Tips to Keep Slowcooker Mess Under Control

Slowcooker Tips to Cook By (Keep the Mess Down and More)

Slowcookers, Crock-pots
Slowcookers, Crock-pots. Photo © Mifflin

Can a Slowcooker or Crockpot be filled right to the top?

Is there a recommended fill-level for slowcookers and crockpots? You would think so, but that's not the case. This is where you have to adjust the food level basically through trial and error or keep a safe 1.5 inch clearance from the brim of the pot.

If you fill a crockpot or slowcooker right to the top edge of the pot, during the bubbling or simmering process, a vacuum will form which will cause some of the crockpot liquid to be siphoned out of the cooker, and it will drip down the side of the pot and onto your counter.

For this reason, do not fill your slowcooker right to the top, but allow at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches of space below the top edge of the pot to allow ample room for the foods to simmer during cooking. This practice will reduce food waste and avoid a messy cleanup.

How to keep foods from sticking to the interior of your Slowcooker

Slowcookers are designed with a glossy interior finish to help keep foods from sticking and make clean-up easier. However, over time the finish will eventually wear off and foods will start sticking to the walls of the cooker. This will be very noticeable and certain foods, like acidic pasta sauces, can wear off the finish quicker than other foods.

However, if you spray or grease the interior of your slowcooker with a cooking oil spray before placing the food in it, the finish will last a little longer and foods will be less likely to stick to the interior. Though this is only a temporary solution, it can help to extend the cooker's usable life.

As the pot gets more unsightly and cleaning becomes more difficult, your only alternative will be to replace the slowcooker.

Slowcooker bags make clean-up a breeze

There is another product on the market to save on slowcooker clean-up: slowcooker cooking bags. These are mostly designed to fit large crockpots or slowcookers in the 5 and 6 quart range.

They are very simple to use, affordable and a few brands are available in varying pack sizes.

I've tested the Debbie Myer Slowcooking Bags and Reynolds Slowcooker Bags. All of these are similar in construction and size, contain the mess and should be discarded after each use. Once you've tried one, you'll not likely want to be without them. They are timesavers.

Use your slowcooker for more than soups and stews

A slowcooker is ideal for hot/warm beverages and especially for apple cider over the Holidays. It's perfect for keeping them at an optimum temperature on a buffet table or where you're entertaining. Need ideas for how to use a slowcooker?

Though slowcookers are still very popular, there is a new breed - multifunction cookers - that is taking the cooking world by storm. These new electric cookers offer more than slowcooking so they are very versatile. Plus, they help to cut down on appliance clutter. You'll find several brands of multi cookers such as the T-Fal Multi Cooker 10-in-1 available in various sizes.

Crockpot scentsations:

No need to spray indoor air freshener around your home when you're expecting guests.

Use your slowcooker to simmer (uncovered) water, cinnamon sticks and/or cranberries or citrus slices. Your home will have a wonderfully inviting fragrance.