Using a Slow Cooker Properly
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 9, 2022)
For the family on the go, a slow cooker, or crock pot as it is commonly known, can be a huge benefit. This appliance is a something that can be stuffed full of food in the morning and an almost complete dinner will pop out for dinner. However, simply putting a whole bunch of stuff into your slow cooker won't get you what you want. Here are a few simple guidelines that you can use on any slow cooker or crock pot. Keeping these in mind as you plan your meal will help ensure that you have an absolutely perfect meal with virtually no effort on your part.
- Longer cooking times. When using a crock pot to cook a meal, the very first thing that you need to keep in mind is that it has a really long cooking time. The minimum amount of time it is going to take to cook anything in this appliance is an hour. However, when using this appliance to cook something it is going to be several hours before the meal is ready to eat so plan accordingly.
- Keep warm. Another of the great uses that a slow cooker can be used for is as a large chaffing dish. Simply place your already completed meal into the crock pot and turn it on low. This keeps your meal warm for extended serving times, like when you go to a church potluck. If you are using your slow cooker in this manner though, keep in mind that you will want to have the temperature on the lowest setting to avoid burning the food.
- Types of food. When using a crock pot to cook a meal, keep in mind the types of food that it is designed for. This appliance is perfect for cooking stews, soups, and roasts. When cooking a roast or other type of meat, though, make sure that if your recipe calls for it you brown your meat prior to placing it into the crock pot.
- Affect. Since the slow cooker is designed for longer cooking times, make sure that you keep the lid on it. On average each time you remove the lid from your slow cooker it adds at least another fifteen minutes to the cooking time. Also, whenever you use things that cook slowly, it is important to add liquid periodically to avoid your meal becoming too dry or even scorched.