7 Tips for Crockin’ in Your Slow Cooker

The Crock Pot/slow cooker has become a kitchen staple. Between stews, soups, dips, and desserts the Crock Pot is a busy cook’s best friend. We’ve gathered seven tips that will help you to be a crockin’ pro.

1. Don’t Peek Inside.

We know… everything is cooking away and your kitchen smells amazing so it won’t hurt to take a quick peek at what’s cooking. Right? Wrong. It can take almost 20 minutes for the slow cooker to regain its steam and return to the correct temperature.

2. Browning Meats Adds Flavor.

This step isn’t necessary when cooking something like a stew in the Crock Put, but it will definitely boost the flavor of meats and vegetables. Want to make the sauce thicker? Lightly coat the meat with flour before browning.

3. Don’t Overfill or Underfill the Slow Cooker.

Packing too much into the slow cooker will slow down the cooking time. Most manufacturers recommend filling it more than two-thirds full. If your slow cooker is less than half-full items inside will cook faster and may burn.

4. Layer foods properly.

When placing foods into the slow cooker, place firmer items like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, at the bottom of the slow cooker. Place meats on top of the vegetables. More delicate items, like beans, can be put in last.

5. Prep is Key.

While slow cooking is easy, it does require a bit of prep work. Prepping ingredients, by cutting meats and vegetables into uniform sizes the night before, will save tons of time in the morning.

6. Add Dairy Towards the End of Cooking.

If you want to add dairy items like cream, sour cream, yogurt to a recipe add them towards the end of cooking (about 15 minutes or so). This will help the ingredients not break down.

7. High Altitude Needs More Time.

If you live in a high altitude area you’ll need to increase cooking time. Add about 30 minutes additional for each hour of cooking time. So, if you live in Colorado a recipe that would take someone in New York 2 hours to make, will take you 3 hours.

Now that you know these tips for preparing a meal in a slow cooker, get your Crock Pot out and start crockin’! Here are five Blue Ribbon slow cooker recipes to get you started.

Crock Pot Beef Roast

“This is a delicious and VERY easy roast to make. My family and I love it. I usually make mashed potatoes to go with the roast. The juice is really good on the meat and on the potatoes.” – Jackie

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

“Definitely add these Salisbury steak meatballs to your dinner rotation. Thanks to onion soup mix and Italian bread crumbs, the meatballs have a nice savory flavor. After simmering in the Crock Pot, the gravy becomes nice and thick. It is great over egg noodles. The flavor combinations are perfect in this recipe with minimal ingredients.” – The Kitchen Crew

Kickin’ Chicken Taco Soup

“Six cans and some chicken… that’s how easy this recipe is. Hope you enjoy!” – Teressa

Crock Pot Cheeseburger Mac

“So easy and yummy, this is a great comfort food and the kids love it!” – Leena

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

“This Crock Pot chicken cacciatore is a keeper! Wine adds a depth of flavor. The fresh veggies Italian seasoning give this dish lots of flavor too. The chicken soaks up all the juices from the vegetables. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and they were fall-apart tender. This is made even better by topping with a little grated Parmesan cheese. If cooking for a family, we would recommend doubling the recipe. People will definitely be asking for seconds (maybe thirds!).” – The Kitchen Crew