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Using A Slow Cooker (Crockpot)

Roast and vegetables in crockpot.
These useful appliances allow you to cook a meal all day long so your family can come home to a hot dinner, even if everyone is at work. This guide is about using a slow cooker or crockpot.
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April 3, 2006

Can I use "oven cooking bags" in my crockpot?

Sharon from Southern Illinois

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June 29, 2010

Using your good old reliable crock pot can save you plenty of time and cash, but if your model is aging, give it a test. Bacteria can grow when food is kept under 140 degrees F for four hours or more. Test your crock pot dish after three hours on low and see if it's actually getting to that temperature. If it's not, it's time for a new crock pot.

It's also a good idea to jack the dial up to HIGH for the first hour to bring the food up to 140 as quickly as possible. You can adjust it after that and continue on low until finished. A crock pot in good working condition should be able to maintain 140 degrees F for the rest of the cooking cycle. Let's be careful out there, crockpotters!

By puppermom from Hollywood, FL

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June 1, 20045 found this helpful
Converting Recipes: Converting your favorite recipes to the crockpot or slow cooker is pretty easy. Here is a guideline for cooking times. If you are cooking on the low setting, make sure that any uncooked meat cooks for at least 8 hours.

Stovetop Cooking TimeCrockpot Cooking Time
High TempLow Temp
15-30 minutes1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hrs4 - 8 hours
35-45 minutes3 - 4 hours6 - 10 hours
50 minutes - 3 hours4 - 6 hours8 - 16 hour

Seasoning: Spices will be diluted overtime as they cook in a crockpot. So add spices in the last hour of cooking.

Ground Beef: Brown ground beef before adding to the crockpot. It will taste better and have better texture this way.

Raw Vegetables: Uncooked vegetables like carrots, potatoes and onions should be place at the bottom of the crockpot for faster cooking.

Dairy: Add sour cream, heavy cream and other dairy ingredients during the last hour of cooking.

Cleaning: Do not add cold water to a hot crockpot to clean it. Either let it cool down or add warm soapy water.

Garnish: Many vegetables will lose their color in a slow cooker. Add a colorful garnish like fresh parsley, chives, tomatoes, red peppers or cheese for color.

Cooking Tip: Keep your crockpot at least half full to avoid overheating and overcooking food.

Thickening: Add a cornstarch in the final hour of cooking to thicken juices.

Use your crockpot outside in the summer to help keep your house cool.

What are your favorite crockpot tips?

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February 4, 2016

Recently, I put up a crockpot full of chicken and marinade. Leaving it overnight, it was perfect the next morning. By noon, however, it was a bit dry. That is when I realized what I had done.

As you can see by the photo, there is another plug plugged into the outlet. It's to a candle melt. When I went to unplug what I thought was the pot, I unplugged the candle melt. I don't always trust myself to remember to turn it off, but unplugging it means it's off for sure.

So, I decided to mark the one I needed to unplug with a bread tie. Easy and foolproof, this is a mistake I won't ever make again.

Hope that helps!

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By 1 found this helpful
January 18, 2012

We all know how easy it is to use a slow cooker to make dinner, but the clean up can be a time-consuming job. We recently found the Reynolds Slow Cooker liners at the grocery store, WalMart, etc. They have probably been on the market for a while, but we just realized how easy they make cleanup.

Put one in the slow cooker pot, put your food in it. When the meal is finished, the liner goes in the garage, then I wipe out the crock pot just to be sure it is clean and the job is done. They are quite inexpensive, especially taking into account all the time and trouble I encountered trying to get the pot clean. Because they are so easy to use, we use the crock pot much more often.

By HJ from Delaware

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By 0 found this helpful
June 18, 2007

It is 96 degrees and humid today, so I took out my trusty slow cooker this morning. Cooking in the slow cooker keeps my kitchen cooler, plus the whole meal can be cooked in one container. My slow cooker is great for less tender cuts of meat, which are less expensive to purchase.

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February 5, 20050 found this helpful

I cook my meat in my crockpot for a few hours while I'm gone. Then I pop it in the oven for 20 or 30 minutes to brown and crisp up before serving.( while I fix the rest of dinner) My husband does not like meat from the crockpot. He never guesses. By charleeta

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May 17, 20170 found this helpful

Your crockpot is the prefect appliance for cooking tender tasty meat of all types. While some meats are browned first, meat doesn't not need to be cooked before putting it in a crockpot.

Crockpot Pot Roast

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June 27, 20140 found this helpful

This is a guide about converting recipes for a slow cooker. Traditional recipes can be easily converted to preparation in your slow cooker. This is a guide about converting recipes for a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker

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By 0 found this helpful
March 28, 2013

Before you contemplate buying a crockpot, check out the smallest ring on your electric cooker. I found out that my past two cookers were usable this way by reading the information that came with the contraption. I didn't trust it to start with so I stayed in all day just to make sure.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
February 24, 2017

I use slow cooker liners consistently. However, I often want to cook several different items in the same pot that I do not wish to mix. For example, tonight I cooked a bacon-wrapped pork loin roast, corn on the cob, and a baked potato. I had to use a huge liner bag for the roast and another huge liner bag for the corn (cooked in butter), and wrapped the potato in foil. It would have been great if I could have had a smaller bag for each item. Does anyone know if such a thing exists on the market, and if so, where to purchase them?

Answer Was this helpful? 1

Answers

February 24, 20170 found this helpful

A better idea is to have several Pyrex bowls in different sizes, and to cook different items in each bowl

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August 1, 20050 found this helpful

Does frozen meat need to be thawed before placing in the crockpot?

LINDA FROM CA.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 1, 20050 found this helpful

I do this all the time. Just throw it in, add seasonings, cream of whatever is on hand. Add 2 cups of water, and turn on low for 8-10 hours. Success every time. I've tried all kinds of meat, always works.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 1, 20050 found this helpful

I have never had a problem crocking frozen meat. You must add sufficient liquid, but it always turns out fine. (Well, the times it doesn't, it's more me and the recipe than the frozen meat! :) )

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August 1, 20050 found this helpful

No you do not have to thaw the meat. We take a frozen roast into a slow cooker and add mushroom soup to it and some black pepper. Start out on high and when you start to smell it turn the meat over and check it to make sure it is not burning. Don't open the lid but two times. Then reduce the heat and cook all night. There is a lof you can do also like put in frying pan brown each side then put in the cooker. Chicken do this to and use cream of chicken soup. Brown before starting and it will help too. Good luck and happy cooking...

Tonya

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August 3, 20050 found this helpful

The only time I thaw the meat is when I want to brown the outside of the meat. I found that if you do this, the meat stays juicer.

Have a great day

Lisa

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August 12, 20050 found this helpful

Several of the cooking shows that I watch have been featuring crock pot cooking lately. The one thing they all say is to remember one rule - cold crockpot - cold meat. Hot crockpot - Hot meat or product. The deal is, is that if you put cold meat in a hot crock pot or vice versa it may crack your crock pot.

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August 13, 20050 found this helpful

Just make sure you have plenty of time to let it cook. I put a whole frozen chicken in mine last Sunday thinking we would have chicken later that day and I had to come up with an alternative because being frozen it was taking a lot longer than I thought it would.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 2, 20060 found this helpful

I just got back from Milwaukee where my mother in law made a pork roast from frozen and my sister in law made a beef roast from frozen. They started it in the morning at low and it was done by 5:30 -6 at night. It was so good and I never knew you could do that!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 25, 20080 found this helpful

I always crock with frozen meat! Makes things easy!! :)

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 24, 20080 found this helpful

The Crock-pot website says:

"Yes, but be sure to add at least 1 cup of warm liquid to the stoneware first. Do not preheat the unit. Cook recipes containing frozen meats an additional 4 to 6 hours on Low or 2 hours on High."

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October 7, 20100 found this helpful

Since I was a kid I used my nose a lot smelling things. I am now a scientist, retired, and my nose

has worked well to determine food quality, studying new methods in laboratories, and cooking. I firmly believe, as one person said to do, it's good to cook your meals first, then freeze them. Consider

that you buy meals already cooked and heat them from manufacturers and some taste OK.

I know from experience and studies that cells in plants and animals will burst when frozen. If the

meat or plant is cooked, first, the cells contain less water and are more pliable. Thus the damage

from freezing doesn't occur (as much). When I've cooked I often plan to freeze my meal instead of taking out a portion of frozen food and cooling only 1 meal.

When you combine your work you save money, time, and cleanup. And, it tastes better to bring out a cooked portion from the freezer than to cook a pre-frozen piece of meat. If you don't agree then I suggest that you look at the way you freeze. It's important to be sure to seal your cooked foods well. Smells from vinegar (pickles) or any other

smells in the refrigerator will migrate to the freezer.

TIP for clean fridge: You can buy baking soda but it's got to put as much of its area into contact with air as possible. The way to do this is not to put a box in the fridge or buy the 'special' box for fridge. Instead lay out out in a tray for maximum exposure. If it gets damp you can dry it in the oven at any temperature. It wont burn. Also you could put it into a nylon stocking. Squash it flat and hang it. That will give it more surface contact.

Glad I was able to share.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 5, 2008

Does anybody know if you can successfully cook rice in a crock pot?

Susan from Columbus, OH

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

Starchy things like rice, potatoes, and pasta usually do not cook well in crock pots.

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

Saw this recipe here:

http://www.fabu  /crkpotrice.html

Have not tried it though...but worth a shot

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June 9, 20080 found this helpful

Here are two recipes for making rice in a crockpot:

Crockpot - Rice

rice

salt

water

butter or margarine

Follow directions on rice package for proportion of rice to water.

(Up to 4 cups raw rice may be prepared in crockpot/slow cooker.

Makes 10 cups cooked). Rub crockpot/slow cooker lightly with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour in rice, water and salt. Cover and cook on High 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. or to cook all day:

Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours - use 2 to 3 cups long grain rice,

4 to 6 cups water or broth, 2 Tablespoons butter. Salt to taste

before serving.

NOTE:

When turned off, crockpot/slow cooker will keep rice warm for

serving for 2 to 3 hours!

crockpot - Rice, foolproof

1 cup regular raw, white rice

1 cup water

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon butter

Place all ingredients together in crockpot/slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.

This Foolproof Rice recipe really does work, even with the small amount of water required. Covering the crockpot and setting it on Low effectively turns your crockpot into a rice steamer. The rice will have the consistency of steamed rice and will not be the kind of "sticky rice" that you would get from cooking it in a pot on the stove top.

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June 9, 20080 found this helpful

I would suggest that you get a rice cooker, and use that. My son gave me one that cooks up to 4 cups of rice. It is no trouble to set it up and do a few other things while it cooks. The one I have was less than $10, my son said. I would cook something main course in the slow cooker, and cook the rice in the rice cooker when you get home.

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January 2, 20100 found this helpful

I just found this thread and had a few things to add.

I have 5 crockpots of different sizes and use them ALL the time to save time in the kitchen since we are ranchers and farmers and need to be outdoors all the time. I think of my crockpots as mini ovens and even use them with timers so that I am not necessarily cooking the food all day.

Potatoes do wonderful in crockpots, despite what was earlier said. I cube my potatoes and cover with water. Cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 6-10 hours. Drain and mash and enjoy!!

A wonderful site for crockpot recipes and ideas from main dishes to even desserts is "A Year of Slow Cooking". This site http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ is a blog from a woman that cooked for her husband and children from a crockpot for one year and shared the experience and recipes with us. I have used many of her recipes and love majority of them.

Crockpots are not just for stews, soups, and heavenly starchy gravy soaked meats!! Experiment and enjoy

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By 0 found this helpful
January 28, 2012

Is it possible to substitute a regular plastic bag for a slow-cooker liner?

By Linda T.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 31, 2015

My children despise certain veggies -- each different, of course. Can you cook different veggies inside your crock pot in Ziploc type bags? For instance, when making veggie beef soup, since neither child likes corn, could I put the kernel corn in a quart bag with small holes pierced in the bag and place inside the crock pot with all other ingredients? This way the corn cooks along with the soup and even allows the flavor to mingle. Then when ready to serve the kids don't pick out the corn, but hubby and I can add some from the bag to our bowl. Sounds like a win-win this way. Is this possible? I aways cook on low heat.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 2, 2006
Product: Rival Versaware Slow Cooker

Manufacturer: Rival

Request: This slow cooker has a liner that can be used directly on the stove top. Any opinions?

Holly from Richardson, TX

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 3, 20060 found this helpful

I have one of that type also. Just be sure to use the metal ring that comes with the slo cooker if you use it on the stove. That way the liner is not directly on the burner.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 4, 20060 found this helpful

I LOVE mine...I used it once, then ordered 4 more for Christmas gifts!!! BUT the advice on the metal rack is ONLY for Electric stoves...you do NOT use it on a GAS burner...Nicest slow cooker I have ever seen!!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 6, 20060 found this helpful

this is a great toy...my first crock pot. i like being able to use it with interchangeable heat sources. it has made cooking fun again...the food tastes wonderful .

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March 12, 20130 found this helpful

I put a 4 pound lamb roast in my crock pot for 5 hours. It is cooked, but I still have about 2 hours before dinner time at the most. Can I leave it on low until we eat, should I turn it off, or should I put it on auto? or let it cool and put it in the fridge, or I could transfer to another pan and set my oven to warm? Help :)

By Nicole D

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January 23, 2012

If I half a slow cooker recipe and use a smaller cooker, do I cut the time?

By Joanie

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

My inclination would be yes. If you are using a slow cooker that would not normally hold a whole recipe, or it would be very full, then you should half the recipe. Cook it for about a third of the time and see how it fairs. If it doesn't seem to be fully cooked go the rest of the time. When you have an appliance that you are either not sure of or it has cooked incorrectly in the past you need to adapt to the unit.

For example I have a microwave that brings a coffee cup to a rolling boil for just a minute. A half a minute doesn't really do the coffee justice but we found 45 seconds does the trick OR we can do a minute and turn down the strength of the microwave to about 2/3 it's normal power.Once you use the slow cooker a couple times you'll understand exactly how it does a job and you'll be cooking foods perfectly every time.

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March 14, 20050 found this helpful

Add one cup water to the bottom of your crock pot. Then insert one Turkey bag (the ones you use for roasting oven bag), fold edges over the outside of crock pot - so that is has been lined with the turkey bag. Add ingredients and cook your favorite recipe as normal.

After you are through just throw away the bag -or- if there are left overs just tie it up and put the in the fridge for later use.

By Chell

Responses:
Using Turkey Roasting Bags In Your Crockpot
Post by kimmcg
This is the best tip I have read on here in a long while! Thanks!
Using Turkey Roasting Bags In Your Crockpot
susan (Guest Post)
reynolds makes bags especially for slow cookers they do help.

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