What is a slow cooker? A slow cooker is an appliance that continuously cooks food at a low, constant temperature.
It does this by trapping heat inside the pot with a lid and using electrical power to maintain the desired cooking temperature.
What makes it different from other cooking methods is that you don't have to watch or stir your food as it cooks because the heat is distributed evenly.
In this article, we'll cover the basics of how a slow cooker works, what makes them so beneficial and introduce you to some delicious recipes that take advantage of this awesome appliance while also saving yourself any stress.
What is a Slow Cooker and how does it work?
A slow cooker is a great way to save a lot of time in the kitchen.
It cooks everything from frozen to boiling for up to twenty hours. What you have to do is load up your ingredients and push down the lid which locks together with a clip that you can twist shut.
What you need to know is how high or low you need your temperature set on the dial, whether it needs 8 hours or six hours of cooking time, and what vegetables go well with it.
What is the difference between a slow cooker and crockpot?
- A slow cooker is an apparatus that cooks food at a low temperature over a long period of time. A crockpot is also an electric cooking pot, but it has a removable stoneware insert with handles and does not need to be turned off between uses.
- A slow cooker typically has a timer and can be left unattended, making it an excellent tool for cooking dinners while working or running errands. A crockpot doesn’t have a timer, but many of them come with temperature controls that will automatically switch to the "keep warm" setting when the desired cook time is reached.
- A slow cooker is typically a large pot with an insulated lid that traps some of the moisture from cooking, making food more tender and moist. A crockpot does not have an insulation feature which makes it less desirable for when you want to keep meats or vegetables in liquid form at serving time.
- A slow cooker usually should be left alone to cook, but a crockpot allows for quick preparation and hands-on cooking.
What are the benefits of slow cooking?
A slow cooker has many benefits. I’ll share reasons why you should consider especially as a busy woman.
- It helps to tenderise meat that might be tough or dry.
- It's perfect for cooking dishes like chili and soup, which need to simmer all day long
- Slow cookers are great because they make it easy to prepare meals in advance and then when you come back home all your meal will be ready to eat!
- They're also an economical way to cook since you can use less energy than with other methods
- Another best thing about a slow cooker is that it frees up your oven space for baking or roasting other dishes at the same time!
What are the disadvantages of slow cooking?
Slow cookers have some downsides too such as
- how long they take to reach high temperature rather than simply turning on an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- you might need to stir Some ingredients while they are cooking because some of the food may cook faster than others.
- If you don't use a slow cooker correctly then it can lead to your meal being overcooked or undercooked. What this means for you as well is that when using a slow cooker, recipes may need to be adjusted because of the additional cooking time.
- And slow cookers might not work as well with recipes like soups or sauces which are meant to use a more delicate heat and less liquid so it doesn't boil over in the pot.
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What should I know before buying my first slow cooker?
Before spending money on a slow cooker, there are a few things you should know.
- What kind of dish do you want to make?
- What size will work best for your meals?
- What features are the most important to you?
- What cooking time will get the results you want?
- What brands are the most popular and widely sold in your area?
How to use your slow cooker effectively?
In order to use your slow cooker effectively, you need to determine what kind of ingredients you want to cook and the cooking time desired.
- What's important is that there is enough food in the pot or dish for the slow cooker to create the right temperature and cooking time.
- You can also use your slow cooker to make meal prep much easier for you by filling it with ingredients ahead of time, then popping them in the fridge or freezer so they're ready when you need them!
- This is a great way to save money on groceries and ensure that there's always something on hand to eat if you don't have time to make anything.
- If the cooking time is longer than what your slow cooker offers, then it could be worth buying an additional appliance that can cook for a longer period of time!
- What you should also do is thaw any frozen foods before putting them into your slow cooker so that it cooks evenly throughout and all parts are cooked thoroughly.
- What's more, making sure that there is enough liquid in the pot can also affect the outcome of your food. This ensures that even if the food has been cooked for longer periods of time, it won't dry out.
- What you should also do is check on your slow cooker periodically (if you are home) to make sure that the ingredients are not sticking or burning in any way and if they need more liquid.
If you don't have one already, check out our selection below on the best slow cookers on the market today!
What are some recipes for slow cooking?
You can use a slow cooker to prepare a variety of dishes including stews, soups, beans and legumes, whole grains such as rice and quinoa.
What's more you can use your slow cooker to make desserts like cakes or breads. What this does is allow the liquids in these types of recipes to thicken into a sauce while they are cooking with little effort from you.
Final thought on What is a slow cooker
I hope this article answered any lingering questions you may have had about slow cookers. Have we missed anything?
Let us know in the comments below!
If you're looking for some delicious recipes that take advantage of a slow cooker, be sure to check out our blog post on 5 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes. Happy cooking!