How to Use a Slow Cooker

Convenience. Versatility. Yumminess.

Do you wonder why you should use a slow cooker? You might be seeing a lot of crockpot recipes on Pinterest, Skinny Ms., and other sites, but why do so many people love this humble kitchen appliance? Learn why and how to use a slow cooker to eat well.

Why do people everywhere love the slow cooker?

Convenience: The slow cooker is the top tool for simplifying your life in the kitchen. A healthy meal is as simple as loading the ingredients and allowing the food to cook for the specified time period. Some recipes call for slightly more prep, such as browning ground meat, but overall you can expect a crockpot meal to prep more easily than other recipes.

Versatility: Need another reason why you should use a slow cooker? Many people think of a crockpot as a way to cook up a main course, but in reality you can use it to cook up so much more. Think drinks, dips, desserts, and side dishes. It’s also a great tool for preparing recipes for get-togethers. When you make a recipe in the slow cooker, it frees you up to focus on preparing other dishes or even mingling with guests for a bit.

Guide to Using a Crockpot

1. Pick the correct slow cooker size.

Size matters when you’re slow cooking! If the crockpot is too small for the recipe you’re using, it’s possible the food won’t cook thoroughly. What’s more, the slow cooker process retains the liquids naturally found in the ingredients, so if the crockpot is too small you run the risk of liquid leaking out the top. Slow cooker recipes typically list a recommended size, so use that as your guide.

2. Use a liner to streamline cleanup.

While you always have the option to place ingredients directly into the crock, a liner reduces cleanup time and that can be a genuine sanity saver on a busy day.

3. Get to know your slow cooker.

Like an oven, each crockpot tends to have its own personality. The “high” setting on your crockpot might run at a somewhat higher temperature than your mom’s crockpot. The first time you prep a new recipe, especially those that include meat, always make sure it’s thoroughly cooked before serving. If you need to adjust cooking times, mark that down on the recipe so you’ll remember the next time you prepare the dish.

4. Avoid the temptation to lift the lid frequently.

We know: it smells yummy! But lifting the lid releases heat and increases cooking time. Check your recipe only when it’s time to check for doneness or if the recipe itself indicates you should stir.

Crockpot Recipes to Try

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole
Slow Cooker Nutty Blueberry Banana Oatmeal
Slow Cooker Cranberry & Pumpkin Granola
Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole   

Side Dishes
Slow Cooker Candied Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf
Slow Cooker Southern-Style Green Beans

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
Slow Cooker Apple Butter Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Tamari-Glazed Chicken
Slow Cooker Skinny Spaghetti

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apples
Slow Cooker Molten Lava Cake
Slow Cooker Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce



Do you have a favorite Skinny Ms. recipe? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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