6 Things Everyone Who Owns a Slow Cooker Should Know

To make easy Crock-Pot meals, keep our top slow cooker tips in mind.

There are loads of awesome ways to use a slow cooker in your everyday cooking. (Like all of our best slow cooker recipes!) Whether you’re new to Crock-Pot cooking or a dump-and-go veteran, here are six things to keep in mind when putting your slow cooker to work.

1. Always add your cheese at the end

We’ve all been there; at least, I have. You’ve made a delicious recipe in your slow cooker, topped it with cheese and left it for just a little too long. There’s nothing worse than a gooey, somewhat rubbery mess. To avoid this issue, you don’t have to avoid cheese altogether. Instead, simply make sure that you add it right at the end, around five to ten minutes before serving.

(This rule does not apply to cheesy dips, though.)

2. Skip washing up

The least fun part of using a slow cooker is simple—the cleanup. No one likes it, and yet we all have to do it, right? Not quite. Using a slow cooker liner means that you can avoid cleaning altogether and get on with eating your deliciously tender home-cooked meal.

3. Sear your meat before you start

Before you go ahead and put a raw pot roast into the slow cooker, there’s something you should know. Browning the meat ahead of time in a skillet will help you lock in extra flavor, plus it’ll seal in the meat’s delicious juices. If you want to be really turn up the flavor, add a little rub or spice mix to the meat, too.

4. Avoid filling it to the brim

If you tend to fill up your slow cooker to the top, it could be time to change your ways. Remember that food, especially items like beans and pasta, needs room to cook and expand. You should aim to fill it up around ⅔ of the way so there is space for a little steam (which will help!) and any expansion.

Put this tip to the test by checking out these hearty vegetarian slow cooker recipes that are full of beans and pasta.

5. Warm tortillas on top of the cooker

What could go better with some slow-cooked chili con carne or chicken tacos than some freshly warmed tortillas? Rather than heating up the oven, there’s an easier option. Place a glass baking tray on top of an uncovered slow cooker, and put your tortillas inside it. They will heat up perfectly!

6. Think outside the box

If you thought that slow cookers were just for stews, I’ve got news for you. You can cook anything from rice pudding to mulled wine, and even cheesecake. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out all the things you didn’t know could be made in a slow cooker. Looking for some healthy options? Try our low calorie slow cooker recipes!

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Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.