The $59.99 Crock-Pot Cook & Carry Digital Slow Cooker is a reasonably priced slow cooker that held up well in our performance tests. You can find cheaper models, some for as little as $20, but the Crock-Pot's ability to transport food securely and in a relatively tidy fashion makes it worth the extra investment.
It didn't necessarily wow us in any of the tests, but it's a steady, predictable cooker for which the expression "slow and steady wins the race" seems especially applicable. It excels at low, slow cooking and, while it won't surprise you with modern features, it will do everything you expect of a traditional slow cooker and then some.
Design and features
The Crock-Pot Cook & Carry slow cooker features a 6-quart stoneware crock, making it comparable with many other models in both capacity and countertop footprint. As with nearly all slow cookers, the Cook & Carry's crock sits inside of a metal shell that also contains the heating element. The shell is brushed stainless steel, giving it a modern, inoffensive look.
Modernity isn't necessarily something you think of when considering a slow cooker and Crock-Pot didn't seem to waste a lot of time on it with this model. What it lacks in high-tech gadgets or capabilities, it makes up for in convenience and creature comforts.
Typically the lid on a slow cooker is transparent, giving you the ability to check on your food while it's cooking, though models like the
The control panel is a perfect blend of form and function. Playing off of traditional slow-cooker time and temperature standards, the Cook & Carry only gives you five preset options. You can cook your food on high for either 4 or 6 hours, on low for either 8 or 10 hours, or set your food to warm. Once the set cook time expires, the Crock-Pot will automatically switch to the warming mode. Not being able to set a specific cook time outside of those four options might be frustrating for some people, but I didn't really miss it. It's easy enough to just select a cooking mode and monitor the time elsewhere.
While its controls are minimalist, I appreciate the small addition of a temperature indicator dial. This is especially useful given that the Cook & Carry is designed to be portable. The dial lets you know at a glance that the relative temperature of the contents of the crock are so you can be sure you'll arrive at your destination with hot food or, if not, you'll know to plug the appliance in before serving. The dial ranges from yellow, labeled "cool," to red, which is labeled "hot." It's not so precise that it gives you an exact temperature reading, but the dial gives you a good visual. If you need a more accurate measurement, you can always insert your own thermometer into the rubber vent.
I was surprised to find so many recipes for making a whole chicken in a slow cooker. We ultimately went with this recipe, for its simplicity and popularity. To keep each chicken out of the grease, we put six aluminum foil balls in the bottom of each crock as a makeshift roasting rack. The chickens then sat directly on top of the foil. Some models, like the Breville and Ninja, came with their own roasting racks, but in order to standardize the test as much as possible, we used the foil racks in all of the slow cookers.
We ran this test first on the high setting for 4 hours, according to our recipe. These chickens, across the board, came out overcooked. The Cook & Carry's chicken held together a little better than that of the other slow cookers, but it wasn't what we would call appetizing.
We tried this recipe again, reducing the cook time to three hours and the results were much better across the board. Of the five slow cookers we tested, the Crock-Pot's chicken came out as one of the best. It was cooked all the way through and much juicier than the Breville or Ninja's chickens, which were still a little dry.