drips from the crock pot rim onto the counter. Now I always put a very old liberated cafeteria tray under the crock pot and never have to worry.

                          1. re: meatn3

                            So true. I am rotating at the medical examiner this month for work and to put it lightly, it's quite grim and I have been sort of down in the dumps about the daily horrors of the world...the news right in front of me, if you will. The little gesture really did make my day! I am very excited to actually start using slow cookers more often. I have a chest freezer on the way as well so I'll have plenty of room for any really good creations.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              I realized a long time ago that there are many professions I'm not mentally equipped to do because it would be too difficult for me to keep viewing the world in a positive manner. My hat is off to you and all the other folks who find a way to daily see so much of the bad yet still find a way to keep things in balance from a personal perspective.

                              I had a two year period when AIDs first really hit when I lost almost every person I was close to (AIDs and many other unrelated causes). It took a long time to regroup but since then I've had to be very careful about my exposure to horrors since the heart wound hasn't seemed to have ever completely healed.

                              Take care of yourself and be vigilant about your heart. Your posts indicate you have a lot of compassion!

                              1. re: meatn3

                                Thanks. It's tough and it does get to me. Today in fact I had to take a breather during morning rounds because I needed a breather. It all comes back to me at quiet times so I have to keep busy to distract myself from thinking about all of the pain and suffering. It's very sad and disheartening to me but I can only hope I'm helping in some way.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  You are helping in a very big way. Being able to do your work from a place of very real compassion and empathy will allow results which may not have been otherwise possible. That allows you to see more possibilities than a straight up analytical approach.

                                  Over time you'll find more ways to balance and it will become a bit easier. On a personal note it makes me happy to know that a person like you could be the one performing these last procedures if I was to need it.


                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    "On a personal note it makes me happy to know that a person like you could be the one performing these last procedures if I was to need it." Thank you, that means a lot. I'm also the person who talks to the deceased. I love the stares and comments "uh, why are you talking to them." I don't know I just do, have a little chit chat and wish them well as they go on to rest :) I'm glad for a snow day today and now I can break out the slow cookers!

                    2. Sometimes putting a smaller amount in a large crock doesn't work as well, but it may depend on the unit. Even though I make things to freeze, I found myself making more than I really wanted with my big one (6 or 8qt?) so I bought a 4qt. My big one cooks too quickly anyway, even on low, so that was another excuse. If you have room I think it's nice to have, I also have one of those little ones that gets used almost exclusively for cooking hot cereals that take awhile, like cut oatmeal (on a timer, so it's ready when we wake up.)

                      1. I'm so glad you asked this question as I finally bought a new crock pot 7-1/2 quart and I know it was a great decision but I many times need a smaller (4qt) size. If autumm can have a 4 & 8 quart so can I lol. I'm going to order another one now, Why was I making such a dilema out of it. Thank's

                        1. It's official! I am loving the new crock pots. The 2 qt is just perfect for 1 lb of chicken with liquid, probably more. I'll probably use it nearly every other day for make ahead lunches. This was definitely a good purchase.

                          Just another question - when you load a crock pot, should the meat be in a single layer or is it OK for them to be nestled on top of each other.