For years I've refused to own a slow cooker, which may come as a surprise, given my fellow colleagues' love for the appliance. But it's not because I don't believe it's a convenient tool in the kitchen — it's 100 percent because I just don't have the space! Living in a tiny New York City apartment, I barely have room for a few basic pots and pans, let alone a slow cooker.
Which is why discovering that they actually make really small slow cookers, one to three quarts in size, was a game changer. Their tiny size makes them useful for a number of reasons, so even if you already have a larger slow cooker, you might want to consider adding one of these to your arsenal.
5 Reasons to Own a Teeny-Tiny Slow Cooker
1. Roast garlic without heating up the house.
Roast a whole head of garlic and you may never look at garlic the same way again. The stuff is incredible, with a sweet, caramelized garlic flavor that's so soft you can spread it directly on crusty bread, mash it into a vinaigrette, or add it to soups and sauces. Instead of turning on the whole oven to roast just one or two heads, cook them on low in the tiny slow cooker for four or five hours until they're soft.
2. Serve hot dip.
Dip makes just about any party better, but make that dip hot and gooey and well, it's a party your friends will be talking about for weeks. Keeping the dip warm in a tiny slow cooker means it will fit on the table with the other appetizers, and it will stay hot throughout the night.
3. Whip up dinner for just one or two.
All those great slow-cooker recipes out there can be a real bummer when you're a party of one or two, but a smaller slow cooker means you can join in on the fun. Halve the recipe, whether it's bolognese or soup, and you've got a much more reasonable portion to enjoy.
4. Keep gravy warm.
Gravy, be it for the Thanksgiving turkey or chicken-fried steak, is only as good as the temperature it's served at. Who wants to pour cold gravy over their meat? Transfer it to the slow cooker, keep it on low, and dinner guests will have access to piping-hot gravy when they go for seconds.
5. Make oatmeal for a few days — not a whole week.
Making oatmeal in the slow cooker is ingenious — toss everything in when you go to bed, and it's hot and ready come morning — but a regular slow cooker makes enough for an entire week of oatmeal, which you may or may not be up for. Instead of being forced to eat it every morning, reach for the smaller slow cooker to make just enough for a few bowls.
Do you own a tiny slow cooker? How do you like to use it?