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Best Slow Cookers (2023) for Soups, Stews and Casseroles

Best Slow Cookers (2023) for Soups, Stews and Casseroles

Slow, low-heat cooking is perfect for delicious one-pot dishes and getting the best flavor from cheaper cuts of meat such as lamb shoulder or chicken thighs. With intuitive control panels, the best appliances allow you to throw all the ingredients into the pot, turn it on, and get on with your day while your food simmers along nicely. Prep your recipe in the morning and the keep-warm setting will ensure you have a home-cooked evening meal that’s piping hot and ready to serve come nightfall. Then all you need to do is dish up praise for your efforts from everyone at the dinner table.

In our edit of the latest and greatest slow cookers, we’ve picked out designs that not only look attractive but have convenient and clever functionality. We’ve included appliances to suit both classic and modern kitchen countertops. We’ve opted for slow cookers that have easy-to-navigate control panels and a model that can be controlled via an app on your smartphone. While not all the designs we’ve featured are dedicated to slow cooking, they do have prominent slow-cook settings as part of the overall offering.

To see how well each slow-cook mode performs, we used the cookers to prepare both a slow-cooked spaghetti bolognese sauce and a one-pot dish with braising steak and potatoes. Read on to discover our top picks for 2024.

For more of WIRED’s kitchen guides, check out our Best Stand Mixers, Best Blenders, Best Air Fryers, Best Electric Kettles, and the Best Gear for Small Kitchens.

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Best Cocktail Gear: Shakers, Strainers, Juicers, and More (2023)

Best Cocktail Gear: Shakers, Strainers, Juicers, and More (2023)

Nothing draws the attention of a party like a bartender, swinging open the doors of a bar cabinet and taking their place among the glistening bottles of brown and clear liquors, colorful spirits with foreign names, and sparkling cut glassware. Beer is a fine drink, as is wine, but they don’t match the spectacle of mixing a cocktail.

I’ve had more bad cocktails in my life than I care to remember, and it often comes down to the maker splashing in too much liquor or not straining their solid ingredients. You need a measure of knowledge, a splash of experience, and the right tools, which we’ve collected below. As we head into the holiday gathering season, the right cocktail tools and some basic bartending skills can make you popular with friends and family.

Be sure to check out our other buying guides and gift guides, like our Boozy Gift Ideas and Gifts for Coffee Lovers roundups.

Updated October 2023: We’ve added new books, glassware, a knife, ice crushers, and mixers.

Fellow Opus Conical Burr Grinder Review: Quiet, Versatile, Affordable

Fellow Opus Conical Burr Grinder Review: Quiet, Versatile, Affordable

For a beverage most people enjoy in the early morning, coffee can be a noisy endeavor. Even if you manage to avoid the espresso machine pumping out shots of coffee and the steam wand screaming into a whirlpool of milk, there’s still the earsplitting shriek-crunch of the grinder. On most mornings, I have to wait until my partner wakes up to brew my first cup.

Until I tried Fellow’s new grinder, the Opus. I thought having a quiet burr grinder was basically impossible: Pulverizing coffee beans between toothy metal disks requires a powerful (noisy) motor, and then there’s the din of high-velocity coffee bean shrapnel. But this one is so quiet, I can grind coffee with the bedroom doors open and still not wake anyone up.

The Opus is also the jack of all trades of grinders. It’s powerful enough to grind beans super-fine for espresso, but it can still make a coarse grind for a French press. It has a relatively small footprint, looks cute on the countertop, and is fairly inexpensive for its quality. All of this, combined with its astounding quietness, has made it a morning routine game-changer.

Perfecting Your Daily Grind

Fellow Opus coffee grinder

Photograph: Fellow

For a grinder that seems simple on the outside, the Opus is an infinitely fine-tunable machine. It has 41 grind settings and an internal ring for even further adjustment. For example, if you’re using it solely for espresso but find that one click toward coarse feels like it makes things too coarse, and one click toward fine makes things too fine, you can use the inner ring to make an even tinier adjustment. (Fellow has a video that shows how this works.) It’s not too dissimilar to what you’ll find on grinders like the Baratza Encore ESP.

The internal ring feature will also come in handy as the grinder ages. I’ve been using the Opus as my daily driver for about six months and it still produces grounds as fine as the day I unboxed it. But as you use any grinder over the years, the burrs will wear down a bit, which can make your super-fine settings feel only kinda fine. The internal ring lets you adjust the grinder to bring things back to true, like honing a knife after it’s started to feel a little dull. Basically what you’re doing is bringing the burrs closer together to compensate for their wear and tear.

The Opus also wants to make your coffee experience as tasty and hassle-free as possible. It features anti-static technology so you won’t have grounds flying around and sticking to things. The grinder is timed to auto-stop at 30-second intervals so you won’t accidentally over-grind your beans when you’re sleepy or distracted. Plus its low-hopper size means you’re only grinding what you’re going to use, which is a good habit to get into for the freshest, tastiest coffee.

Stacking Up to the Competition

Fellow Opus coffee grinder

Photograph: Fellow

Price is one of the Opus’ greatest selling points, but, at just $195, I was initially dubious that it could be anything but mid. A good burr grinder will be at least $100. You can find a few rare standouts below that price, but if you want something you won’t have to replace every few years, $100 is the minimum. That’s why the Opus is so impressive: It’s a $195 grinder that grinds like a $500 grinder.

7 Best Pizza Ovens (2023): Outdoor, Indoor, Gas, and Wood

7 Best Pizza Ovens (2023): Outdoor, Indoor, Gas, and Wood

There’s a reason why pizza is the menu choice of picky preschoolers, hungry teenagers, and discerning foodies alike. With enough cheese, tomato sauce, and arugula, homemade pizzas are a complete meal. They’re irresistible, easy to make, and customizable for a wide range of dietary preferences.

Until recently, an aspiring pizzaiolo had no choice but to crank up their kitchen oven to the standard 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, the best outdoor pizza ovens can heat up as high as 900 degrees—the perfect temperature for making a crisp Neapolitan pizza in minutes. For the past few years, I’ve memorized recipes, perfected my dough-tossing technique, and made hundreds of pizzas. You don’t have to limit yourself to pizza, either; I’ve seared steaks and pan-fried broccoli in ’em. Here are my—and my waistline’s—favorites. For those with limited access to outdoor spaces, I’ve included an indoor option and an oven that fits on a small deck, balcony, or patio.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Portable Grills, Best Grills, and Best Camping Stoves.

Updated June 2023: We added the Ooni Volt and the Yoder Smoker Oven, added an honorable mentions slide, and added some toppings we like.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

9 Best Electric Kettles (2023): Gooseneck, Temperature Control, Cheap

9 Best Electric Kettles (2023): Gooseneck, Temperature Control, Cheap

If you don’t have an electric kettle in your kitchen, you’re missing out. Not only are these appliances slightly more energy-efficient than using a stovetop, but they’re portable and boil water more quickly. These days, electric kettles come in various sizes with different kinds of spouts, and you’ll often find models with customizable temperature settings too—allowing you to set the perfect brew temp for your pour-over coffee or loose-leaf tea.

But there are a lot of electric kettles out there. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck or one that’s particularly great for coffee, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve been using over a dozen models in our lives over the past year to find out what’s the best and what’s junk. These are our favorite electric kettles worthy of your countertop.

For more kitchen guides, check out the Best Espresso Machines, the Best Latte & Cappucino Makers, the Best Air Fryers and the Best Chef’s Knives.

Updated May 2023: We’ve added the Breville IQ, KitchenAid Pro Line, Wolf Gourmet True Temperature and Hay Sowden kettles.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.