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Morphy Richards Sear & Stew 3.5L Hinged Lid Slow Cooker review

A no-frills slow cooker perfect for stews, lentils and casseroles

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A robust, reliable slow cooker perfect for hearty home-cooked family meals, the Morphy Richards Sear & Stew is a great appliance.

For

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Great value

Against

  • No timer
  • Lacks pressure cooker
  • Small capacity

This is as close to an old school slow cooker as you're likely to see on TechRadar. Unlike other models, the Morphy Richards Sear & Stew 3.5L Hinged Lid Slow Cooker doesn’t claim to combine every other cooking appliance into a one pot wonder. No - instead it does one thing, really well: slow cooking.

You don’t know it’s on, but you can be slowly stewing lentils or cuts of beef and have incredibly nutritious meals ready at the end of the day, and at a great value price too.

Does its one trick nature let down an otherwise great cooker? Here's our full review.

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

The Morphy Richards Sear & Stew 3.5L Hinged Lid Slow Cooker has an RRP of £34.99 (about $45 / AU$65), but can regularly be found on sale for significantly less.

While it's one of the simpler offerings from our best Instant Pot, pressure and slow cooker list, it's worth your attention thanks to its compact nature and consistent cooking performance. At a discount price, it'll be particularly attractive to solo cooks, couples and smaller families.

Design

Morphy Richards certainly did its research with this. Every factor we’ve found irritating with other slow cookers (where to put the lid, how to wash up a cumbersome ceramic pot) has been dealt with. 

The hinged lid is perfect at catching condensation for slow cooks where you’ll be testing the meat at different intervals. The sear-proof pot means this is still a one-pot cooking job, and we appreciated being able to put the inner pot straight into the dishwasher after cooking.

(Image credit: Future)

At 3.5 liters (3.6 quarts) you can easily feed a family, but you might want to look at bigger models if you have pot-lucks and batch cooking in mind. For wanna-be Masterchefs with adventurous culinary creations in sight, you’ll also want to consider the fact there are only three cooking functions: low, medium and high.

Performance

The main thing this machine lacks is a timer, which is why you’ll pay less than other models. This means you can’t “set it and forget it” (although you could easily set an alarm on your phone, for example), or time it to start cooking while you’re at work. 

And yet, because the cooking modes are so long, you could start this cooking as you left for work and you’d get the 8-10 hours cooking time done. It makes light work of grains and legumes, such as the yellow split peas we tried, which usually take 12 hours of soaking before cooking. Here they were slow cooked to perfection in just four hours.

There’s no pressure cooking here, just the go-slow. When it comes to browning meat and vegetables for casseroles and stews, this machine could really do with insulated handles on the pot, as there’s no way to hold on to the pot when using straight on a hob. This is particularly tricky as it’s so lightweight and moves around easily on the hob, but an oven glove would help.

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, there were plenty of benefits too. When we returned from 8 hours at work, the slow cooker had retained all of the cooking smell in the pot, and the depth of flavor with the goulash we made was incredible.

The inner pot and lid are both dishwasher safe, and as the model is so light, we found everything about this easy to clean and take care of.

The price point seems very reasonable for a family slow cooker that gets all the basics right. With so few programmes, there’s little that can go wrong with the Morphy Richards slow cooker, and we were happy to leave this running while we went to work for the day.

Verdict

The pot is smaller than the others we tried, so if you’re cooking a joint of meat you’ll want to be careful to ensure that it will fit. But for stews and casseroles, this would easily feed a family.

Deceptively simple, this is actually a very practical model and an update on the old school design. It’s also small and lightweight, so great if you’re short on space. It would be helpful to have a timer included in the pot, but for this price, you’re opting for a strong budget option instead of an all-singing all-dancing machine.