As you might imagine, we do A LOT of crock pot recipes on the site– from main dishes to sides to soups to breakfast and dessert. All this slow cooking tends to lead to our inbox filling with a lot of questions. Below is our answer to How to Fix Common Slow Cooker Issues:
Does this sound familiar? You go and dig out your slow cooker from the closet/cabinet or you buy a new one fancy one from the store and you buy all your ingredients. Then one morning before you leave for the day you throw that great new recipe in and come back after work and it is overcooked or bland and looks nothing like the picture… Frustrating, isn’t it? Most likely you have got one or more of a couple issues going on.
Too Hot for Too Long
The truth of the matter is a lot of our slow cookers cook hotter than some recipes intend for them too. And, over-cooked food tends to break down, lose flavor or dry out and just turn into a hot mess.
- cRockin’ Tip: If you are constantly finding your food to be over done and/or dry, try cooking your recipe on low, but using the high cooking times. A lot of times that will fix the issue and your chicken will go from chalky to perfectly juicy and delicious.
Some slow cookers will have a hot spot or tend to cook faster on one side or area than another. This can cause troubles when cooking up more casserole-like dishes (like our yummy “baked” mac and cheese or corn casserole) or baked goods (like our caramel pecan rolls, french toast casserole or crustless pumpkin pie) especially.
- cRockin’ Tip: If you tend to have this issue, you can help alleviate it some by rotating your crock inside your slow cooker a few times throughout cooking just like you would rotate your cookies in an oven that cooks hotter on one side.
Does this Recipe Make My Crock Look Big?
Slow cookers cook best when at least 2/3 full. Given that a lot of slow cookers come in 6 quart models and even some upwards of 8 quart models, that delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe or ooey gooey Caramel Dip may not even fill it half way up. Much like baking a cake in a huge pan, your food will cook a lot hotter and faster if the crock isn’t at least half full.
- cRockin’ Tip: If you find that your slow cooker isn’t at least half way full, you will need to reduce your cooking time and/or use a bowl or casserole dish inside your slow cooker to make your cooking vessel smaller. I use this medium bowl every single time I make our favorite overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. The trick is to place your bowl or dish in your slow cooker and pour water in you crock until it reaches about halfway up the outside of the bowl or dish you have placed inside. Don’t add too much or the water will boil over into your food and drown the dish.
We hope this post has helped solve some of the slow cooker issues out there. In the coming weeks, we hope to share with you a little more behind the scenes cRockin’… everything from tips to our favorite slow cooker features! Stay tuned!
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