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

Slow cooker dinner with rice

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 Separator

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 want to learn more, the Wirecutter has a couple of recommendations. Or if you don’t have a separator handy, check out the three methods that Cook’s Illustrated suggests for skimming fat.

  • Cutting board

  • Quality knives

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

  • Locking Tongs

  • spatula

  • 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.

  • Can opener

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.

  • Garlic press

  • Vegetable peeler

Y-peelers are significantly faster at peeling vegetables than paring knives or swivel peelers. Check out the Kuhn Rikon peeler.

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:

  • Shredder claws

  • Crockpot liners

  • Carry bag

  • Lid Lockers

  • Rack for the slow cooker

Looking for family dinner recipes? Check out our 6-8+ hour slow cooker recipes.

How ToThe Smart Slow Cooker