How much water do I need to put in my slow cooker to cook beef brisket?

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Slow Cooker

How you plan to use the slow cooker, your available countertop and storage space, and the slow cooker’s features are among your most important considerations. Every home and situation is different, so here are the features and considerations most likely to affect your satisfaction and cooking success.

Pot Size

The pot (sometimes called a vessel) size isn’t the same thing as the slow cooker’s footprint. Sometimes a model with a relatively large footprint can have a small pot. Slow cooker pot sizes are measured in quarts. The smallest models have 1 to 1.5-quart pots. The largest have 10-quart pots.

When choosing your size, keep in mind:

  • Mini slow cookers that hold 1 to 3 quarts are best for fondue and dipping sauces.
  • Models in the 4- to 6-quart range are large enough for side dishes and entrées, depending on how many people you’re serving.
  • The 6- to 10-quart cookers typically hold enough food to feed five people or more.


The two options for pot shape are round or oval. Round slow cookers are usually smaller and hold less. They are best for sauces and appetizers. The bigger oval models accommodate large cuts of meat or all-in-one recipes that include meat and vegetables. These are handy for big family meals.


Whether they’re in use on the countertop or waiting in storage, a slow cooker’s footprint affects your kitchen’s usability. In general, the smaller the capacity, the smaller the slow cooker’s footprint. That means that round models take up less space than their larger oval counterparts.

However, some slow cookers have multiple small to mid-sized pots. Their capacity may not be large, but their footprint is. It can pay off to take the time to measure the place you’d like to use and store the slow cooker to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Programmable Features

Programmable features seem to have increased exponentially in the last decade. Today’s slow cookers have built-in timers, delayed timers, heat settings, and warmers. Multi-cookers can do even more. In addition to slow and pressure cook programs, these appliances make yogurt and cook rice among nearly a dozen other features.

The more programmable features the slow cooker has, the more expensive it will be. Only pay for settings you’ll use. Built-in and delayed start timers are two of the most popular programmable features. It’s usually worth paying a little more for them because they drastically expand the slow cooker’s usefulness and convenience. Other programmable features may or may not add value for you.


Taking a soup or casserole to a party is much easier with a portable slow cooker. The most portable models have locking lids and large carrying handles. While some of these lids don’t seal completely, they definitely stay in place better than the ones that just sit on top of the pot. Some slow cookers are designed to double as portable lunch boxes. With these, you can take your meal with you and keep it warm till you’re ready to eat.


How much liquid do you add to slow cooker dishes?

How much liquid to add to a slow cooker? Do you have to put water in a crock pot? The best answer is to follow the recipe. Different recipes require more water than others. You don’t need water in some and the size of your crockpot will make a difference in how much liquid you need to add.

There is no definite answer to these questions. It depends on what you’re cooking and the size of your slow cooker.

Adding liquid or fat helps the food cook through and stops it from burning, sticking to the pot, and drying out. It’s the same for food in a slow cooker as it is for food in a pot put in the oven or on the stovetop.

With practice you’ll become familiar and intuitively know how much liquid to add to your dish.

One crock pot rule: never overfill the pot. As a general measure, for recipes where you add liquid, fill the pot to a level that’s no more than 3/4 and no less than 1/2 of its full capacity.

Keto dishes in a slow cooker are a popular right now…

To better understand, let’s look at how a crock pot works…

How To Use a Slow Cooker

  • Fill: A good rule of thumb is that the slow cooker typically needs to be filled at least halfway to operate correctly, but not be filled more than 2/3 full.
  • Settings: Typically there are just two cooking settings, high or low. Some units even have a keep-warm setting for when you’re entertaining. What setting you choose depends on the model you have, how fast you want to cook the dish, and what kind of ingredients you’re using.
  • Time: Most slow cooker recipes have a time range. Different variables like temperature, thickness, type of meat, and how full the cooker is will affect how much time is needed. Usually, the low setting takes twice as long as the high temperature. Give yourself a little extra time before serving, in case you need to cook for a bit longer

1. Best slow cooker overall: Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP100UK

A powerful and versatile multi-cooker with excellent slow cooking function

Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker

Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H32 x W35 x D38cm | Capacity: 4.7L

Pros Cons
✅ Six in one cooking settings ✅ Compact and stylish ✅ Fits a 1.5kg chicken ❌ Design is a little imposing ❌ Bulky on the worktop


The Ninja Foodi Mini 6-in-1 Multi-Cooker OP100UK is a powerful and versatile countertop appliance with a range of handy cooking features built-in. First and foremost, it’s a pressure cooker that can also crisp foods, but it comes with a slow cooking setting. You will also find settings to air fry, steam, bake and roast and sear and sauté. Switching between all methods can be done with ease, using the LED control panel.

Within the box, you’ll find a separate pressure lid, a removable cooking pot, a cook and crisp tray that comes in useful when you’re air frying foods such as chicken nuggets or chips, and a rack, which is ideal for steaming veg and fish.

Set up was simple and we found the slow-cooking feature easily accessible as it’s positioned within easy view between the pressure cook, steam and sear/sauté buttons. To give each slow cooker a fair test we prepared the same lamb tagine recipe in each model. Before we started the slow cooking process we made use of the handy sauté button built into the design. This meant we could seal the lamb and fry the onions in the same pot to give a bit of texture to the dish, without having to make any separate pans dirty. Next, we added the rest of the ingredients into the pot and selected the slow cooking feature. You can easily increase the cooking time in 15-minute increments up to 8 hours on either a high or low setting, so we chose the high for four hours.

At the end of the four hours, the control automatically switches to keep warm, which is handy if you’re not ready to eat straight away. The meat came out very tender and piping hot and we found that four hours on a slow cook was more than enough to make a tasty dish. The juices were nicely combined with the meat, carrots and courgettes and this setting didn’t make the dish feel too watery.

11. Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker

Contemporary design with useful settings

Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker

Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Dimensions: H30 x W25 x D44cm | Capacity: 6.5L

Pros Cons
✅ LED digital display ✅ Hob and oven-safe pot ✅ Large capacity pot ❌ No on board sauté setting



With its white and black powder-coated wipe-clean exterior and digital control panel, the Lakeland Digital Slow Cooker is one of the more modern-looking designs we have featured in our round-up. Like the Morphy Richards Slow Cooker we have reviewed here, the Lakeland also has a large 6.5-litre capacity, which makes it ideal for cooking up to eight portions in one go.

It comes with an easy-to-read LED digital display that clearly indicates the settings offered including high, low, keep warm and delay start. There are also plus and minus buttons so you can adjust the timings to suit your recipe. A handy cancel button means you can stop your meal cooking at any time, which comes in useful if you look through the glass lid and realise your food is well cooked before the allotted time.

A plus point of the removable cooking pot inside is that it is both hob and oven safe. This means it can be conveniently used to sauté food directly on the hob, including induction surfaces, and placed in the oven after a slow cook to reduce any liquids or thicken up sauces. In the box, you’ll find an instruction booklet that tells you how to work the slow cooker, which also features useful tips and four recipes to get you started.

We used the design to cook for four hours on a high setting and we were able to check up on our food through the slow cooker’s glass lid. Three and a half hours in we noticed a lot of the water had evaporated and we decided to top up with a little more liquid stock. The dish came out a little more caramelised than we had intended, but it was delicious all the same.

Slow Cooker Recipes

You can make just about anything in a slow cooker, even desserts! Vegetarian meals, fish, chicken, beef, pork, roasts, pasta, casseroles, sides, and sweets. Anything you can imagine! Here are some of my recipes to get you started:

View all Slow Cooker recipes

About Us

Welcome to! This blog is operated and cared for by Robin and Felicia. We’re both somewhere between 20 and 35, with Robin being “much” closer to 35 than Felicia, as she herself would say. Visit our About Us page to find out why we’re crazy about cooking appliances and the possibilities they provide!

What size is a 2 quart pan?

Casserole Dish Substitutions

2 quarts 8-inch square cake pan
2½ quarts 9-inch square cake pan
3 quarts 13x9x2-inch cake pan
4 quarts 14x10x2-inch cake pan

Can You Dry Cook in a Slow Cooker?

You absolutely can and many seasoned slow cooker cooks swear by this. It is, however, important to choose your meats carefully before attempting to dry cook. Chicken breasts, fillet steak, pork fillet, and other tender meat cuts don’t turn out well when dry cooked. If anything, they dry out.

Go for pork shoulder, beef shin, oxtail, lamb shank, and chicken thighs and drumsticks among other tougher cuts. Ensure that the slow cooker is covered with root vegetables like onions and carrots, drizzle oil then add your meat.

Does 2 quarts make 1 gallon?

How many quarts are in a gallon? The answer is simple, one liquid U.S gallon is equivalent to 4 quarts and in half gallon, there are 2 quarts.


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