The leaves are changing colors, and it’s time to celebrate fall’s kitchen mascot–the crockpot! With our safety guide and delicious fall crockpot recipes, you’ll be well on your way to a warm and cozy season.
The basics of slow cooker safety
You may have a list of ingredients ready for your next crockpot meal, but it’s important to handle your slow cooker as safely as possible to prevent household hazards. Use these tips to start your crockpot adventures on the right foot.
- Avoid unsafe food temperatures by making sure all items are thawed before putting them in the slow cooker
- Store meat and vegetables separately to avoid pre-crockpot contamination
- Add liquid to your crockpot to avoid scorching the ceramic insert or cooking your food improperly
- Serve leftovers by reheating them on the stove before keeping them warm in your slow cooker
- Use any setting higher than “warm” to cook your food thoroughly and efficiently
- To avoid scorching your slow cooker, please refer to your manual for guidelines on preheating
When to stop using your slow cooker
Every slow cooker will begin to show its age over time, so check it before use to ensure it doesn’t pose a safety hazard – especially if you notice any of these common signs of crockpot damage:
- Cracks in the ceramic insert, often caused by sharp force or sudden heat changes, could cause leaks and ruin the base
- Frayed cords, which pose a risk for electrical fire
- An inability to stay hot, as food could spoil or spend too long at unsafe temperatures
Important crockpot tips and tricks
It may take a few tries to get the best use out of your new crockpot, but getting familiar with these crockpot tips and tricks can help you use your slow cooker hassle-free for years to come.
- Slow cookers work best when they are no more than two-thirds full
- To get a good crust or finish on meat, sear or brown it in a pan before tossing it in
- Items that cook more readily, such as pasta and dairy, should go into the crockpot within the last half-hour of cooking time
- Vegetables take a while to cook, so put those on the bottom and sides of the insert to be closer to the heat
- Use a slow cooker for dishes that take at least 45 minutes to cook
Pro Tip: Keep the post-meal mess to a minimum – line your slow cooker with crockpot cooking bags instead.
Impress them all with these slow cooker recipes for a crowd
Whether you share your crockpot meals with friends, family, or both, it’s always fun to spice up your next occasion with these slow cooker recipes everyone will love!
These dishes are great for taking you to the middle of the Caribbean for dinner or to a colorful, cool fall for dessert.
- Savory: Slow Cooker Oxtail and Butter Beans by the Cooking Maniac (a hearty Caribbean beef dish)
- Sweet: Slow Cooker Apple Crisp from The Taylor House (an easy oat and apple dessert)
Now that you know the best practices for cooking with your crockpot, which one are you having tonight?