Slow cookers are a gift directly from the heavens. With minimal instructions and preparation, and a few hours of hands-free cooking, slow cookers produce unbelievably flavorful food.

From soups to meats to desserts, slow cookers can satisfy any food craving. They are a cooking necessity. If you're still unconvinced, here are the top five reasons you should ask for a slow cooker this holiday season.  

1. Little to No Preparation Time 

chicken, meat, fish
Jocelyn Hsu

Most slow cooker recipes only require 30 minutes or less of preparation time and the rest is spent in the pot. That means less time making your food and more time enjoying it.  

2. Wide Variety of Recipes

sweet, cereal, milk, blueberry, muesli, berry, oatmeal, porridge, yogurt, granola
Becky Hughes

Slow cookers make amazing soups, but they can also make a ton of other recipes. Soups, stews, meats, and even desserts can be made in slow cookers. Check out the best fall slow cooker recipes here.

3. Allows You Free Time

pasta, sauce, vegetable, tomato, meat, pepper, spaghetti
Analiese Trimber

Meals made in a slow cooker sit for hours at a time without additional work, aside from stirring every so often (if at all). Having your next meal sitting in the slow cooker all day frees up time to do other things like homework and chores. 

4. Cost Effectiveness 

vegetable, meat, rice, pork, beef, sauce
George Farah

Recipes used with slow cookers often require very few ingredients. You can also buy less expensive cuts of meat because slow cookers cook for so long that even the hardest meats can be softened down with time.

Even better, chances are you'll have leftovers for days after you've cooked. To make soups and stews last longer, you can throw them in the freezer and defrost them when you're trying to save time around dinner. 

5. Nutritional Value

vegetable, sauce
Rae Steinbach

Most recipes for slow cookers use very little oil or butter because meats and other foods cook in their own juices. Additionally, because food in a slow cooker is cooked for a very long time at low temperatures the food retains more vitamins and minerals. Slow cookers give you the nutrition you need and leave you with room for dessert.