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Poll: How Do You Feel About Slow Cookers?

Slow Cooker: Love It or Hate It?

"What's the point of a slow cooker?" a friend recently asked me. "I don't get how cooking with one is any different from cooking in a Dutch oven." I can see her point, especially when a recipe calls for browning meat in a pot before simmering in a slow cooker. Worse yet, I hate slow cooker recipes that have a cooking time of one hour. In these cases, you might as well use the stove. But I do love the convenience of dumping something into a machine in the morning, and returning to a fully-cooked meal at the end of the day (for recipe ideas, check out our Sunday Slow Cooker series). How do you feel about slow cookers?

Source: Flickr User love♡janine

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Spectra Spectra 6 years
I like mine for certain things, but I get impatient with it sometimes. I like it for chilis and stews and pulled pork for sandwiches, but most of the time I use my dutch oven.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 6 years
Thanks orangek8, I had no clue it was a "brand" name.
xxstardust xxstardust 6 years
I love, love, LOVE my slow cooker. I have a 4qt one that I have smuggled into my college dorm room, and there's nothing better then coming home after a long day of classes and work to a home cooked bowl of stew or chili, a nice casserole, or some delicious pot roast! I cook often (our dining service is awful), and since the kitchen is 4 flights down, it's nice not to have to go up and down to cook and to wash dishes sometimes!
Arthur Arthur 6 years
just gets in my way on the floor of the pantry. I use my dutch oven all the time to braise, stew and make soups. have never even plugged in the slow cooker.
orangek8 orangek8 6 years
Crock-Pot is a brand name that is used so commonly it's become interchangeable with slow cooker. Like tissue and Kleenex.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 6 years
So why two names for the same thing? Yes, I love my crock pot use it for warm dips, making beans, German tater salad, every meat under the sun and I don't brown first, I could go on. FYI - my crockpot was a wedding gift 27 years ago and still going strong.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 6 years
Get the ingredients cut up the night before and feed the crock pot before going to work.....8.5 hours later the home smells great and the dinner is done......I never make anything you need to braise first...fav is one pot roast cut up, pack of dried onion soup, 1/2 cup water...serve over rice or noodles.
chefdrea chefdrea 6 years
The only thing I use a crockpot for is spaghetti sauce. However, you do have to brown the meat first but it is one of those dishes that needs hours so I usually do it right before bed. Brown the meat, throw everything in the crockpot and then cook it overnight. Get up in the morning, turn it off and let it cool until ready to heat and serve. I know it seems a little backwards but spaghetti sauce is one of those things that always tastes better the next day and this gives that great taste on the first serving instead of on the leftovers!
orangek8 orangek8 6 years
There's this Cooking Light Thai Pork Stew that I make in a slow cooker and it is AMAZING.
sourcherries sourcherries 6 years
I've got two--my mom's old crock pot and one which was recently given to me. Tried a beef stew but ended up with too much liquid, making the meat rather flavorless. Am collecting some slow cooker recipes and hoping to make Sunday slow cooked meals a new year's resolution.
pink-pirate pink-pirate 6 years
A good slow cooker costs less than a good Dutch oven and uses less energy than using an oven (that is, putting the Dutch oven into the real oven!). It also doesn't generate as much heat throughout your home when using a slow cooker in warm months. No brainer for me!
Pampire Pampire 6 years
I LOVE my crock pot, couldn't live without it! I don't brown any meat ahead of time it totally defeats the purpose of the crock pot! Then again if its ground beef or ground turkey, I would. I don't recall using a ground meat in the crock pot as a matter of fact. :ponder:
khameel khameel 6 years
I love to make corned beef for St. Patrick's day (or whenever) in the slow cooker! It's so tender and juicy!
syako syako 6 years
Wow, that's a great idea, susteph! I will totally try that.
susteph susteph 6 years
i use my slow cooker to make stock. you know those whole roast chickens you can buy at the supermarket? save up 2 carcasses, dump them into the slow cooker, add water and voila! 8 hours later, you have some amazing chicken stock. i freeze it in smaller containers. gotta make some now, in fact!
jelibeann jelibeann 6 years
love...i'm making braised short ribs for the first time this week in mine
vinnie vinnie 6 years
I inherited a slow cooker when my sister moved out. It has been such a lifesaver. Keep the recipes coming!
syako syako 6 years
I'm more of a fan of the recipes where you just stick the meat and veggies in without any browning before and hit start. Then it's ready a few hours later. You can't beat that!
skigurl skigurl 6 years
i used it this weekend....i like it for some stuff....yes sometimes it takes awhile to prepare the meal but i like, on a sunday, to spend the 30 minutes chopping and/or browning meat etc. at 1pm and then by 6:00 we have meat, potatoes, veggies, and pretty much zero dishes
alwayswallis alwayswallis 6 years
Slow cookers are perfect for just that - dumping all of the ingredients in and leaving it on all day to come home to a fully-cooked meal. Leaving it on all day somehow seems safer than leaving a dutch oven on the stove all day. But if you're making something with a 1 hour or less cooking time, I wouldn't bother lugging out the slow cooker.
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