If you have a slow cooker you might be missing out on these clever slow cooker hacks! Get the most out of your slow cooker and use these tips and tricks to make your cooking and cleanup more effective.
From making hearty soups, casserole-style dishes, to even desserts, your slow cooker can be your best friend. I love being able to toss the ingredients in, turn it on and let it cook through the day! I come home and dinner is ready to be served. It is simple, and very minimal prep time. Best of all it doesn't heat your house up in the hotter months and it makes having wholesome meals for your family a lot more feasible on a busy work week.
10 Genius Slow Cooker Hacks
Did you know you can buy liners for your slow cooker? Simply put it in before you toss in your ingredients, and then when finished cooking, just toss in the trash! They work great and boy they make cleanup a breeze! They can be pricey, but if you look around, or limit their use to super messy or hard to clean meals, you can still make them budget-friendly.
2. White Film
If you have a slow cooker you know it can get that white film on the inside. Try using a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and Blue Dawn dish soap. Simply add a tablespoon of baking soda and a drop of dish soap into your slow cooker, and fill with water. Stir and then let the slow cooker cook on low for 2 hours. When it is done let it cool down a little, dump out contents and wash it and rinse and the white film should be gone.
3. Convert Any Recipe
Did you know you can convert any recipe you find into a slow cooker recipe? You might need to adjust the liquid it needs (maybe 1/3-1/2 broth or water if it calls for none) but otherwise it should convert well.
- Regular Time – 15-30 minutes = 4-6 hours on low.
- Regular Time – 35-45 minutes = 6-8 hours on low.
- Regular Time – 50 minutes or more = 10 hours or more on low.
4. Spices and Seasonings
A lot of the complaints I hear is that sometimes your slow cooker meals are bland. To compensate, I typically use extra seasoning when prepping food for the slow cooker. But you can also add extra right before serving. To do this, before serving taste your dish and add in any spices or seasonings you feel would add some extra flavor to your dish.
5. Dairy Products
When you use a slow cooker, and a recipe calls for dairy products, add them at the end of a long cook time. Like the last 30 minutes. If you let them cook throughout the day it can cause the dairy products to curdle.
6. Brown Meat
I love doing this with roast and other meats, if you brown the meat or sear it before adding it to the slow cooker, you will find more flavor is delivered to the dish. Great on any meats, it won't hurt it, and that grease it produces and crispy edges will add so much flavor.
7. Split Slow Cooker
Take some aluminum foil and create a sturdy barrier and place in the center of your slow cooker. Then take two liners and place one in each ‘half', so that you can cook two different items at the same time. This is helpful for dips for a party, a meat and a side dish, etc.
8. Don't Open The Lid
Do not open the lid on your slow cooker unless you are adding in ingredients or following directions. Also don't stir unless the recipe tells you to, as the lid traps in heat. When you open the lid, the slow cooker has to gain back that lost heat, which can take up to 30 minutes.
9. Warmer Option
Make sure to take advantage of the warmer option on your slow cooker. This is great for keeping foods warm and freeing up oven space on holidays and family gatherings. Toss in your mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc and let them stay warm and the perfect temp to serve your guests. I've even used the warmer when making food for a crowd that my pans just can't handle. For example, I made stir fry, one or two types of veggies at at time and then transferred them to the slow cooker to keep warm while I cooked the other ingredients.
When you are making desserts or bread you don't want that added moisture. Put a towel in between the lid and slow cooker so that it doesn't drip condensation onto your dish. Just make the towel snug so it doesn't touch the food inside the slow cooker.
Do you have any slow cooker hacks that you swear by?
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