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In my series on what items to include on your wedding registry, I included a crock pot, because I think it’s an essential tool for any home cook.
Even if the idea of a make-ahead meal isn’t appealing to you (in which case, I’m going to have to call you crazy), it’s perfect for preparing beans, homemade stocks or bone broths, and even baking bread.
Of course, my favorite way to use mine is to let a stew simmer all day while I’m at work and walk in my front door to the smell of a delicious hot meal, but it’s also handy for keeping dips or fondue warm during college football games every Saturday.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker available on Amazon
I recommended bypassing the itty bitty crock pot and the cheap $15 one that will make do, and going for Crock-Pot’s SCCPVL610-S Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker. I, unfortunately, had two other crock pots before upgrading to this one and ended up wasting a lot of money by not investing in a better small appliance from the start.
This crock pot is most certainly considered large, although it’s not quite the biggest. For most families, it’s going to be the perfect size. Like I said, my first crock pot was incredibly small. My thinking was that I was just feeding my fiancé and I, how much space did I really need?
Although I was able to make basic dishes in it, I had no flexibility and had to really cram food in it to make it work. Believe me, you will use all the space and you’ll be grateful you went big when you want to cook a pot roast in it for eight people ahead of time.
If you’re regularly using it to feed more than eight or so people, you might look for something bigger, although you’re only going to find options with a few more square inches of space. If you’re only feeding one or two, having a second smaller crock pot might be a good option for recipes that don’t call for a liquid.
Lock and Go
One of my favorite things about the SCCPVL610-S crock-pot is that it’s actually designed to be transported as alluded to in its moniker of “Cook and Carry.” That means I can get chili cooking in it before bed on Friday night and take the whole thing to a friend’s house to watch the game the next morning, without it ever leaving the crock pot or worrying about it spilling along the way.
The locks are hinged and use a lid gasket, so you’re going to have to try hard to get food to spill. There are handles on its side making it easy to carry. Once you’re at your destination, just plug the whole thing back in to get it nice and hot again.
No more duct-taping lids down and lining my car seats with towels! Now that I have this slow cooker, I might be able to finally admit to my fiancé that this transport “system” didn’t quite cut it and yes, our car does still smell like soup. Just make sure you don’t lock the lid while it’s cooking.
Compared with my previous cheap-buy crock pot, the most noticeable difference with the SCCPVL610-S is the programmable settings. Although crock pot meals are thought of as “set it and forget it,” that’s not really, truly the case until you have a programmable crock pot.
You can absolutely overcook food in a slow cooker, even if it’s set to low! Set this one on its countdown timer, though, and it will automatically switch to the “warm” setting once the timer is done. I love this option because I will often find myself stuck in terrible traffic on my way home from work, and I don’t have to worry about getting home in time to switch it off!
You can program the model SCCPVL610-S to cook for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 20 hours. This feature is especially great for when I’m making chicken stock, which I sometimes like to cook for as long as 18 hours. Now, I don’t have to babysit it quite as closely.
Using this setting is very easy. Once all your ingredients are in the programmable Cook and Carry Crock-pot, plug it in. Then choose which setting you’d like your meal to cook at by pressing “Select” until “High,” “Low,” or “Keep Warm” is selected.
Set the timer by pressing the arrows above and below the word “Timer” until the display has reached your desired cooking time. Then leave it! Seriously, it’s really easy.
The warm setting is not a fail-safe, though. Some users have complained that they thought it was too hot, and your food can still cook a bit at this temperature. Your food should stay great on the warm setting for a few hours, but make sure not to leave it longer than that.
Each crock pot’s temperature settings are going to be a little different, so if you’re switching, check your dishes an hour or two before you would usually stop the cooking time until you’re used to the way the device functions.
Before cleaning your crock pot, even when just wiping it out, always make sure that it’s unplugged and completely cool. The removable stoneware is made from coated ceramic, making it incredibly easy to clean. Although its size and weight can make it difficult to maneuver in the sink, it’s at least a quick process.
The lid is glass and can be scrubbed down with ease. The stoneware and lid are also dishwasher safe, so if you’ve got the room, you can always go that route instead! The ceramic coating can be chipped if metal utensils or especially rough scouring pads are used on it, so make sure to only use gentle sponges.
As with any other ceramic materials, the crock pot can crack and break if subjected to extreme temperature changes. Another reason it’s important to let it cool completely!
To make clean up even easier, most crock pot liners will fit the stoneware. Just wrap the liner around the stoneware before adding your ingredients and after you’ve eaten, toss the liner into the trash. Only the lid will need a quick washing!
Make sure that you never submerge the heating base in water or run it through the dishwasher. When necessary, just wipe it down with a clean cloth and warm, soapy water.
Other Pros and Cons
One bonus that is minor but I feel needs to be mentioned in this review is that Crock-Pot Brand SCCPVL610-S Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker is an attractive small appliance. My previous slow cooker was white, which I didn’t think twice about when buying.
It showed every tomato sauce stain and small spot I had missed when cleaning.
This crock pot is black and stainless steel, which will hide small spots and clean up easily. The display isn’t overly large or obnoxious looking. The design overall is sleek and looks great sitting on my countertop.
Many have found that oval-shaped slow cookers have far fewer hot spots than their round counterparts. Another benefit to the oval shape is that it can easily hold a bread pan, giving you the opportunity to come home to a freshly baked loaf. The shape also makes it easy to place a plank in the crock pot if you want to try this cooking method to give your meat extra flavor!
Included with the manual are recipes for your slow cooker. This model has a 1-year warranty, so if something does go wrong, you can likely get it replaced.
This particular model is also oven and microwave safe, in addition to being dishwasher safe! This provides another means of reheating its contents, which can be especially helpful if you only brought the stoneware, not the entire slow cooker, outside your home. Crock-Pot recommends that you not preheat the stoneware, though, and the lid is not oven or microwave safe.
Some people notice that this slowcooker gives off a funny smell during the first use, but it doesn’t seem to affect the taste of the food and is usually gone by the second time its operated. Some users recommend cooking water in it for 6 hours before using to get around this issue.
The Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker is a great mid-range option for any home cook. There are more high-end slow cookers out there, but this option will meet all of your basic needs and then some without paying an arm and a leg.
Both the lock-and-go and programmable features have won me over from simpler crock pots. There is nothing worse than chili-stained seats and knowing that half the meal I was supposed to contribute to an event is gone.
With the programmable timer, I have so much more flexibility and it makes it much easier to ensure that my fiancé and I get to eat a hot meal after work in the evenings.
Although this crock pot does seem to run a little hotter than others I’ve used, I’ve never had overcooked food and know to just decrease my cooking time by a half hour or so. All slow cookers run a little differently and require some adjusting, so this wasn’t altogether that big of an inconvenience for me.
I hope that my review has given you confidence to look further into this particular small kitchen appliance and that you enjoy the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker as much as I have! May there be many potato chowders in your future.
Look for more slow cooker and Crock-Pot options? Take a look at our in-depth buying guide now!
About Chelsea Miller
Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.