Kitchen Hints and Tips
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)
Breads and Cakes
- Do not add water to the slow cooker unless it specifically says to in the
- Do not over-beat breads and cakes. Follow all recommended mixing times.
- For ideal results, use a 3-5 quart slow cooker and fill stoneware with ingredients at 1/2 to 3/4 full.
- After breads and cakes have finished cooking, allow them to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the cake pan.
- To keep condensation from dripping down into your slow cooker contents, simply place a white paper towel on top of the slow cooker, then put the lid on. The paper towel absorbs the condensation, and it will not water down your food.
- Milk, cream and sour cream should be added during the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
- Condensed soups may be substituted for milk and can cook for extended times.
- Fish is delicate and should be stirred in gently during the last 15-30 minutes of cooking time, unless the recipe indicates otherwise. Cook on high until just cooked through and serve immediately.
- Shellfish can overcook easily. For ideal results, cook on high heat setting and add shellfish during the last 15-30 minutes of cook time.
- Add at least 1 cup of warm liquid to the stoneware before placing frozen meat in the stoneware. Do not preheat the slow cooker.
- Cook recipes containing frozen meats for an additional 4 to 6 hours on low, or an additional 2 hours on high.
Herbs and Spices
- For ground and/or dried herbs and spices, add half the amount of dried herbs and spices at the beginning of the cooking cycle, then taste and adjust seasonings toward the end of the cooking cycle.
- Use chili powder and garlic powder sparingly as these can sometimes intensify over longer cook times.
- Taste the dish at the end of cook cycle and correct seasonings, including salt and pepper.
- Fresh herbs are best when added to the finished dish, not during the cooking cycle. If added at the beginning of the cooking cycle, many fresh herbs’ flavor will dissipate over long cook times. For dishes with shorter cook times, hearty, fresh herbs, such as rosemary and thyme will hold up well.
Liquids (Water, Stock, Wine)
- Usually it iss not necessary to use more than 1/2 - 1 cup of liquid since juices in meats and vegetables are retained more in slow cooking than in conventional cooking.
- You can reduce excess liquid by slow cooking on the stovetop, removing meat and vegetables from stoneware or stirring in cornstarch, tapioca or tapioca powder and setting the slow cooker to high approximately 15 minutes until juices are thickened.
- Brown or sear meats in a skillet prior to adding to slow cooker. This will create greater depth of flavor to any dish as well as melt out fat that can be poured off before slow cooking.
- Pasta should be cooked al dente, then added to the slow cooker for the last hour of cooking.
- Seafood should be added in the last hour of cooking time, unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
- Most vegetables should be thinly sliced or placed near the sides or bottom of the stoneware. Meats generally cook faster than most vegetables in a slow cooker.
- Pitted olives should be added at the end of the cooking cycle.