TOP OF THE POTS: 9 OF THE BEST SLOW COOKERS

Coming home on a chilly winter's evening to a freshly-made casserole or curry is hard to beat. And the easiest way to achieve this? Kit out your kitchen with one of the latest slow cookers and let it whip up your favourite meal whilst you're at work or out and about.

The latest models have a variety of nifty features, including a wide range of functions (from steaming rice to cooking porridge), detachable stove-proof pots for searing meat and digital displays for ease of use. There's even one that also works as a pressure cooker so you can alternate between super-fast and slow cooked dishes.Models with large capacities are ideal for families or for those keen to batch cook and stockpile home-cooked meals for the freezer or for the days ahead.The pots usually go in the dishwasher too, so it's minimal effort for maximum results.

If you're into nose to tail cooking, or prefer to eat high-welfare meat, slow cookers are ideal for tougher, less expensive cuts, like beef brisket, shank, or pork cheeks, as moisture is retained during the slow cooking process which tenderises the meat and makes it melt in your mouth.

As well as stews, soups and tagines, it's possible to make desserts in many new models. How about syrup steamed pudding, chocolate brownies or creamy rice for a hearty old-school treat?

Whatever your preference, simply throw the chopped ingredients in the night before, or when you get up in the morning, choose a suitable setting then go about your day.

Once you're home again later, dinner will be ready to serve.Bon appetite!

 

DIGITAL 4.5L SLOW COOKER, £49.99, Andrew James

DIGITAL 4.5L SLOW COOKER, £49.99, Andrew James

Cleaning is a breeze thanks to the non-stick ceramic bowl.

LIFT & SERVE 4.7L DIGITAL SLOW COOKER, £44.99, Crock-Pot AT JOHN LEWIS

LIFT & SERVE 4.7L DIGITAL SLOW COOKER, £44.99, Crock-Pot AT JOHN LEWIS

Dinner will always be ready with the auto keep-warm setting.

Black chalkboard 3.5L slow cooker, £25, russell hobbs at debenhams

Black chalkboard 3.5L slow cooker, £25, russell hobbs at debenhams

Let the family know what's cooking.

Black chalkboard 3.5L slow cooker, £25, russell hobbs at debenhams

Black chalkboard 3.5L slow cooker, £25, russell hobbs at debenhams

Let the family know what's cooking.

SAGE BY Heston Fast Slow Pro 6L PRESSURE/SLOW COOKER, £149, CURRYS

SAGE BY Heston Fast Slow Pro 6L PRESSURE/SLOW COOKER, £149, CURRYS

On a health kick? Let this design steam your veg.

3.5L SLOW COOKER, £29.99, Lakeland

3.5L SLOW COOKER, £29.99, Lakeland

With three heat settings, you can whip up a variety of dishes.

SEAR AND STEW 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £39.99, Morphy Richards AT ARGOS

SEAR AND STEW 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £39.99, Morphy Richards AT ARGOS

A detachable pot means you can sear ingredients on the hob before slow cooking.

COPPER-EFFECT 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £25, Next

COPPER-EFFECT 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £25, Next

Stylish and affordable.

RETRO 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £29.99, Swan

RETRO 3.5L SLOW COOKER, £29.99, Swan

The baby blue finish delivers old-school charm.

8-in-1 2.2L multi cooker, £64.99, Tefal at homeandcook.co.uk

8-in-1 2.2L multi cooker, £64.99, Tefal at homeandcook.co.uk

One for early birds... the start time can be set up to 15 hours in advance.