If you’re a regular user of your slow-cooker, then you’ll know just how handy these appliances are. There’s nothing like throwing some ingredients into the bowl and flicking the ‘ON’ switch of a morning then coming home to a delicious meal a few hours later. To get the best out of your machine avoid making these common mistakes.

1. Don’t add raw meat to the slow cooker

To get the best flavour from your cut of meat it’s best to brown it first. Meat that’s been quickly seared on the stovetop has a delicious depth of flavour that you just can’t achieve in the crockpot alone.

2. Don’t use expensive prime cuts of meat

While there aren’t hard and fast rules when it comes to what you put in your slow cooker it’s an appliance designed to get the most out of cheaper, tougher cuts of meat. Long, slow cooking only dries out leaner varieties leaving them rubbery and tasteless. Leave the chicken breast and eye fillet to the oven or stove and try thigh meat and cuts like beef and pork shoulder, leg and cheek.

3. Don’t open the lid during cooking

It’s tempting, we know, but opening the lid breaks the seal and allows precious heat to escape. Every time you remove the lid, the slow cooker loses heat and it can take a while to build back up again.

4. Don’t add too much wine

While some recipes call for alcohol to be added, it’s important to check just how much they recommend. Unlike cooking on the stovetop, wine and other liquors don’t boil down and reduce in a slow cooker which can mean a harsh, ‘alcoholic’ flavour. An easy way to use wine and other alcohol in slow cooking is by using it to deglaze the pan you sear the meat in.

5. Don’t add dairy products too soon

Adding things like milk, sour cream, cream or yoghurt at the beginning of cooking will cause them to curdle. Wait until the very end of cooking to add anything creamy.

What’s your favourite slow cooker recipe? Let us know in the comments below.


Article created in partnership with Over60