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5 reasons you should buy a slow cooker

Why it's one of our favourite kitchen appliances, and how it'll save you time and money.

Last updated: 08 May 2024

Forget air fryers for a moment – when it comes to truly helpful kitchen appliances that will save you time, money and even help you boost the nutrition in your family's diet, it has to be the slow cooker. 

Sure, they've been around forever, but there are many reasons to love cooking 'low and slow' with this unsung kitchen hero. 

If you don't yet own one, allow us to share why a slow cooker is a great addition to your kitchen arsenal.

1. It'll save you money

One of the best things about a slow cooker is its ability to turn cheaper cuts of meat – chuck steak, oyster blade steak, silverside – into succulent, substantial and sustaining dishes.

A quick price comparison as an example: Coles No Added Hormone Beef Scotch Fillet is currently $47/kg and the Coles Beef Chuck Casserole Steak is currently $17.60/kg.

So swapping out steak night for a slow-cooked steak dinner could save you up to $30 per kilogram on your meat.

If you have a larger slow cooker, it's easy to make meals such as soups, stews and curries in large batches, leaving you plenty of leftovers or stock for the freezer, which means you're less likely to resort to expensive takeaways.


Make mealtime magic with cheaper cuts of meat.

And since it's easy to bulk out these kind of meals with cheaper grains and legumes (as opposed to meats), that can mean even more savings on your grocery bill.

Sick of paying around $4 per litre for supermarket chicken stock that's full of sugar, salt and additives?

With a slow cooker, you can make your own cheap and nutritious stock that has only the ingredients you decide to put in it.

Use a leftover chicken carcass or ham bones and add to your slow cooker with leftover veg – carrots, onion, garlic, celery, leeks (doesn't matter if they're a bit wilted) – then cover with water and simmer all day.

It costs a fraction of the price, tastes better and is much better for you.


A slow cooker lets you make dinner ahead of time when you have guests.

2. It's convenient – for both entertaining and everyday

Dinner that basically cooks itself is a no-brainer for busy people.

Many slow cooker recipes require minimal prep – you just have to chop up a few ingredients and add to the bowl, top with water or a tin of tomatoes, add the lid and off you go, no stirring or monitoring required.

The beauty of a slow cooker is that you can literally leave the house and go about your day while it cooks on a low setting, coming home to a kitchen full of tempting aromas and dinner ready to go.

Choose a slow cooker with 'keep warm' function so your dinner doesn't get overcooked if you're held up at work

If this is your dream, it's best to choose a slow cooker with a timer setting that will switch to 'keep warm' (as opposed to a manual switch-off) once it's done so your dinner doesn't get overcooked if you're stuck in traffic or held up at work.

This also makes a slow cooker the perfect helping hand for when you're entertaining.

Prepare your signature korma curry in the early afternoon and have it cooking away while you prepare everything else or get ready. It will keep your food warm throughout the night until you're ready to serve your guests. For a Christmas in July party, you can even keep a warmed aromatic batch of mulled wine on the go.

A slow cooker is the perfect helping hand for when you're entertaining

Some slow-cooker meat recipes require you to sear the meat first (this helps seal in the juices and add flavour).

While you can easily do this in a frying pan and transfer to your slow cooker, some models such as the Breville Searing Slow Cooker let you do this straight into the pan or bowl of the cooker. This saves on washing up and helps keep all those delicious flavours in the one pot.

Check out our expert slow cooker reviews to find out which models have a sear function.

3. They're not expensive to buy

Slow cookers cost from around $20 to $200 (or more), depending on the brand and features.

CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair puts dozens of slow cookers through their paces in our kitchen lab and has found you can buy a decent model that will perform well for under $100.

We recommend six models that cost under $100, and several of these cost less than $50

CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"If you just want a very basic slow cooker, there are good options available even if you're on a budget. In fact, we recommend six models that cost under $100, and several of these cost less than $50," Fiona says.

"These are very basic models that won't include some of the features that more expensive models have, such as 'keep warm' or searing settings, but they still score well in our tests on cooking performance."


Be inspired to add more nutritious veg, grains and pulses to your diet.

4. You'll expand your recipe repertoire

The breadth of recipes you can make in a slow cooker is endless. 

You probably know they're great for stews, soups and casseroles, but they're also excellent for dishes such as dhal, jacket potatoes, porridge, desserts such as sticky date pudding, or even drinks such as hot chocolate (and a delicious mulled wine as mentioned above).

Some models come with recipe booklets, and there are hundreds of dedicated slow cooker cookbooks around to give you inspiration.

"Slow-cooked food has a beautiful depth of flavour that you just can't get any other way," says Fiona. 

"Slow cookers are excellent for making hearty, sustaining dishes in winter but you can also use them to cook a pot roast or one-pot meal in summer, or corned beef for sandwiches, without heating up the kitchen like an oven does." 

5. You can make low-fuss healthier meals from scratch

If you're looking to eat less meat to reduce the impact your diet has on the environment, or you just want to increase the nutrients in your diet, a slow cooker will be your new best friend. 

The style of foods it cooks low and slow to perfection – curries, soups, stews, casseroles – are perfect for bulking out with extra nutritious (and cheap!) legumes, beans and pulses. Or you can ditch the meat completely. 

You could slow cook carrots with lentils and spices to make a soup, for example, or slow cook tinned kidney beans and black beans with a range of vegetables, spices, stock and tinned tomatoes to make a vegan chilli. The possibilities are endless. 

If you add spices and aromatics such as bay leaves and garlic, you'll still get gorgeous rich flavours even if you're not adding meat

CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair

"If you add spices and aromatics such as bay leaves and garlic to your slow cooker, you'll still get gorgeous rich flavours even if you're not adding meat," says Fiona. 

"Be mindful that long hours of cooking may make your food look dull and pale, so add colourful garnishes of herbs to serve, or yoghurt if you're making a chilli or curry."

Fiona also advises: "If you're looking to make big meals for a family, you should opt for a larger 5 to 8L model. If you'll be cooking for two, all you'll need is a 3 to 4.5L model." 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.