Six Ways To Screw Up A Crock Pot Recipe

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Six Ways To Screw Up A Crock Pot Recipe
See Gallery
Six Ways To Screw Up A Crock Pot Recipe

Don't make these mistakes with the crock pot.

Image Credit: Courtesy of All-Clad

Use The Leanest Meat You Can Find

Lean meat cooked for a long time—no matter what the temperature—gets tough and stringy. Big hunks of fatty meat like short ribs and pork shoulder work best in a crock pot. The fat will keep the meat moist, and the slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue that makes those types of cuts tough. So with a slow cooker, fatty meat = good.

Image Credit: Courtesy of All-Clad

Throw Your Meat In The Pot Raw

Everyone wants a crock-pot recipe where you just toss everything in the pot, then magically have an amazing dinner eight hours later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Always brown your meat on the stove first— it adds a layer of caramelized flavor you can’t get otherwise.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Don't Add Anything With Low Notes Or Sweetness

A low note is a flavor that adds a depth and richness to a dish—like bacon, browned onions, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce—and they’re integral to any good crock-pot recipe. As are sweet ingredients like brown sugar and tomato paste. Because most flavors break down and become one, those types of strong flavors make a great base for a sauce.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Add Bright Notes, Crunchy Vegetables And Dairy At The Very Beginning

Bright notes are fresh flavors like acid and herbs. They’ll get lost in the mix (and your herbs will turn brown and limp, ew), so it’s better to add those ingredients last. If you want some kind of crunchy vegetable in your dish, it’s also best to add it toward the end to avoid mushy veggies. And dairy? It will curdle, which looks terrible. Stir in any dairy at the very last moment.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Leave The Skin On The Chicken

Do you like rubbery, chewy, gelatinous chicken skin? Then take it off before throwing your bird into the crock pot. Do leave in the bones, though—they’ll help the meat stay tender. And chicken is the magic meat that doesn’t need browning before going into the pot, mostly because it would be cooked too much after a long stint in the slow cooker.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Cook Something That Needs To Hold Its Structure

Macaroni and cheese? Lasagna? Sure, there are slow-cooker recipes for them out there, but you definitely shouldn’t attempt to make them. More often than not, pasta (and other things that should hold their shape) becomes a mushy mess. Just don’t do it. Make something like chili instead if you really want to make an easy slow-cooker recipe.

Image Credit: Getty Images


We've said it before, and we'll say it again: it's now slow-cooked food season. While we usually tend toward our Dutch ovens for things like chili, braised chicken, and pulled pork, we totally understand the "set it and forget it" appeal of a plugged-in slow cooker. But people often take that mentality too literally and screw up what could be a deliciously low-and-slow-cooked meal. We asked senior food editor Dawn Perry how to make the absolute worst crock pot dish ever—i.e., how to avoid making mistakes and instead produce tender, delicious meat and absolutely no mushy vegetables.

Check out the slideshow above to avoid making these basic crock pot mistakes.

5 Ways to Use Sriracha
7 Most Common French Toast Mistakes
25 Quick and Easy School Lunches to Pack for Your Kids
10 Snacks You Thought Were Healthy But Really Aren't
The Best NEW Restaurants in America
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

More from Kitchen Daily:
How To Avoid Resorting To Takeout
6 Essential Tips For Meal Planning With Busy Kids
Is Pasta Worse For You Than White Bread

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading

Search Recipes