A Guide To Crockpot Sizes: What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

Buying a crockpot can be overwhelming because there are so many options available in the market. What features do you want? What brand? You might be asking yourself, “What size slow cooker do I buy?” You probably already know that you want a slow cooker, but there are different crockpot sizes to pick from.

This post will answer all the questions you have regarding crockpot sizes for a better purchasing decision.

Slow cookers are great for dump & go meals. Put all the ingredients into the crockpot, set your time, and show back up when it’s ready! The best part is that there’s no supervision required. You can cook overnight or put it on before you go to work and come home to a ready to eat meal!

To use a slow cooker to the fullest potential, you need to make sure you get the right size, which is why we put together this guide to crockpot sizes.

See Also: Is A Slow Cooker Worth It? Pros And Cons

Does the size of a slow cooker matter?

Yes, the crockpot size matters a lot because slow cookers work best when two thirds to three-quarters full. Using a large slow cooker to cook a small batch of food results in poorly cooked food.

Like any cooking device, you want to make sure you have the right amount of food for the size of cooking tool. Think of a sheet pan, instant pot, or even a grill–If you put too much food in, it won’t cook right. If you don’t put enough, you could end up burning or overcooking your meal.

When it comes to crockpot sizes, the size of a slow cooker matters.

If you’re cooking big meals, then you’ll want to get a bigger slow cooker size. Whether you’re cooking for your family or using your crockpot to meal prep. If you plan to cook a lot of food, a crockpot size bigger than 6-7qts will be helpful.

If you’re cooking just for yourself or a family of two, you may be better off with a smaller crockpot size.

The way you plan to use the slow cooker and how many people you plan to feed will help you pick between different crockpot sizes.

Whenever you are using a crockpot recipe, be sure to see if they recommend a specific size of crockpot. Most recipes are for particular sizes of slow cookers.

What’s The Difference Between A Crockpot And A Slow Cooker?

A crockpot is a patented term for a slow cooker manufacturing brand which is well known for quality slow cookers. The terms are usually used interchangeably to refer to the same thing: a device that cooks food slowly over a long period of time aka a slow cooker.

Quite simply, a crockpot is just a brand name of a slow cooker. Similar to how a kleenex is a specific type of tissue.

Crockpots have been around for about 50 years and over time, they’ve been adding more features to create a more useful and versatile kitchen appliance.

One big difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker is how the heating works.

Slow cookers sit on top of the heating element while crockpots are lined with heating elements on the sides and also the bottom. Because of this, the crockpot brand of slow cookers can provide more even heating and require less stirring or attention.

Slow cookers and crockpots both use the same heating method: low & slow cooking to break down food and create incredibly tender meals that are rich in flavor and texture.

What Is The Average Size Of A Crockpot?

The average size of slow cookers ranges between 5 and 6 quarts. These sizes can hold enough food for medium families, which are the most common.

Different crockpot sizes

Small Crockpots (Under 3 quarts)

Crockpot comes in different sizes and shapes from 1.5 quarts to 12 quarts with others in between. The 1.5 quarts to 3 quarts are perfect for small cooking like for a single person or two. Anything under 2 is really only going to be helpful for heating up a dip or sauce or dessert–not for cooking a whole meal.

3-4 quarts

3-4 quarts is a great size for a family of 2 who wants leftovers or if you’re tying to feed 4-5 people in one meal. These are great for medium sized dishes.

5-6 quarts

5-6 quart slow cookers are ideal for families of 5-6 people or if you want to make leftovers for a family of four. You can fit significantly more food. These are great for breaking down a bigger piece of meat like a chuck roast or pork shoulder.

The 6 quarts is the standard size where plenty of recipes are made specifically for this size.

7-10 quarts

Crockpots above 7 quarts are built to cook huge batches of food. These are great for feeding big families, meal prepping for the week, or feeding a party of people.

How Big Is A 4 QT Crockpot?

This size cooks food for around 4 people or more depending on the type of food. It is a good size for a family of 4 to prepare enough food without leftovers. Most small to medium sized recipes will fit in a 4 QT crockpot size, although it may be a tight fit. If you are cooking a very full batch, then it may take longer to cook.

How Big Is A 6-Quart Crockpot?

A 6qt crockpot is the perfect choice to cook food for larger groups or potluck crews. A 6-quart crockpot can fit double batches of sauce, shredded chicken and more. These are ideal if you want to cook bigger meals without having your slow cooker filled to the brim.

Can You Cook Small Amounts In A Large Slow Cooker?

Yes, it can be done. If you own a large crockpot and want to cook small amounts of food, accessories come into play. This method requires placing an oven-safe bowl, casserole dish or baking pan inside the slow cooker bowl.

Make sure:

  • The slow cooker is about two thirds to three-quarters full.
  • Ensure the lid is well placed and avoid opening it while cooking
  • An oven-safe bowl is a must for this to work
  • Place a wire rack at the bottom of the slow cooker or an aluminum foil.

If you are cooking soup, then you may want to add additional liquid.

At the end of the day, you’re better off buying a crockpot size that is right for you rather than adapting one that is too big.

What Is The Largest Crockpot Size?

Large capacity crockpot sizes are ideal for cooking food for a large number of people or big families. The biggest crockpot size ranges from 8 quarts to 10 quarts.

These slow cookers can fit massive amounts of food.

A whole chicken, 10 lb turkey, and big roasts can be cooked with these large crockpots and still come out tender. The following are the recommended large crockpots to buy;

  1. Crock-Pot SCV800-B, 8-Quart Oval
  2. Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Stay or Go Portable 10-Quart Slow Cooker
  3. Crock-Pot Slow Cooker|8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

You probably don’t need a crockpot this size unless you are feeding a big family or regularly cooking for guests. Most families of 4-5 can get by with a 6 quart crockpot.

Tips on Slow Cooker Sizes

It is best to check the capacity of the slow cooker and if not sure about the capacity, then you can measure it by filling it with water!

By filling the crockpot with cups of water one by one, you can easily determine the size of the crockpot. 4 cups = 1 quart.

Slow cookers work best when they are 2/3 or 3/4 way full. Most of the recipes are written with this fact in mind. For instance, if the slow cooker is too empty, the food might be cooked faster that could mean food comes out dry or burnt. Furthermore, if the crockpot its too full, then the cooking time increases definitely.

Crockpot Size Comparison

CrockpotSizeMaterialPrice
Presto 06012 Nomad (Best Portable Slow Cooker)8-QuartPlastic Check Price On Amazon
Elite Gourmet MST-350B  (Best Small)3-QuartAluminum Check Price On Amazon
Instant Pot Duo Mini (Best Multicooker)3-QuartStainless Steel Check Price On Amazon
Calphalon Digital Sauté Slow Cooker (Best Programmable Slow Cooker)5.3-QuartStainless Steel Check Price On Amazon
Hamilton Beach (33249)4-QuartStoneware Check Price On Amazon
Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable6-QuartStainless Steel Check Price On Amazon
Crock-Pot SCCPVS703-S (Best Large)7-QuartStainless Steel Check Price On Amazon

More Crockpot sizes questions

What is the most common size crockpot?

The most common size crockpot is 6 quarts. This fits most families, cook most recipes, and will provide enough food for leftovers.

Can a slow cooker be too big?

A slow cooker can be too big. You’ll want to be sure to look at the different sizes of crockpot to buy the one that fits your cooking needs.

Can you cook a smaller amount in a large crockpot?

Yes you can, but it is not recommended for the best cooking experience. You’ll need to add extra liquid or use some accessories to make it work. If you want more information, refer to our tips above.

Final Thought (What size crockpot should I buy?)

Different crockpot sizes will fit people differently. If you’re wondering what size crockpot you should buy, be sure to scroll back up and look at the breakdown of different slow cooker sizes so that you can find the right one for you.

If you want to cook meals for a large crew, a slow cooker of 6 quarts and above will be a good choice.

Small crockpots an ideal for single people or two people looking to cook small amounts of food.

Further Reading

  1. Ninja Foodi Grill Review – The Best Indoor Grill
  2. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Review [Best Rice Cooker]
  3. T-Fal Pressure Cooker Reviews
  4. Best Food Steamer BPA Free
  5. Hamilton Beach Vs Aroma Rice Cooker