Crockpots, also known as slow cookers are an integral part of many kitchens around the world. Food cooked in a slow cooker tends to retain a lot of its flavour when compared to that prepared in a normal pot or pressure cooker.
This article is a crock pot size guide to help you choose the best option for you as far as size is concerned. There are many crockpots in many sizes and the one that you end up going for depends on the number of people you are cooking for and entertaining, the 7-10-quart is an ideal size for you.
A large family will be served well by a 5 – 6-quart crockpot while a 3-4-quart crockpot will do great for a small family.
A couple or individual will most likely need nothing bigger than a 1-2-quart. This is a general guideline of what sizes work for different groupings.
In the rest of this article, we will go a little bit more in-depth and see exactly what you need to look out for depending on your needs.
Benefits of Crock Pots
In case you are reading this article and are on the fence on whether or not a slow cooker is for you, let’s talk about why slow cooking is so good in the first place.
Food prepared in a crock pot or slow cooker generally tends to have better flavour and the nutrients are also locked in because the food is cooked at a lower temperature.
They are great for tenderizing lower grades of meat which tend to be tougher and harder to cook. You can literally throw in all your ingredients and allow them to cook and in a few hours, you have a ready-made dish.
This may come across as an overgeneralization of the whole process but does paint a somewhat accurate picture of it all. With a crock pot, you can cook food overnight.
Simply load all your ingredients into it and let them cook overnight. In the morning, your food will be done. Refrigerate it and the flavor will intensify during the course of the day.
When you re-heat your food at dinner time that night, your food will taste even better. They are great for cooking low-grade cuts of meat into tender portions that melt in your mouth.
They are also really easy to clean and maintain. I could go on and on, on the benefits of crock pots but I’m sure this should be enough to convince you to get your first one.
The Crock Pot Sizes Guide
The crock pot is in about 83% of American homes and they will long continue to be so for decades to come. They have changed from the early days and are now digital with a host of functions that their predecessors didn’t have.
There are generally two types of crock pots, the oval and round crock pots. The round ones tend to be priced cheaper on average and slightly smaller than their oval counterparts.
The oval crock pots are larger and great for fitting bulky foods. The most common crock pot sizes found in most homes are the five- and six-quarts models.
These generally meet the needs of most families as they can cook a decent sized meal and some leftovers for those who might want second servings.
It is also very common for most families to own different sized crock pots for different needs especially in situations where they are hosting or want to prepare 2 separate dishes at the same time.
1 – 2 Quarts Crock Pot
If you live alone or are a couple, a one to two quarts crock pot is the ideal size for you to prepare meals. These are ideal for single servings recipes or if you want to make dips. These crock pots are really small and, in some cases, can be described as extra small.
3- 4 Quarts Crock Pot
This generally works well for small family meals. It is great for making desserts and casseroles as well as stews. If you have a bigger family, this can work well as a second crock pot for preparing side dishes while you use a bigger one for your main dish.
5-6 Quarts Crock Pot
This is the most commonly used crockpot size and works very well for large families. It is ideal for stews, casseroles, desserts, and soups. As most families have more than one crock pot, it very common to have this as the main pot and 3-4-quart crock pot as an extra one.
7-10 Quarts Crock Pot
This crock pot can hold a whole chicken and large roasts and is ideal for hosting. Unless you have a really large family, this crock pot will be used only on big occasions or when you are hosting some people. The biggest sized crock pot on the market right now is the is a 10 quart one and can easily handle 10lbs to 12lbs of meat.
Tips to Help You Buy the Right Size Crock Pot
Now that we’ve given you some guidelines related to how many people, in general, you want to cook for, that is not the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right crock pot for you.
What you want to cook is equally as important as how many people you are cooking for. Though the smaller crock pots are ideal for smaller food portions, you might want to do the occasional beef or pork ribs or a big roast.
In such instances, you will definitely need a bigger crock pot. Smaller crock pots only come in the round shape which makes it harder for them to accommodate the aforementioned foods.
Some recipes also require a pot in pot method and these can only be done in larger and oval pots. A pot in pot method is when you place a casserole dish, baking pan, small rack or other utensils inside the crock pot and slow cook it that way.
If you want to try out these recipes, you definitely need a bigger crock pot. Some larger pots also come with additional accessories like metal cooking inserts which can be used on a stovetop for browning and to sauté.
The older crock pot models that we grew up on were stove units that you needed to monitor. The current crock pot models come equipped with timers that switch it off once the cooking is finished.
You can simply load you’re your ingredients, set the timer then head off to bed or work while your crock pot cooks your meal.
Some models also come with a keep-warm function which keeps your food warm once it’s cooked until you are ready to eat.
It’s worth mentioning that the popular multicooker Instant Pot is also capable of acting as a crockpot with the added advantage of having a host of other functions as well.
Crockpots also tend to come in different materials like ceramic, aluminum, and stoneware. The stoneware pots can be used in an oven if you are cooking a multi-stage dish that needs to be transferred from the pot to the oven.
Though the size of the crock pot required is determined mainly by the number of people who are going to be using it, there are other factors like the dishes you want to prepare and your general schedule.
If you want to cook certain dishes, smaller pots simply won’t do. You need to have a larger one. If you are a busy professional and away from home most of the time, you would appreciate the feature that allows you to automatically cook your meals, a feature which smaller electronic crockpots don’t come with.
You might also be a single person or couple but like to cook your meals in batches then store away for re-heating later. In this case, a large or mid-size crock pot will be ideal for you.
The size that you end up going for has to be based on these considerations and more instead of just the number of people you are cooking for. We hope this article has helped you in deciding which crock pot you want to go for.