It was time for a new and larger slow cooker. Before moving I trashed my old Crock Pot, but no tears were shed. It had been a good faithful workhorse for me, but the day I dropped the glass lid and it shattered into a thousand pieces was the day my love affair with it ended. Next time out I decided to try the Hamilton Beach 5-Quart Slow Cooker (#33550). I had noticed that this brand had lids with rubber gasket rim on the inside, so I hoped that it would prove a bit more durable and be able to withstand my clumsiness. So far, so good!
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Additional product details
The inner removable crock is made of black stoneware and is oval in shape. Its inner measurements are approximately 10 inches by 8.5 inches. It has stoneware handles. The crock may also be stored in refrigerator or freezer. Hamilton Beach warns you that it can scratch countertops (such as granite) but I haven't had a problem. It's not as rough as some cooking stoneware (like Pampered Chef's).
The outer base has two plastic handles and has a 3-foot electrical cord. What it lacks is a cord keeper and also rubberized feet that grip to the counter. I don't have young kids anymore but I like kitchen appliances like my food processor that grip well to the counter and can't be pulled off by errant hands.
Also included with the slow cooker is a rubberized latch (sort of like a giant rubber band) that fits over the lid and the handles. I've never used it, as it's intended for people who intend to transport the inner crock to a dinner or picnic, for example, something which I've never done.
As I mentioned, the glass lid on the Hamilton Beach models have a rubber gasket underneath the metal rim. Great idea, I thought! One thing I began to hate with my Crock Pot was that a lot of liquid bubbled out and hopefully this gasket would limit or prevent that.
The lid and the inner crock are both dish-washer safe.
I got this at Walmart for about $27.
During the winter I use my slow cooker a LOT! It's great for slow cooking soups as well as roasts. My husband in particular likes when I make corned beef in here. Nothing could be easier. I usually buy a 3-4 pound corned beef. Just put it in, fatty side up, fill with a couple inches water, drop in the spice pack, and slow cook for about 6 hours.
I also love to make bean soups in my slow cooker. It's a great way to make an economical meal. I'll soak the dry beans the night before and rinse, put in the slow cooker and add 6 cups chicken broth along with desired spices, and cook for 6-8 hours until beans are tender.
As for performance, my Hamilton Beach slow cooker is equal to my old Crock Pot. Both of them seemed to cook a little bit faster than most recipes suggested cook times, even when on low, so I do advise checking early to make sure your dishes don't get overcooked or mushy. Fortunately, I've got the "keep warm" feature on this slow cooker, and it does keep food warm and at serving temperature, but I try not to keep it on for over an hour as even at this temperature selection, the liquid is still quite warm.
I'm happy to say that the rubber gasket on the lid does limit the amount of liquid that bubbles out. I no longer here the lid rattling like it did on my Crock Pot and there isn't any splatter from the steam build-up on the counter. One tiny problem with this lid is that if you place it (while it's hot) on a granite counter like mine, it actually forms a seal and I have to slide a knife under to break the seal. I've also notice that the handle on the lid (like my Crock Pot lid) gets loose and you have to take a screw driver to tighten it from time to time.
The inner crock can get a ring from the liquid or food in the slow cooker, so I'll often have to soak it for an hour. You're advised not to scrub it with a scratchy pad, but I will take use a Scotch-Brite No Scratch Scrubbing Sponge to clean such messes without any problem. If it's not too dirty I may just pop it in the bottom rack of my dishwasher.
The outside (the base) cleans up easily with a sponge. I sometimes give it a nice shining with a stainless steel cleaner or even Windex with Vinegar.
I've very pleased with my Hamilton Beach Five Quart Slow Cooker. It makes cooking easy and stress free. I like the added feature of having a gasket on the lid as well as the "keep warm" feature on the temperature controls.
And yes, I'm hoping that lid doesn't break if I drop it!
Made in China
One year limited warranty
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Amount Paid (US$): 27