Sometimes I wonder if cooking is worth it. I often spend more time preparing, cooking, and cleaning than I do eating and enjoying my food. Other times, I get home from a long day of work or school wishing I already had a cooked meal waiting for me on my dining table, and I wonder whether ordering takeout just one more time this week would hurt (it does, it hurts my wallet a lot).
You throw all your ingredients and spices into the pot or pan, turn up the heat, and wait for the appliance to do most of, if not all, the cooking for you. It’s perfect for multitasking. You can go to work, class, and the gym, watch a show, read, or study all while your meal quietly simmers and stews away. Plus, the beauty of one-pot cooking is it gives you more than one serving, so you can meal prep for the week or serve an entire family.
This pot is the Insider Picks’ choice for best Crock-Pot for a few reasons. Its 6-quart capacity is great for large roasts, so you’ll have meals for days or you can bring it to large get-togethers. You don’t have to be home to turn it off because its programmable digital control lets you set a cook time of anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It also has a secure locking lid and rubber gasket, preventing any spills and messes.
The Instant Pot
You’ve seen the Instant Pot all over the Internet and Insider Picks, and it very much lives up to the hype. It’s a little pricier, but that’s because it combines seven kitchen appliances in one: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker, and warmer. You can adjust the pressure levels, and it has a lot of presets for different types of meals. Even after the cooking timer has gone off, the Instant Pot will still keep your food warm for up to 10 hours, so you’ll have dinner ready for you however late you get home.
A cast iron skillet
Bring the delicious skillet meals from your favorite brunch spot right into your home with this affordable, pre-seasoned skillet. The magic of the skillet is that it can be used on various heat sources, so you can take it from stove top to oven to grill to campfire. This particular skillet has vegetable oil baked into it to make it easy to release food from the bottom. The material and shape will distribute heat evenly and retain heat well.
A rice cooker
Rice cookers work perfectly well for what they’re named for, but don’t feel limited to cooking plain rice. You can also use the rice cooker creatively to make curry, pasta, ribs, jambalaya, and oatmeal. This one automatically switches to ‘Keep Warm’ once it senses all the water has been absorbed. It also has a ‘Quick Rice’ function that cuts down on cooking time by up to 50% when you’re pressed for time. The handy steam tray will steam vegetables and meats as the rice cooks