Customer Reviews

2,092
4.2 out of 5 stars
Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, Silver
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Showing 1-10 of 297 reviews (4 star)show all reviews
484 of 519 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2008
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
I love this crock pot. It has two outstanding features that the others don't--The snap on lid and the "keep warm" feature. In the past I have used crock pots that would cook with the setting of a manual dial. This new Hamilton Beech model cooks for as long as it is programmed and then it will keep the food warm until you are ready to eat. That's a great feature for those days when you're running late for dinner! Plus there's the great new lid that means you can take hot dishes anywhere without a spill or leak. Outstanding product!
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175 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2010
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
I purchased this cooker to replace a Kenmore I had that cooked everything way too hot. I hesitated on buying this one, though, because a couple of reviews said it takes too long to reach a safe temperature. I decided to buy it anyway and do some of my own tests. I figured that if the reviews were correct, I could always start cooking on high and then turn down after the first couple of hours. Since I was replacing a cooker that cooks too hot, I didn't want to end up buying another cooker with the same problem.

As some other reviewers have said, this cooker is advertised as a six-quart model, but really can only comfortably hold five quarts. I suppose you could squeeze an extra quart into it but you'd probably end up with a mess afterward. In all fairness, though, my older cooker (also advertised as a six quart model) also really only holds five quarts unless you push it. I'm sure all manufacturers overestimate the capacity of their cookers in pretty much the same way.

I did a lot of research on slow cooker safety when I got this product. Some sources are a lot stricter about temperature than others. At the most extreme, experts say a slow cooker should get to 160 degrees in less than two hours (160 degrees is the temperature necessary to kill Salmonella). At the other extreme, experts say a slow cooker needs to get to 125 degrees in less than three hours (125 degrees is the temperature needed to kill Staphylococcus). This is probably a good place to note that Salmonella can't cause illness if it's dead, so as long as you cook to 160 degrees you won't get sick even if Salmonella is present. Staphylococcus, on the other hand, produces a toxin as it multiplies, and that toxin isn't destroyed with cooking--so if Staphylococcus is present and is given enough time to grow, you'll get sick no matter how hot or how long you cook your food. Ideally, you want your cooker to reach a temperature that destroys Staphylococcus as quickly as possible.

As soon as I got this cooker I did some tests as recommended by some of these slow cooker safety websites.

The first site told me to put two quarts of water in the cooker and see how long it takes to reach 160 degrees. With just two quarts of room temperature water, the cooker reached 160 in well under two hours. With five quarts, however (maximum capacity), it took two hours and 45 minutes. Now, I have no idea why this website said to use two quarts instead of, say, three. Does that mean that this cooker isn't safe to use with more than two quarts of liquid? At any rate, it did pass the test and the website in question was one of the stricter in terms of how fast a cooker should heat up. On high it took 1 hour and 45 minutes for five quarts to reach 160, so if you are particularly concerned you can always cook on high for the first two hours, then reduce to low.

Two quarts of room temperature liquid got to 125 degrees, at the other end of the spectrum, in less than an hour. So this cooker passes that test, too. Five quarts took slightly less than two hours, still well within the recommended three hour range.

Interesting to note that these same websites also say not to cook roasts or whole chickens in any slow cooker, regardless of how fast it heats up ... which is news to me. Isn't cooking a pot roast nine tenths of the reason why most people buy a slow cooker?

I hope this is enough information for shoppers to make an informed decision on whether or not they feel this cooker is safe to use. In my opinion, if people were getting sick from this product it probably would have been pulled off the market by now, but that's just one person's feeling on the subject. Please also note that I am not a food safety expert, and you should in no way take anything I've said in this review as my personal endorsement that this cooker is safe, because I could be completely wrong. This is only my own, uneducated opinion.

As far as effectiveness of the cooker goes, like I said, I bought mine to replace a Kenmore that burned everything if I left it on low for more than four hours. The first thing I tried to cook in this Hamilton Beach was a pot roast (against safety advice apparently). At 8am I set it up to with the temperature probe, and when I got home at 1pm it was already on warm. I could have turned off the pot and put the roast in the fridge to reheat later, but I wanted to see how it would do if I left it all day. So I left it on warm, and when I took it out (nine hours after it went in) it still looked pretty good. My old cooker blackened everything and turned it into jerky when left that long (even on warm), but this roast still looked totally edible. When I cut into it it did seem a bit dry, but it was definitely tender and wasn't even falling to pieces, which is what meat left in a crockpot for a long time will often do. So while this is far from a perfect result, it's a huge improvement over my old cooker. If I'd taken the roast out a lot earlier I think it would have been close to perfect. I feel like I can pretty confidently give this cooker four stars; I'd like to have something that can run all day and still produce a juicy roast, but the modern obsession with cooking everything really hot in order to kill bacteria makes it pretty unlikely that these days you could find a cooker that would do that.

I haven't had this model long enough to know if it will suffer from some of the shut-off problems other reviewers have complained about. I did make sure to mail in my warranty card, just in case. If I do experience this problem, I'll post an update.

UPDATE: May 3, 2012 - I've had this cooker for about a year and a half now. I use it once a week and still haven't experienced any trouble with mine, though it looks like some people continue to have the random shut-off issue with theirs. I'm guessing it's a common problem with a small percentage of these cookers, but since I've never had the problem I can still recommend this machine--just make sure to send in your warranty card in case you get one of the lemons.

SECOND UPDATE: August 20, 2014 - I've still got my pot, and I'm now using it two times a week. I've never had it randomly shut off and I've owned it for nearly four years. At this point, I would actually be OK with it failing because I feel like I've got more than my money's worth out of it--tons of great food, nothing really gets overcooked and it still works exactly as well as it did when I got it.
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349 of 377 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: Standard Packaging
In the past I've had issues with slow cookers running too hot so I decided to test my new HB cooker. I filled the 6 qt unit with 5 qt water and set the unit on WARM for 4 hours, then tested the water temp - 170 degrees. 4 hours later at LOW - temp was 170 degrees, 4 hours later at HIGH - temp was 210 degrees. I guess this is OK. I emailed the mfr for the design temps but received no resopnse.
The rubber feet on the unit did a good job of keeping the unit from sliding around on my granite counter. I've had slow cookers you had to stir with one hand while holding it in place with the other.
I really appreciate the plastic handle on the glass lid. It's so nice to pick up the lid without burning my fingers if I forget to use a potholder!
The WARM setting is very useful - possibly more useful than one might initially imagine.
The "manual" for this appliance includes English, French, and Spanish versions. This is probably why there wasn't any room left for many recipes. We are referred to the company's website but again there weren't many for the slow cooker. I would think after all the years Hamilton Beach has been manufacturing slow cookers they would have accumulated more than they display.
The electronic control panel is typically a modern day blessing/curse. Instead of a simple knob one can turn to a setting, one must push buttons in a specific sequence in order to get the cooker to work. Vary the sequence or skip oe of the steps and you're SOL. The tricky thing about this is sometimes the unit tells you when you screwed up and sometimes it doesn't, thereby enabling you to leave the house expecting the slow cooker to do its job only to return several hours later expecting to find a hot meal waiting for you, only to discover the unit didn't like the way you pushed its buttons so it turned itself off. Don't laugh - this happened to me and it wasn't the least bit funny. If someone uses their slow cooker infrequently, it would be easy to make a mistake while setting the unit. A frequent user will quickly get the hang of it and should be able to avoid any inconvenience - provided they pay attention to what they're doing.
Another problem with the programable feature is if your electricity is interrupted for more than 5 seconds the unit loses its settings and turns itself off. Then the unit sits there waiting for you, probably while growing salmonella. I can't help but recall all the times I've come home to find all the clocks on my electronic equipment flashing because the power went off for a few minutes.
While the programable feature is irritating and problematic, the most dangerous feature on the slow cooker is the stainless steel clip system used to lock the lid in place during transit. For some ridiculous reason, the clips cannot be moved out of the area between the crock and the handle on the base. Attempting to lift the hot crock out of the base while not getting your potholders tangled in the wire clip is nearly impossible, making this an extremely dangerous thing to attempt. I don't think Hamilton Beach would have gone bankrupt if they had made the handles another 1/4" or so longer so the clips could safely drop out of the way.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 17, 2009
Style Name: Standard Packaging
I really like using a slow cooker that has, besides the usual settings timer settings, the ability to say "switch to warm when it reaches a certain temperature". So far I think this is the best slow cooker out there, because of that. However, it could do even more if the designers allowed more options, and I'll be keeping my eye out for other alternatives. But the ability to cook to just the right temp is really wonderful, though not perfect.

One issue when cooking things is "overrun", the fact that the inside of a roast will continue heating (from the outside) after heating stops. In the case of a roast of a few pounds inside the stoneware crock, it can go up as high as 15 degrees more. So if you want well-done chicken at 175, you have to tell it to stop at 160. For more fluid foods (like soup), convection mixes it up better and overrun is not as extreme.

But there are a few other issues which make this temperature control imperfect. First of all, on mine, WARM stabilizes at 155 degrees. I had been hoping to use it for slow cooking tough roasts that I wanted to keep at 140 for many hours to make them tender but still rare (after sizzling the outside for flavor and food safety). So even if I say "stop cooking at 140", once 140 is reached, it switches to what is essentially "keep at 155".

Also, the range of target temps you can specify is less flexible than I wanted, from 140 to 180, in 5 degree increments. Because of overrun, if I want a rare roast, it would be nice if I could set the stopping temp to be even lower. Instead, I manually monitor the temp and intervene when a lower temp is reached.

And it really needs some slower cooking settings. When I tested with hot water, on mine LOW stabilized at 197 and HIGH stabilized at 207.

Finally, they really missed the chance to make a home "Sous Vide" cooker at a very reasonable price. If they 1) used the temp probe to control turning the heat on and off and 2) permitted settings lower than 140 and 3) provided a rack to lift food off the bottom, that would come really close. (Some of the electronic skillets might work for this, but they are too shallow.)

p.s. This rack fits pretty well into the oval crock: Granite Ware 2007-8 Small Flat Oval Rack with Handles. It is just about the right length, but could be a little wider. It elevates the food about 3/8 inch, and has handles to help lift stuff out - great for slow heating a spiral-cut ham, for instance. There are probably others that would do the job as well.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2008
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
We took the suggestion from one of the consumer magazines and purchased the "Set'n Forget Slow Cooker. We have used it several times and find it to be as advertised. It work and is easy to clean. What more could you ask?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2009
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
We purchased this item from Amazon (free shipping) for $49.99 before Christmas as a gift to my daughter. Later, we saw the same unit in Walmart for $39.99 and I bought one for myself to replace an old Rival which didn't come with all these features, and did not have a good, secure lid. This purchase was made after a good deal research which included West Bend Versatile 6 qt (bought last Xmas from Amazon for another daughter who has had very good success with it but the price increased this year), and Rival. The programmable feature and the type of lid plus consumer reports convinced me to try this model. So far I have used the pot to make Baked Potato Soup (which turned out Fantastic!), Pot Roast (another winner), and Pork Loin Roast (this was okay but it may have due to the type of recipe - the meat itself was tender but I think less expensive cuts do better in a slow cooker). So far so good - my big worry was it shutting off after initial use, but we have had no problems. Compared to my old cooker, it produces a much more moist, juicier piece of meat, and the soup had excellent flavor and texture. I attribute this to the tight fitting lid - it is amazing. My old lid allowed a lot of steam to escape and sometimes would produce a drier piece of meat. My daughter has not had the same kind of luck with hers - not sure why she is unhappy. She thinks it could be the type of recipes she is trying. But it's not the quality of the cooker that is the problem yet.

I have to concur I was rather shocked to see the price on this unit. My other daughter was remarking she would like to try a slow cooker and I knew what a great deal Amazon did have this site. At first, I thought the pricing was a typo or that they had radically changed the unit - but no! So buyer beware! Same pot, same features, HIGHLY inflated price. I supppose you could blame AMAZON but, if you do your homework, you would know this price is out of whack. We have been doing business with AMAZON for years - and this is the one website I would prefer to use to make any purchase but especially large ones. Their prices are competitive, and they are very customer service oriented.

One thing I do have to share about the cooker - after making my pork loin roast, the black crock had some sort of residue or blemish that remained after numerous attempts to scrub. It is not horrible (and my brown colored Rival crock has similar markings but it is 30 years old) so this may be indigenous to crocks in general.

Since I have not tried the probe yet, I rated this 4 stars with good probability of 5 stars overall.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2009
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
This is a great slow cooker. I purchased this from Amazon for $60.00 and now its down to $50.00 which is an even better buy!

There 3 ways to use this slow cooker, manual mode, probe, and progam mode. In each of these modes, there are only 2 temperature settings, Low or High. There is also a Warm setting but they specifically say not to use this to cook.

The ceramic insert on mine wasn't perfect and has some overspray coating build up on the inside in a few spots and came with 2 minor scratches on the outer area but they do not appear to be through the coating. The ceramic insert is also huge and takes up most of my sink and has some weight to it. You have to be careful not to bang it on anything as well when cleaning and it can get slippery while hand wash it.

When you cook with the probe, it automatically shuts off when the internal temperature of the meat is set. The only drawback to this feature is that it maxes out at 180 degrees. This is important because a dish such as pulled pork should have an internal temperature close to 200 degrees to achieve proper texture.

Overall I would say this is a great slow cooker. I use it in an apartment and it cooks with little heat up of my apartment and contains cooking odors very well. Its almost unoticable when its on for 7 hours cooking!

If you like barbecue I would invest in some Liquid Smoke as it will grealy enhance the flavor of your roasts in this, especially pulled pork.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2011
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
I bought this slow cooker because I need a larger one for the Holidays. While I haven't had it that long, I have cooked with it 7 times and have had no issues.

- To those that say it turns off randomly. It hasn't happened to me. In fact one of the review sites even mentions this, and said it is a programming error on the users side when this happens. Not sure how they would get it to happen, it beeps every time to acknowledge a programming step. If this changes sometime in the future, I'll update this review.

- To the chemist that cut off the gasket, on the lid, because it was smoking and smelled bad. I can only assume that he was clamping the lid in place while cooking. It's not a pressure cooker. The lid clamps are for transporting the crock and really aren't needed when your cooking at home.

It's a great value for the money. Easy to program (for most). Seems to cook at the specified times that are listed in the manual. The best thing about this one is cooking with the probe. Makes sure the meat gets to the right temperature internally before switching to warm mode.

I'm probably going to get a couple more of these for Xmas presents. I know a few cooks that would appreciate the size and features that this offers.

So, a 4 star rating from me. I deducted one star just because it doesn't have a clock feature. If it had a start time you could program, it would be the perfect slow cooker. At this price point, I'm not complaining. I'm very happy with this purchase.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2012
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
First of all, this is a great crockpot, and I've really taken to the whole crockpot way of cooking thanks to it. But, and this is a big "but," it is incredibly quirky in terms of shutting off due to a power surge or something. Many times, I've cooked a meal with it, only to return home to find it turned off. You CAN NOT plug this into a normal outlet. You need to plug it into one with a surge protector or one of those GFCI(?) outlets. Otherwise, any power fluctuation will shut it off. Not a bad safety feature, I grant you, but kind of disappointing when you have a family to feed after a day of ballgames and you find out your meal is wet but not cooked. I would recommend it, however, because once I discovered this problem (and a suitable outlet!) I never had any other problems.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2009
Style Name: Standard PackagingVerified Purchase
I love all of the features this crock pot has to offer. As another reviewer said, the locking feature is attached to the base, so you have to take the base with you when you go but I have to say, the base is so light that it's really a non-issue. Haven't used the probe yet and not sure I will as I don't use crock pots for precision cooking. The one issue I do have, however, is that I was hoping to be able to program it to cook on high for one hour and then low for X number of hours, but that isn't possible. It's not a huge issue for me, but with "programmable" in the description, I did assume that was what "programmable" meant. Shame on me, I suppose. Anyway, the lack of any TRUE programming is why the four stars instead of five. Everything else is fantastic.
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