15 Awesome Slow Cooker Cooking Tips

slow cooker cooking tipsThe slow cooker or crockpot has gained a huge popularity lately and the reasons are obvious. It makes delicious meals with almost no fuss and is like a boon for busy people. It is also great for learning cooks because all you have do with it is to fill it before turning it on. Turn it on before leaving home and when you return, a scrumptious meal is ready for you. This wonderful appliance can serve you even more efficiently if you follow some simple cooking norms. Here are some slow cooker cooking tips.

  1. Fill the slow cooker only from half to two-third. If you fill it up to the brim, the food won’t cook properly. On the other hand if the food and liquid is below half, the food will cook too quickly.
  2. Food at the bottom of the slow cooker will cook faster and will be more watery since it is engrossed in the simmering liquid.
  3. Before you cook poultry and meat in the slow cooker, remove skin and fat from them. The very characteristic of slow cooker viz. slow cooking time will make the fats melt and cause an unpleasant odor and texture to the dish. Also fatty foods cook too fast.
  4. If you want to thicken the juices and concentrate the essences, you can do so by removing the lid during the last half hour of cooking and cook on a high flame.
  5. Most of the meats take 8 hours of cooking in slow cooker. Cheaper cuts of meat are the most suited for the crockpot because they not only save money but also have less fat and with the long cooking times, they result into moist and very tender meats.
  6. Follow the layering guidelines cautiously. Veggies don’t cook as fast as meat, so they should be kept at the bottom of the cooker.
  7. Don’t open the lid to stir, particularly when you cook on low setting. Whenever you lift the lid, heat will escape, extending the cooking time by 20 more minutes at least. To check the dish without opening the lid, spin the lid till the condensation falls off, which makes it easy to see inside.
  8. If you cook ground meats in a skillet and later in the crockpot you get the best results.
  9. If you are to add seafood to the dish, it should be added during the final hour of cooking time. Otherwise its texture will become rubbery.
  10. Larger meat pieces can be browned before cooking in slow cooker, to add color and improve flavor; but it is not necessary.
  11. If you want to add Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper to your dish, add them in less quantity and towards the end of cooking time, because slow cooking makes these two items taste bitter.
  12. To prevent overcooking of tender vegetables, like mushrooms, zucchini or tomatoes, add them during the last quarter of hour of cooking time.
  13. Dairy products should be added to a slow cooker dish during the last half hour of cooking, unless the recipe requires otherwise.
  14. Liquids don’t boil off in the slow cooker. So, if you are making a dish which is not specific to slow cooker, reduce the amount of liquid from 1/3rd to ½ unless you are making rice or soup.
  15. Spices should be added during the last hour of slow cooking. If they are added before and are allowed to cook with the rest of the ingredients for a long time, they will lose their tang.