Crockpot Tips And Tricks And Hacks

This collection of Crockpot Tips, Tricks, and Hacks will help you make the most of your Slow Cooker. Whether you’re a Crockpot newbie or a seasoned pro, these are the handy hints that will make cooking up delectable dishes in your Crockpot even easier!

This post includes some of my most popular Slow Cooker Crockpot recipes.

a close up of a crock pot

Guys, there’s just something extra special and amazing about a Slow Cooker. Being able to prepare a meal hours ahead of time is so incredibly helpful. Not to mention, the amazing smells and aromatics that will fill your house as it’s cooking away. 

Crockpots and Slow Cookers are sooooooooo versatile. You can make something for every meal of the day in them. Quite often you don’t even need to use other dishes, pots or pans to make this meal, making cleaning up a breeze. Speaking of clean up: Tip #10 is a total a game changer

Slow Cookers are especially great during the holidays, and they’re perfect for fall weather meals like soups and casseroles. But folks, you can absolutely use them all year long. You can take regular meals and turn them into extremely flavorful meals, as slow cooking brings out true, deep flavors of your meats, spices, and other foods. 

close up view of a red slow cooker

Helpful Crockpot Tools

These are the super handy tools that I use to make whipping up delicious dishes in the slow cooker even easier:

  • list goes here

24 Great Crockpot Tips, Tricks and Hacks

Tip 1: Don’t Overfill Your Crockpot

When adding your ingredients to your Slow Cooker, you shouldn’t fill it higher than about ⅔ of the insert size. Filling it any higher doesn’t allow the crockpot to get hot enough to evenly and properly cook your recipe safely. 

Tip 2: Pay Attention To Crockpot Size In Recipe

Make sure you’re paying attention to your Slow Cooker size and what they recommend in the recipe. This is especially important when you’re doubling or tripling a recipe. And you’ll want to take note of the size of your crockpot – do you have a 3-4 quart, 5-6 quart, or 7-10 quart size? 

Recipe recommendation: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter.

Tip 3: Don’t Open The Crockpot Lid

This is one of the top mistakes people make when using the Slow Cooker. I know it can be tempting to taste test as your recipe cooks, or maybe you just want to get a nice strong whiff of the delicious recipe smell up close. But do your best to leave the lid on while it cooks or bakes. 

Every time you open the lid, it drops the cooking temperature drastically. You want to ensure that your meal is safe to eat and won’t require extra time to cook. It can take up to 30 minutes to get back to its original temperature, so leave that lid alone! 

BTW, this is a good time to inspect your lid to make sure it’s still in tip-top shape. When your lid is on the cooker, it shouldn’t have any gaps or ways that steam can escape. 

Recipe Recommendation: Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes with Bacon.

the cooked cheesy potatoes inside the crock pot

Bonus Pro Tip: If you notice your lid isn’t in the best shape and still need to use the cooker, wrap some aluminum foil over the top to keep in as much steam as you can before placing the lid on. 

Tip 4: Enhance Flavors By Browning Meat First 

If you’re looking to add tons of flavor to your dish, brown the meat before adding it with the rest of your ingredients to the Crockpot. Trust me, if you have the time, browning your meat really does brings out the flavor, so it’s well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Recipe Recommendation: Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

chicken in a slow cooker for making slow cooker whole chicken

Tip 5: Think Outside The Main Course

Slow Cooker recipes go beyond just soups, stews, chili, and main dishes. You can make something for every meal of the day in your Crockpot. Did you know you can even bake with it too? Desserts like this decadent Crockpot Chocolate Lava Cake or luscious Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread Pudding are so delicious and so easy prepare you’ll never want to use your oven again.

the finished crockpot lava cake inside the slow cooker with a scoop of ice cream on top and a serving spoon stuck inside

Want to start your day off right? These super easy and totally delicious Crockpot Breakfast recipes are exactly what you need!

Top-down view of Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with one slice removed and served on a white plate

Tip 6: Use Your Crockpot When Entertaining

Put that slow cooker to use when you’re hosting a party. Use it to make delicious appetizers like these classic Grape Jelly Meatballs, or try whipping up a batch of crowd-pleasing Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate or Orange Mulled Wine. With a Crockpot (or 2!) in your arsenal, entertaining will be a breeze!

top down view of crock pot hot chocolate inside the crockpot

Tip 7: Free Up Space On Your Stove Or Oven

Whilst cooking for a crowd can take up the whole kitchen quickly and the oven can make the kitchen warmer than necessary, that’s another reason cooking with a slow cooker is so awesome. 

Use your Crockpot to keep things warm too. Prepare a favorite side dish, like these classic and creamy Mashed Potatoes in the slow cooker, and then keep it on the warm setting until you’re ready to serve.   

slow cooker mashed potatoes inside the slow cooker with a wooden spoon stuck inside.

Tip 8: Use A Kitchen Towel Under The Crockpot Lid To Catch Condensation

Using a towel underneath the lid isn’t very important with some recipes, like soups or stews. But folks when you’re making slow cooker bread dough in your slow cooker, removing any extra condensation is helpful. 

Tip 9: Use A Timer

Guys, I love that Crockpot recipes can be cooking away while I’m getting other things done, but sometimes the timing doesn’t always work out just how I want it to. 

Or maybe you work outside the home and need dinner to start cooking while you’re still at work. Don’t worry, I have just the fix for you. Grab your Christmas lights timer and set it up. Now you can easily have dinner starting while you’re still working, out running errands or transporting the kiddos here and there. 

Some makes and models of slow cookers have a programmable timer, so check your own model before grabbing that holiday timer. And many of the latest models are even WiFi-enabled and have an app you can use to turn on or off your slow cooker remotely. 

Recipe Recommendation: Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas.

Tip 10: Keep Your Cooker Clean

Use some white vinegar, baking soda, and hot water to scrub and clean off any white film that may be hanging on to the side of your insert. You’ll be amazed at what a simple, natural cleaning solution can do for your favorite cooking gadget. 

one black crockpot on a countertop

Tip 11: Use Liners And Foil

To avoid those white film stains I just mentioned and to make quick work of clean up when cooking or baking, using crockpot liners makes cleanup soooooo quick and easy. You can even use aluminum foil in a quick pinch or a heavy dose of non-stick cooking spray. 

Great Pro Tip: I’ve seen people use a liner with foil to divide a slow cooker in order to serve two different dips at once. 

Tip 12: Cook Overnight

Save time and energy and cook some meals overnight. This is especially helpful when making dishes that don’t require stirring or adding ingredients at specific times.

Recipe Recommendation: Spiced Crockpot Pinto Beans.

the finished pinto beans being stirred inside the crock pot

Tip 13: Don’t Store Food In Your Crockpot

If you have leftovers make sure to store them in a separate airtight container. Don’t store your food in your crockpot inside the refrigerator. You have to make sure the insert has cooled down completely before chilling it.  

Tip 14: Break Tip #3 

If you mess up on your soup or stew or need your recipe to reduce down. Peeps, just go ahead and take that lid off if you need to fix that soup or stew that has too much liquid. 

Recipe Recommendation: Crockpot Creamy Tomato Soup.

a bowl of vegan tomato soup on a table with a spoon

Tip 15: Don’t Be Afraid To Use Those Freezer Meals

Folks, you know I’m all about those freezer meals. Prep everything ahead, pop it in the freezer for later when you’re in need. Then when you’re ready to make that meal, grab it out of the freezer and either thaw and dump or just dump it straight in the slow cooker depending on the recipe. 

Recipe Recommendation: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

close up of crockpot chicken enchilada casserole

Tip 16: Watch Your Liquids

While you do need liquids for cooking many things in the slow cooker, keep in mind that it’s designed to pull the liquid out of bigger, juicier cuts of meat as it cooks. So, don’t over do the liquids.

Guys, this is the best time to use those cheaper cuts of meat that have nice amounts of fat in them. Go ahead and use what you have stocked up on when it’s on sale. 

Tip 17: Use Flour To Thicken

Sometimes you work really hard on a meal and it starts to look like it might not turn out right. Well, in the case of sauces and some soups and stews, if you see it’s turning out a little more thin or watery than you prefer, you can toss in some flour to thicken it up a bit. 

Recipe Recommendation: Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce.

top down view of crockpot spaghetti sauce inside the slow cooker

Tip 18: Wait Until Last Minute 

Yeap, guys, I said wait until the last minute for something about a slow cooker recipe. I don’t mean to prepare your meal or start it. I mean, wait to add some items. Add your dairy towards the end if you can and wait to add extra add in spices until the end. 

The recipes that take a few hours to cook will have had nice time to bring out and enhance those true flavors from your herbs and spices, so wait to test out the flavoring before adding more in.

Tip 19: Start With Room Temperature Meat

Guys, make sure your meat is room temperature when adding it to the cooker. Using meat that has come to room temperature is more flexible, relaxed and will release the flavors from the fats and juices more evenly. This helps bring out more flavor to your meal. 

Recipe Recommendation: Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs.

Tip 20: Know Your Slow Cooker

Keep in mind that every make and model of Crockpot can cook differently, at different temperatures and require different times. Make sure to become good friends with your user manual and adjust recipes as necessary. 

Bonus Pro Tip: Keep ingredients in mind when choosing between cooking a recipe on HIGH for shorter time versus LOW for longer time. Some ingredients will hold up longer and some will become mushy quite quickly on HIGH setting. Again, the perfect time to check your manual if it has any tips for your specific model. 

Tip 21: Give Your Slow Cooker Room

Make sure your cooker has enough room around all sides. The cooker itself can get quite warm and emit some heat in the process. Just to be safe, make sure you have at least 6 inches of cleared space surrounding the crockpot. Make sure it’s not too close to walls, appliances or other kitchen gadgets. 

Recipe Recommendation: Spicy Lentil Curry.

slow cooker lentil curry in a slow cooker

Tip 22: Properly Clean Your Cooker

Every time you use your cooker, make sure you clean the insert. Even if you use the liners, make sure you clean and wipe down the insert in case any liquids or anything else has seeped through.  Just follow the easy steps below:

How To Clean Your Crockpot

  • Fill your insert with hot water, add a few drops of dish soap, and scrub. 
  • If you have some cooked-on food, put the insert in the crockpot and turn it on for about an hour. 
  • Toss the soapy water and scrub the insert. Everything should come off quite easily. 
  • And remember: do not ever submerge the heating base in water!

Recipe Recommendation: Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Pasta.

the completed slow cooker pasta Tuscan Chicken pasta inside the slow cooker

Tip 23: Register Your New Crockpot

Make sure to register your Slow Cooker as soon as you get it. Whether you choose to register online or use the mail-in card, registering means that you can stay informed on product updates or any recall notices. And should you encounter a problem with your Crockpot within one year of your purchase, your guarantee can easily be validated.

a red slow cooker on a countertop

Even More Slow Cooker Recipes

Thank you for reading my Crockpot Tips And Tricks And Hacks post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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