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What is a Crock-Pot®?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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A Crock-Pot®, also called a slow cooker, is a pot that slowly cooks food on your counter, rather than on the stove. The pot has an A/C cord and a vented lid, but no temperature controls aside from a high and low setting, as the temperature of a Crock-Pot® gradually increases over the long cooking period and turns off automatically. The Crock-Pot® is designed to cook unattended so that you can add ingredients to the pot in the morning before work, then come home eight to 10 hours later, to a perfectly cooked meal.

A Crock-Pot® never needs preheating and meals cooked in a Crock-Pot® retain their juices and flavors because of the design and slow-cooking method. You can even add frozen meats to a Crock-Pot®. Just add 1 cup (235 ml) of warm liquid to the pot first and calculate in an extra four to six hours if cooking on low, or an extra two hours cooking on high.

Foil and baking bags can also be placed inside a Crock-Pot®, and there's no need to lift the lid and stir the contents during cooking. In fact this will release the heat which will cause the food to take longer to cook. The only exception to this rule is seafood dishes. For uncooked fish or shellfish, stir the contents during the last 30 minutes. If the fish is precooked, stir for the last few minutes.

The average roast will take about 10 to 12 hours on low, or six to eight hours on high, allowing you two time options to fit your schedule. To ensure the meat is fully cooked you can use a meat thermometer towards the end of the cooking process. Beef and pork should read between 160 – 170° Fahrenheit (71 – 77° C) while poultry should reach 180° F (82° C). Meat does not have to be browned beforehand, but you can pre-cook very fatty meats to remove some of the excess fat, before adding the meat to the Crock-Pot®.

If pasta is to be added to the recipe it should be cooked traditionally in rapidly boiling water until it is just tender, then added to the Crock-Pot® for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

A Crock-Pot® is an excellent, safe way, to cook meals unattended so that the next time you come home from that busy day at work, your meal can be already waiting, steaming hot, full of aroma and flavor, and cooked just the way you like it.

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Discussion Comments
By anon270236 — On May 21, 2012

Someone told me the crock pot and the slow cooker are two different things and operate differently. Is she correct or what?

By runner101 — On Jul 28, 2011

Crock pots and the meals they make are amazing! I can understand why there are entire books devoted to solely crock pot recipes! The slow cooking idea usually makes the food tender, juicy, and very tasty.

One of my favorite crock pot recipes to make is crock pot chili.

The Crock pot slow cooking makes all the difference with chili recipes, because slow cooking allows for all the flavors to meld.

Also if you are using spicy chilis sometimes time in the chili will take some of the edge off of seriously spicy chili peppers.

By minthybear19 — On Jul 27, 2011

@Calvin77 - Hey, that sounds good! Who doesn't love chili? Rice is a great alternative to beans -- it isn't as filling that way. I never liked the beans in chili anyway. I'm going to break the trend here and share a crock pot chicken recipe.

You'll need a pound of broccoli, a pound of peppered bacon strips and four large chicken breasts. Butter your crock pot and layer the bottom of it with bacon. Add a layer of broccoli and then two chicken breasts. Repeat layers of bacon, broccoli and then chicken again.

Now cover the chicken with bacon and then a last layer of broccoli. Add two cups of water and cook on low for four to six hours. The three flavors go great together!

By Calvin77 — On Jul 26, 2011

Hey, these recipes sounds really good for being on a budget. I have a simple crock pot rice chili recipe to share too.

"Cheap Crock Pot Rice Chili"

Make four cups of rice in your crock pot -- cook it until soft, but not squishy. Scramble one pound of hamburger with 2 tablespoons of chili powder and add it to the rice.

Add one 8 oz can of diced tomatoes, a teaspoon of black pepper and a half teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly and add a half stick of butter. Shimmer, mixing often for half an hour. Enjoy hot with garlic bread!

By tanner182 — On Jul 26, 2011

@w00dchuck41 - I cook rice in my crock pot too, but just because I don't want to buy a rice maker. This sounds pretty good but I would add chucks of meat in there. You need a little protein if you can afford it.

My crock pot is pretty big, so I usually make four cups of rice at a time. I just make the rice like normal, only I use chicken bouillon in the water. One time I used a garlic shrimp flavor packet and it was amazingly good. If you can get it, you should use Better Than Bouillon -- it's delicious.

By w00dchuck41 — On Jul 25, 2011

As a college student, my crock pot is my best friend. I can pop some ingredients in and leave it while I'm in classes. When I come home, delicious food is waiting to be eaten. Ah, crock pots.

I use my crock pot almost everyday -- for pretty much everything. For college students on a budget like me, crock pot chili rice is cheap and easy for dinner.

First, just butter the crock pot. Mix a tablespoon of hot chili powder with 4 cups of water in a bowl and pour it in the crock pot. Dump in two cups of rice and cook it all for an hour and half to two hours. Stir it about every half hour just to make sure it doesn't burn.

Just serve it out in bowls -- topped with butter and soy sauce.

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