Crockpots can be a very welcome addition to your kitchen arsenal. They can also produce mushy, unappetizing messes. It all depends on what you put in them.
Here are some foods you should never cook in a crockpot. You can read the original article here.
Though it takes around 20 minutes to cook, longer if you include extra time to let it steam, rice isn’t something that benefits from more cooking. Better Homes and Gardens explained there are a couple of problems with trying to cook rice in the crockpot: brittle rice around the edges and undercooked grains in the center. A simple stovetop method is best. Start it as soon as you get home, and it will be ready in no time.
For soup recipes that call for the starch, you can add it in near the end of the cooking time. One Dish Dinners suggests adding the grains with 2 hours to go, but that isn’t really practical for busy days. Using sturdier grains like barley or farro is a better choice.
There are plenty of recipes for slow cooker lasagna or rigatoni casseroles out there, but pasta is one food that just isn’t meant for slow cooking. Bon Appétit said, “it becomes a mushy mess. Just don’t do it.” For soups or stews that call for pasta, you can always add the noodles near the end, but they’ll continue to absorb more liquid as the dish sits. That means leftovers will be gooey, and not in a good way.
Plenty of pasta recipes come together in a half hour or less, so skip the slow cooker method altogether and make something like these Pasta shells with peas and ham from Food & Wine. If only the rich flavor of a lasagna will do, make a whole pan ahead of time over the weekend. Then all you have to do is toss it in the oven on a busy night.
3. Tender cuts of meat
Crockpots do wonders for tough pieces of meat. That doesn’t mean that already tender cuts will be even better. Food Network explained these leaner cuts will get dry and tough, so stick with the old standbys like pork shoulder and brisket.
Pork tenderloin, boneless chicken breasts and many kinds of steak are already tender, so methods like grilling or sautéing yield the best results. Save these for nights when you can devote a little bit of extra time to making dinner.
4. Creamy sauces
Plenty of delicious sauces and soups get a rich texture from cream, milk, or yogurt. Don’t be tempted to try cooking these ingredients all day, though, or you’ll come home to a grainy, gross mess. Cooking dairy products for too long causes the whey to unravel and bind with casein to form unpleasant lumps, according to America’s Test Kitchen. This is especially true with lower fat products such as yogurt and milk. Heavy cream and créme fraiche hold up better, but they can still separate when cooked for too long.
That doesn’t mean every recipe with a little bit of creaminess is out, though. Many dishes call for stirring in a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt at the very end, and that works just fine in the crockpot.
This goes for dairy free milk and cream as well. Stir it in at the end.
5. Low-quality wine
If you’re planning on cooking with alcohol in your crockpot, you’ll want to be extra careful of how much you add. The Huffington Post reminds us the alcohol cooks off in recipes involving stovetop cooking due to evaporation. Because your crockpot dish is covered, adding too much booze means it will saturate your dish with that unpleasant flavor with no means to escape. Adding a little bit of wine in your dish is fine, but don’t go overboard and make sure it’s something you’d actually drink.
Alcohol doesn’t really cook off as much as you think. And because a crockpot is covered, most of the alcohol will remain. A half cup of wine should be sufficient. And never use wine you wouldn’t drink.