Is there anything better than the smell of a roast cooking all day long in a slow cooker? Of course, having to smell the roast all day long can make you hungry the whole day. But the final product is worth the wait, isn’t it?Many kids are used to fast food. When you’re in a hurry and on the run, the solution for a quick meal is often to hit a drive-through for a burger served up hot and fast. The slow cooker, though, is sort of the opposite of fast food.

Unlike quickly fried burgers or deep-fried chicken nuggets, foods cooked in a slow cooker are cooked slowly, usually for many hours. In a world that places such a high value on speed and efficiency, how did the slow cooker earn its spot on the kitchen counter?

Slow cooking is a method that’s been around since the beginning of time. Ancient peoples learned that cooking tough meats and root vegetables for long periods of time would soften them and make them easier to eat.

The slow cooker popular in kitchens all around the world — sometimes called by a brand name such as Crock-Pot® or Slo-Cooker® — is a more recent invention, though. The first version of a slow cooker was a bean cooker called the Beanery that was developed by the Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago.

In 1970, the Rival Company bought Naxon and revised the Beanery into the Crock-Pot® slow cooker. In 1974, Rival redesigned their slow cooker to feature a removable stoneware insert. This allowed food to be stored conveniently and made cleaning up very easy.

Today, slow cookers are a favorite of cooks everywhere. They now come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with advanced features, such as multiple heat settings and timers.

Slow cookers work by simmering food. This means that foods are cooked at lower temperatures than other popular cooking methods, such as frying or baking. It also means that foods must be cooked for many hours, rather than just a few minutes.

Unlike other cooking methods, though, slow cooking doesn’t require a lot of supervision. Once you’ve prepared your ingredients, put them in the slow cooker and set the time and temperature, you can leave the slow cooker to do its work on its own, only checking in occasionally to keep an eye on its progress.

The low, steady temperature of a slow cooker allows foods to be cooked evenly for a long period of time. The fats and connective tissues in tough meats are broken down over time, making them more tender. The juices of the various ingredients mix together to form WONDERful new flavors.

You’re probably familiar with certain popular slow cooker dishes, such as roasts and stews. However, slow cookers can cook more than just these favorites. Would you believe that slow cookers can be used to make pasta dishes, casseroles and even delicious desserts? It’s true!

46 Join the Discussion

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  1. I already know what it can cook: chili, pot roast, stew, taco, meat ball anything!!!

    We have one!!!!

    BBBBBBBYYYYYYYYEEEEEE-BBBBB BBYYYYYYYEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. I would have done a longer one but I am kind of late for school my ride’s here got to go.

    Bye have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • WOW, we are so impressed with your culinary skills, Grace– WAY TO GO! :)

      When you think about it, “pot roast” is the most logical thing to prepare in a slow cooker… it’s a roast cooked in a pot!!

      We hope you have a SUPER day at school– see you soon! :)

  2. Hi Wonderopolis this is one of my first times here and I LOVE it, from what I read on today’s wonder I think slow cooking is a good idea. I’m wondering if slow cooking is hard to learn. And who comes up with the recipes? It looks yummy to me. :)

    I think tomorrow’s will be about people. :)

    • Welcome to Wonderopolis, Anika! We are SUPER happy that you’re here! It’s so much fun to learn about new and exciting things, like technology, cooking and so much more! Usually, when you or your family purchases a slow cooker, there are directions on how to use the product and sometimes there might be recipes included! However, take a look at some of the recipes listed in today’s Wonder– the person or group of people who thought of the recipes are usually credited, like the author of a book.

      Great job, Wonder Friend– we will see you tomorrow! :)

  3. People from our class have had goat meat, roast with potatoes and carrots, and steaks cooked in a slow cooker.
    We think tomorrow’s wonder may be about half of a story, half of a movie, or half of something.

    • WOW, we love all the adventurous eaters in Ms. Bayko’s class! WAY TO GO, Wonder Friends! You’ve got our stomachs growling!

      We are so happy you stopped by to say hello — thank you for sharing your guess for tomorrow’s awesome Wonder! :)

    • Hey there, Jacob, thanks for commenting today! We Wonder if you have any favorite recipes to share with our Wonder Friends today! It would be very cool to learn something new when it comes to a slow cooker! Thanks for joining us! :)

    • We are glad to see you, Dr. LOL! We Wonder what new and exciting facts you learned today at Wonderopolis– we would love to hear them! :)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We are wondering whether the slow-cooker can bake cookies?

    We love the slow-cooker in our class, but sometimes it annoys us that the delicious food takes so long.

    We are thinking that yesterday’s clue about the slow-cooker was deceiving! We never guessed it would be about the slow-cooker because we were convinced it had to do with a turtle.

    We predict that tomorrow’s wonder will be about socks, shoes, gloves, earrings, or twins.

    • Great job WONDERing! The students in Mrs. Wall’s class have certainly been using their imaginations– WOHOO! We would love to try your slow cooker cookies, but we think you’ll need to invent a recipe that allows the cookies to simmer instead of bake. Both methods of cooking heat up the food, but they do so in different ways. When you bake, the high temperature of the oven makes the cookies crispy. However, we bet there is a contraption or idea that could make slow-cooker cookies a reality!

      We are so happy you’re here– we can’t wait to Wonder with you tomorrow! :)

    • Great job, 3rd grade Wonder Friends! It appears that you have been doing some slow cooker thinking on your own– we are so happy to hear that! The slow cooker doesn’t need sleep like we do, so you can leave it on overnight. The heat is low enough that it would not cause any fire issues, but we think it’s important to check on the slow cooker to make sure your food will be super delicious when it’s ready! We hope you take your ideas to the kitchen– and make sure you include an adult when you try out a new recipe! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your cool comment, Pokemonlover! We hope you are going to test one of the recipes mentioned in today’s Wonder– or perhaps you’ll create one of your own! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your delicious comment today, D.J.! We bet desserts in a slow cooker would taste super SWEET! :)

      We love trying new recipes in a slow cooker– our favorite is pork loin with a side of veggies! We hope you have a fun time in the kitchen, Wonder Friend! :)

  5. Thanks for that great article! I think it would be great if there would be more “slow food”.
    I really love this site and thought it was about time to say that here!

    • Thanks for the GREAT comment, Qwert! We are so glad you are enjoying our Wonder about the slow cooker and slow food- it’s SUPER delicious! We hope you have a WONDERful day and we will see you soon! :)

  6. I learned many things, here are some. First that lots of kids eat fast food a lot. Unlike quickly fried burgers or deep-fried chicken nuggets, foods cooked in a slow cooker are cooked slowly, usually for many hours. In a world that places such a high value on speed and efficiency, how did the slow cooker earn its spot on the kitchen counter? You’re probably familiar with certain popular slow cooker dishes, such as roasts and stews. However, slow cookers can cook more than just these favorites. Would you believe that slow cookers can be used to make pasta dishes, casseroles and even delicious desserts? It’s true! I predict that the next wonder will be about the kind of cookies mixed. Beside I am not a picky eater. Only if I am at a friend’s house, or school cafeterias, or a fast food restaurant. In my family we make all our own food including some veggies. Overall I think being healthy is very important to young kids and adults to learn to cook for them or be healthy.

    • Hi there, Jules! We are so glad you are WONDERing about slow cooking today! We Wonder if you can summarize what you’ve learned in your own words– your personal thoughts are best! We love having a great Wonder Friend like you– and we can’t wait to see you again! :)

  7. Dear Wonderopolis

    Hi there my name is Kathryn that cooking video was very interesting to hear so good job and keep up the good work.

    From Kathryn :)

    • YIPPEE, we’re so excited you’ve joined us while we WONDERed about cooking, Kathryn! Thanks for sharing your comment today– we hope you have a SUPER day! :)

  8. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I liked the video today. That rocky road cake sounded delicious. Delicious enough that I could eat that treat right now!!

    Today’s wonder was fantastic. I never knew slow-cookers and crock pots are basically the same. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about earrings or twins. I love this website.

    • We like your sweet tooth, Alexis! We’ve got a lot of sweet teeth here at Wonderopolis, too! :)

      Thank you for WONDERing about the slow cooker with us today– it’s interesting to learn about the history of it! We can’t wait for tomorrow’s Wonder– we bet you’ll be doubled over in surprise! :)

  9. Hi! I’m in Mrs. Caplin’s class. I liked this wonder. My favorite slow cooked meal is steak and red potatoes. My sister just scored her first goal of the season, also. WOHOO!!! :) :)

    • Hi, Mookie the cat, we’re glad you’re back at Wonderopolis! Your slow cooked meal of choice sounds quite delicious!! We like your taste and we are glad you’re using your culinary skills, too! We are sending a virtual high five to your sister, too– WAY TO GO! YIPPEE! :)

  10. Hi, this is my first time on wonderopolis at home. I’m a part of Mrs. Wall’s class, today I really enjoyed the video. You got me tricked by the hint I thought it would be a dessert. I look froward to see the next video. Thanks for reading.

    • Welcome to a world of WONDERing, Natalie– we’re happy you’re here! It’s so much fun to Wonder with you and your classmates in Mrs. Wall’s class– so many great, new Wonder Friends! Our hint was a bit tricky, but we are always cookin’ up fun here at Wonderopolis! Thanks for commenting, Natalie! :)

    • It’s so much fun to learn something new each and every day, Simba! Thanks for sharing your comment about our slow cooker Wonder– we hope you can cook something up for your family and friends this weekend with your new recipes! :)

    • YIPPEE, we are so happy that you are here Charry! Thank you for leaving such a SUPER comment, too! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again, there is so much to discover at Wonderopolis! :)

    • You’ve got us laughing here at Wonderopolis, Eric! We like how much you appreciate delicious food, just like us! We bet you could try out a slow cooker recipe with the help of an adult– keep us posted on your tasty creation! Thanks for commenting today, Wonder Friend! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What can you make in a slow cooker?
  • When was the modern slow cooker invented?
  • How do slow cookers work?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to cook? If you’re as hungry as we are, the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” Here are some slow cooker recipes to try at home with a friend or family member.

Be sure to check the ingredients, so you’ll know whether you need to go to the grocery store first. Also, if you don’t have a slow cooker at home, see if you can borrow one from a neighbor or relative.

When you’re finished, take a picture of your creation and post it to Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to see. If you have a favorite slow cooker recipe of your own, feel free to share that, too. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Still Wondering

Using ReadWriteThink’s Get Cooking With Words! Creating a Recipe Using Procedural Writing lesson, children participate in read-alouds of books that exemplify effective word choice, explore how to choose words to best communicate an idea and then write their own recipe.

Wonder What’s Next?

If you think you know what tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is about, you don’t know the half of it!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.