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Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker review: Resist the urge to splurge on this slow cooker

This slow cooker looks luxurious, but we wouldn't recommend it. Read our full review to learn why.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
8 min read

At my local grocery here in Louisville, there's an aisle dedicated to small kitchen appliances, and at the end of it you'll find an entire section of budget-priced slow cookers. The most expensive one probably costs somewhere around $60, and the majority run significantly less then that. This is where I bought my slow cooker: a no-frills sale model that set me back $19.99.


Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

The Good

The <b>Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker</b> looks the part of a high-end appliance and offers four distinct slow-cooking presets.

The Bad

That great-looking design isn't terribly practical, with a complete lack of helpful features and no discernible performance advantage over cheaper competitors.

The Bottom Line

We expect more from a $99 slow cooker, and so should you.There are smarter upgrades than this, and they don't cost quite as much.

The $99 Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker wouldn't be caught dead in that grocery aisle. With a classy, stainless steel finish, sleek chrome accents, and an elegant, blue LCD display, the thing is designed to bring a touch of luxury to an appliance with some pretty humble origins.

Feast your eyes on the fancy Frigidaire Professional Slow Cooker (pictures)

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But luxury is about more than aesthetics -- at least, it ought to be. In the case of the Frigidaire Professional, you won't find any thoughtful new features that save you time or make slow cooking any easier than it already is. You won't find the built-in temperature probe and spoon rest of the Hamilton Beach Set 'N Go Slow Cooker, nor will you find the lid-locking, cord-wrangling convenience of the Crock-Pot Cook & Carry.

Both of those cookers can do everything the Frigidaire Professional can and more, and both cost about $30 less. In fact, in terms of features, the only real difference between the Frigidaire Professional and my $20 cooker is that the Frigidaire has a built-in timer, a slightly bigger capacity, and a few extra preset cooking modes.

The bottom line is that the Frigidaire Professional is a fairly basic slow cooker housed in an attractive-looking stainless steel body. If you're willing to pay extra purely for an upgrade in aesthetics, then you'll probably be happy with it. If, on the other hand, you're expecting additional features or a better user experience -- and at $99, I think you should be -- then you'll find this slow cooker disappointing.

That's a great looking glass lid, but it's missing a meat thermometer vent. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Design and features

The Frigidaire Professional certainly passes the eye test. It looks fancy, elegant, and expensive -- certainly more so than the common cooker. If you served beef stew out of it at a pot luck dinner party, I'm sure that you'd get some compliments.

I know that we were impressed with the way the Frigidaire looked as we set this round of slow cookers up in our test kitchen. Along with the Breville Slow Cooker with EasySear, another high-end unit with a stainless steel finish, we decided that the Frigidaire was one of the best of the bunch in terms of looks. I'd even give it the edge over the Breville because of its glass lid, which I think is almost a must-have in a good slow cooker.

The handles on most slow cookers will offer a basic layer of protection between your fingers and the body of the machine...
...but not the Frigidaire Professional. Colin West McDonald/CNET

However, those initial charms quickly wore off as I started using the thing. As good as the design looks, it isn't terribly practical. For starters, I found that the Frigidaire Professional was more likely to burn me than any other cooker in our kitchen, thanks to the fact that there's absolutely no insulation between the metal body and those classy chrome handles. Try picking it up while it's on, and you'll find the backs of your fingers just a few precarious millimeters away from that scorching hot stainless steel surface.

It's a classic case of form over function, as well as a huge design oversight. After all, you won't be getting any compliments at that party if you burn yourself and drop the beef stew all over the sidewalk while carrying it in from the car.

Even if you make it to the party with your stew (and your dignity) intact, it won't be because of the Frigidaire's design, because this slow cooker offers no features geared towards portability. There no way to lock the lid, nowhere to wrap the cord, and no analog thermometer.

Compared to the thoughtful, feature-rich designs of the Crock-Pot and Hamilton Beach models that we tested, the Frigidaire Professional seems almost insultingly sparse. Want to cook using a meat thermometer? With the Frigidaire Professional, you'll need to lift the lid each time and let that critical heat escape, because the lid lacks a hole or a vent through which to stick the thermometer.

So what features does the Frigidaire Professional offer? First up is high capacity, with a 7-quart crock -- the same size as the pan in Breville's slow cooker. The Crock-Pot and Hamilton Beach slow cookers both feature 6-quart crocks, which is also the size of the metal pan in the Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System. So yes, the Frigidaire Professional's capacity is slightly above average, but not noticeably so. We cooked family-size recipes in all of the slow cookers, and never felt cramped in any of them.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Next is what Frigidaire calls the "Pro-Select LCD Display" which lets you know how much cooking time is left. It's not a killer feature by any stretch, as LCD displays are pretty common even in mid- to low-end slow cookers.

The LCD will also display which of the Frigidaire's six cooking presets you're using, and this is where you might think Frigidaire sets itself apart, since most slow cookers traditionally only offer Low, High, and Warm presets. Frigidaire offers those, along with a Medium setting and one for Soup, as well as a Buffet option that serves as a slightly warmer variation on the Warm setting.

That's a lot of options, but ask yourself: when would you use them? Do you really need two separate settings for keeping food warm? Do you really need a dedicated 4-hour Soup setting that does essentially the exact same thing as the 4-hour High setting? The Medium setting might be helpful if, for a specific recipe, you found that High was just too high and Low was just too low -- but how often is that really going to happen? Superfluous features like these don't make a better slow cooker -- but they do make a more cluttered one, and one that compromises the appliance's inherent simplicity.

Performance and usability

Clearly, the Frigidaire Professional leaves much to be desired in terms of features -- but the real question is, how does it cook?

The answer is that it cooks about as well as most other slow cookers with ceramic crocks. When heated, ceramic crocks will slowly and gently bring food up to peak temperature and then do a good job of retaining that heat over time, and the Frigidaire Professional is no different. Not surprisingly, we saw fairly similar results between the three ceramic crocks that we tested: the Frigidaire, the Hamilton Beach, and the Crock-Pot. We also saw similarities between the way the Breville and Ninja slow cookers performed -- both of those use thin metal pans, which conduct heat faster and tend to cook a bit more aggressively.

We started off simply by heating water, which is about as exciting as it sounds, but still useful for comparing the relative performance of each slow cooker at each setting. On Low, the Frigidaire was predictably slow to get up to a max temperature -- much slower than the two metal pans and slightly slower than the other two ceramic crocks, as well. Once it did, though, it simmered a bit warmer than those other two. In the four-hour High test, we saw every slow cooker reach the boiling point by the end of the test -- except for the Frigidaire Professional, which didn't make it above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

This led us to believe that the Frigidaire might be prone to overcooking on Low and undercooking on High, and to an extent, our food tests seem to back this up.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

We started with roast chicken, using a recipe that had us cooking them for four hours on High. They came out overcooked across the board in the first run, though the Frigidaire's was the least well-done. We tweaked the recipe down to three hours, and again, the Frigidaire was the least done. In fairness, the chicken tasted fine -- certainly better than the Breville's chicken, which, even after just three hours, was still overcooked.

The Frigidaire's macaroni and cheese was less evenly cooked than the batch cooked in the Hamilton Beach. CNET

Next, we tried a slow-cooked spin on macaroni and cheese that had us cooking for six hours on Low. In hindsight, we should have picked a recipe that wasn't quite so egg-centric, because each dish came out tasting more like quiche. Still, the results were telling -- especially the "heat mapping" provided by the burnt cheese on top of each batch. Ideally, we'd get something evenly cooked to a nice golden brown.

The Breville skipped the golden part and went straight to brown, producing some grossly overcooked macaroni, while the Crock-Pot was a bit undercooked. As for the Frigidaire's mac 'n' cheese, it was decent enough but also a bit overdone, and not as evenly cooked as the batches we made in the Hamilton Beach and the Ninja.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

We also tried cooking pot roast on the Low setting for six hours. The Frigidaire's meat was the least well-done, with a texture closer to roast beef than it was to pot roast. Some of our taste testers enjoyed this, while others preferred the more well-done, fall-apart pot roasts produced by the Ninja and Breville slow cookers. Another test saw us cooking cannellini beans. We tried the recipe on Low for six hours, then on High for three. The Frigidaire's beans were perfectly al dente and a unanimous favorite after the six-hour Low test -- but they came out far too underdone after three hours on High.

In addition to the cooking tests, we made sure to test each slow cooker's ability to keep food warm and ready to serve. After cooking those cannellini beans on High for three hours, we let each batch sit for two hours at the Warm setting, then checked how far the temperature had fallen (a dish has to be above 135 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered food safe, per the FDA).

All five slow cookers passed the test, but it's worth noting that the Frigidaire's temperature decreased by the smallest margin: just 14.5 degrees, from 186 to 171.5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this speaks more to the fact that it has the High setting that's easily the coolest of the bunch.

Another interesting point: the Breville slow cooker doesn't have a Warm setting at all (a fairly remarkable omission for a slow cooker, in my opinion). We left it sitting covered and unpowered for the full two hours, and while the temperature fell significantly lower than the other four, at 147 degrees Fahrenheit, it still passed.

We repeated this unpowered heat retention test with all of the slow cookers to see how they compared. The Frigidaire fell to 144 degrees and earned a passing grade, as did the Crock-Pot and the Hamilton Beach. The Ninja, however, saw its temperature fall to 131 degrees after two hours without power, barely failing the test. All of them are close enough to the line that we'd suggest using a thermometer to ensure food safety.

Colin West McDonald/CNET


The Frigidaire Professional isn't a bad slow cooker, but it isn't a good one, either -- and it certainly isn't worth $99. Despite its appealing look, it lacks the kind of thoughtful features that you'd actually use time in and time out, the ones that help justify the higher price tag.

Our Hamilton Beach and Crock-Pot test models set the bar here and finished in a virtual tie for first at the end of this round of tests. Both are feature-rich and travel-friendly, and both were steady performers in our test kitchen. As for the Ninja Cooking System, its built-in oven, stovetop, and steam-roasting functionality make it another interesting option, albeit an expensive one at $199.


Frigidaire Professional 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Score Breakdown

Performance 6Usability 6Design 8Features 5