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You’ve got a crowd to feed and you need a crockpot? Whether your crowd is 10, or 100, we’ve got you covered on slow cookers to feed any size group.
When preparing to feed large groups of people the best large capacity slow cookers are roasting ovens. Their capacity can range from 10 quarts to 30 quarts and they can cook meat for up to 90 people at their highest capacity. Options like the Aroma 30-qt Roaster Oven will offer the highest capacity.
When cooking for a crowd, there’s not much room for guessing, that’s why we looked over dozens of different slow cookers, with all different feature sets to find the best options for your group.
Slow Cooker Selection Criteria
Slow cookers and roasting ovens have all kinds of different feature sets and materials that they’re made out of. Slow cookers feature an insert where the food is actually cooked, surrounded by a metal housing that will slowly heat the insert.
Inserts can be made from aluminum, glazed ceramic, unglazed ceramic, glass, or even steel and cast iron. Most of the widely available slow cookers feature a ceramic insert. There’s a reason that they’re so popular.
Ceramic is not as conductive as metal, this means, that it will heat slowly, retain its heat, and heat foods evenly. This is super helpful to the gentle cooking method of a slow cooker.
Slow cookers are starting to have lots of programmable features as well, we’re mainly looking for cookers that are adjustable and simple. One of the main benefits of a slow cooker is that they are a “set-it-and-forget-it” cooking method.
We don’t want to get so caught up in looking for the most high-tech slow cooker that we sight of one of their greatest benefits.
Our Top Picks
We’ve collected a great list of a variety of cookers, so let’s dive in deep as to what the best options are.
|Cooker||Why We Love It||Price Range|
|Kitchen Aid 6 Qt Slow Cooker||– great temperature regulation|
– easy to program
|$73 – $130|
|Crock Pot SCCPVL600-B||– portable|
|$30 – $45|
|Oster 22 Quart Roaster Oven||– high capacity|
– simple to use
|$50 – $70|
|Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker||– easy to transport|
– 10-quart capacity
|$55 – $75|
Best Overall Slow Cooker
This slow cooker is one of the best slow cookers out there. This slow cooker features an insulated base that helps to use less energy, easy-to-use programmable settings, and temperature regulation sensors. All of these features come in at prices ranging from $73- $130.
Those features make this a great overall slow cooker choice. The temperature regulation is super important because many slow cookers are capable of heating foods beyond the relatively low temperature that you’d want for cooking.
The display on this slow cooker is highly adjustable, as it allows for precise time increments. The cooker features an intuitive interface that will easily show you when it’s cooking, and when how much time is left.
It is a little more expensive than the usual slow cooker, but for those with demanding cooking needs and want to prepare foods that need delicacy and a sophisticated set of cooking tools, this is the perfect option.
Best Budget Slow Cooker
This slow cooker is a classic. The word Crock-Pot is nearly synonymous with a slow cooker, and many people use the phrases interchangeably. There’s a good reason for this. This product has been around in different forms since 1971! The company that made it, Naxon, and the company that bought the patent later have a patent for a similar product dating back to 1940!
Though this brand has a deep history and long heritage of quality, this one is updated, with a rubber seal around the glass lid. It also features locking clips in the lid that allow for easy carrying of this particular model. It is not programmable like the Kitchen Aid slow cooker.
At the time of this writing, it only costs $34.87 to get your hands on one of these. This particular model only holds 6 quarts. This capacity will allow you to fill it to 8-9 cups. A slow cooker should only be filled to 2/3-3/4 of the rim of the lid.
In terms of ground beef this will allow you to make about 16-18 servings of ground beef. Less of roast beef, and chicken which won’t fill the space as efficiently.
Best Medium Capacity
A 10-quart slow cooker is about the biggest slow cooker that you will find, but there are some bigger roaster ovens that can be used as slow cookers.
However, this Hamilton Beach cooker is a great one. It’s easy to transport and can cook a fair amount of food. It is well-loved by its users and comes with a pretty reasonable price tag of around $60.
It doesn’t come with any fancy timers, but 3 basic temperature settings. If you just need a cooker for crowds, this is the best option for you.
Best Large Capacity
Now we start breaking into roaster oven territory. These are capable of cooking hotter than a typical slow cooker. They are often manual, and most don’t have temperature regulation sensors. This one is no exception.
It’ll cost about $67.99 as of the time of this writing to acquire one of these roaster ovens. They’re also a little more scarce during the holiday season as everyone is snatching them up for Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners.
It’s also not ceramic. Roaster ovens like this one feature an enamel on steel coating. The good news is that they are pretty easy to clean, just like their slow cooker cousins. These are usually meant for roasting a turkey, but lower heat settings will work great for a slow cooker.
Here’s the real kicker, with 18 quarts, that’s enough to make 24-27 cups. That’s enough to feed 48-54 people with ground beef, or less than that for chicken, turkey, or irregularly shaped pieces of meat. Despite that, it’s a huge upgrade from the usual slow cooker.
One of our favorite features of this roaster oven is that it features a rectangular shape. Many slow cookers are shaped like circles or ovals, when we use the rectangular shape, it’s a lot more efficient for space usage on a serving table. Slow cookers and Roaster Ovens both work equally well for serving and serving.
Best Extra Large Capacity Roaster Oven
Oster is another solid choice in companies. They have been around since 1924 producing different household appliances and kitchen supplies. A lot of these slow cookers have timeless designs that haven’t changed in decades.
I like to think of it as a proof of concept. They worked back then, and they still work great! This roaster oven can fit up to a 26-pound turkey. If you were making something like ground beef it could make enough, on its own, to feed a crowd of over 60 people.
If you just grab a few of these the possibilities for feeding capacity start to grow pretty quickly. This is pretty easily achievable because this huge capacity roaster oven comes in at a price $52.99 as of the time of this writing.
This costs the same or, less than slow cookers that can only hold a few quarts. The great thing about a roaster oven, is also that it can function as an extension of the oven. If you have a small kitchen and need every item to be as useful as possible, this will work great for you.
One thing to watch for is that these ovens tend to advertise a “self-basting lid”. This is a marketing gimmick. All that means is that the lid has ridges that cause the vapors to fall back on top of whatever is being roasted.
This sounds great in theory, but simple physics teaches us that what evaporates up from food is mainly going to be water. So, there is a basting effect, but it’s not really anything special to get water droplets continuously falling on your cut of meat.
All in all, this roaster oven is a great pick. It features simple technology, no timers. This is bad for people who want ultra-convenience, but good because this thing will last forever with only a single moving part and no technology that will go bad on you.
Overall Best Slow Cooker
As you scour the internet and local stores for the perfect slow cooker, remember a few things. Roaster ovens, are larger and serve more functions than a slow cooker. Simpler slow cookers and roaster ovens and slow cookers tend to last longer.
More high-tech slow cookers and roaster ovens can help make life simpler by cooking on a timer and having variable settings. Look out for marketing gimmicks like a self-basting lid. It’s a nice little feature to have, but don’t make or break a buying decision based on whether a cooker has that or not.
For the purposes of this article, we’re looking at slow cookers that will help to feed a crowd. The Oster 22-quart Roaster Oven is going to be your secret weapon to accomplish that task.
With just two of them, you’ll be able to feed a crowd of over 100. Not just once, but for as long as the slow cookers last. This could be in the decades! Out of these options, you should be able to find something that fits your needs.
Cookers We Considered
Since the emergence of the Instant Pot, markets have seemingly been flooded with more and more complex and tech-heavy slow cookers. There are also many products that people will lump together into the category of slow cookers.
Part of the reason this happens is that there is a lot of overlap between the various available products.
An Instant Pot can function as a slow cooker, but it’s really a pressure cooker.
There are pressure cookers that can also function as slow cookers. Roasting ovens are really similar to slow cookers but they are larger in capacity and are capable of reaching higher temperatures than a regular slow cooker. There are even Dutch ovens that people will kinda use like a slow cooker.
For our purposes, we’re considering the classic Crock Pot-style slow cooker. A simple oval or rectangle electric cooker that doesn’t reach as high of a temperature setting as an oven.
The largest slow cookers I could find, top out at 10-qts. You can regularly find a roaster oven at the 22-qt, to 30 qt. size range. They almost look exactly the same and work in a really similar way.