7 Tips for Making Amazing Meals in a Slow Cooker

You'll never look at your slow cooker the same way again after reading The Great American Slow Cooker Book

Slow Cooker

From breakfast to soups, mains to grains, vegetables to desserts, a slow cooker can do it all.

Yet while Millions of people are turning to slow cookers for their weeknight meals (more people in America own a slow cooker than own a coffee maker.), it’s often difficult to find recipes that match their exact machine. Adapting recipes meant for a different-size cooker doesn’t work–getting the right level of spice in your Vietnamese soup or keeping pulled pork tender requires having ingredients in the right proportion. But now, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have decoded slow cookers, and each of their recipes includes ingredient proportions for 2-3 quart, 4-5 quart, and 6-8 quart machines, guaranteeing a perfect fit no matter what machine you own. Each recipe is labeled for its level of difficulty and nutritional value, and they cover every kind of dish imaginable: delicious breakfast oatmeals, slow-braised meats, succulent vegetables, sweet jams and savory sauces, decadent desserts. This is the slow cooker book to end them all. With over 500 recipes, The Great American Slow Cooker Book will change the way you think about using a slow cooker.

Check out these seven tips everyone should know to use a slow cooker the right way:

Top Seven Tips for Slow Cookers

1. Lift the lid as little as possible. Modern slow cookers restabilize the temperature more quickly than old models, but peeking is still discouraged unless you see a problem.

2. Stir only when the recipe asks you to. The less action, the better.

3. Don’t overfill the cooker. Half to ­two-­thirds full is best, although some soups can fill it up more without dinging their success.

4. Thaw frozen ingredients. Use frozen or even partially thawed ingredients only when specifically requested by the recipe.

5. When in doubt, overseason but undersalt. Slow cookers eat the flavors of herbs but amplify the taste of salt.

6. Treat the cooker gently. To keep ceramic inserts from cracking because of abrupt temperature changes, place a kitchen towel under an insert before setting it on a cold, granite counter.

7. Clean the cooker thoroughly between uses. Don’t use steel wool. We fill ours with water, set it aside to soak, and then wipe it out before putting the canister in the dishwasher. Read the instructions for your model to see if it’s ­dishwasher-­safe.

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