When it comes to cooking, a slow cooker is your best friend!
Whether you are having a busy day or simply don’t feel like cooking a meal, your crock pot will help you prepare a delicious meal with the least amount of effort.
Seriously, who wants to cook a meal after a stressful day of work?
The good news is, there are many other uses for your slow cooker as well!
Below are 13 slow cooker hacks that you’ll wish you knew sooner.
1.) Slow Cooker Liners
Source: Reynold’s Wrap
For some people, this hack may be well-known.
However, I only found out about slow cooker liners a month ago!
WOW, what a difference they make!
I no longer have to spend hours soaking my crock pot and scrubbing it to get the food residue off the sides.
When your meal is finished cooking, you simply remove the bag and throw it away. No scrubbing needed!
You can find these slow cooker liners at your local grocery store or online on Amazon.com.
2.) Cleaning Stubborn Residue
If your slow cooker has a hard residue along the sides, you can clean it up with some baking soda.
Fill your slow cooker to the top with water and add a few tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap.
Turn it on LOW for 4-6 hours. Then dump out the water and scrub away the residue with a little more baking soda and a scrub pad.
If you notice that your crock pot is consistently getting a white film, this is simply a build up of mineral deposits.
You can get rid of it with vinegar.
Fill your crock pot with water and add 1 cup of white vinegar and let it soak for 6-8 hours. Wash and dry like normal.
3.) Two-In-One Hack
Source: Reynolds Kitchen
This hack is perfect for get-togethers or game days!
If you are planning on making more than one dip, soup, or entrée – this tip is for you.
Key Tip: Use a few sheets of tinfoil to form a divider between each of your slow cooker dividers.
Then insert a liner on either side of the slow cooker and add the ingredients.
4.) Air Humidifier
Have you ever noticed in the winter months how the air in your house can become dry?
Your skin, lips, and nasal passes dry out – which can actually increase your changes of becoming ill.
Create your own air humidifier with your slow cooker!
Simply fill it with warm water and turn it on high. Remember to keep it far out of the reach of children!
5.) Simmering Air Freshener
You know that amazing aroma of slow cooker food that hits you when you get home from a long day of work?
You can make the same thing happen – except as a seasonal air freshener!
Which scents do you love? Cinnamon sticks, fresh lemon, apple-spice, orange and lime, etc.
Combine your favorite ingredients in your slow cooker, add water, and turn it on low. Within a few hours, you will enjoy the fresh aroma all throughout your home!
Related Article: 11 Brilliant Hacks That Will Make Your Home Smell Amazing
6.) Don’t Touch the Lid!
Did you know that every time you remove the lid from your slow cooker, you can add up to 30 minutes of cooking time to your recipe.
Unless your recipe gives clear instructions to add ingredients during the cooking process, don’t remove the lid and allow heat to escape!
If you find it necessary to remove the lid, you may want to add 20-30 minutes to the cooking time.
7.) Meal Prep Freezer Meals
Source: The Family Freezer
If you are someone who loves meal prepping ahead of time, a slow cooker is an amazing tool!
There are two methods to meal prepping with your slow cooker.
First, you can throw some ingredients into the slow cooker, allow them to fully cook, and then scoop the food into freezer bags.
Whenever you need a quick meal, you simply take the food out of the freezer and thaw it out.
Secondly, you can chop up the ingredients and combine them in a freezer bag – uncooked.
When you are ready to prepare a quick meal, you can thaw out the food and add it to the slow cooker for a quick & easy meal.
Pro Tip: You can find dozens of crock pot freezer meal ideas on Pinterest.
Related Article: 11 Weekly Meal Prep Ideas That’ll Make Your Life So Much Easier
8.) Some meats cook differently
Have you ever noticed that some meats dry out in the slow cooker, while others come out juicy and delicious?
Slow cookers work best with large, fattier types of meat.
Meats with less fat (chicken breasts) tend to dry out pretty quickly if they are not cooked with additional liquid (broth, sauce, etc).
Fattier meats, such as a while chicken or a large roast will cook much better in a crock pot – if cooked slowly at a low temperature.
9.) Trap Condensation
Source: One Good Thing
If you use your slow cooker to make baked goods, such as brownies or bread, this hack is key!
You can catch drips of condensation before they fall down onto your food by placing a paper towel or a towel under the lid of your slow cooker.
10.) Keep Your Food Warm
Even if you did not use your slow cooker to cook the food, you can still use it to keep your food warm.
Before placing food in your slow cooker, make sure to turn it on for 10-15 minutes to warm it up. You don’t want to place warm food into a cold slow cooker.
This tip is perfect if you are serving a large group of people or travelling to a destination with food that you do not want to cool down.
Before serving your meal, you can simply plug in the slow cooker and turn it onto the “Keep Warm” setting.
11.) Sear Your Meat First
Source: Anova Culinary
If you watch any cooking show, they will always mention the importance of searing your meat prior to cooking.
Searing your meat (also known as browning your meat) caramelizes the sugars and proteins in the meat, helping to maintain a much fuller and richer tasting meat.
Before placing your meat in the slow cooking, take the time to sear your meat in a fry pan. You won’t regret it!
12.) Slow Cooker Melting Hack
Source: The Yummy Life
You can also use your crock pot as a fondue pot of sorts!
Fill mason jars with chocolate chips, candy bars, fondue cheese, etc.
Fill your slow cooker halfway with water and turn it on high, uncovered.
The ingredients should start melting within 30 minutes, so you can start stirring them.
Once the ingredients have melted, you can turn the crock pot on low to maintain the consistency.
Pro Tip: Don’t put the cover on! You don’t want moisture dripping down into your food.
13.) Make Your Own Candles
Source: Bonza Aphrodite
Have you every tried your hand at making your own candles?
Just melt down some wax, add color and your favorite essential oils, stick in a wick, and let cool.
Related Article: 13 DIY Gift Ideas That Will Save You Money
If you haven’t used a slow cooker before, you absolutely need to give it a try.
It is one of the handiest tools you can have in your kitchen.
Happy slow cooking!