The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Crockpot Cooking
Here are the 10 do's and don'ts of crockpot cooking that every chef should know:
DON’T over-fill your crockpot.
Do your best to keep the crockpot about 2/3 full. The contents can expand, so over-filling it can be dangerous. On the other end of the spectrum, a mostly empty crockpot can end up cooking too quickly and burning your food.
DO coat your crockpot with non-stick spray.
What could be worse than trying to clean burnt food off the sides of your crockpot? Give the bowl a quick spray and clean-up will be a breeze.
DON’T take off the lid unless instructed to.
Because steam is released when you lift a crockpot lid, you may have to increase your cooking time by up to 20 minutes each time you uncover it! For best results, keep your crockpot covered at all times.
DO brown ground meats before putting them in the crockpot.
This ensures that the meats are properly cooked. Browning them ahead of time also allows you to drain the grease, resulting in a healthier meal.
DON’T stir unless the recipe says you should.
Because food that is prepared in a crockpot cooks for hours on end, it is often very tender. Stirring these ingredients could result in a mushy mess. Also, as we mentioned before, lifting the lid lets steam escape and changes the temperature of the pot.
DO put veggies on the bottom.
Because vegetables require more time to cook than meats do, you should place them at the bottom of the crockpot for quicker cooking.
DON’T preheat your crockpot.
Putting cold ingredients into a preheated crockpot can result in a cracked crockpot, which is both messy and dangerous.
DO use caution when taking off the lid.
Hot steam and condensation can burn your face or hands, so don’t look into the crockpot as you open it. Also, be careful not to angle the lid while you’re moving it; condensation could drip off and scald you.
DON’T add frozen foods to your crockpot.
Similar to the preheated crockpot conundrum, freezing temperatures mixed with hot temperatures don’t always get along. On top of that, combining frozen foods with non-frozen ones will result in an unevenly cooked meal.
DO wait to add dairy products until the end of the cooking process.
To prevent dairy products (milk, cream, etc.) from curdling, save them until the end. Most recipes will include this information in the directions, but if you’re working without a recipe, keep it in mind.
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