10 Smart Slow Cooker Hacks You Need To Know

crockpot hacks

My small kitchen appliances get quite the workout during the summer, especially once it gets so hot that even the thought of turning on the oven and heating up the kitchen is enough to turn my stomach. In addition to my Instant Pot, and more recently, my air fryer, I’ve been getting a fair amount of use out of my slow cooker over the past few weeks too.

Since I’ve had to refresh my own memory about the dos and don’ts of slow cooker cooking, I figured that it would be a good time to put together a refresher here on the blog too! So that’s how today’s post of ten essential slow cooker hacks was born, and I know you’ll find these just as useful as I have! :-)

10 Smart Slow Cooker Hacks (+ 4 Bonus Tips)

crockpot hacks

1. Heat Two Things At Once

Use tin foil to create a divider in the center of your crockpot. Place a slow cooker liner over the top and push it down into the two cavities. Now you can use your crockpot to cook or heat up two dips or soups!

crockpot hacks

2. DIY Double Boiler

Use your slow cooker as a double boiler by placing whatever you want to heat into a glass jar, placing the jar into the slow cooker, then pouring in a few inches of warm water. This trick is great for melting chocolate, making salves, and more.

crockpot hacks

3. Prevent Condensation Drips

Catch drips of condensation before they reach your food by placing a cloth or a thick paper towel under the closed lid of your slow cooker. This is especially useful when you’re making things that will suffer from getting soggy, such as crockpot brownies or bread.

crockpot hacks

4. DIY Humidifier

Use your crockpot as a humidifier by filling it with warm water and turning it on High. Moisture will start to escape the crockpot after an hour or so and help to increase the humidity in the surrounding area. Humidifiers can be a lifesaver in the winter, as the warm, dry air from your furnace can dry out your nasal passages and increase your chances of getting sick.

crockpot hacks

5. Avoid Crockpot Catastrophes

If you’re adding cream or cheese to your crockpot recipe, add it toward the end of the cooking time to avoid any issues with curdling. Likewise, foods that are already cooked will break down quickly in your crockpot, so add cooked pasta, veggies, and beans towards to your crockpot near the end of the cooking process.

crockpot hacks

6. Erase White Residue

Despite your best cleaning efforts, the removable stone crock in your slow cooker may develop a stubborn white residue over time. You can erase the powdery mineral residue by wiping it with white vinegar. You could also try sprinkling baking soda into the crock, pouring a bit of vinegar onto it, then giving everything a good scrub with warm, soapy water.

crockpot hacks

7. Sear Your Meat

For slow cooker recipes that call for meat, you can make the finished product more flavorful by searing the meat in a hot pan before putting it in in your slow cooker. Searing meat at high temperatures creates caramelization on the surface, which will infuse your final dish with a deeper flavor than you’d be able to achieve otherwise.

crockpot hacks

8. Keep A Lid On It

Unless your recipe instructs you to stir during the cooking process, keep your hands off that lid! A lot of heat escapes from a slow cooker every time you remove the lid, and it can take up to 30 minutes to heat back up to where it was before you opened it.

crockpot hacks

9. Rescue Runny Soups & Sauces

On the other hand, if your slow cooker creation is looking a little runny, you may want to remove the lid. Removing the lid will allow some of the water to evaporate, concentrating and thickening the soup or sauce for a thicker finished product.

crockpot hacks

10. Avoid Dry Meat

Slow cookers pair best with larger, fattier cuts of meat, because the “low and slow” cooking method melts the fat an helps keep the cut moist and delicious. If you’re cooking a leaner cut, you can avoid it coming out tough and dry by choosing a large cut that’s harder to dry out. (For instance, chicken breasts will dry out pretty quickly while a whole chicken will stay very moist.)

4 Bonus Slow Cooker Tips

crockpot hacks

11. Adapt Your Favorite Recipes

With a few simple alterations, you can make many of your favorite standard recipes in your crockpot. Download my handy printable guide to slow cooker conversions at the link below.

Read More: Stovetop/Oven to Crockpot Conversion Chart

crockpot hacks

12. Clean The Interior Of The Cooker

The removable stoneware part of your crockpot is easy enough to clean in your dishwasher or by hand, but what about the actual cooker? Spills happen and food can end up crusted on to the interior of the cooker, but you can learn how to clean away those stains at the link below.

Read More: A Simple Way To Clean The Inside Of Your Slow Cooker

crockpot hacks

13. Make Something Interesting

Beyond the usual meat dishes, soups, and stews, there are all sorts of unusual things you can make using your slow cooker. Learn about 10 unusual things you can make in your crockpot, from brownies to crayons, by reading the post at the link below.

Read More: 10 Unusual Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make In Your Crockpot

crockpot hacks

14. Give Your Crockpot A Makeover

Giving your slow cooker a chalkboard finish makes it easy to label what’s inside, so you can serve the food as-is while your guests know exactly what they’re getting. It also just looks stylish! But you don’t need to go out and buy a new crockpot to cash in on this trend—learn how to give your existing crockpot a chalkboard makeover at the link below.

Read More: How To Give Your Crockpot A Fun And Functional Makeover

What are your best slow cooker hacks?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • I have some questions about the outside of my slow cooker, I have the same one you show in your article. Would it be possible to cover up some scratches on the outside with red nail polish?

  • This holiday we did a big spread of apps rather than a big meal. Splitting the crock pot in half worked out really well. I ended up cutting a piece of cardboard to fit in the middle then wrapped it in foil. I wanted the extra sturdiness and it works out well.

  • I got married in December and had a party rather than a reception (2nd time around)
    We used slow cookers to make mulled wine rather than a cold drink to come into! It went down really well

  • Hi Jillee,
    I look forward to reading your blogs every day, and can’t tell you how many I’ve adopted! Do you have a solution for getting rid of the stains on the enamel inside a dutch oven? I recently got one, and love-love-love it for soups and stews, and roasts…but the ivory-colored enamel is getting some stains on it.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Naomi

  • You have great helpful hints, Jillee, and I’ve been a daily subscriber for over 2 years and use many of your tips. However, when I used your tip for cleaning the inside of a slow cooker with ammonia, I was very upset: the lid has held up well for many cookings, but now directly against the metal instead of the crock, it melted!! Yes, it is a plastic material and now it is warped and will no longer work with my slow cooker. Thankfully I have another lid I could use and will shop my thrift stores for a replacement. Maybe consider making a note of this in your slow-cooker cleaning tip.

    • The way I read the directions, the crock pot is not on for cleaning. I assume the lid is just to keep the ammonia fumes in the crock pot so they can work.

  • I switched to Chrome from Safari and use the ad blocker, because if I did not use it, I would never visit a single blog! That said, your blog Jillee, is my favorite part of the day. I have learned so much. Thank you!

  • Is it at all possible to vet your advertisers, Jillee? Some of the auto-play video web banners kick me back up to the top of the page…and they loop, so it’s a real chore to read your entire post. And I’m really interested in this one! I have stopped visiting quite a few sites that have overly invasive ads. Would hate to leave you. (Yes, I know I can surf on Chrome with Adblocker, but I like Safari, dammit)

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