The Old Hero
The crockpot has been a household name for years. A lot of families see it as a hero with it helping out in the kitchen for as long as they can remember.
We bet you’ve looked at a lot of recipes with all the ingredients you have in the house. But believe it or not, there are a lot of things you actually shouldn’t put in a crockpot.
Since a crock-pot is sealed, alcohol can’t evaporate out. This means the end flavor will be more aggressive than what you may want.
We suggest skipping the boozy stuff altogether or using only a tiny splash—a little goes a long way.
When overheated, the proteins in milk clump up and create something new. This can be a good thing… or it can end up looking and tasting seriously gross.
You might end up with curdled food and possibly a stomach ache. If the recipe calls for dairy, make sure to add it at the end.
As you may know, vinegar is extremely acidic!
If your cooker is older, it might feel nostalgic and awesome to use it, but the inner pots might submit to the acid and leech out chemicals. You can keep the heirloom, but steer clear of any acids.
Peas & Asparagus
Peas are one of the worst ingredients to add to a slow cooker.
Because they’re so small, they will cook to the point of disappearing. And even if they survive in their orb-form, they will be very mushy. Opt for root vegetables like onions, garlic, turnips, carrots.
Some people swear that adding aluminium foil to dishes will make things heat faster/higher.
But for things like potatoes, the heat won’t penetrate to the centre enough. Either cut them into bits or keep them whole and in the oven.
Don’t make your cooker work harder than it needs to.
It’s never a good idea to toss frozen veggies in because they will take so much longer to cook, plus they will come out mushy. Thaw your veggie bags first before you toss them in.
Attempting to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker isn’t only going to kill the texture, it’s also dangerous from a safety standpoint.
Only meat that is fully thawed should go into a slow cooker. The slow cooker won’t cook frozen meat fast enough to avoid a significant amount of time in the unsafe temperature zone of 40 to 140F.
It’s already tricky enough to cook chickens and turkey in an oven.
The internal parts need to reach a certain temperature, and the slow cooker just can’t reach that. You’ll most likely end up making someone sick. Parts of the bird are fine, but who the entire thing.
Cooking pasta in a crock-pot will give you a giant mushy mess.
Most pasta recipes are quick and easy to make, so it’s better to make them using traditional methods. If there is something in the pasta recipe that should go in, add it near the end.
Some people like a kick of spice in their food.
But if you throw them in for long cooking times, you’ll be ramping up the heat to extreme levels. There’s nothing wrong with mouth-burning flavor, just make sure you watch your times and amounts. This next food no-no might surprise you!
Moisture is the enemy of bacon.
Adding it to a slow cooker will give it a grey, gummy, barely-ham-flavored mess. Cook your bacon on the stovetop or a sheet pan in the oven then add it to the slow cooker dish when serving.
Food poisoning can be a nightmare.
A slow cooker simply takes too long to heat up and cook the shellfish within a safe time range. Plus you need a quick rise in heat to cause the mussels to pop open. A slow cooker just can’t do it.
There are a ton of recipes out there for crock-pot zucchini.
The problem is, this veggie will turn mushy really quick. It might even just disappear into the liquid, leaving the skin behind. It’s okay if you’re making soups, but not for things you want to chew.
This falls into the same family as vinegar and tomatoes.
Lemons are full of acidic citrus. And the metals, like lead, that can be leeched out can make people very sick. Better to leave them out all together.
Non-starchy green vegetables like kale and spinach are very nutritious additions to any meal.
However, if you throw them into a crock-pot for too long, they’ll get mushy. Overcooking can also destroy some of the nutrients , so add them during the last few minutes of cooking.
White meat, especially without skin or bones, will dry out when cooked as long as most crock pot recipes.
That’s because it’s in the family of leans meats we just warned about. It lacks the natural fat that helps cook other meats. Keep those breast for recipes with more sauce or properly baked in an oven.
Have you ever had overcooked broccoli? It’s horrible in both taste and texture.
It’s mushy, stringy, and not nearly as healthy. To avoid stripping broccoli of its nutrients and ruining your meal, add these greens near the end of the cooking process, and definitely not frozen.
Rice feels like the perfect thing to add to a slow cooker.
But this yummy grain needs specific cook times. It can get overly starchy when it cooks too long, so it tastes gummy. One counteraction is to add instant rice to the pot when you have about 20 minutes of cooking time left.
If you’ve been making your tomato sauce in your crockpot, don’t panic, you should stop using it from now on.
Tomatoes are filled with acids that can leech out the lead from your slow cooker. Not only that, but most canned tomatoes are ridiculously high in sugar.
You might be surprised at this one, considering that adding herbs is huge in flood flavoring in any cooking method.
Fresh herbs may look lovely, but letting herbs sit in heat for too long can strip them of flavor. Add them at the tail end of the cooking process so you can keep that yumminess.
When it comes to slow cookers, quick-cooking foods aren’t a good idea.
Like rice and pasta, this grain will absorb way too much liquid and end up turning to mush if you try slow cooking it. This stuff is super easy and quick to make on the stove top.
Moisture is best for slow cookers.
The problem with lean meats is that they lack the fat content to keep the muscle fibres juicy. Dark meats with skin are better for this style of cooking. Or, at minimum, make sure it’s at least a mix of lean vs. fatty.
Dried beans should not be cooked in a slow cooker—ever.
Dried beans contain a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin, which naturally occurs in several kinds of raw beans. The good news is that the toxin can be gotten rid of by simply boiling the raw beans for ten minutes.
Beef roasts, like a standing rib roast or roast beef aren’t great for crock pots.
Cuts of meat like these are best cooked medium rare, therefore they are cooked best with hot dry heat, not the humid low heat environment of a slow cooker.
It may be a tasty source of protein and healthy fats, but fish can become very rubbery after it comes out of the slow cooker —mainly because they cook so quickly.
It’s better to bake it in the stove or on the stove top.
Canning foods is a delicate process.
Not only does it need to stay very clean, it need to boil to a certain temperature in order to sterilize and seal the cans as well as “cook” the food to a point where it will stay safe. Use a pot of boiling water instead.
There are so many “hacks” out there.
And many of them are food and cooking equipment ones. But you’ll also find channels that debunk many of these methods. Some can even be dangerous. Stick to tried-and-tested recipes.
Slow melting chocolate or certain other melty-delights can definitely be cooked in a crock pot. But…
Some candy, like caramel, need to reach a certain cooking point in a certain amount of time in order to get the wanted texture and strength. Read the recipe carefully to find out how to proceed.
Eggs cook really fast. That’s great when we want fast protein.
However, when they are overcooked, they release a gas called hydrogen sulphide that contaminates the whites – and is toxic. If the yolk appears green, that’s a bad sign. With all of these warnings, you might be wondering; “well, what can I cook?”. Fear not! Here are some recipes that work best with a crock-pot.
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Anyone who is a pulled pork fan needs to try their hand at this recipe.
Whatever pork recipe your using, add all the meat and spices into the crock-pot and let the flavors infuse for eight hours. We know it’s a long wait but it is absolutely worth it!
If you’re a meat-eater, there’s probably nothing as hearty to you as a warm bowl full of delicious beef stew.
This wholesome dish is full of iron and antioxidants and was practically made for the crock-pot! Just throw everything in and leave it to cook for four hours.
If you’re a vegetarian or just looking for a delicious, light, vegetable dish, look for a chickpea dish with dates, turmeric, cinnamon, and almonds.
The combination of ingredients in this dish works amazingly with the crock-pot and leaves everything tasting as it should – including texture! Get large chickpeas for extra pizazz!
Black Bean Chilli
As you may have learnt, cooking chilli and beans in a crock-pot are all about timing. Leave it too long and the beans turn to mush and the chilli will have you gasping for water.
When this dish is done right, however, it’s absolutely mouth-watering – just keep checking up on it and watch the time!
A dahl dish mightn’t be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what to make with your crock-pot, but it’s a match made in heaven!
A dal recipe that uses lentils and split peas is always a sure winner. Just make sure you add the fresh herbs after the pot is cooked!
As mentioned before, unless you’ve developed a serious knack for cooking pasta in your crock-pot, it’s best to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay away from pasta dishes!
Cook the pasta separately whenever you want and leave it aside. Throw everything else in the crock-pot and add the pasta at the end. This works so well with Spag Bol!
Brisket With Thyme & Onions
Who doesn’t love a Sunday roast? This wholesome meal is perfect for family and friends but often, people avoid it because it takes too much effort. Not anymore!
Whenever you want to make a dish like this, the crock-pot makes it 10,000 x times easier!
Sweet And Sour Chicken
For this dish, we recommend cooking the rice separately. If you have two crock-pots, great! But if you’re the average person with just one, here’s what to do.
Get started with your favorite sweet and sour chicken recipe and add it to the crock-pot. Once there are around 20 minutes left on its cooking time, cook the rice! And viola. Another crock-pot masterpiece!
Moroccan-Style Stuffed Peppers
This scrumptious vegetarian dish is definitely the last thing someone might think to cook with their crock-pot but trust us, it’s killer!
Simply split your peppers, add mashed chickpeas (or scrunch up a falafel), corn, feta, seeds and rose Harris, and leave it to roast. Just make sure you place them in carefully!
Slow-Braised Korean Short Ribs
It’s probably obvious by now that meat dishes work extremely well with a crock-pot. The slow-cook style of the crock-pot caters perfectly to cooking tender meat infused with flavor.
This messy dish takes a while to prepare but it’s so worth it. Our tip? find a recipe that uses gochujang paste to give a savory, spicy umami-rich taste!