Taste of Home A slow cooker is an electric appliance that simmers food at a low temperature over a long period of time. Because of this low-and- slow method, slow cookers are great for breaking down and tenderizing large pieces of meat like pot roasts or beef stews.
Slow cookers are also a home cook’s go-to choice for soups and ribs, plus dips, drinks and bread. In addition to its versatility, there are many other benefits to using a slow cooker, like its ability to evenly cook foods hands-free.
This frees home cooks to do other things around the house, run errands or go to work for the day. When it comes to buying a slow cooker, there are several factors to consider, such as how many people you’re usually cooking for, what price point you’re at and what features are a must.
That said, our Test Kitchen pros have found a slow cooker brand that they recommend above all else. After rigorous testing, the Chef man 5-quart slow cooker ($38) based on its innovative stoneware crock that’s also dishwasher-safe, superior cooking performance and affordability.
Just plug in your slow cooker, add your chosen recipe’s ingredients, set the cooker to low or high, depending on the recipe’s instructions, add the lid and let it cook. Once your dish is done cooking, you can either switch the slow cooker off to turn off the heating element, or warm if you’re not ready to enjoy it yet.
Always fill your slow cooker to about ¾ capacity to prevent overcooking and overflow. Opening the lid and checking on your food releases heat and can extend your cooking time.
Also, try to add softer vegetables like peas, spinach or zucchini later in the cooking process. Shutterstock / Joshua Re snick Every time you use it: After it has cooled, remove the crock and lid from the cooking element and wash them with dish soap and water.
Wipe down the outside of the cooking element with a damp paper towel if there are any spills or spots on it. Create a paste with baking soda and water and use a soft-bristle scrubbing brush to buff out food bits.
When there are a lot of tough spots: When your crock is covered in cooked-on food bits, it’s time to soak. From soups to stews to braises of all kinds, a slow cooker is capable of cooking a wide variety of recipes, and the ability to set it up and let it go without having to worry about it is a huge relief.
Indeed, nothing feels better at the end of a long workday than coming into the kitchen to a hot, prepared meal at the ready. We use ours in all sorts of unexpected ways that you might not have thought of, and we can't keep these tips and tricks secret anymore.
From cheesecake to crème Brulé, an old-school British foggy pudding, or a Cuban style flan, your slow cooker can be a godsend for desserts. The gentle, moist environment, no different from using a water bath in your oven, makes for super creamy treats with terrific textures.
Whether you are feeding a passel of hungry kids or visiting relatives, waking up to a hot breakfast is a wonderful thing. Melting butter, chocolate, and shortening can go wrong very quickly if you're not babysitting your stove or microwave.
Put a couple inches of hot water in the bottom of the slow cooker and whatever you want to melt into a sealed glass mason jar. Place a damp, clean towel on the bottom of the slow cooker, and stack whatever needs to be kept warm on top.
Lay a clean, lint-free tea towel over the top and then seal with the lid, if needed, to prevent condensation dripping on the contents. Set to warm, and the slow cooker will hold things without accidentally overcooking or damaging them.
A slow cooker, sometimes called a Crackpot, is a great appliance that not only produces tasty meals, it also saves money and time in the kitchen. You can use your slow cooker to make beef, chicken, lamb and many other recipes that the entire family will love.
First becoming popular in the 1970s, slow cookers are enjoying a resurgence at the moment with people looking for cheap, quick and easy ways to make healthy family meals. You simply chop your meat and vegetables (smaller chunks work best) and preheat the cooker.
Stocks, sauces, broths, wine and simple boiling water are the most commonly used liquids.) You should make sure the slow cooker is at least a third of the way full to avoid overcooking.
Dairy products, seafood and quick-cook vegetables are usually only added for the last hour as they tend to break down and separate. Timings aren’t as strict with slow cookers as you can reduce the heat and leave the food to simmer until you are ready to eat.
Never put cold water straight into a slow cooker as it may crack. Quick and easy : Slow cookers make cooking healthy meals simple.
The joy of using a slow cooker is the ease, you can prepare the meal in the morning (or whenever you have a spare minute) and slowly cook it throughout the day without worrying about overcooking your food and serve whenever you wish, which gives you more time away from the kitchen to spend with your family. Cheap: Handily, the types of food that work best in a slow cooker are the cheaper ones.
The food is left to simmer in it own juices, which preserves a lot of the vitamins and minerals otherwise lost during standard cooking. Slow cooker recipes are also normally packed full of vegetables and pulses, which is a great way of getting the family eating more healthily without drastically changing their diet.
Fresh herbs will go brown and limp in the long, moist cooking process. If you have any leftovers, remove them from the pot, transfer them to a clean container, let them cool slightly and then refrigerate and freeze.
While your slow cooker will come with a booklet of recipes you can use, you needn’t be limited in what you can make. You can easily adapt your favorite recipes for your slow cooker by remembering a few simple details.
The recipes that work best in a slow cooker require some kind of liquid, otherwise the food can dry out quite quickly. It’s not just casseroles and stews, risottos, pasta dishes, roasts and desserts can be cooked in a slow cooker, just remember to reduce the amount of liquid (unless it’s rice or soup) to 1/2 as it won’t evaporate in the same way.
)This post explores why to use a Slow Cooker, why they’re so popular, and how to get started! Slow cookers are rising in popularity amongst the “chefs of the household” and the health nut communities around the world, so knowing about them is important.
Although they stem from over 70 years ago, they’ve only started to really gain attention since the early 2000s! They actually cost about the same as a traditional light bulb (especially if they’re on a low setting), at an average of only 0.7 kWh over an 8-hour period.
In the average American household, the most costly appliance is the electric oven, which may be up to 24 times more expensive to run than a slow cooker. By cutting down on both the amount of preparation and the amount of work you actually need to put into your cooking (including having to constantly watch appliances and food), using a slow cooker gives you time to do the things you want to and get on with the important tasks of your day.
And it’s just as easy with thousands of other recipes, including curries, chili care, hot pots, fish, meat, and even rice (but for rice use a healthy oil or fat to coat the slow cooker first before adding the water and rice, and only cook for 2-3 hours). By taking 5 or 10 minutes in the morning to set up your meal, you can be out for the whole day if you want, and return to a delicious dinner.
Not only are they a great alternative to other unhealthier cooking methods, but using a slow cooker is very gentle and retains a lot of moisture. This preserves and extracts nutrients much better, which also allows for much more complex flavors to develop.
There may be a dilemma here: Some people enjoy well-done meat, others rare, and the rest somewhere in between. When meat is cooked, water molecules “clip” protein chains to create peptides, which fit into our taste receptors, and allow for more nutrition and easier digestion.
The reason this happens is that the proteins, fats, and sugar molecules become distorted, leading them to tangle and fuse. This destroys nutrients and makes digestion a lot harder, too.
These new distortions create carcinogens and other chemical compounds and fuses that can damage your blood vessels and kidneys. For those of you that don’t enjoy your meat rare, maybe working towards it is a good idea.
They help to prevent overcooking, release nutrients (including beneficial minerals), and develop amazing flavors. If you’re cooking meat by itself, which you can definitely do, adding a cup of water or so in with it will go a long way.
Slow cookers also help to release and protect precious nutrients in vegetables! Most have multiple settings, often including low high and warm.
If you go for a more expensive model (which isn’t always necessary), you’ll also find slow cookers that have timers on them. By selecting ‘Low’, your food will take longer to cook and has more time to develop nutrition and flavor.
A great example is the Morphy Richards 6.5L Slow Cooker (Read the Review Here), which has all of these and is perfect for families. If you’ve got a dishwasher, then a slow cooker can save time drying up and putting dishes away.
When you use a slow cooker, nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to do most (if not all) of your cooking in the one pot! If you’re making a curry or chili care with rice (or other multiple-part dish), then at most you’ll need your cooker and a saucepan (etc.).
Bodybuilders, athletes, families, and anyone on a busy schedule all likely to have come across meal prepping (preparing). You can make batch meals in advance for your dietary goals and save time doing so if you use a slow cooker.
Of course, the versatility means that your slow cooker meal prep recipes can be anything you might want (almost). If you’re bored with sandwiches for lunch or want to save money by not buying food out, using a slow cooker is a great alternative.
I’ve picked these out especially for you all, considering everything covered in my reviews of each slow cooker. The Morphy Richards 6.5L Slow Cooker could serve you for years, and if you’re quick, at an even lower price than usual.
Including a slow cooker in your kitchen arsenal is a brilliant way to cook healthily whilst you save time & money. I personally use for mine all the time, and make brilliantly healthy bone broths with it.