The Crock-Pot 4.7L Countdown Slow Cooker is a large slow cooker with a handy digital countdown timer: you can program it to stop cooking after a certain number of hours rather than having to switch it off manually. Controls are simple but not exactly intuitive.
The cooking results are excellent, making it a good option if you want a large slow cooker with timer. But there are more affordable large slow cookers out there and more versatile multi-cookers on the market, giving the Crock-Pot a real run for its money.
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This is a large, round slow cooker with a ceramic pot. The downside of ceramic is that it's heavy – very heavy by the time it's full of food – to carry to the table and it's harder to clean than a non-stick pot. The upsides are that it retains heat well at the table and you can clean it without fear of damaging a non-stick surface.
Capacity is an impressive 4.7 litres, so even when you allow for it only being 75% full to allow room for bubbling, that means a 3.5-litre working capacity – enough to feed a large family.
Aside from the capacity, its main selling point is the countdown timer. You can set it to cook – at low or high heat – for anything from 30 minutes to 20 hours, in 30-minute increments. Then it automatically switches to keep warm mode. You can't delay the start of the cooking time, though, only tell it when to stop.
Build quality is very good. The well-made handles are fine for carrying the whole thing around the kitchen or to the table – the power cable is detachable – and the rubber feet are excellent, helping to make it very steady.
The Crock-Pot's controls are simple but sometimes counter-intuitive. For example, you press the Select button (not the power button) to switch it on and use the arrow buttons to choose the heat setting. Then you press the power button, thinking you're starting the cooking, but instead it switches the cooker off and you have to start all over again. And then you make the same mistake again, and again, and again.
The countdown timer is a great function, though, the large capacity is great for families and batch cooking, and results are superb. An overnight black bean soup was delicious and had just the right texture.
Washing up was slightly frustrating. One of the disadvantages of a ceramic crock over a non-stick pot is that it's harder to clean. But at least, in theory, you can scrub away with impunity, not having to worry about damaging the surface. The Crock-Pot's instructions, though, urge you not to use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads. But the pot had stubborn white stains after the soup-cooking that just wouldn't shift with soap and water, so we had to use a scouring pad to remove them.
Yes, if you need a large capacity slow cooker with countdown timer. But if the timer's not important to you, go for the more affordable 3.5-litre Lakeland Brushed Chrome Family Slow Cooker or its big brother, the huge 6.5-litre Lakeland slow cooker, that still works out cheaper.
Alternatives at the same price include the Morphy Richards 3.5L Digital Sear and Stew Slow Cooker with a metal pot that can be used on the hob to sauté or sear ingredients before cooking, or the superb Tefal 8 in 1 Multi Cooker, which offers slow cooking and much, much more.
A huge capacity and countdown timer make this a good option for large families.
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