Slow Cooker Hacks to Make it Really Work for You

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Using a slow cooker is such a time saver in the kitchen.  There’s nothing as satisfying as knowing your dinner is prepped, cooking and will be ready to eat when you are.  But it’s possible to get even more use from this appliance.  Check out these tips to really up your slow cooker game.

5 Hacks to Make Your Slow Cooker More Awesome

1.  Cook more than one type of food in the slow cooker at a time.

By using foil to wrap different parts of the meal, you can cook a whole meal that retains separate flavors.

using foil in slow cooker

BBQ Chicken Dinner in the Slow Cooker

Ham and Hash Brown Casserole

Try this method with steak, smoked sausage, pork chops or chicken.  Add packets of potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash…  Top with corn, peas, green beans, broccoli… And season each packet a little differently, if you like.

The possibilities are endless.

2.  Make your slow cooker smaller.

If you’ve got a large crockpot, but need to cook a small quantity of food, place a small casserole dish inside the crock.  This makes the inside much smaller, which keeps your food from overcooking.

3.  Add a timer to make it programmable.

slow cooker and timer

DIY Programmable Slow Cooker isn’t a perfect system.  It won’t switch off to a warm setting when the cooking time is up, but it does work for things like overnight oatmeal.

4.  Make it easier to clean with one of these three methods:

Line it with foil – Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures lines her slow cooker with foil to make clean up easier.

Use a plastic liner.  We use these on vacation.  I don’t mind cooking on vacation, but no one wants to scrub a dirty crockpot.

Spray with cooking spray before adding food.  This really does help the clean up process.

5.  Cook with a water bath for things like cheesecake or oatmeal.

Pouring some water around the bottom of a dish set inside the slow cooker creates a water bath.  This prevents foods from drying out or getting overcooked.  It works great for things like cheesecake and oatmeal.

Slow-Cooker-Chocolate-Cheesecake-with-Pretzel-Crust

 

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Comments

  1. Diane barry says:

    Sounds great!! I can’t wait to try these recipes. Thanks for posting!

  2. Nicole Loranger says:

    Number 3 is difficult to understand, sorry. Number 5 is maybe impossible. Most pans for cheese cake are round, whereas my large crock pot is oval. I’m curious how this could work.

    • Here’s the recipe and how-to for the cheesecake. You would need to use a round slow cooker.

    • NLeighton says:

      #3 is a timer that goes into the outlet and then you plug the crockpot into it. We have a few of these but I’ve never though of using it for the crockpot! We use one for things like outdoor christmas lights, one on our sons tv to limit his use and one on our fishtank lights.

    • The timer idea is great. I bought one several years ago and use it almost every time I use my crockpot. I leave for work before 7 and will set the timer for 11. That’s four hours it sits out before the heat starts… which use to creep me out, but we’ve never had a problem with it so now I don’t even think about it.

  3. There are a couple of decent ideas here, but I cannot get on board with lining the pot with aluminum foil. Acidic ingredients (tomatoes, vinegar, citrus, etc) are reactive with aluminum foil. Very short term aluminum foil storage of acidic foods at refrigerator temps probably isn’t the end of the world, but heating acidic foods in contact with aluminum foil is best avoided because heat accelerates leaching of aluminum into your food.

  4. You could probably use parchment paper instead of foil. I sub it for foil a lot.

  5. I would think if lined with foil that you wouldn’t be able to stir much if you intended to do that, would probably tear and defeat the purpose of having the foil there.

    • I have had success with the Reynolds crockpot bags, I have even made two different dishes one in one bag and another one in the other, pinched each closed with a wooden clothespin. cleaned up the outside more than the pot itself.

      • Well now that’s a brilliant idea! I never would have thought to use the crockpot bags to make two different dishes in the same crockpot. Awesome!

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