Slow Cookers: Still Hot! Article -
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Slow Cookers: Still Hot!

Tips for getting the best results, including how to convert oven and stovetop recipes for your slow cooker.

Convert Your Favorites

You can adapt many conventional recipes for the slow cooker. Any oven or stovetop recipe that has some moisture in it--whether from water, broth, wine, sauce, or canned soup--should work beautifully in your favorite appliance, just keep these things in mind:

  • Cut all liquid amounts in half when adjusting for the slow cooker.
  • The low heat setting is approximately 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and high heat is about 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). 
  • For every hour you'd cook something in the oven or on the stove, allow 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. (When in doubt, turn it on low and leave it all day or overnight.)

Meat Matters

While you can cook just about any kind of meat in the slow cooker, some are better candidates than others. Chicken on the bone and cheaper, tougher cuts of beef, pork, and lamb turn succulent and fork-tender under the gentle, moist heat of the slow cooker.

Hint: for maximum flavor and a more appetizing color in the finished product, remove skin from poultry and trim visible fat from all meats, then coat meat lightly in flour and brown in a hot skillet before adding to slow cooker.

The Finishing Touches

As your dish nears the end of its cooking time, it's time to add the finishing touches.

  • If there seems to be too much liquid, remove the lid and turn the pot up to high, allowing some of the water to cook out.
  • If you'd like to thicken or enrich the sauce, now is the time to stir in cream, sour cream, shredded cheese, or a slurry of cornstarch and cool liquid.
  • Brighten up the flavors with salt and pepper, lemon juice, or vinegar, and maybe a handful of fresh chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro.

More Slow cooker recipe collections

Jul. 6, 2009 2:53 pm
My slow-cookers meals come out dry by the time I come home to them. I am worried that my slow-cooker isn't sealed enough to keep the moisture in. Any tips on how to enhance the seal?
Jul. 24, 2009 6:24 pm
I have used aluminum foil to seal the top then place the lid on top of the foil. This works well esp if you have a large peice of meat (turkey, roast etc. The moisture/fluid stays in with the meat just as if it were in the oven or even better.
Janene C. 
Jul. 25, 2009 7:03 pm
I'm a bit embarrassed to ask this, but can I cook a frozen piece of a frozen roast or corned beef? maybe put it on low and cook it over night and on to the next morning? Thanks! Janene
Jul. 25, 2009 11:56 pm
Janene - I've used a crock pot for 37 years and tonight I'm putting a chuck roast in, frozen, to cook on low for about 16 hours. I've never cooked from a frozen state but will post tomorrow night and let you know how the experiment comes out!
Jul. 27, 2009 7:16 am
Janene, I cooked 4 frozen chicken breast this weekend in some buffalo wing sauce in the slow cooker. It turned out wonderful.
Aug. 19, 2009 9:51 pm
dry slow cooker. Add water to your recipies. Also are you cooking on high or low?
Sep. 14, 2009 9:26 am
I cook frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker all the time. I think I heard somewhere that you shouldn't cook the frozen chicken on low from the start because of food safety concerns. So just to be safe, I put the slow cooker on high for the first hour or two, then I turn it down to low. This way the chicken gets up to temperature faster. I don't know if this is entirely accurate, but it makes me feel safer! =) I make shredded chicken all the time to use in recipes and sandwiches. I throw in some frozen chicken and some chicken broth, add some poultry seasoning if I want to, and have perfect shredded chicken every time. And if you're into making chicken soups, the juices leftover are a perfect base.
Sep. 21, 2009 2:41 pm
I have trouble with the meat turn out dry even though there are a lot of juice left in the pot. Could it be the choice of meat?
Sep. 28, 2009 4:16 pm
I must be slow cooker , lol. Everything I put in turns out dry. I've talked to a few people who say I use too much liquids and it just boils whatever I'm cooking, is that right? I would love to start using my slow cooker but need help! :)
Oct. 9, 2009 5:40 am
I wonder if it is what you are cooking. Potatoes and carrots have water in them so when I am cooking a dish that includes these veggies, I use less liquid. Yesterday I cooked a 2 pound pork roast with 5 potatoes and 3/4 bag of mini carrots and an onion. I only added 3/4 cup of water and it was great. Since I got it on late I cooked it on high for about 4 hours and it was very good.
Oct. 9, 2009 5:43 am
About that post I just made about the pork roast. I cooked it on high 4 hours and then continued cooking it on low for 4 hours.
Oct. 21, 2009 5:41 am
I've been told to NEVER cook frozen chicken in the slow cooker so I thaw it in the microwave-just a little..too much and it is rubbery..
Oct. 25, 2009 4:47 pm
I cook everthing in my slow cooker- I use the old style West Bend with the non stick.They are square. I mustly everything that goes in it is frozen
Oct. 28, 2009 7:17 pm
i normally do not have trouble with things drying out. i love slow cooking. to thoses having trouble trying to figure out the balance i would suggest using recipes until you figure out the variables that affect the moisture. adding dry ingredients soak up moisture. meat and veggies release it. and you always need some to start with so it doesn't burn before it produces it. good luck. slow cooking is the best! saves you from take out and drive thru.
Oct. 28, 2009 7:21 pm
for thoses of you wanting to cook frozen meat. I suggest no. thaw it in the fridge before hand. if a meat is not heated fast enough. such as the outside being cooked and the inside being raw for hours. it can make you sick. it allows bacteria to grow during the process. same with dairy. always add cream and milk near the end.
Oct. 29, 2009 8:15 am
Dry meals in the slow cooker? I cook in the slow cooker 2-3 nights a week and I never have dry meals... I put them in before I leave for work on low and sometimes they cook as long as 9 hours... literally the pork chops fall off the bone they are so tender. I suggest you purchase the cookbook FIX IT AND FORGET IT... I have made over 50 items out of the cookbook and they all turn out wonderful... also, perhaps your slow cooker is too large (they should be at least 1/3 to 1/2 full when cooking in them to maintain the heat and get the best results... Again, all tips are listed in that cookbook
prof chris cooke 
Nov. 3, 2009 4:14 pm
The problem may be a BAD slow cooker, with heat so high it overcooks everything and toughens the meat. I always line the bottom with vegetables (eg onion slices) so meat does not contact the ceramic. Sear meat in a pan, and use the low heat setting. If the cooker BOILS, it is too hot.
Nov. 4, 2009 9:37 am
I also cover my slow cooker with foil and then put the lid on. I have a newer programmable slow cooker and I find that it cooks a little hotter than my older one. So, I think every slow cooker is different. If your meals come out dry, it could be that your slow cooker cooks hotter than others and you might need to adjust the amount of time you're cooking your meals.
Nov. 5, 2009 4:27 am
I'm a little new to cooking and I want to try the chicken flautas recipe but I don't know how to make shredded chicken (I know, how embarassing, right?) I'm thinking cook in a slow cooker with water or broth? Any tips?
Nov. 8, 2009 3:21 am
Jollynik ask any question pertaining to cooking on this website and I guarantee you the wonderful cooks here will come to your rescue. To answer your question, just boil your chicken, remove skin & bones, if it is not skinless boneless and then pull apart cooked chicken, it will shred easily. Another tip:save broth you cooked the chicken in to use in other recipes. Even cooking your veggies in the broth will add flavor.
Nov. 8, 2009 5:15 am
i never cook thawed meat in crock pot ever. and have never had a problem usualy put frozen meat in around 7 am on low and when i return home in evening it is done juicy and tender. never gotten sick and learned that if meat is frozen only put enough liquid to come halfway up meat and the juices of the meat do not get watered down
Nov. 8, 2009 12:36 pm
I am cooking a 4 lb. chuck roast in my slow cooker with mushroom soup and dry onion soup. Won't the potatoes and carrots be overcooked and mushy if I put them it at the beginning with the roast?
Nov. 10, 2009 5:28 pm
can i replace gravy in a receipe instead of tomatos or tomato sauce?
Nov. 27, 2009 3:40 am
Dec. 5, 2009 6:33 pm
I have found cooking ox tails in the crock pot is a wonderful thing they come out so tender
Dec. 6, 2009 11:08 am
I want to cook dry beans in the slow cooker but don't want to soak overnight. Is there a recipe for this? Would love to put on in the morning and come home to great pot of beans!
Dec. 6, 2009 7:24 pm
I cook dry beans in my crockpot all the time and I never soak them. I like to add just beef broth or cubes with my water but my husband adds ham hock when he cooks and they always turn out great. Cook for at least 8 hours and black-eyes cook faster than pintos or great northern.
Dec. 10, 2009 11:29 am
I started using my slow cooker and the first meal came out wonderful, chicken soup, something easy, NOW my family looks forward to coming into the house and checking the slow cooker and its so much easier after a long days work!
Dec. 10, 2009 8:57 pm
if your meat comes out tasting dry (with liquid still left in the pot) it is the cut of meat, not your cooker! the cheaper the better for slow cookers... chicken thighs work MUCH better than breasts, stew beef is better than leaner cuts, etc. it doesn't matter how much liquid you use - chicken breasts will always come out dry if you cook them long enough.
Dec. 11, 2009 8:19 pm
I had the most fabulous meal the other night, my boyfriend said it was "delicious". I was totally winging it. I put a frozen chuck roast in the crock pot before I went to bed, on the "keep warm" setting. I put it on a bed of sliced onions. (I have no idea if this is safe germ-wise, but nobody got sick). In the morning, I put in a half of a bag of baby carrots and several "B" size red potatoes, cut in half. Then I added 2 beef boullion cubes and 2 cups of water. I also added a can of cream of mushroom soup and a packet of Italian Herb and Tomato Recipe Secrets soup mix. I turned it up to "low" and left it on while I was at work. When I got home, the house smelled amazing, and the meal was perfect. The meat couldn't have been more tender. Just an FYI.
Jennifer Turner 
Dec. 16, 2009 9:04 pm
I am wondering about cooking on low versus high -- I usually make pork barbecue on low for about 8 hours, and need to make it quicker tomorrow -- can I put the shoulder in on high for four hours? Will it come out as tender?
Jan. 2, 2010 10:15 pm
DKoppy - Your recipe sounds awesome but PLEASE don't put a frozen roast on warm overnight as you really can get sick from the bacteria overgrowth. Just do what you did but stick the crock in the fridge overnight, that will allow the roast to thaw enough - add your other ingredients in the morning, go to work and come home to a great smell and a wonderful, bacteria free meal.
Jan. 10, 2010 10:38 am
I'm just getting back into slow cooking and purchased a smaller one and was wondering how to adjust recipes from larger cookers to a smaller one? Any recommendations?
Jan. 12, 2010 8:08 pm
A new slow cooker that I just received for Christmas cooks way too hot. Yesterday I cooked a partially frozen pot roast with potatoes and carrots. I set it on high for 2 hours, then low for another 5 hours and my roast was cooked to shreds, the vegetables were mush.. the carrots were so done they were wrinkling! I could see while it was cooking that it just boiled and boiled so I knew I had a problem. I also noticed that it had hot spots. I returned that slow cooker today and will be looking for another. I have always used the smaller size, the original old crock pot brand, which I've had for many years. My new one was the big 6-1/2 qt size from a department store. So the moral of the story is the brand of cooker you use can really make a big difference in the results you achieve.
hi-desert Kath 
Jan. 16, 2010 6:04 pm
I think that older slow cookers cook the best. The newer ones cook much hotter. It probably has to do with manufacturers being afraid of the liability if anyone kills themselves with bacteria so they just turned up the thermostat. I have two crockpots and one West Bend slow cooker. My newest crockpot cooks like a nuclear reactor, it boils on warm! The other two are perfect. So if you want to enjoy slow cooking as it should be, head to your nearest garage sale and pick up one of the old tried and true pots.
Jan. 17, 2010 4:43 pm
I have just read all your comments on slow cookers. I just bought one and love it. Iam a 55 yesr old man an single. should have bought one yesrs ago.
Jan. 22, 2010 6:50 am
As a full-time working, and single mom of two, my crock pot is my best friend!! I love it, anything i want comes out perfect with minimal effort. Your meats will be tender, some just need to cook longer than others to get them to "fall apart" and if its dry, try not cooking it for so long!!
Jan. 22, 2010 6:51 am
Also!!! coat your meats in a little bit of flour and brown in a skillet for a few minutes prior to the slow cooker, this will help your meats retain there natural juices!
Jan. 23, 2010 12:40 pm
Like some others, my slow cooker cooks too hot. On low, my cooker takes half the recommended time. This means I can't leave it cooking all day for 8-10 hours. Six is probably tops before meat starts to get too dry. I have a Proctor-Silex, the kind with the removable ceramic pot. Can anyone recommend a brand of slow cooker that actually cooks slowly? Thanks.
Jan. 24, 2010 6:58 pm
I had that same problem with my Proctor-Silex. It got way too hot on low and almost started a fire in my kitchen. I had the larger oval one only 2 years old. I agree, the older ones were better, and now I am without, unless someone can tell me too, which kind is better and don't cook so hot. Back to the oven I guess.
Jan. 26, 2010 2:04 am
Everything I've ever cooked in a slow cooker comes out tasting like... well, like it's been cooked in a slow cooker. I mean, it has a distinct flavor in EVERY darn dish that screams SLOW COOKER. Not a good flavor, either. My hubby asked me never to use one again, but some of my friends manage to make incredibly flavorful meats and stews, yet none have that icky taste. Any ideas what the problem could be, and better yet, the solution? Thanks!!
Jan. 27, 2010 5:52 pm
I alway use broth or beer when recipes call for water in my slowcooker and they come out so good my boyfriend and I love it, and it saves us so much money buying the cheaper cuts of meat
Feb. 6, 2010 5:46 am
I hated my newer crockpots for cooking so hot so I bought a new one. The Hamilton Beach with the three crocks is AWESOME! I have 2, 4, 6 quart crocks and it cooks SLOW like the old pots did. Now I have whatever size crock I need and don't worry when it's on all day.
Feb. 6, 2010 4:40 pm
I had an old Hamilton Beach crockpot that was 40 years old. I hated giving it up but it was shot. So, like mharlan I bought the Hamilton Beach with the 3 crocks. Well, she must have gotten a good one because I have tried three sets and still everything boils in it no matter what the setting. Has anyone bought a new one that doesn't do this? Appreciate your input on this problem as it seems to be typical with many of the name brands.
Feb. 11, 2010 11:04 am
I'm new to this site but I'd like to make a suggestion to dried out food in crockpot. It's possible the slowcooker is too large. That was my problem when I first started using a cooker.
Feb. 14, 2010 6:21 pm
I have to agree with what a lot of people have said here about the new slow cookers. I bought a new one a few years ago, and I find that it cooks much faster that my old one. I had an old WestBend, and the only reason I wanted a new one was because that one was teflon coated, and the the finish was coming off. It was the type that you just set on the hot surface, but it worked great! I could leave something cooking for 8 or 9 hours and I had no problem with things drying out, or overcooking. Then I bought the Rival slowcooker, and I thought that would be so much better because it had the removable stoneware? bowl. But, I find it cooks much faster. On my old one I could set it at medium all day and things always turned out great. Now with the Rival, I keep it on low, and things still can get dried out. I also work, so sometimes it has to get left on for at least 9 hours. Unfortunately, that can be too long sometimes. I'm wondering if I can just line my old one with foil and continue to
Feb. 21, 2010 5:27 am
For those of you that want to cook LESS HOURS so that meat doesn't dry out in the newer cookers, NOTE: This only works if you use FROZEN meat. Plug cooker into a TIMER that is plugged directly to the outlet. Set to start later (11am?) and to stop 6 hours later (just about the time you get home). Also, make sure that your crock pot is FULL. If you are only filling half full of food - it will come out dry because it has too much hot air around the food. Don't forget to turn the crockpot on low!
Mar. 2, 2010 1:54 pm
Judy, Maybe using the slow cooker bags would help? They are like plastic wrap baggies that fit in the crock pot. They make clean up a breeze.
Mar. 16, 2010 3:50 pm
I have a scenario that could comfort you about your overcooked meat. This actually happened to me morning before work, I tossed in a lovely rump roast with all the fixings, put the lid on and ran out the door. I thought about it all day, couldn't wait to come home to it. End of the day, I'm coming in the door and think, "that's weird, I thought it would smell great in here." I went over to the crock pot to see how it looked and get a fragrant wiff of everything, and to my horror, there sat my roast, RAW. In my hurry to get out the door, I hadn't turned it on! Had to just throw it all out. Imagine how I felt when I did the same thing (chicken breasts this time) a couple of years later. The dial was already turned to Low when I plugged it in and I didn't notice, so, thinking I was turning it on, I was actually turning it OFF!! See, it could be worse than a little dry meat, you could have to toss the whole raw mess in the trash when you get home!!
Mar. 18, 2010 4:49 pm
Can someone tell me how long to cook frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot. Don't want to over cook and don't want to under cook. 6 hours on low enough time?
Mar. 20, 2010 7:07 am
I use my slow cooker at least twice a week - I don't know what I would do without it! I have a Rival I bought about 5 years ago, and have never had a problem with overcooking food. Well, once I did, but it was my own fault... Jyl Steinback put out a slow cooker cookbook a few years back that I love, has lots of tips on substitutions, etc. If you are just getting into slow cooking, I highly recommend her book if you can find a copy. ALSO - Reynolds slow cooker liners are THE greatest thing ever! They fit all size cookers, and when you are done just toss it in the garbage! No messy crock, all I have to wash is the lid. As the liner folds over the top edges of the crock, I think this also helps a little with forming the seal around the lid. Maybe not, just a theory... If recipe says 4-5 hours, I assume 4 hours and then check it, but a timer is a great idea if you cannot be there to monitor how things are going. I also write down recipes on a card and then add notes after cooking, like was
Mar. 30, 2010 9:13 am
Hi all! A recipe I am trying out today calls for my roast to be in the slow cooker on "MEDIUM"...which would be great if my cooker had a "medium" setting...I am torn between 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low... any suggestions? (other than buying a new slow cooker! lol)
Apr. 6, 2010 1:50 am
Is it possible to cook whole chicken without adding any liquid? Thanks for advice.
Apr. 10, 2010 5:05 pm
a lot of the recipes here say to "rub meat with seasonings place in slow cooker and cover" does this mean just with the lid, with no liquid? I thought you always had to put liquid in the cooker. thanks!
Apr. 17, 2010 9:44 am
I cook frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker all the time, on low, and they turn out fine and no one has ever gotten ill from it. I cook any meat from frozen actually, and it always comes out great. I don't think it's accurate that you shouldn't cook from frozen.
Apr. 20, 2010 9:33 am
Jennifer, I have been working with food for almost 20 years, and you definately should not cook frozen meat at a low temp. It takes four hours for bacteria to become harmful. When you cook that chicken low, and frozen, there is no way for it to come up to a safe temp in that amount of time. I learned this the hard way, and have the h-pylori bacteria to deal with for the rest of my life as a result. Be very careful!
Apr. 21, 2010 10:49 am
I have cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker with no water and it comes out great. The whole chicken has enough of it's own moisture when it gets hot. I cook a 4lb. or so chicken on high for 5 hrs. and it comes out great.
Dawn R 
May 6, 2010 1:09 pm
I love my Hamilton Beach Stay n Go 6 1/2 qt slow cooker. It does cook hotter than the old ones but not as bad as some.
May 19, 2010 3:45 pm
I have been using a crock pot for over 30 years. My 1st one was an original Rival Crock-Pot, round, avocado green, and was difficult to clean because the ceramic liner did not come out. I still have my Rival Slow Cooker from the 70's and I cook beef stew and roast in it because it is basically a rectangle pot on an electric burner. I purchased a new Rival Crock-Pot about 5 years ago when they came out with the 5 1/2 quart, programmable models. I love it because after the cooking time has expired, it automatically switches to "keep warm" which prevents overcooking....something I experienced several times over the years when I got hung up at work and didn't get home in a timely manner. I have given the programable Rival Crock-Pots to several friends and family members in the past 5 years and the only complaint I have received is that my niece wants a second one for Christmas this year. Rival developed the crock-pot all those years ago and they are still the standard. I would
May 23, 2010 6:33 am
You are so right the old Rival Crockpots are the best! I still use the little cookbook they put in with it again and again when I make certain things. EXCELLENT!
Cooking Again 
May 27, 2010 6:54 pm
The slow cooker recipes on this site do not list the size of the cooker. Is there a rule of thumb to select the proper size cooker? Maybe serves 4-6 = 3.5 QT and serves 8-10 = 6 QT cooker. Any suggestions?
Jun. 10, 2010 4:23 pm
I also use frozen meats in my crockpot, but used to thaw quickly in the microwave, esp chicken. Although I never got sick, I will go back to thawing the meats! Thanks!
Jun. 13, 2010 8:42 pm
I learned a lot reading all of these posts! I think my crock pot is too large and cooks too hot. I think I need a smaller one since it in only my husband and me at home now. I also appreciated the tips of books to buy.....oh yes; my next one will be a Rival(:
sue dodd 
Jun. 20, 2010 10:30 am
I have worked for over 40 years and used slow cookers and crock pots as long as they have been making them. I cooked every thing from beans to ribs, roasts, chicken and they are always ready when I would get home from work. I am retired now but I still use my slow cookers and crock pots. I still think they are the greatest invention for the working women.
Jun. 22, 2010 10:50 am
I put Press' n seal. It works great.
Jul. 20, 2010 8:18 am
Another long-time crockpot cooker here (since the 70s!--where has the time gone???). Dry meat is definitely from using too large a pot. I've cooked more expensive cuts of meat, and never had them turn out dry. Never. You need a crockpot that a recipe will fill up at least 2/3 the pot, if not 3/4. Another key to keeping meat tender is to sear/brown the outside before putting it in the crockpot. This seals in the juices. Never cook frozen meat in the pot, especially not on low! You may not get sick this time, or even the next, but you will, eventually. I'd die without my crockpot, and I cried the day my-long-haul Rival from the 80s literally fell apart, cracking in two. :( I bought the Hamilton-Beach programmable. It runs hot, but I'm learning to live with its quirks.
Aug. 17, 2010 8:20 pm
Great tips from other posters on searing your meat first, filling the crock at the very least 2/3 full, and always cooking on low to keep meat from drying out during cooking. I got my first Crock Pot in 1975 as a Christmas present from my wonderful mother-in-law. It was burnt orange, had a non-removable (horrible to clean) crock and was positively one of the best presents I've ever received! Since 1975, I've just purchased my 7th Crock Pot. I've worn out 2, broke the crock of one and gave one to my oldest daughter. I now have three different sizes ranging from a 3 quart to a 6 quart. I should have just bit the bullet and bought the Hamilton Beach with interchangeable crocks, but my other two were working fine - they take up a whole pantry shelf, though. My family understands that we would have gone hungry (with hubbie and me both working and/or going to school long hours) or had to eat dinner at 9:00 pm if it hadn't have been for the Crock Pot. I'm still working, and even with the ki
Aug. 31, 2010 7:14 am
My problem with crackpot cooking is that I (also, as one other post asked this question which hasn't been answered here) detect a distinctive 'crackpot' flavor to anything I put in it. The only exception is when I make chicken cacciatore. I love the idea of crackpot cooking. Am I doing something wrong?
Sep. 2, 2010 10:45 am
Cooking frozen. I think what many of you are missing about frozen cooking is not that it will make you seriously sick, but that it can. Slow cooking frozen meat has the potential to cause you serious harm. Cooking thawed meat all but negates that potential risk. To gamble or not? It is your health.
Sep. 6, 2010 9:26 am
I love my slow cooker, and need to learn to use it more often. But I want to comment on the meat issue. I know of someone who lets their roast sit at room temperature for 12 hours before it cooks, and that is a fresh roast, not frozen. I've had it many many times, and none of us has ever gotten sick. (And its is soooo good!!!) Is it because its a fresh roast or do you think we're just lucky? I'm not going to quit eating it that way, but I'm just curious.
Sep. 9, 2010 7:24 am
Jahlers, I think you were just lucky. Having said that...I am one of the people guilty of throwing frozen meat in my crock a matter of fact, just threw in some frozen chicken legs with BBQ sauce. I prob won't do it again though...why take chances? Food poisoning is NOT pleasant.
Sep. 11, 2010 4:26 pm
I have a strange problem when I cook my pot roast with potatoes and carrots. The last three times I cooked in on low for 8 hours and the potatoes and carrots were hard, like they hadn't been cooked. I put them on the bottom of the crockpot and the roast on top. I've always done it this way and never had a problem. Is something wrong with my slow cooker or am I doing it wrong?
Sep. 14, 2010 12:57 pm
Is there a way to speed up the cooking process while still making a decent meal? A lot of my chicken recipes take 4-5 hrs on low but sometimes I dont get to think about dinner until the babies go down for their afternoon naps (3pm). I love all my recipes though, we miss them!
Sep. 25, 2010 3:25 am
I am LOL at Mary Ann's May 31st comments about 'crackpot' cooking. Wondering if Mary Ann is 'cracked' or 'crocked'. :)
Sep. 26, 2010 7:29 pm
Somebody's been handing out a line of bull about cooking from frozen. If anything its safer to cook from frozen then defrosting first. Your food will go from 41 to 140 (the danger zone) in the exact same amount of time either way, whether it starts at 36 or 26. (simple physics) The only danger is not remembering to allow the extra time for cooking and serving it undercooked. Note many modern Slow cookers (like my beloved kitchen-aid) have an automatic setting that will cook on high for two hours to bring food to a safe temp quicker and then switch to low.
Sep. 26, 2010 7:39 pm
@ Rebecca My only guess would be is that your crock pot is not heating as well as it once did resulting in it taking longer to heat up. Thus after 8 hours your only getting the equivalent of 7 or so hours of cooking. I would replace it, as if it's getting to temp slower the food is in the danger zone longer.
Oct. 4, 2010 8:42 am
I always cook my chuck roast frozen, straight from the freezer to the crock pot. It comes out perfect every time! No need to defrost and it's easier and less messy to handle. The finished roast is succulent and well done!
Oct. 4, 2010 8:56 am
PS no need to cook a frozen roast extra time. 4 hours high or 8 hours slow, cooks it just fine!
Oct. 5, 2010 6:16 am
Thanks for the info! It's nice to finally find out why my ribs come out so nicely when I have them elsewhere, and mine are so dry. I think I need to lower the temp and be sure the pot is sealed properly. I've always loved my crock pot, but I've had dryness issues lately.
Oct. 6, 2010 8:26 am
I have 3, An original model 3300-2 Stoneware Rival, amodel 3753 Rival/ Corning Ware and a West Bend 4 Qt. slow cooker with teflon lineing. Have been useing them for years for everything. Haven't gotten a bad meal yet from any of them although I do tend to favor the West Bend.
Oct. 6, 2010 8:28 am
I have 3, An original model 3300-2 Stoneware Rival, amodel 3753 Rival/ Corning Ware and a West Bend 4 Qt. slow cooker with teflon lineing. Have been useing them for years for everything. Haven't gotten a bad meal yet from any of them although I do tend to favor the West Bend.
Oct. 7, 2010 6:08 pm
I have the Hamilton Beach with the three crocks and I have never cooked anything in either pot that turned out bad. I love it.Am getting one for my daughter and son-in-law. they both cook.Joy to them
Oct. 10, 2010 7:13 am
In my crockpots if I add fluid to a roast it gets dry. I always cook my beef roast with onions, carrot and whole potatoes plus garlic and Natures Seasoning. I never add fluid. They come out fine every time. I get my roast from WholeFoods they have a better flavor than the local grocery stor meat. Sometimes I use the slow cooker liners they don't seem to make any difference in flavor or cooking time.
Oct. 12, 2010 11:34 am
Unless it is a really cheap cut of meat, I never add liquid to my crockpot when cooking meat. I also cook frozen meat 99% of the time. The trick is to use the low setting only. Used high once and the pot cracked. Luckily, manufacturer replaced it and it was the fellow there that said LOW only when using frozen food.
Shirley Eileen 
Nov. 16, 2010 10:07 am
If I put a frozen 3 lb roast in my crockpot, I put the temperature on high for 2 to 4 hours (depending when I have to leave the house), then turn it to low. I put one can of coke, 1 pkg. of powdered soup--(beef and onion or mushroom)and one can of broth To be safe, I always use a meat thermometer to be sure it has cooked to the correct temperature. Is this safe?
Nov. 24, 2010 2:56 am
has anyone tried a breakfast casserole in the crock b4? I was thinking about trying it for Thanksgiving day... thoughts, comments?
Dec. 16, 2010 9:43 am
I have a digital slow-cooker, and even on "warm", it will boil liquids! I think the seal is less the culprit than the thermostat. Try observing how hot your cooker is actually getting; you may need to replace your cooker; the company that made mine replaced it for free as they said the electronics can be damaged in shipment to the store.
Dec. 31, 2010 10:13 am
My slow cooker boils on low and food is dry. Is it defective? This happens with the 5 or 6 recipes I have tried. Always the same results.
Jan. 1, 2011 10:43 am
Can Spagetti be cooked in the Crock-Pot with the Sauce?
Jan. 12, 2011 12:44 pm
I sear a chuck roast, seasoned with a salt/pepper, put in crock pot, add 1 envelope of fajita seasoning, 1 small can of tomato sauce, cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the beef and add back to the sauce mixture and use for burritos or taco salad..
Feb. 4, 2011 7:54 pm
Using liners can be expensive. I spray the crock with Pam and the clean-up is so simple and quite effective. Spraying all cooking pots saves time and money.
Feb. 22, 2011 12:35 pm
I have used crock pots and slow cookers some over the years but now not working outside the home, I am starting to look for recipes and using slow cooker more! I also had bought these slow cooker liners which I used yesterday and using today. Anyone tried these? It makes for easier cleaning....... I enjoyed reading lots of comments and tips! thanks
Feb. 22, 2011 12:37 pm
Thanks BelleD! Also, I have read alot of people cooking meats from frozen. Do you think Pork chops okay to do that with?
Feb. 28, 2011 11:27 pm
I put i can of cambells golden mumushroom soup in my rival crockpot,a beef roast any cut, anther can of golden soup cut up potatoes,and carrots on top one more can of soup,lil water,not much cover cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8, makes its own gravy, u have meat and veggies done at once!!!! so good!!!!!!
Feb. 28, 2011 11:29 pm
p.s. i love the good ol rival crockpot!!!!!
Mar. 15, 2011 10:49 am
Two best cookbooks ever: 101 things to do with a slow cooker and anything written by Anna Marie Pye.
Mar. 15, 2011 10:50 am
Oops - re cookbooks - author should be Donna Marie Pye (and she has 3 cookbooks out). Her white chicken chili is fantastic.
Mar. 16, 2011 7:36 pm
I've found that chilis,soups,spaghetti sauces, and the likes turn out GREAT in my crockpot. But, I have found when cooking roast-type cuts of meats most all of the meat's flavor is in the liquid; Leaving the meat tasteless(but very tender). Searing the meat doesn't seem to make any difference. Any suggestion?
Mar. 28, 2011 10:36 am
I am on my second West Bend slow cooker and I love it. When your meat is dry that means you are using to much water. I can put a pork roast on Saturday night and in the morning put my vegies in. By the time I get home from church my meal is done. I use about 2 cups of water for a nice size roast. I season with garlic, salt and pepper. I sometimes shred the pork and add my own home made BBQ sauce. My hubby loves the left overs for sandwhiches.
Apr. 4, 2011 9:20 pm
I have read in a slow-cooker cookbook that if you want to cook a frozen cut of meat, you add hot liquid. I've done this several times with roasts and chicken, and it comes out great every time. I LOVE my Slow-cooker!!
Apr. 23, 2011 8:40 am
I bought a roasted chicken at Costco last night and want to take it to a pot luck, can i just warm it up, low or high for how long?
May 28, 2011 7:59 am
loved reading all the posts on crockpot-or "crackpot" cooking, as one poster wrote!! (very funny.) found so many helpful posts ranging from best brand(s) of crocks/slow cookers to tips on turning out a perfect meal every time. thanks guys. i learned a lot. ready to buy a crockpot and try my hand at slow cooking. it is such an inexpensive (b/c of cheaper cuts of meat), convenient and worry-free way of cooking. no wonder it's been around for so long!!
Aug. 15, 2011 6:43 am
I bought a brevia slow cooker. Cheaper than any other brand. It cooks absolutely wonderful. I put my meals in the a.m. and come home to perfection every time..We had and old rival(small version) and had to upgrade due to family growing. I've had no problems. I have friends that did and they got the same one i have and it is wonderful. So there are three recommendations to it. Plus if i forget to thaw my meat the night before i do put it in the slow cooker and have for years with no problems. Have a good day all.
Sep. 17, 2011 8:10 am
I make the best chicken noodle soup .I throw a frozen whole chicken in at night(make sure you know your chicken does not have paper inside for liver and neck) then fill up the crock pot to within one inch you will use all this broth for your soup then the next morning turn it off completely after cooling slightly debone chicken then return it to the crock pot and turn it back on high then add 3 cans of cream of chicken soup and let boil until you are almost ready for your meal about 1-11/2 hours then add my no egg yolk noodles and make sure they say dumplings on the bag it is a easy awesome meal .That being said I do cook meat while frozen always have and it is perfect .
Sep. 27, 2011 11:04 am
Sometimes I get "drier" meats when I leave in the slow cooker too long, for example; a recipe that says 6 hours and I'm gone for work and by the time I get home it has been 10 hours. My Solution is to plug the slow cooker into a "light timer" (for turning lights etc. on and off when not home) and set the timer for the time I want my slow cooker to start. I just get the pot ready the night before, keep it in the fridge, then put it out when I leave for work. My slow cooker meals are always tender, juicy, and taste excellent!
Oct. 9, 2011 1:19 pm
I suggest you take a look at the USDA's slow cooker food safety page: They advise never to cook meat from a frozen state for safety reasons. Why take a chance? I remember years ago after we had our Thanksgiving turkey at mid-day, we'd put the carcass with meat still on it in a cool 60 degrees) back room, because there was never enough space in the refrigerator. Then at dinner time, we'd make sandwiches out of it. Nobody ever got sick, but now we know better!
Oct. 14, 2011 5:31 pm
I have made short ribs and beef stew in my slow cooker, and they have come out bitter and inedible. What is going on??? I followed recipes and have had bad luck lately. Any ideas?
Oct. 21, 2011 9:23 am
I put in a roast this morning but the crock pot was too small to fit the carrots and small red potatoes that I have planned on cooking with it. Is there a fast way to cook them when I get home that will go well with the roast?
Nov. 7, 2011 3:06 am
do i need to parboil vegetables before going in to the slow cook. Have just started to use one again and years ago remember the veg ie potatoes, carrots etc., were always hard.
Dec. 3, 2011 11:06 am
A friend had an older slow cooker, so I went out and bought a new Hamilton Beach Stay or Go cooker. I've tried everything - searing, cheap cuts of meat, veggies, some liquid, more liquid, cooking on warm for 14 hours, and cooking on low for six hours - but still, the roast comes out dry and overcooked or the veggies aren't done. Not sure what else to do. Any suggestions (other than purchasing an older slow cooker at a garage sale)?
Dec. 13, 2011 3:00 pm
this is what I have.

I love my nesco's you can adjust the heat to slow low heat or use it as an oven. I can cook a nice sunday chicken in it and many a roast with carrots celery onion and potatoes. My last nesco lasted near twenty years and so far this one is even better and on three years. if I had the money at the time I would have gotten is one.
Dec. 29, 2011 10:20 pm
Any suggestions for my dilemma? I'm single, cooking for myself only. Just bought a Crockpot. Then I looked at the instructions and it says to always fill at least half full. Since this one is seven quarts, I'm now wondering what to do. I was so sure I would be using it that I threw away the box and cannot return, but it is sitting unused now. Do the leftovers from a slow cooker taste good later on? If I do not fill it halfway, can recipes be adjusted to make sure food comes out good? Thanks for your help.
Jan. 10, 2012 6:27 pm
Hi dguerr Have you thought about using receipes that freeze well? That way you can cook the full receipe and freeze the extra in meal size portions for later. Then you will have a stash of homemade freezer meals for the days you don't feel like cooking.
Jan. 28, 2012 12:23 pm
This may be a ridiculous but, can I stir the crockpot and if so when?
Feb. 6, 2012 12:14 pm
Hi I have a fairly old Proctor Silex crock pot and it get used every week several times. yesterday was a cheaper roast beef. I started cooking it on low from a half-frozen state the night before and took the meat out, added vegetables the next day and put meat on top. My book for it told to add at least 3 tablespoons of water no matter what I was cooking. It has worked just fine. It gets hot in about 2 hours then I leave it on low for the rest of the time...generally 4-5 hours. I got a new smaller Crock Pot brand for Christmas, which gets really hot and boils like crazy on warm...not sure I even like it...
Feb. 11, 2012 7:46 am
How to fix a too-hot slow cooker: I found this tip on Crock Pot Recipe Exchange, a really good site. My slow cooker was drying everything out, so I tried to potatoes on the bottom trick, reducing time, etc. Nothing worked. The company says (Ham Beach) that the slow cooker will reach 200 degrees no matter what the setting. Just the time it takes to get there will differ. So how to fix this? Line just the bottom of the crock with tin foil, then cover that with a disposable bag. Fantastic and works like a charm. Now my slow cooker actually cooks slowly. Good luck!
Feb. 13, 2012 3:42 pm
To keep a beef roast from drying out and to help tenderize it, just dump in a jar of brown gravy. Of course it will thin out and become a broth but it is delicious.
Mar. 13, 2012 5:58 pm
I just learned that our Crockpot,Inc crock pot cooks to 209F, the same temperature at low and at high settings. The only difference is the amount of time it takes to get to that temp. That means the cooking is not taking place at a constant temp. I wouldn't have bought it if I'd known that.
Mar. 26, 2012 5:53 pm
I recently started using a 6.5 quart slow cooker instead of a 5 quart and since then IV noticed that my food is taking longer to cook. A roast that is normally done in 8 hours is taking 10 or more. Why is that?
May 12, 2012 8:13 am
Turn down slow cooker seal with tinfoil . Put lid back on...
Jun. 2, 2012 8:01 pm
I have a 6qt slow cooker. There r no temp settings - they r automatic, 1-6 hrs (high) 7-10 hrs (low) Everything I have cooked in it was overcooked except once when I was home to keep an eye on it. I used slow cooker recipes and followed them exactly. I bought a slow cooker so I could have my dinner ready when I got home from work.
Jul. 6, 2012 12:37 pm
Can i cook a store brought already seasoned frozen turkey breast in the slow cooker? Any suggestions
Aug. 7, 2012 1:28 am
I used my slow cooker for the first time today. When I put all my ingredients in, it barely reached 1/3 of the way up the side. The instructions said the food / liquid needs to be at least 1/2 way up the side. I ended up adding more stock to make up for it but I suspect my food will be watery now. It's been on for about 6 hours now and hasn't bubbled / simmered much (only on the sides). I have a 5.5 litre slow cooker but am only cooking for two. Is the food cooking or is the level of the food too low to reach the heating element? I don't know if my meat is still raw! Should I take the lid off and evaporate some of the liquid?
Sep. 1, 2012 6:15 pm
I am one of those that still use the old Hamilton Beach slow cookers, the one with the separate base, I have had it over 30 years, the base cracked so I bought another set at the thrift store, so now I have one base but two pots,I love it, but don't use it enough, but I will.
Oct. 1, 2012 10:19 am
After reading all these tips, I am anxious to use my slow cooker, but will to use a cooker bag as my crockpot is large and there are only two of us now, but I am anxious to try it again. Thanks for all the great tips.
Nov. 9, 2012 7:57 pm
I have the same problem that many others have--that being meat that ends up too dry. This is especially true with beef stew meat where I add carrots, onions, celery, cubed potatoes and to provide a bit of moisture-canned tomatoes with the juice. I've varied the time of cooking [6 hours to 12 hours], settings [high, low, or both], fresh vs canned veggies, and a different crockpot. I always end up with the meet being dried out so I've kind of given up on it which is too bad because otherwise it tastes fine. I wonder how it could turn out doing this on the stove top instead? Maybe that way it wouldn't be too dry. If that doesn't work I'll give it up unless some of you have suggestions for me? Thanks!
Nov. 9, 2012 8:02 pm
Hmm, I'm not sure how to find this post again to see more tips. Since the original post were suggestions, not a recipe, I don't know how to save it.
Nov. 9, 2012 9:24 pm
Try putting chicken thighs into a slow cooker and covering with salsa. Comes out quite good! Spaghetti sauce works too.
Nov. 9, 2012 11:22 pm
DeniseA: You can save it to your recipe box as a link. Go to your recipe box and up by My Recipe list click "Options > save a weblink."
Nov. 10, 2012 8:31 am
I used my old slow cooker for years with wonderful results. Now I have a new oval cooker. Why is it the new ones cook hotter than the good old ones? With it on low, it should not be bubbling on the sides. When I cook turkey breast, I slide tin foil or a couple slices of bacon down the sides where the meat touches the sides. That way they don't overlook or dry out. That trick works with most any meat. I also use very little liquid.
Nov. 10, 2012 10:45 am
Before you sear a roast for slow cooking, season the flour you dip the meat into. Make sure the seared roast is brown and not gray. I put the vegetables on the bottom, mix in a dash of Kitchen Bouquet, and 6 or so boullion cubes. Add the seared meat, add water to bring the liquid halfway up the meat. Cook on 6 hours, high. Flip the meat at 3 hours. Slice it at 4 hours and is ready to eat at 5 hours. The flour is usually enough to thicken the gravy. Very easy, very tasty, and the leftovers are the best part.
Nov. 10, 2012 10:06 pm
I have cooked both frozen roast and frozen chicken in my slow cooker and they came out perfect. I love my slow cooker!
Nov. 11, 2012 6:56 am
I have found that chili and sauerkraut with pork are best in my slowcooker.Brown the meat,add that, and all other ingredients as you would do on the stove cook for 4-6 hrs on low.I also always do pot roast in cooker,tastes best.
Kathleen Miles 
Dec. 22, 2012 3:19 pm
I am always cooking frozen food in my crock. I just stuck a whole frozen solid turkey last week. It took about 12 hours, but it was beautiful! I added a few cups of water. I used the meat for sandwiches. Then a few days later I put the carcas back in with water and the stock from earlier and made the most amazing turkey soup. I can't live without my slow cooker. I make tons of beans too!
Jan. 12, 2013 5:09 am
I understand there have been recent changes in the slow cooker industry. The newer cookers must achieve a higher temp for health purposes. It seems now that both high and low temp settings still go to a maximum temperature although setting to low takes longer to get there.
Jan. 12, 2013 5:10 am
Also to avoid dryness, I always cook from frozen.
Jan. 12, 2013 10:33 am
wow, all you folks are making me hungry......I too luv my crockpot!
Richard Davis 
Jan. 26, 2013 10:37 am
I wrote to Desjardin, the parent company of Crockpot brand slow cookers, about too-high cooking temperatures in their newer Crockpots, and after several exchanges, got an answer that explains the problem. Desjardin, in response to several lawsuits over bacterial contamination of Crockpot-cooked meals, decided to quietly raise the cooking temperature for all models such that they all produce temperatures above the boiling point (>212°F)whether they're set to "Low" or "High". Bacterial contamination IS a potential problem in slow cookers, but the proper way to address this problem would have been to inform consumers on technique (fresh, well-rinsed ingredients, don't open the cover for the first few hours of cooking, and a few other precautions). Instead, they just raised the cooking temps for "Low" and "High" without informing anybody. This has the effect, of course, of rendering the whole body of slow-cooking recipes useless, since cooking at temperatures above the boiling point co
Mar. 5, 2013 7:51 pm
Is there a crockpot that will program for an hour on high and then switch to low? I bought a programmable one thinking it would, but it only does one or the other. It is hard to switch it when you work outside the home.
Mar. 6, 2013 4:10 am
If your slow cooker is not at least 2/3 full your food will be overdone and dried out - mine actually will boil in there if it isn't full enough. Hope this helps - I was having a terrible time before I found this out and even BURNED a meal in there!
Mar. 6, 2013 4:13 am
My sister's very old slow cooker definitely has a nicer slower cooking than my newer one.
Mar. 6, 2013 4:29 am
I always cook from frozen too but just on low heat (did on high once and cracked it). I very seldom do anything over 8 hrs and for any kind of meat I don't add any liquid. I always have great drippings for gravy. I only wish my cooker wasn't digital because I can't use a timer on it. I'm away from home 11 hours each day - far too long to use the slow cooker. I've come home to spare rib soup!!!
Mar. 6, 2013 6:21 am
it's all about dead animals and fish and birds.What about we vegies?
Mar. 6, 2013 7:42 am
I only recommend the slow cooker for meats that you would cook a long time on the stove. I don't like chicken breasts or turkey, or lean pork cuts slow cooked, they don't need the advantages of the slow cooker. The longer they cook, the more their juice oozes out, meaning you have a lot of fluid but dry meat. Chicken thighs, pork shoulder roasts, chuck roasts...these work great.
Mar. 6, 2013 8:03 am
Recently my roasts come out tasteless. After a few hours the sauce taste great but by the time the meat is tender the flavor is gone.I like to use spices,broth and wine. The is bland and sauce is lacking taste. Does all the moisture that forms on the lid enter the pot? I'm thinking I use too much liquid then the moisture from the lid waters the sauce down. MY thought is to cover the lid with foil to help with all the moisture.
Mar. 6, 2013 10:38 am
I now have 8 crocks in 4 sizes. Four at home and duplicates in a camper where we spend several months of the year. My latest additions are a 1-1/2 qt - perfect for two people. We particularly love it for baked potatoes. No more heating up the camper or house. No need to pierce, oil or anything but scrub and throw them in the pot (One or up to as many as will fit). When I know I'll be busy and can't spend time watching that I don't over-cook or burn boiled potatoes or carrots, etc.,I just put them in my baby crock in the aternoon, cover them with water and turn them on high. When ready to eat I throw together a small salad and fry a quick-cooking meat or fish. No more mushy or burned veggies.
Oct. 13, 2013 10:52 am
I also noticed the higher temp and boiling on low in my new crock pot. Just a personal preference, but any manufactured plastic or aluminum in foil doesn't sound attractive to put into my body. I guess I'll look for the Rival brand at a Thrift store for a true slower cooker. Maybe the new ones are made from thermostats set too high, or like someone said after exchanging hers, they get damaged in shipping? But all of them? Loved reading all the comments.
Dec. 24, 2013 8:20 pm
The reason meat dries out in a slow cooker, even if you have enough liquid, is because of over cooking. Also cooking frozen meat in a slow cooker is okay!! Ive been doing it for years and have never had any issues with it!
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