Sometimes I try to get away from the standard slow cookers because they are all pretty similar. Many of them are six quarts, let you set a timer for 4-10 hours, have have a low/high setting. Borrrring. So today I wanted to review the Bella Connectable 2.5 Quart Entertaining Slow Cooker System. It comes with two 2.5 quart slow cookers that can connect and cook simultaneously.
Though they are not really big enough to cook a full meal, they can be used in some very specific applications, and the small size of slow cooker might be useful to you in some situations.
Note: Two are included in your purchase.
The features of the Bella Connectable slow cookers are pretty simple. They have the standard low/high/warm settings which can be selected using the turn dial. Each crock and lid is dishwasher safe.
Unfortunately there is no automatic timer, digital display, or automatic warming feature like you see in some of the mid-range slow cookers. These are also not transport friendly, and don't come with locking lids or rubber seals. I actually prefer my slow cooker lids without rubber seals though, because those seals need to be replaced eventually and can retain smells over time.
The most obvious cool feature to mention about these small slow cookers is the fact that they can be connected to each other and cook simultaneously. Though each device comes with its own cord and plug, you can plug just one into the wall, and still be able to feed electricity into the other one.
Even though they are connected and using the same electricity, they can be set to different temperatures. That means one could be cooking on high, one cooking on low, and others set to warm (if you purchase another set). Many meals will take differnet amounts of time, so this is a perfect feature if you're making lots of small dishes for a dinner event. Cooking isn't one size fits all, so this would allow for precision and make overall better tasting meals.
Another interesting feature, although not that important, is that the lids can rest on the backs of the cookers. This makes it convenient to serve food because you don't have a find a place to rest the lid, and it can be easily placed back on the crock to keep the dish warm (for example, if people sit down, then come back for seconds).
Because these are much smaller cookers than usual, I tried to pick recipes that would fit a tiny 2.5 quart slow cooker. One was a success, the other not (although both. tasted great!) I made both recipes at the same time, although they certainly didn't finish at the same time despite me trying to do it that way.
The first recipe I prepared was the slow cooker bananas foster. It was excellent being able to finally cook with some run, and the dish turned out very tasty. I think the bananas were a little too ripe, but good enough for me! This dish cooked for 3 hours.
The second dish I tried to make was slow cooker s'mores brownies. Although the dish turned out absolutely divine, it took an extremely long time to make! In a regular six quart slow cooker, the thickness of the brownies would be much thinner, and there cook thoroughly much quicker.
In a 2.5 quart cooker, the “dough” stacked much higher, so actual cooking time tripled. This did cause a bit of burning on the outer edges, but not enough to affect the flavor of the brownies. In the end, they were amazingly decadent and chocolatey, and the cake was soft.
Had I been serving these to people, the bananas foster could have waited on warm while the brownies finished, although I don't think anyone would still be around after six hours of cooking brownies!
Comparing The Bella Connectable 2.5 Quart Entertaining System To Other Slow Cookers
How you compare the Bella 2.5 quart slow cookers to others really depends on what you intend to do with them. Are you looking for a small, personal slow cooker for a single person or couple that can easily fit on your counter? These are likely too small, even for that. I'd recommend you go with my #1 choice for small slow cookers based on price point. For the under inexpensive category, that would be the Crock Pot Manual Oval 4-Quart capacity. For the under mid-priced, that would be the Crock Pot Smart Pot.
If you are looking to use these in a pot luck style situations, keep in mind they are quite small, and would be best used for sides, dips, sauces, or desserts. Something like mixed veggies, bacon and green beans, pinto beans, and the like would be perfect. Something like mashed potatoes wouldn't actually fit much into the pot, and cooking enough to serve a good number of people would be difficult.
If you need to cook more food for more people, I'd stick with the 5-6 quart category. My #1 choice for the budget option is the Crock Pot Cook and Carry Manual. That model works out well because you can then transport it to wherever you're serving. The same goes for the mid-range category, of which my #1 choice is the Crock Pot Cook and Carry Programmable.
Though the Bella slow cooker entertaining system isn't great for travel, you could cook while you're at the location of serving (if possible). I think most people will find that the best application for this style of slow cooker is at home at family functions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or reunions.
Below you'll see my ratings and reviews for my top 3 picks based on the size and price category. You'll see that all the top 3 are more traditional style slow cookers, so you'll need to decide which one will fit your purpose better – a traditional one as you see below or the more unique Bella style featured in this review.
Who Is The Bella Connectable Entertaining System Best For?
Because of the lack of travel features, the Bella Connectible Entertainment System is going to be best when used at home, or use after traveling to your destination (like grandma's house). A perfect situation would be hosting Thanksgiving at your house, and hooking up six of these bad boys for serving sides. That way you can keep everything warm while the turkey finishes!
Another perfect situation would be if you frequently host dinner parties for your friends. You could use these for dips, broth, sauces, etc. For example, you could have a Mexican themed night and have queso, pinto beans, and mole for dipping chips or for drizzling over your main course.
The 2.5 quart connectible slow cookers from Bella are definitely a niche item. They are too small for cooking full meals effectively for even one person, let alone a family. However, they are perfect for serving certain types of foods or condiments, and will work much better in these types of situations where a traditional slow cooker would be way too big.
- Reliable Brand
- Easy Travel
- Useful For Dinner Parties Or Gatherings
- Perfect For Dips, Sauces, & Desserts
- Dishwasher Safe Stoneware/Lid
- Easy Clean
- Can Add More Cookers Later On
- Can Be Used As Single Cooker
- Lid Rest Optional
- Great For Sides
- Small Size Not Good For Full Meals
- No Timer
- Basic Features
- Not Spill-Proof or Travel Ready