- Easy to clean
- Oven and hob compatible
- Hinged lid with seal
- No timer
- Handles become hot on hob
- Can’t take pot out without removing lid
- Review Price: £69.98
- 4.5-litre capacity
- 276 x 353 x 220mm
What is the Crock-Pot 4.5L Hinged Lid Sauté Slow Cooker?
Crock-Pot has been making slow cookers for more than four decades now, so it’s no wonder that this incarnation has been designed to solve several common issues. First is the hinged lid, which allows you to lift and stir the contents without wondering where to put it down. In addition, the Crock-Pot has a seal all the way around its lid to lock steam and juices inside, instead of letting them evaporate.
Also useful is the fact that you can sear meat and veg in the pot on the hob or in an oven before replacing it on the base, so flavours being left behind in a pan aren’t a concern.
Fewer items to wash up, tastier slow-cooked stews, curries and soups, and a puddle-free worktop – what more could you ask for?
Related: Best slow cookers
Crock-Pot 4.5L Hinged Lid Sauté Slow Cooker – Design and features
It’s with good design that this slow cooker excels. Rather than a heavy, cumbersome ceramic pot, the Crock-Pot’s dish is made from lightweight aluminium. As a result, it’s a doddle to lift in and out of the base when it’s filled with food.
The pot has a non-stick DuraCeramic coating, which is incredibly easy to clean – food residue simply wipes off. A metal disc on the underside of the pot allows for use on induction hobs. And at 4.5 litres, thee pot offers enough capacity to feed a family of four.
The hinged lid, meanwhile, is detachable and fits into a slotted area at the back. Rather than have a knob on top, the handle is at the front, making it easier to open.
The base may be a standard shape, but it’s stylish and beautifully finished in a glossy white and chrome effect. There’s a manual dial with three heat settings – high, low and keep warm – and an indicator light, so you know that the slow cooker is definitely on before you leave the kitchen.
Crock-Pot 4.5L Hinged Lid Sauté Slow Cooker – What’s it like to use?
Basic slow cookers can often end up stashed in a cupboard due to a lack of ideas and guidance, but this model makes sure you’re prepared from the start. There are plenty of tips in the instructions to help get less-than-confident users slow-cooking like a pro, alongside recipes to inspire keen cooks, including desserts.
I started by making bolognese sauce, first searing the meat on the hob. Despite the dish claiming to be compatible with induction cookers, it wouldn’t work on my hob, possibly a result of the ferrous plate of the dish being too small. Those with older hobs that require a certain diameter of pan may struggle to use it.
Instead, I browned the mince using a gas burner. The dish stayed steady on a cast iron support, even when stirred, which was an advantage as the handles grew hot while cooking.
After adding the rest of the ingredients, I removed the pot from the hob using oven gloves, and set it in the base. The lid had to be removed first, however, as it proved an obstruction to getting the pot in place. When you consider that the Crock-Pot is so well-designed elsewhere, this feels like a less-than-practical quirk that’s been overlooked.
Refitting the lid to the base and lowering it created a secure seal around the rim. As the contents cooked, there was noticeably less smell of bolognese in the air than other machines tend to produce. So while you won’t be coming home to a house full of intense cooking smells, it’s likely to make for more tender, moist meals.
I set the bolognese on low, checking on it periodically through the glass lid. It bubbled away gently, the exterior of the cooker growing warm but never hot. After six hours of cooking the bolognese was hot enough to serve, yet the mince hadn’t dried out. There was a similar amount of liquid left, too, which had cooked into a tasty, rich sauce.
Next, I used the slow cooker to make rice pudding. After greasing the bowl I added rice, sugar, butter and milk and set to cook on high heat. After three hours, the rice pudding was perfectly cooked: the rice was tender, the sauce was rich and creamy, and there were no burnt bits or dry rice grains. The creamy rice pudding was at a hot, but not scalding, serving temperature, and the whole process had been entirely fuss-free compared to making it on the hob.
While the lid of the Crock-Pot is dishwasher-safe, the pot can only be cleaned by hand. However, it can be wiped clean in seconds, and everything from sticky bits of rice to grease is instantly wiped away.
Why buy the Crock-Pot 4.5L Hinged Lid Sauté Slow Cooker?
In an ideal world, a slow cooker at this price point would also have a timer and automatic switch to keep warm rather than relying on manual controls. However, what you do get for your money is excellent build quality, perfectly controlled heat, and a design that makes cooking super-easy.
The Crock-Pot slow cooker isn’t just a good size for families, it’s also suitable for batch-cooking meals for the freezer, while its size isn’t so cumbersome to take up precious kitchen worktop space.
Fantastic design and simple to use, the Crock-Pot is likely to become a go-to for those slow-cooked winter meals.