The 6 Best Mini Slow Cookers of 2022

With the help of our favorite, the Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, dinner will be on the table with the flip of a switch.

In This Article

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Slow cookers are the resourceful cook’s best friend. A little bit of work the night before or in the morning pays off tremendously come dinner time. Slow cooker recipes are the pinnacle of “set it and forget it,” freeing up time and space in your kitchen. While traditional slow cookers can be high-capacity and great for serving crowds, a mini slow cooker is a perfect appliance for households of one or two that don’t want to waste space or interior volume. They’re also great for larger-batch dips and side dishes or warming gravy and sauces. 

But not all mini slow cookers are created equal. To find which ones are worthy of your kitchen setup, we set out to find the best on the market. After comparing attributes like size and capacity, added features, and ease of cleaning, we ultimately liked the Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker the best. Still, there are many other great options to get (slow) cooking in.

Best Overall: Crockpot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker

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Amazon

Pros: Despite its compact size, this cooker is still spacious and easy to use.

Cons: The time it takes to reach “warm” can vary depending on the contents inside.

Crock Pot is one of the leading names in slow cookers, so it’s no surprise that their mini 3-quart size also leads the pack on this list. The shape of the crock can accommodate many different shapes and sizes of items with ease, and users can choose between “high,” “low,” and “warm” settings. When it comes time to clean up, the crock and lid are dishwasher-safe. This model is very straightforward, with just four settings controlled by a knob, so there’s no guesswork in setting your cooker correctly. Some users have noticed inconsistencies with the “warm” setting timing, depending on the type of food it’s warming up. 

Price at time of publish: $39

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.84 x 11.41 x 10.4 inches
  • Settings: High, low, warm, and off

Best Double: Sunvivi Dual Pot Slow Cooker

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Amazon

Pros: Two separate crocks are versatile and convenient, saving space and streamlining the cooking process. 

Cons: The split sides mean each crock doesn’t hold very much.

Two mini crocks make pleasing a crowd even easier. Vegetarian and meaty chili for the big game? No problem! Can’t choose between queso and spinach dip? No need! Keep multiple dishes warm without sacrificing the extra counter and outlet space. Each side has its own temperature control, allowing users to choose from “high,” “low,” and “warm” settings. The combined volume is about equal to other mini slow cookers on the market, so each side is relatively tiny, making this option unsuitable for bigger batches.

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Capacity: 2.5 quarts (two 1.25 quart crocks)
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16 x 8 x 6 inches
  • Settings: High, low, warm, and off

Best Value: Elite Gourmet MST-250XW Electric Slow Cooker

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Amazon

Pros: This cooker is straightforward to use and easy to clean.

Cons: It is very small, limiting its capacity for any batch-style meals.

The price may seem too good to be true, but this mini slow cooker is the ultimate bang for your buck. You won’t find a ton of extra bells and whistles, but this paired-down version is so easy to use and clean. The ceramic insert is dishwasher safe, and the straightforward dial has just four settings, so you don’t have to fuss with any presets. It’s perfect for one at 1.5 quarts, but if you’re trying to make a larger batch of anything, this might not be the model for you with such a limited capacity.

Price at time of publish: $15

  • Capacity: 1.5 quarts
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 8.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Settings: High, low, warm, and off

Best Programmable: Cuisinart 3.5-Qt. Digital Programmable Slow Cooker

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Amazon

Pros: Its programmable settings can do much of the work for you, making it highly convenient and easy to use.

Cons: The interior coating can scratch off over time, so extra caution when using utensils is recommended.

The ultimate hands-free cooker, this Cuisinart 3.5-Qt. Digital Programmable Slow Cooker makes getting dinner on the table a breeze. It can easily be programmed to switch on or off — even when away from the kitchen. Perfect for meal prep or anyone with a busy schedule, the timer display lets you schedule the cooker to work ahead of time. One thing to be aware of, though, is the coating on the insert. It can scratch or chip, so it’s best to avoid metal utensils and stick to nylon or silicone.

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Capacity: 3.5 quarts
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.1 x 12.67 inches
  • Settings: High, low, simmer warm, and timer

Best Portable: Crock Pot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Slow Cooker

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Amazon

Pros: This crock pot is easy to transport and perfect for serving.

Cons: The oval shape makes this cooker more challenging to store. 

Due to its removable inner crock, this thoughtfully decorated cooker is great for on-the-go celebrations like potlucks, dinner parties, and tailgating. It can be placed in the oven or used as a serving vessel. Traveling with this model couldn’t be easier with the convenient side handles and locking lid to ensure safe transport. When cooking, choose between “high,” “low,” and “warm” settings. Do note: The shape can be slightly awkward since it’s oblong instead of circular. It can take up more space during storage, especially with the added length from the handles. 

Price at time of publish: $50

  • Capacity: 2.5 quarts
  • Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 13.4 x 13.5 inches
  • Settings: High, low, warm, and off

Best Multicooker: Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart 7-in-1

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Amazon

Pros: This cooker has several extra settings and capabilities, making it incredibly versatile. 

Cons: Added settings come with required time spent learning how to use all of its features.

Not just a slow cooker, this Instant Pot 3 Quart Duo 7-in-1 can do it all. You get the classic slow cooker function, InstaPot’s signature pressure cooker setting, and more options for cooking rice, making yogurt, steaming, sautéing, and keeping food warm. This compact option can replace several countertop appliances, perfect for small spaces or anyone interested in streamlining their appliance collection. The tradeoff of all these handy features is that there’s a bit of a learning curve. Figuring out all the buttons and presents can initially be a bit intimidating. 

Price at time of publish: $89

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Weight: 8.65 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11 x 10.5 x 12 inches
  • Settings: Soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, rice, porridge, steam, yogurt, pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, keep warm, and delay start

Our Favorite

Our best all-around pick, the Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker hit all the marks, regardless of your needs and preferences. If you’re in the market for a multitasker that’s up to more than just slow cooking, look no further than the Instant Pot 3-Quart Duo 7-in-1.

Factors to Consider

Size

When shopping for a mini slow cooker, understandably, it will be much smaller than your standard cooker. But even in the world of mini varieties, there are several sizes. Usually, you’ll find mini cookers in the 1-quart to 3-quart range. What size is best depends on your needs and what you generally like to cook. A 1 or 1.5-quart model is great for a solo eater who doesn’t usually make bigger batches of recipes or anything with a lot of liquid. If you like leftovers or recipes that use a lot more liquid, something closer to a 2.5 or 3-quart is better. 

Cooking Features

Different features might be super helpful or totally unnecessary, depending on what you like to cook. The simplest cookers usually have a dial or knob with just a few settings like “low,” “high,” “warm,” and “off,” while others will have more sophisticated displays with many different settings. When shopping, take a peek at any extra features and settings and see if they align with what you usually like to eat. 

Ease of Cleaning

Most slow cookers have a removable crock for easy cleanup, and many of these crocks as well as lids are dishwasher-safe. Be sure to check the box or manufacturer information about specific cleaning instructions. Depending on what’s important to you regarding cleanup, a dishwasher-safe model might be a better purchase. 

Pro Panel Q+A

What is the smallest size slow cooker?

Generally, the smallest size you’re likely to find is around 1.5 quarts, though some brands might have a 1-quart size. At that size, that extra half quart doesn’t make much difference. 

What size slow cooker do I need for one person?

What size is best depends on what you’re most likely to make. You could likely get away with a 1.5-quart model if you usually don’t make any recipes where things like meat need to be submerged, but for soup for one, 1.5-quarts is generally fine. If you know you like leftovers or want to braise a chicken breast or two, a 2- or 3-quart will likely suit your needs slightly better.  

Yester Banuchyan, chef, CEO, and Founder of CookOnMonday.com, a site dedicated to helping home cooks learn to cook, agrees that a 3-quart is a good investment. She says, ”3-quart cookers are easier to manage than the smallest size. Having a little bit of extra room in the cooker doesn't hurt, but is helpful if you need to cook a larger portion or have guests.” It’s always best to have a little extra space as insurance against a bubble over, so it’s better to err on the side of a slightly larger size.

What is the alternative to a slow cooker?

In terms of appliances, a pressure cooker is sometimes considered an alternative to a slow cooker. Instead of cooking something slowly over a long period of time, it cooks it quickly over a shorter period. Some pressure cookers also have slow cooker capabilities. If you don’t have any appliances to get the job done, a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven on the stove can work in a pinch. However, it’s generally unsafe to leave the stove on all day while no one is home, whereas a slow cooker is perfectly fine to be left alone. 

Can slow cooker inserts be used in the oven?

Some slow cooker inserts can go from the cooker to the oven, but not all can. If you’re curious about your cooker’s capabilities, always check the manual or the manufacturer’s instructions before putting anything in the oven. 

How can you tell when meat is done cooking in a slow cooker?

Most meat in a slow cooker aims for a super moist and tender texture that easily shreds or falls off the bone. It can be harder to tell when it comes to firmer meats or recipes without a braising liquid. In any cooking method, using a meat thermometer is the best and safest way to know when the meat is done. 

Our Expertise

Nick DeSimone wrote and compiled this list. They have nearly a decade of experience in professional kitchens and are an avid home cook. Nick has used countless slow cookers over the years at home, making their favorite recipes for dinner and doing off-site cooking with slow cookers at work. Nick also spoke to an expert, chef Yester Banuchyan. Chef Yester runs a food blog for home cooks, helping them with cooking basics and tips and tricks. 

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