Slow Cooker Hacks and Recipes

There’s nothing like coming home to a hot meal, especially one you can prep in advance and cook when your schedule is full. With our amazing small appliances, you can make a tasty slow-cooked meal that doesn’t require too much of your time. Here are some hacks and recipes to get you started!

Pressure Cooker Brown Sugar Ham

                                        Pressure Cooker Brown Sugar Ham

1. Easy Prep, Easy Cleanup

One of the main appeals of slow cooking is easy meal prep. Thaw the meat ahead of time, cut your ingredients to a uniform size (ex: meat, potatoes, and carrots), and stick them in your slow cooker. If you’re making a pot roast or a stew, place the meat at the bottom followed by the spices, vegetables, and dry ingredients. Then, immerse your ingredients in water or vegetable broth (be careful not to overfill) and cover it.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

2. Get to the Meat of It

Fattier meats are best for slow cooking, so choose your cut of meat carefully. For example, meats like short ribs and chuck roast become tender when they’re slow cooked unlike pork tenderloin, which dries out when cooked over a long period of time. The bigger and fattier the meat, the longer it needs to be cooked. So, if you’re cooking something like pork shoulder, cook it low and slow for about 8 hours, or until the meat starts falling apart.

TIP: Give the meat a quick sear before you put it in the slow cooker. This will help the meat develop more complex flavor and prevent the meat from adding excess grease to your finished dish.

Pressure Cooker Ribs With Tangy BBQ Sauce

3. Sensible Seasoning

Since meals typically cook for a long time in a slow cooker, you should always use dried herbs and spices rather than fresh ones. Why? Because a slow cooker will overcook fresh seasonings and potentially add a burnt taste to your meal.

As you add ingredients to your slow cooker, add your herbs and spices on top of the meat. This helps build the flavor. And if your recipe calls for broth or stock, consider adding bouillon cubes instead and mix it with less water than suggested. Try out this technique by making our Garlic Parmesan Chicken With Cauliflower Mash, which features a lovely combination of garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

                                                       Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

4. The Deal About Dairy

While dairy can be used in a slow cooker, it should be added toward the end of the cook time to avoid curdling. Make sure you’re using fresh dairy and only cook it on low heat. You can prevent most dairy products from curdling in a slow cooker by adding cornstarch to them (which is also a good thickening option). If your dish has too much liquid, you can save it by making a roux with equal parts butter and flour plus a little milk.

5. Lowdown on Layering

As you add ingredients to your slow cooker, follow this order: meat, herbs and spices, vegetables, other dry ingredients, and liquid. Denser ingredients (ex: meat and potatoes) should be closer to the bottom because they need to cook more thoroughly.

But of course, there are some delicious rulebreakers to consider. You can also poach fish over a layer of herbs or steam vegetables over a layer of lemongrass on top of water (or another liquid). Your slow cooker can be used to make just about any dish! There’s nothing like the smell of our Slow Cooker Minestrone made in the slow cooker on the weekend to gather family around the table.

TIP: Whenever you’re slow cooking, resist the urge to remove the lid and stir the ingredients. If you remove the lid while it cooks, you’ll release lots of heat. That means you’ll have to extend your cook time to ensure everything is evenly cooked.

Slow Cooker Minestrone

                                                                                     Slow Cooker Minestrone


What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe? Share it with us in the comments below.

39 Responses to Slow Cooker Hacks and Recipes

  1. Stacie March 1, 2017 at 9:04 am #


  2. Angie Rowland March 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    Shredded Chicken Tacos

    • Missy Piper October 31, 2019 at 9:34 am #

      Any receipes for deer roast?

  3. Sue March 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    Homemade Chili or the BBQ ribs with a can of Rootbeer and 1.5 cups of BBQ sauce during last 1.5 hours.

  4. Dawn March 10, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

    How hot does the slow cooker stand get?

    • Christina Petersen May 25, 2017 at 6:44 am #

      Hi Dawn, I’m still new to the electronic side of things but I just found this question and wanted to answer it. It gets pretty hot. I keep mine towards the back of the cabinet so my kids won’t get burned. Mine gets hot enough to burn you but not hot enough to leave a mark (if that makes sense). Please feel free to send me a direct message through my personal site and I would be happy to answer any other questions you have.

  5. Lynne March 14, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    There is a ring that heats up but the entire surface where the control knob is safe!

  6. Carmen bitter March 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    I watch on t.v chef Brad prepare chicken salud he put it inside cut tomatoe, last week where can I get the receipt or buy the book . Thank you for you time. Carmen bitter

    • Sherry hoffman March 29, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

      Go to the shop site and in search area put in recipes.

    • Christina Petersen May 25, 2017 at 6:47 am #

      Here is a link to our e-cookbooks. you can also search using the search bar at the top of our page. Type in chicken salad and browse through our great recipes.

      • Debi October 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm #

        I didn’t see the link…

  7. Jene March 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    Louisiana Red Beans & Rice with Andouille Sausage

    • KK Shoaf November 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

      I’m from LA and had I’ll success making my traditional red beans and rice on the rock crock slow cooker, two separate times. Not doing that one again.

  8. Ronna Grounds March 25, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    I’m not sure where to leave a question so I’ll just leave it here I am looking for a gravy slash fat separator I know that Pampered Chef used to have one I don’t know if they still have one if they do can you send me information as to how much and how to go about buying one thank you so much

    • Sandy Harrison October 16, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      Ronna, we still have our #1188 Gravy Separator. You can place individual orders anytime. Or be a host for opportunity to Earn products for FREE, 1/2 price and discounted.

    • Theresa January 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm #

      Yes we do although someone probably already answered your question. Pampered Chef gravy separator the cost is 29.00 that doesn’t include tax n shipping. It’s guaranteed for 3 years and dish washer safe.

  9. Candy Charters March 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    I made the Garlic Chicken with Cauliflower Mash over the weekend – my husband loved it, but asked me NOT to mash the cauliflower the next time we have it. Easy enough!

  10. Jacquelyn Kampeter March 30, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    Can the slow cooker bags be used in the Rockcroks on the Slow Cooker Stand?

    • Christina Petersen May 25, 2017 at 6:51 am #

      I don’t see why not. Our stone are super easy to clean so I personally don’t but I have never read a reason why they can’t be.

    • Jennie Beecher May 25, 2017 at 8:49 am #

      They are not recommended by our Test Kitchens

  11. Cindy April 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Love the tips and hacks. I’ve never had a slow cooker but I imagine I could cook Broccoli Cheese soup in it or Minestrone. I’ll bet I’d love those.

  12. Elizabeth A May 8, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Chicken and Dumplings

  13. Michele Carrion May 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Will the 8 at rokcrock for in the slow cooker base?

    • Patricia Sitler October 17, 2017 at 4:39 am #

      Only the Everyday Pan 2.5 QT and Dutch Oven 4 QT on the stand. Not the XL.

  14. Kelly Sibla May 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    I just received the rock crok base. when I used it the first time it was very hot to the touch on the outside. Is that normal? Does not seem like this is safe.

    • Christina Petersen May 25, 2017 at 6:52 am #

      Yes it is normal. I keep mine towards the back of the cabinet and have not had a problem.

      • Jenny Krukar January 3, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

        I recently bought a Rock crock and stand and was so excited to slow cook a delicious pork roast. I had on my counter and because the pot sits so high above the base, i didn’t think of the possibility of getting burned. I was reaching for something behind it, and barely touched for a split second and immediately 2nd degree burn. I have never had anything “melt” my skin that quickly. Blistered immediately….. so WARNING to any parents with children! Once burned, twice shy….. which makes me very sad because I truly was so excited about this purchase.

  15. Kristin Herges December 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    I love making Chicken Noodle Soup in my Rockcroc Dutch Oven. I start the veg in butter on the stove, move it to the slow cooker stand and add (boneless, skinless) chicken, broth and seasonings. Leave it for the day to cook on low. Use my salad choppers to cut the chicken in the pot. When I’m close to dinner time, I move it to the stove, bring to a boil, add noodles and fresh parsley and chives. Cook until the (I use frozen egg noodles) noodles are done and serve right after. Yum! My family loves it:)

  16. Don Randles January 14, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t find anywhere a way to cook chicken breast like crockpot?
    Can it be done & how long to cook ?? Iam disappointed with this thing I don’t want to microwave food or bake or stove top I bought what I thought could be used as a crockpot can I return ?

    • Gina October 18, 2020 at 10:28 am #

      I agree. I am a bit disappointed because I got rid of my other slow cookers and have not been happy with the PC one so far. It does not seem to create enough moisture when cooking, and instead tends to dry out the good unless I have added a lot of liquid.

  17. Lynn Asdell July 29, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

    The 2.5 crock is stuck in the base, any suggestions of how to remove it? I’ve tried oil, ice water…..no luck. To say the least, I’m not a happy camper right now. I was ready to purchase the larger crock, but not sure I want to bother now.

    • Pampered Chef July 30, 2018 at 10:39 am #

      Hi Lynn – We’re sad to hear this happened and want to help! Please reach out to our Solution Center at (888) 687-2433 M-F 8AM-8PM.

  18. Diane Jewell November 8, 2018 at 11:17 pm #

    Can I “roast” Cornish hens in rock crok in slow cooker base? With little or no liquid?

  19. Phyllis Perkovich February 18, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

    I just got the Rockcrok Dutch oven and slow cooker stand. I read in one place where it can go from refrigerator to the slow cooker stand and I’ve also read that you should let it get to room temperature. Will I ruin the Dutch oven if I put it in the slow cooker stand when it’s cold?

  20. Becky May 17, 2020 at 10:39 am #

    I love my Roc Crock Dutch oven and slow cooker stand. I have cooked chicken and noodles, chicken soup, Shepard’s pie, lasagna, and even a cake!! Very versatile and easy to tuck in the fridge when it cools.

  21. Shannon K Denbow October 29, 2020 at 11:53 pm #

    I am confused. I thought this blog post was for recipes for the Rock Crock Everyday pan and Dutch oven as a slow cooker. I recently purchased one, but the recipes received in the little thing was quite a disappointment. It seems for as much money as these are, they would have more recipes and not just soups or casseroles. Are there any recipes for Pork Picnics / Butts, Roasts, etc.
    I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank you

  22. Jennifer February 21, 2021 at 8:24 pm #

    Shannon, just Google any recipe for what you want – cook it the same as any slow cooker in the Rockcrok on low or high, as the recipe calls for!
    I just did a fabulous leg of lamb roast.
    1 3.5-4 lb bone in leg of lamb roast
    2 cups red wine (not cooking wine)
    3 oz coffee
    4 cloves garlic
    1noacket Lipton Onion soup mix
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    Fresh or dried rosemary, marjoram, oregano
    Salt and pepper
    Seared the roast on all sides after seasoning with salt and pepper. Placed in rockcrok, fat side up, and cooked for 6-7 hrs on high, until shreddable with a fork.
    Separated meat and jus, chilled jus, removed fat. Made a quick roux with 2 tbsp ea fat and flour, and used to thicken the jus. Sooooo good.
    Served with salad and sliced gold potatoes microwaved for 9 min in rockcrok with butter, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon and garlic powder.

  23. karen king August 7, 2021 at 11:44 am #

    chocolate and peanut butter brownies

  24. Claire Berg April 17, 2022 at 11:15 am #

    I wish you could come out with a 6 qt. Rockcroc insert for the slow cooker! I have the VERY best recipe for Dutch oven lasagna, but I don’t want to buy another stand alone Dutch oven. I tried making it in my 4 qt. But it was a bit too small and today I am cleaning my oven!
    I don’t have the space for a stand alone Dutch oven. It would be so much better to have it fit in the slow cooker base!

Leave a Reply