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What size slow cooker for 1 to 2 people?

Finding the right size slow cooker for small households can be tricky. When cooking for just yourself or one other person, you don’t want to end up with a huge pot of leftover food that will go bad before you can eat it all. But you also want a slow cooker that’s large enough to make complete meals and provide some variety. Here’s a look at the best slow cooker sizes for 1-2 people and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Best Slow Cooker Sizes for 1-2 People

For a single person or couple, a 1.5-3 quart slow cooker is usually ideal. Here are some of the top options in this size range:

  • 1.5-2 quart – Good for appetizers, side dishes, dips, or heating up single servings. Models include the Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker and Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker.
  • 2-3 quart – The most versatile size for 1-2 people. Enough capacity for main dishes like stews, chilis, roasts while still being compact. Examples are the Crock-Pot 2 Quart Slow Cooker and Elite Gourmet 3 Quart Slow Cooker.
  • 3-4 quart – Provides extra flexibility if you occasionally cook for 3-4 people. The Crock-Pot 3.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is a popular choice.

In general, a 2-3 quart size allows you to prepare a meal with leftovers for one or a complete meal for two. Anything smaller works well for appetizers, sides, and keeping dips warm for a party. And larger 3-4 quart cookers offer some extra room but aren’t too bulky.

Factors to Consider

When shopping for a small slow cooker, keep the following factors in mind:

Your household size

Consider how many people you regularly cook for. A 1.5-2 quart is best for just one person while 2-3 quarts accommodates two better. If you occasionally have guests over, size up to 3-4 quarts.

Meal purposes

What do you plan to use your slow cooker for? If you’ll mainly make side dishes, appetizers or dips, a 1.5 quart is sufficient. For full entrees, opt for at least 2 quarts. And get a larger cooker if you’ll prepare meals for potlucks or parties.

Frequency of use

How often will you use your slow cooker? If it’s your primary cooking appliance, get one with some extra room like 3-4 quarts. For more occasional use, a 1.5-2 quart is usually enough.

Cookware material

Slow cookers come in stainless steel, aluminum, or ceramic. Ceramic and aluminum heat more evenly while stainless steel is more durable. Consider your priorities. Removable stoneware crocks are also dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Programmable options

Some small slow cookers have digital controls with programmable timers and cooking modes. This allows flexibility to start cooking on a delay or switch to warm automatically. Decide if these features are worth the added cost.


If bringing your cooker to potlucks or traveling, look for one with a locking lid and carry handle. The Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer is an excellent portable model.

Ideal Slow Cooker Sizes for Different Dishes

Here are some guidelines for choosing what size slow cooker you need based on the types of recipes you want to make:

Appetizers and snacks

  • Dips – 1-1.5 quarts
  • Stuffed mushrooms – 1.5 quarts
  • Meatballs – 1.5-2 quarts
  • Wings – 2 quarts

Side dishes

  • Potatoes – 2 quarts
  • Beans – 3 quarts
  • Stuffing/dressing – 3 quarts

Main dishes

  • Chili – 3 quarts
  • Soup or stew for 1-2 – 2 quarts
  • Pasta sauce for 1-2 – 2 quarts
  • Whole chicken or roast – 3-4 quarts


  • Applesauce – 1.5 quarts
  • Pudding or custard – 2 quarts

For very small 1-2 portion recipes, use a 1-1.5 quart cooker. For recipes serving 3-4 people, go with 3-4 quarts. A 2-3 quart size can handle most recipes for 1-2 portions.

Tips for Cooking for 1-2 People in a Slow Cooker

Here are some helpful tips for maximizing your small slow cooker when cooking for just one or two:

  • Cut back on recipe quantities or halve recipes designed for 4-6 servings.
  • Layer vegetables on bottom to prevent burning since there is less liquid.
  • Use the low setting for longer cook times if adjusting recipe quantities.
  • Place a cake rack inside to elevate whole pieces of meat or poultry.
  • Fill at least halfway for best results – avoid skimpy portions in larger cookers.
  • Reduce liquids slightly – with less food to absorb, you may not need quite as much.
  • Package leftovers in individual servings to avoid waste.

Best Small Slow Cookers for 1-2 People

Here is a comparison of some top-rated small slow cookers perfect for one or two people:

Crock-Pot 2 Quart Slow Cooker

  • 2 quart capacity
  • Removable stoneware insert
  • High and low settings
  • Tempered glass lid
  • Black or white finish
  • 16.5 x 9.1 x 8.4 inches

A compact 2 quart slow cooker ideal for soups, stews, dips, and appetizers for one or two. Crock-Pot is the original and most trusted brand.

Elite Gourmet 3 Quart Slow Cooker

  • 3 quart capacity
  • Glass lid with cool touch handles
  • 3 temperature settings
  • Nonstick aluminum cooking pot
  • 11 x 10 x 10 inches

An affordable mid-sized slow cooker with ample 3 quart capacity and dishwasher safe insert. Great for small families or meal prepping.

Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker

  • 1.5 quart capacity
  • Tapered oval ceramic pot
  • Low, high & warm settings
  • Glass lid with knob
  • 10.8 x 7.5 x 9 inches

A compact slow cooker ideal for dips, appetizers, side dishes. The cute oval design saves counter space.


What size slow cooker do I need for 2 people?

For two people, a 2-3 quart slow cooker is ideal. It will allow you to cook full meals with a bit of leftovers. The extra room also provides flexibility to make dishes like roasts, larger portions of soups and stews, or meals to share at potlucks.

What size Crockpot do I need for 1 person?

For a single person, a 1.5-2 quart Crockpot is a good fit. The smaller 1.5 quart size works well for side dishes, appetizers, or meals you want to stretch into leftovers. A 2 quart Crockpot provides enough room to cook a full main entree for one.

Can you use a small Crockpot for large recipes?

It’s not recommended to try adapting large recipes designed for a 6-8 quart slow cooker to fit in a small 1-2 quart size. The cooking times will be affected and it likely won’t turn out properly. Ideally, find or modify recipes developed specifically for your smaller Crockpot size.

What slow cooker size is best for chili?

For chili, you’ll want at least a 3-4 quart slow cooker even when cooking for just two people. This allows room for all the beans, vegetables, broth and meat to simmer together properly. Chili tends to bubble up more than many dishes. Trying to cook it in a 1-2 quart cooker runs the risk of overflowing.

The Bottom Line

When cooking for one or two people, choose a slow cooker in the 1.5-3 quart range. Consider how often you’ll use it and what types of dishes you want to make. The Crock-Pot 2 quart is ideal for basic everyday use for two people. A 1.5 quart works well for dips and sides. And the 3-3.5 quart provides extra flexibility for larger recipes. With the right sized slow cooker, you can enjoy mess-free, hands-off cooking for perfect individual portions.