Essential Slow Cooker Accessories
Spoiler: Special slow cooker parts or accessories are not really needed, but we do recommend that you purchase one more appliance!
Wondering if you need special gadgets to go along with your new slow cooker? If you already have a well-stocked kitchen, then the answer is no — which is great news for those of us with an aversion to single-use kitchen gadgets.
That said, see below to learn why we strongly suggest one particular small appliance as a companion to slow cookers. And if you are a new cook, see the list of “essential accessories” to make sure you have basic kitchen items on-hand.
A Small Appliance to Complement your Slow Cooker
Programmable Rice Cooker
Do you need family dinner ready when you walk in the door? Then in addition to a slow cooker, you’ll also want a programmable rice cooker. Why? Rice is the perfect accompaniment to many slow cooker dinners. Basic stovetop rice is great most of the time, but with a programmable rice cooker you will have hot steaming rice waiting for you at dinnertime.
Essential slow cooker accessories
This isn’t really a list of “the best slow cooker accessories”, but rather “kitchen tools everyone should own”. These must-have kitchen items are standard fare in most homes. Even beginner cooks will already have most of these things on-hand. You will use most of these items everyday, with or without the slow cooker.
Note: If your slow cooker has a nonstick surface, make sure to use nonstick-safe utensils (tongs, spatula, etc.) to protect the nonstick coating — these can be wooden, nylon, or silicone.
Heavy-bottomed pot or skillet
If your slow cooker does not have an insert for browning meat or sautéing vegetables, then you need a way to do this. Look for a stainless steel or cast iron skillet, or you can also use a dutch oven.
Gravy separators (aka fat separators) are not often listed as a “must-have” kitchen item. But if you cook a lot of fatty meats like pork shoulder or beef chuck roast, then a gravy separator makes quick work of saving the juices you want from the pot.
If you are just starting out, look for a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife.
mesh Sieve or Colander
If you don’t yet own a colander, consider a mesh sieve instead. This multi-use kitchen tool is handy for rinsing beans or grains, scooping out vegetables, and draining pasta.
Stainless Steel Mixing bowls
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Measuring cups and spoons are one of the first items purchased when outfitting a kitchen. While slow cooker dinners do not require precise measurements, a large measuring cup is useful as a ladle.
You may not use this item daily, but when you need a can opener, you need a can opener. Many slow cooker recipes take advantage of canned ingredients like tomatoes, coconut milk, etc. A manual can opener is what we suggest.
Food storage containers
Glass storage containers are your best bet.
Other Nice-to-have Kitchen Items
The items below are also standard kitchen tools, but not 100% necessary to using your slow cooker.
Y-peelers are significantly faster at peeling vegetables than paring knives or swivel peelers. Check out the Kuhn Rikon peeler.
Citrus reamer or Juicer
An immersion blender can be used to purée soft veggies directly in the slow cooker to help thicken up soups and sauces.
Things you do not need
Ironically, the stuff that usually appears on lists of “essential slow cooker accessories” are things that you probably do not need at all:
Rack for the slow cooker
Looking for family dinner recipes? Check out our 6-8+ hour slow cooker recipes.