Modern CrockPot Slow Cooking

I get a lot of questions about using crockpots in "modern times."

I think sometimes people have the misguided notion that slow cookers are passe or are only good for making pot roast or minestrone soup.

Sure -- you can make an AWESOME pot roast -- but I promise that you can do so much more. 

How Much Liquid Do I Need?

I'd also like to take away the notion that you need to drown your meat in liquid in order to get a moist, juicy roast or chicken.

it's just not true.
The "old school" way of crockpotting advised that you add 1/2 cup of liquid to every pound of meat.

This just isn't necessary. If you do this you will simply end up with soggy, water-logged meat -- and noone wants that! :-)

The new pots on the market seal well (these are my personal recommendations)  and it really just isn't necessary to add tons of liquid. In fact, I love making a dry-rub roast and often use the slow cooker to braise my meat -- 

there is simply no need to add tons of cooking liquid to your pot. When your slow cooker is in use, be sure that there is beaded up condensation on the lid -- if this is the case then it will essentially "rain" back down into the pot which will keep everything moist and juicy.

I go into this in great detail in the free online class I did, that you can access, here.

My Food All Tastes the Same!!

I hear this sometimes from readers or from people on the radio. Mostly they are remembering meals they were served as children in the seventies.

I think this idea came from using Cream of Something Soup recipes along with a packet of Onion Soup Mix.

When slow cookers first hit the market Cambells and Lipton came out with lots of recipes that were centered around --- You Guessed It!!

Lipton Onion Soup mix and Cambell's Cream of Mushroom (or chicken, etc!) Soup. 

This is why the food from the "past" all tasted the same. I PROMISE you that you can get different flavors from the crockpot.

In fact, you can have MANY different flavors -- one of my favorite ways is to make "Take Out Fake Out" recipes; so no matter what type of dish you are craving you can get that favorite flavor!!

I Need Help With Meal Planning!

Crockpotting and Slow Cooking forces you to meal plan. It's a wonderful feeling to know what you are going to have for dinner early in the morning when you are still highly caffeinated and coherent --

if you are NOT a morning person, I suggest assembling your food the night before for an easy morning plug-in.

It's not advised to put a freezing-cold stone pot into the heating element, so my suggestion would be to assemble the food in Ziplock Bags or in a large Tupperware bowl and then dump the food in the morning into a room temperature crockpot insert. 

If you really have trouble creating grocery lists and planning ahead in this way, I do sell slow cooker meal plans that will walk you through absolutely everything.

(PS: if you use the discount code : slowcook20  (all one word, no spaces) at check out you will get an immediate 20% savings on the bundle pack through the above link)

I've heard Bad Things About Dried Beans.

Okay. So red beans need to be brought to a rolling boil for 10 minutes on the stovetop before being added to the slow cooker to kill off any potential toxin that naturally occurs. This is a very rare potential toxin but it is a real thing.

On the internet it is referred to as "freaky red bean toxin" or "freaky kidney bean toxin" -- and while it is not a common occurrence I always recommend bringing any red beans to a full rolling boil for the 10 minutes and then draining and rinsing. 

What about Lead?

I have written about Lead, here. Long story short, don't worry about it.

What about the Instant Pot (InstaPot??)

A Slow Cooker that is DESIGNED to be a Slow Cooker works better as a Slow Cooker.

I know, I know, I know. There is a "slow cooker" feature on the Instant Pot --- but it will not work as well as a slow cooker as it does as a Pressure Cooker.

That is because it's in the shape of a cylinder (like a coffee can) and not oval like a traditional slow cooker. Slow cookers heat evenly, from the sides and the bottom, and are made to be left alone for hours upon hours.

Pressure cookers work GREAT as pressure cookers. But in my not so humble opinion, when you get too many things in one appliance they don't all work as well as you think they should.

I have also written many other articles that you might find helpful:

Don't drown your meat in liquid and other tried and true tips and tricks from slow cooking expert Stephanie ODea from

I hope this helps a bit! Happy Slow Cooking!!!


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What they say about this article

  1. Teresa Santana6/12/2017

    I cook dry beans in my slow cooker all of the time. It's the absolute best way to cook them.