Skip cleaning your slow cooker with this trick

After making a melty mess with your famous mac and cheese recipe, you’ve probably told yourself, “The insert just needs to soak overnight.” But thanks to a simple hack, you no longer have to donate counter space for an entire day before you can scrub everything clean.

(Need to free up more counter space? Here’s how.)

The Best Slow-Cooker Recipes
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The Best Slow-Cooker Recipes

Are you all about your slow-cooker? If not, you should be! Slow-cooked meals are not only affordable but will also cut your energy bill. Check out our favorite slow-cooker recipes in this slideshow!

Slow-Cooker Stout & Kitchen Stew

Chicken thighs can take plenty of cooking without getting tough or drying out, which makes them perfect for the slow cooker. Here we braise them in Guinness stout along with hearty vegetables, with just the right amount of bacon for added savoriness.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooker Stout & Kitchen Stew

Slow-Cooked Beans

By cooking your own dried beans, you save money, reduce sodium and get better flavor along with, surprisingly, more vitamins and minerals. If you can't use the whole batch, freeze surplus cooked beans for later use in soups, salads and dips.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooked Beans

French Country Beef Stew

In France, this classic stew made with beef, vegetables and red wine would be known as a daube. Slow-cooking the surprisingly lean beef shanks melts and softens the connective tissue, producing succulent results. If you prefer, use nonalcoholic wine.

Get the Recipe: French Country Beef Stew

Sweet & Sour Beef-Cabbage Soup

This wholesome sweet-and-sour soup combines beef, caraway seeds, sweet paprika and cabbage—ingredients that star in a number of German dishes. For an even heartier soup, add diced cooked potatoes along with the cabbage. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

Get the Recipe: Sweet & Sour Beef-Cabbage Soup

Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili

Earthy mushrooms, tomatillos and a subtle layering of spices combine to give this full-bodied vegetarian chili a deep complexity of flavor. Note that dried beans need to be soaked before going into the slow cooker. Once that's done, the chili can gently bubble for hours.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili

Slow-Cooked Beef and Wine Ragu

Simmering slowly brings out great flavors, and this meaty garlic-and-wine-infused dish proves it.

Get the Recipe: Slow-Cooked Beef and Wine Ragu

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew

This brothy stew is boldly flavored with a blend of characteristic Middle Eastern spices and finished with fresh spinach and fiber-rich chickpeas. Economical lamb shoulder tenderizes beautifully when leisurely cooked in a slow cooker. If you can't find boneless shoulder stew meat, do not substitute more-expensive lamb leg. It tends to dry out during slow cooking. Instead, purchase lamb shoulder chops and debone them. Serve over bulgur and accompany with a salad.

Get the Recipe: Middle Eastern Lamb Stew

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

Using the slow cooker is a great way to infuse flavor into this easy-to-make meat makes a great topping for spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese

Baked Onion Soup with a Gruyère Cheese Bread Crust

You can’t beat a good bowl of onion soup, but to get that beautiful sweetness from the onions they need long slow cooking.

Get the Recipe: Baked Onion Soup with a Gruyère Cheese Bread Crust

Slow Cooker Melt-In-Your-Mouth Short Ribs

The name says it all...short ribs become exceedingly tender when slow-cooked in a flavorful combination of French onion soup, ale, garlic, brown sugar and seasonings.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Melt-In-Your-Mouth Short Ribs

Steel-Cut Oats Slow Cooker

Slow cooked steel-oats are the most simplistic, delectable breakfast treat.

Get the Recipe: Steel-Cut Oats Slow Cooker


Behold, the slow cooker liner.

These not-so-ordinary plastic bags could ultimately change the way you cook forever. By using slow cooker liners, you’ll turn cleanup into a 5-second process. Picture this: After your next party, you’re just about ready to head up to bed when you turn to see a slow cooker with the remnants of that delicious cheddar bacon dip. Well, boo. Instead of bringing out the big guns to scrape off every bit of dried cheese, you can simply remove the liner, throw it away, and hit the sack. That’s it!

But isn’t cooking with plastic bad for you?

You’re in the clear: The Food and Drug Administration has approved slow cooker liners, they’re BPA-free, and they don’t affect the flavor of your food. Made of heavy-duty plastic, these liners are designed to withstand the hot temperatures and long cook times of your slow cooker, so please don’t reach for any plastic bag!

How much do they cost?

There’s one downside: These liners can be quite expensive. Each liner will set you back about $1! But we recommend trying before you scoff. After all, how much do you value your time? This may be the time-saving game changer you’ve waiting for.

Will you try one?

If you’re willing to pony up the cash for this cooking hack, you’ll be able to make no-hassle dishes morning, noon and night. So we say, try a liner and spend less time over the sink scrubbing. After all, the whole point of using your slow cooker is to save time and relax!


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