Surprising Things You Should Never Cook in a Crockpot
Whether you work full-time and don’t have time to cook, are a busy, stay-at-home mom, or — let’s face it — too lazy to cook, crockpots are a godsend. They take little-to-no effort, make enough food to serve the entire family (and still have leftovers), and you don’t have to stress about the house burning down. That said, you can’t just throw anything into a crockpot and expect it to turn out OK, or be edible.
From meat to vegetables to grains, we share the most surprising things you thought you could cook in a crockpot (but can’t), ahead.
1. Raw meat
If you want browned meat, a crockpot isn’t going to give you the results you’re looking for. That said, you don’t have to leave meat out of your crockpot altogether. Cook your meat first, then add it to the pot.
2. Asparagus and other delicate vegetables
Cooking delicate vegetables like asparagus or peas in a crockpot — especially early on — will result in mushy, soggy veggies.
Seafood cooks fast, so adding seafood to a crockpot can result in overcooked food. If you must add seafood to a stew or other crockpot dish, cook it first and add it at the end.
Adding dairy to a crockpot at the beginning of cook time can be a recipe for disaster. Instead of throwing everything in at once, wait until the recipe has finished cooking before adding the dairy. That way the milk or cream keeps its consistency and doesn’t become too watery.
5. Raw, dried beans
Another major crockpot no-no? Raw, dried beans. In fact, adding these to a crockpot recipe can be toxic. Many dried beans contain a toxic substance that must be cooked off at a high temperature before eating and crockpots simply aren’t hot enough for the job.
Before adding dried beans to your recipe, boil them on your stovetop. Then, rinse and add them to your crockpot recipe.
Thinking of making a pasta dish or soup that contains pasta in your slow cooker? You may want to reconsider — or, at the very least wait until the end to add your pasta. Cooking pasta for hours in a crockpot can result in a soggy mess.
Another ingredient to leave out of your crockpot recipe? Rice. Like pasta, rice can make for a soggy mess. Not to mention: The starch could ruin your entire dish. Instead, cook rice separately and add your crockpot recipe to the grain when serving.
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