Slow Cooker Do’s and Don’ts
for Easy Homemade Meals
A slow cooker is an essential appliance for busy households, as it’s great for tossing all your ingredients together and letting them cook while you go about your day. Requiring minimal effort and cleanup, slow cookers can be left unattended for hours to work their magic and produce versatile dishes that are as flavorful as they are easy. Enjoy simple, delicious homemade meals using these slow cooker do’s and don’ts.
• Fill your slow cooker half to two-thirds full to guarantee that the foods cook properly.
• Take the time to brown meats or sauté vegetables before adding them to the slow cooker for extra dimension and deep, caramelized flavor.
• Use only small amounts of flavorful liquids like broth, wine and juices since little to no evaporation occurs in slow cookers.
• Pay attention to layering information in recipes. Cook tough vegetables like potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the slow cooker to ensure they retain moisture and cook more swiftly.
• Start with frozen meat. Fully thaw meats before placing them in the slow cooker to avoid harmful bacteria and prevent excess moisture.
• Add pasta, rice, dairy or fresh herbs until the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking to avoid overcooking.
• Forget to use more flavorful, aromatic ingredients than usual. Since slow cooking can mellow out flavors over time, tossing in extras like garlic, onion and celery can help ensure a flavorful dish.
• Lift the lid unless the recipe instructs you to stir. Checking on the food’s progress releases too much heat, and it can take as long as 30 minutes to heat back up after peeking.