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The best small slow cookers do a great job of packing a big punch without taking up too much space, and are perfect for cooking dips, soups, fondues, and vegetable side dishes. Blair scored her first small slow cooker 10 years ago and has been in love with it ever since! 

best small slow cookers
Credit: The Seasoned Mom
Table of Contents
  1. Our Top Picks:
  2. Reviews of The Best Small Slow Cookers
  3. Other Small Slow Cookers to Consider
  4. Why You Can Trust Us
  5. What to Know About Small Slow Cookers

“Small slow cookers are ideal if you’re cooking for just one or two, or preparing a hot dip for a party, keeping gravy or sauces warm, or making a side dish for a larger meal,” she says. “I also love that they’re so easy to store.”

Blair and I researched an array of slow cookers from top kitchen brands to put together this list of the best small slow cookers — all of which are under 3.5 quarts, compact, and easy to carry. If you’re planning on cooking up some delicious dips or sides for picnics, parties, and potlucks, then check out our top picks for the best small slow cookers, including Blair’s personal favorite from Crock Pot.

Our Top Picks:

1. In Blair’s Kitchen: Crock Pot Round Manual Slow Cooker (3 Quart)- $22.08 at Amazon

2. Best Programmable Small Slow Cooker: Cuisinart Programmable Slow Cooker (3.5 Quart) – $59.95 at Amazon

3. Best Small Multicooker: Hamilton Beach Digital Compact Multicooker (1.5 Quart) – $34.99 at Amazon

4. Best Portable Small Slow Cooker: Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker (2.5 Quart) – $37.86 at Amazon

5. Best Mini Slow Cooker: Elite Gourmet Electric Slow Cooker (1.5 Quart) – $14.99 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Small Slow Cookers

1. In Blair’s Kitchen: Crock-Pot Round Manual Slow Cooker (3 Quart)

best small slow cookers
Credit: Amazon

Blair always turns to this oval-shaped slow cooker from Crock Pot when a recipe calls for a smaller amount of food. She loves using it for her Southern-Style Green Beans and Crock Pot Creamed Corn recipes and is always glad to have it when she needs it. “I typically use this smaller version for side dishes,” she says. “While it doesn’t have any fancy features, like automatic shut-off or a timer, it works very well. ”

Blair says that she’s had her small slow cooker for 10 years! She loves that it’s a relatively basic model and affordable, while the dishwasher-safe insert is an added bonus for quick and easy clean-up.

The Specs:

  • Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 11.5” D x 9.5” W
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Type: Manual

The Pros:

  • Dishwasher-safe stoneware insert
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable

The Cons:

  • Only two settings (high and low)
  • Lid gets hot

What Others Are Saying

Good Housekeeping found the Crock Pot Manual Slow Cooker to be the best small slow cooker they tested. It also has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon from more than 7,700 reviewers.

Buy the Crock Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker:

2. Best Programmable Small Slow Cooker: Cuisinart Programmable Slow Cooker (3.5 Quart)

Credit: Crate and Barrel

For temperature regulation, a programmable slow cooker is a nifty option, especially if you plan to be away from home for many hours and want dinner to cook itself.  With this Cuisinart model, all you have to do is load the ingredients in the morning and set a cooking start time for later in the day, so there’s no need to “babysit” the slow cooker every few hours.  

The oval shape is great for meatier recipes like Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs or Farrmhouse Slow Cooker Beef Stew so you aren’t stuffing ingredients into a cylinder-shaped terminal. Once the cooking time is complete, the setting automatically changes to warm so your meal stays toasty without additional cooking time – another reason why this is a smart buy. 

The Specs:

  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 3.5 quarts
  • Dimensions: 9.1” D x 12.67″ W
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Type: Programmable

The Pros:

  • Dishwasher-safe insert
  • 4 programmable settings (high, low, simmer, and warm)
  • 3-year warranty

The Cons:

  • Low setting very slow
  • Insert’s coating scratches easily
  • Sensitive inner coil

What Others Are Saying

The Cuisinart Programmable Slow Cooker earned a 4.5-star rating out of more than 7,000 reviews on Amazon. Food & Wine found this product to be the best programmable option for small slow cookers. 

Buy the Cuisinart 3.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker:

3. Best Small Multicooker: Hamilton Beach Digital Compact Multicooker (1.5 Quart)

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker
Credit: Amazon

If you don’t have a ton of counter space, a versatile appliance with multiple functionalities is a great option. One of the best multicookers on the market is the Hamilton Beach compact multicooker, which acts as a programmable food steamer, small slow cooker, and rice cooker all in one. It features a “set and forget” function that’s especially helpful for busy days. 

Hamilton Beach slow cookers have been a long-time a leader in the market, and offers a  great overall value for the price. This model in particular has two slow cooking modes (low and high) and can cook grains, hot cereal, and eggs or steam veggies.  

The Specs:

  • Weight: 3.31 pounds
  • Capacity: 1.5 quarts
  • Dimensions: 7.5″ D x 7.5″ W
  • Materials: Plastic with chrome finish
  • Type: Programmable

The Pros:

  • Timer can be set up to 24 hours in advance
  • Easy to clean
  • Includes egg/steaming tray, rice paddle, and measuring cup

The Cons:

  • Only two slow-cook settings
  • Takes a long time to reach the desired temperature

What Others Are Saying

The Hamilton Beach Digital Compact Multicooker earned a 4.5-star rating from more than 15,000 Amazon reviews.

Buy the Hamilton Beach Digital Compact Multicooker (1.5 Quart):

4. Best Portable Small Slow Cooker: Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker (2.5 Quart)

Credit: Amazon

If you’re heading off to a potluck or other cooking event, a lightweight, portable slow cooker with a latch top is your new best friend. The Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker has a 2.5-quart capacity and three temperature settings, low, high, or warm. The stylish exterior is great for transporting your dish, especially since the stoneware insert is oven-safe. There are even side handles for easy carrying and a cook-and-carry lock lid!

This manual slow cooker is wider than it is deep, so Crock Pot designed it for casseroles (like Blair’s comforting Ground Beef and Corn Casserole), one-pot dishes, and smaller dinners, but it can also be used for chunky, scoopable appetizers like pizza dip or hot bacon and cheese dip

The Specs:

  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Capacity: 2.5 quarts
  • Dimensions: 13.8″ D x 9.8″ W
  • Material: Stoneware
  • Type: Manual

The Pros:

  • Dishwasher-safe insert and lid
  • Secure-fit locking lid
  • Pretty exterior design

The Cons:

  • Takes a long time to heat
  • Plastic locking mechanism can break
  • Too small for some meat entrees or vegetable sides

What Others Are Saying

Food & Wine named the Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker the best portable slow cooker for tailgating, potlucks, and dinner parties on their list of the best mini slow cookers. On Amazon,  it has a 4.7-star rating based on more than 6,000 reviews.

Buy the Crock Pot 2.5-Quart Casserole Slow Cooker:

5. Best Mini Slow Cooker: Elite Gourmet Mini Slow Cooker (1.5 Quart)

Credit: Elite Gourmet

A mini slow cooker is perfect for whipping up cheese or chocolate fondue, and the Elite Gourmet Slow Cooker is consistently ranked as one of the best in the market. It’s just 1.5 quarts but has great features, such as a dishwasher-safe glass lid and stoneware insert, cool touch handles, and three temperature settings (low, high, and warm). It’s a great pick if you live alone or cook smaller meals, especially since the warming preset will keep your dish toasty until you’re ready to eat.

Whether you try Blair’s Champagne White Chocolate Fondue or her Slow Cooker Chili, this manual, ceramic slow cooker is small enough to cook just what you need, but it won’t take up too much room on the dinner table or even a buffet spread.

The Specs:

  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 1.5 quarts
  • Dimensions: 9″ D x 7.8″ W
  • Material: Stoneware
  • Type: Manual

The Pros:

  • Dishwasher-safe ceramic insert
  • Three temperature settings (low, high, and warm) 
  • Affordable

The Cons:

  • Loose-fitting top 
  • Handles can melt if too hot
  • Too small for more than one serving

What Others Are Saying

The Elite Gourmet Mini Slow Cooker has a 4.6-star rating out of more than 18,000 ratings on Amazon.

Buy the Elite Gourmet Mini Slow Cooker: 

Other Small Slow Cookers to Consider

Breville Fast-Slow Pro Slow Cooker

Looking for a small slow cooker to splurge on that’s got all the bells and whistles, like a custom-cook setting and an LCD display? Ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 quarts, this brushed stainless-steel model from Breville shifts to a “keep warm” setting once the food is done cooking. The only drawback is the weight (14 pounds), which makes it difficult to transport and the price is much higher than our top choices The Breville Fast-Slow Pro Slow Cooker is available on Amazon for $299.95.

The Pioneer Woman Floral Slow Cookers (1.5 Quart)

If it’s a starter set you’re looking for, Pioneer Woman slow cookers, inspired by cookbook author, TV host, and country girl Ree Drummond, has you covered with this duo of 1.5-quart slow cookers. The set has vibrant patterns (choose from Fiona Floral and Vintage Floral or Breezy Blossom and Teal Gingham), that are doing their part to dress up the buffet or dinner table. A 1.5-quart slow cooker is an ideal size for dips and spreads, but it didn’t make the list because reviews are slightly mixed, and some buyers reported only receiving one small slow cooker instead of two. The Pioneer Woman Fiona Floral and Vintage Floral 1.5-Quart Slow Cooker is available at Walmart for $23.64.

Courant Dual Pot Slow Cooker (2.5 Quart)

When you’re working on two recipes at once, like Blair’s Slow Cooker Pork Chops with a side of her extra cheesy Crock Pot Creamed Corn, you’re going to need two slow cookers. Courant’s slow cooker combo is great for recipes that require different heat settings and cook times, providing two inserts and separate controls for three different settings. This product is also easy to clean and dishwasher safe, but it takes up a lot of excess counter space if you only need to use one at a time. Courant Dual Pot Slow Cooker 2.5 Quarts is available on Amazon for $74.97.

Why You Can Trust Us

I’m Kristine Hansen, a food writer and recipe editor for two decades and the author of Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet, and Savory Recipes from the State’s Best Creameries. I know my way around the kitchen and have interviewed hundreds of chefs about their favorite kitchen tools and gadgets for online media outlets that include Wine Enthusiast and The Kitchn. I still use my small slow cooker my husband and I received on our wedding day to make game-day chili!

hands with chili
Credit: The Seasoned Mom

Blair is a busy home chef who features dozens upon dozens of slow cooker recipes here on The Seasoned Mom for you to try. After years of Virginia-based recipe development, it’s safe to say that she knows her way around slow cookers. 

In hunting down the best small slow cookers, Blair and I looked at ease of use, durability, portability, and programmable features. We started with the slow cookers we use ourselves and brands we’re familiar with, and analyzed recommendations from culinary experts as well as reviews from consumers.

What to Know About Small Slow Cookers

best small slow cookers
Credit: The Seasoned Mom

Things to Consider When Choosing a Small Slow Cooker

Before buying a small slow cooker, you’ll want to think about whether you want a manual or programmable option, its capacity, settings, price, and any additional features or accessories. 

Programmable vs. Manual: The newest and latest slow cookers feature LCD displays and can be customized to whatever settings you need. These high-tech slow cookers can also be programmed up to 24 hours in advance! We factored this into our research because it’s a nice bonus to be able to set your dinner up the night before or the morning of. However, just keep in mind that although manual small slow cookers are more simplistic, they tend to cost a little less.

Settings: Many users get impatient that their small slow cooker isn’t cooking fast enough but remember, it’s a slow cooker for a reason. Most slow cookers have at least two temperature settings, but many on our list have three (low, high, and warm). Consider what you’re planning on using your small slow cooker for, whether it be cooking dinners ahead or simmering dips throughout the day, and pick a product based on the temperature settings you’d need.

Durability: While some reviews talk about handles that melt (ouch!), we really don’t want that to happen to you. Any product designed to be in contact with high heat should be able to withstand it. Along those same lines, a snug fit for the lid and an insert that easily snaps in are clear signs this is a product built to last. Some brands also offer lengthy warranties which is a nice bonus. Generally, you’ll want to consider purchasing a model from a reputable kitchen appliance brand, like any of the ones we mentioned above.

Capacity: To be considered as a small slow cooker, we looked at options that were between 1.5- and 3.5-quarts. A 1- or 2-quart slow cooker will make enough for one to two servings of a meal, dips, and sides, while a 3-quart capacity is best for side dishes, soups, or two to three servings of a meal.

Are Crock Pots and Slow Cookers the Same?

Crock Pot and Cuisinart
Credit: The Seasoned Mom

These terms are basically interchangeable, but Crock-Pot is a specific brand of slow cookers that dates back many generations. However, many people use “Crockpot” as a term to describe all slow cookers (like how some people call all tissues “Kleenex”). Both plug into the wall and keep the food inside warm.

What Temperatures Are Slow Cookers?

While the heat setting you’re using will depend on the recipe, slow cookers typically maintain a temperature range between 170°—300°F. The “low” setting is between 190°and 210°F, while the high setting is between 170°and 300°F. If you are trying to keep food warm, the warm setting, which is available on most slow cookers, clocks in at around 145°to 165°F.  

How to Clean Small Slow Cookers

Just like a large slow cooker, the insert is removable, allowing you to either hand wash with soapy water or pop into the dishwasher. The same goes for the lid. Look at the product specs to confirm it’s dishwasher-safe, although many of today’s models are. For inserts with enamel or cast-iron features, soak for two to three hours. If it’s still not clean, use a pan scraper and a blend of boiling water and baking soda to remove stubborn stains.

What are Small Slow Cookers Used For?

While perfect for side dishes, fondues, soups, stews and dips, small slow cookers are also great for making one to two servings of food. If your household is on the lower side, a small slow cooker may be the better investment.

Do You Need a Small Slow Cooker?

A small slow cooker is just one way to cook sauces, soups, dips, and small-portion meals. Slow cooker meals also tend to be associated with the colder seasons, since cozy soups and stews just about scream comfort food. 

Small slow cookers tend to be best for people who entertain or host often, or smaller households that run on the busier side. Before you go to work in the morning or even the night prior, you can set your ingredients up, adjust the settings, and come home to a delicious home-cooked meal.  

Best Small Slow Cooker Recipes

lasagna soup
(Lasagna Soup) Credit: The Seasoned Mom

Now that you’ve got your small slow cooker all picked out, what will you cook first? Blair’s website is a treasure trove of small slow cooker meals. We’ve picked some of her favorites out below.

Prices were accurate at the time of publication.


Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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