Crock-Pot SCV400 Review
Pros: The Crock-Pot SCV400 (starting at $20, Amazon) is a basic, manual, 4-quart slow cooker that hits a sweet spot with reviewers. They like the very affordable price, absence of bells and whistles, mid-range size, and, of course, tasty results. In Crock-Pot SCV400 reviews on sites including Amazon, where the model earns an average of 4.4 stars from nearly 1,000 users, consumers report using it to poach pears, prepare a Thai recipe for soup with shrimp and curry, roast a small chicken surrounded by fresh vegetables, rustle up some shredded pork, and bake potatoes in the heat of summer.
This Crock-Pot appeals to busy families and is just the right appliance for a vacation home or camper. It yields leftovers for empty nesters without loading up the refrigerator with days' worth of the same meal, and it aligns with the capacity called for in many slow-cooker dessert recipes, according to one review.
Cons: While the vast majority of online reviews attest to its many feats, the Crock-Pot SCV400 also claims some critics. Several say the unit runs hot and overcooks ingredients to the point that they become inedible. Crock-Pot has responded to these reports by noting that the newer models reach a higher temperature (maximum 215 degrees) on both the high and low settings than older models, but "high" holds that temperature longer than "low." In general, food cooks faster in newer models. The company advises consumers who rely on older slow-cooker recipes to adjust cooking times accordingly.
Features: By all accounts, the Crock-Pot SCV400 is very user-friendly. It's a manual slow cooker with three heat modes -- low, high, and warm -- so users must take responsibility for turning the countertop appliance off when the cooking is done or switching to warm until serving time. (Tip: Do not cook on warm or let the food rest on warm for longer than four hours.) No one seems to have a problem following these instructions. Reviewers also say cleaning the crockery insert and glass lid is a breeze, either by hand with hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. The oval stoneware insert is microwave-safe and its 4-quart capacity is sufficient to feed four people and then some, depending on the dish and the appetites at the table. A round version starts at $16 and earns similarly high ratings on Walmart.com.
Takeaway: There's nothing fancy or high-tech about the SCV400, but Crock-Pot has settled on a design that has fed hordes of hungry people for more than a decade. Why tamper with a good thing?