Crockpot Cooking Tips
Crock pot cooking can be as easy as prepping ingredients, adding them to your slow cooker and flipping the on switch. But the right tips can turn an average crock pot recipe into a delicious slow-cooked family meal.
Use liners to make clean up easyThe hardest part of slow cooking is usually cleaning up. Liners can help. Simply place them in your crockpot before adding your ingredients, then remove them when you’re done. You’ll need to wipe up any excess moisture, but slow cooker liners mean there’s no soaking, no scrubbing and less mess.
Layer delicate ingredients on topCrock pots’ heat comes directly from the bottom of the pot. Place the food that absorbs the most heat, like meat and root vegetables, first. In the same vain, the quick-cooking ingredients like delicate vegetables should be placed at the top. You don’t want to wind up with undercooked meat and mushy peas!
Leave steaming roomMany first time slow cookers add too much food into their crock pot. Aim to fill your crock pot around two-thirds of the way full. This way, the food will simmer instead of steam, resulting in much tastier dinners.
Keep the lid closedEvery time you take the lid off your crock pot, heat escapes. Since you’re cooking your meal at high temperatures, it takes a long time to get back to the proper heat. Try to limit opening the lid only for adding ingredients or stirring.
Save dairy and herbs for the endCertain ingredients can’t hold up in the high temperatures and long cooking time that crock pot recipes call for. It’s best to add dairy and herbs in the last 30 minutes of cooking so nothing curdles or wilts.
Boil off the excess liquidEven after hours of cooking, a recipe’s consistency isn’t always exactly right. Vegetables like onions and zucchini can release a lot of liquid and make sauce thin. If you were aiming for a thicker consistency, place the slow cooker on high and remove the lid for 30 to 45 minutes to led the liquid boil off. Pro tip: If you’re adapting a regular recipe for the slow cooker, use about a third less liquid to account for the lower level of evaporation.
Brown the meat firstFor many, the beauty of a crock pot is its simplicity. You can just toss ingredients into a pot for 8 hours and then enjoy an amazing dinner. But to get the best flavor from your meat, always brown it on the stove first. It only takes a few extra minutes and the results are delectable.
Take your timeIt’s called a slow cooker for a reason. Use the low setting on your slow cooker as much as you can to enhance your dinner’s flavor. Follow the chart below to adjust normal recipes for the crockpot.
|If a dish usually cooks for:||Cook on high for:||Or on low for:|