If you’re just want a hot meal ready and waiting as soon as you get home from work at the expense of some flavour, then the slow cooker is going to deliver that for you.

However:
Slow cooking does tend to mitigate flavour resulting in bland or bitter notes

  1. Low temperature cooking means starches and gelatine are not activated with thinner results and watery sauces or gravies
  2. There is no evaporation to concentrate sauces and no caramelization to deepen and enrich flavours so finished dishes lack depth, umami and can be colourless and watery

To improve your slow cooker meals:

Stovetop Time:  15 – 30 mins = Crockpot: 1 – 2 hours on High, or 4 – 6 hours on Low
Stovetop Time: 30 mins – 1 hour = Crockpot: 2 – 3 hours on High, or 5 – 7 hours on Low
Stovetop Time: 1 – 2 hours, = Crockpot: 3 – 4 hours on High, or 6 – 8 hours on Low
Stovetop Time: 2 – 3 hours = Crockpot: 4 – 6 hours on High, or 8 – 12 hours on Low
Chicken – high for a shorter time – 4-5 hours

Beef – lower and slower – 8 hours

Mince use lean mince

If you want a really good fall off the bone leg of lamb or other nice quality cut of meat, use the oven rather than the slow cooker.

While the conventional oven or pressure cooker produce tastier versions quicker there’s no better device for keeping things like mulled wine, stews, soups, chilies, dips, and cheese sauces hot at a buffet table, where guests are going to be dipping repeatedly over the course of several hours. There’s very little reduction going on, and because of the slow, even heat dispersal of ceramic, there’s virtually no chance that your sauces are going to burn or brown.

Slow cookers are also great for making large batches of caramelized onions. It takes a long time, but it’s essentially a set-it-and-forget-it technique. Fill up the crock with sliced onions, add a few knobs of butter, season with salt, turn it on, and leave it alone until the onions are as dark as you like. You won’t develop quite the same flavour as you’ll get with onions caramelized the traditional way but you don’t have to stand over it.

Dulce de Leche is really easy in the slow cooker. Remove the labels from cans of condensed milk. Fill the slow cooker with water so it covers the cans and cook on high for 5 hours. Store unopened in the pantry till needed.

Slow cooker cheat sheet pdf