Crock Pot FAQ's
1. What is the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker?
Crock pots have a crockery insert, the heating elements are along the sides and there are usually two settings: LOW and HIGH. Slow cookers have the heating element on the bottom, they have a wide range of temperatures and you usually need to stir the ingredients throughout the cooking time. As I see it, crock pots are better for unattended use.
2. What are the advantages of using a crock pot?
The crock pots lengthy cooking time allow all the flavours to meld together making a very tasty dish.
There is less chance of food burning due to the heat source coming from the sides.
When cooking with meat in your crock pot, it is possible to use less expensive cuts because the long cooking time makes them melt in your mouth!
Crock pots free up the space in your oven and stove top. They also take up little room on the counter.
Last but not least, crock pots are very convenient, easy to use and a great way to save time!
3. Will my crock pot get hot enough to cook foods safely?
Yes. Even on the LOW cook setting, the temperature will rise above 165 F, which is the temperature bacteria is killed at. For further information please
4. Can crock pots be used while unattended?
For sure! They are completely safe. Crock pots operate at a very low wattage (between 75 - 300 watts). The temperature you set it to will be maintained during the entire cooking process.
5. Can I cook frozen meat in a crock pot?
Yes you can. However, be sure to add an additional 4 hours of cooking time on LOW or an additional 2 hours of cooking time on HIGH to compensate for the frozen food.
6. Can I reheat food in my crock pot?
No. Generally because of the long cooking times, the food will not reheat adequately and it will take a quite a long time. Better off to use a microwave for this job!!
7. How do I know when meats are cooked?
On average, roasts are cooked in 10-12 hours on LOW and poultry is cooked in 6-8 hours on LOW. For added assurance use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.
8. My crock pot recipes turn out too watery, how can I prevent this?
This is probably happening because there is too much water in your recipe. One half to one cup of liquid is sufficient for most recipes that do not call for rice.
9. Is it necessary to open the lid and stir the ingredients?
No, it is not necessary. Actually, by lifting the lid you can slow down the cooking process considerably. Don't worry your food will not burn due to the gradual temperature increase and the heat coming from the sides of the crock pot.
10. When should I add fish or shellfish to my crock pot recipe?
Add raw seafood 30 minutes - 1 hour before cooking is finished. Add pre-cooked seafood a few minutes before the end of cooking.
11. What size crock pot should I buy?
Singles: 1 - 1.5 quart
Couples: 2.5 - 3 quart
Family of 3-4: 3.5 - 4.5
Family of 4-5: 4.5 - 5
6+ people: 6 quart
note: most roasts will fit best in a 5 quart crock pot
12. Will the low temperature allow bacteria to grow?
The USDA reports that bacteria in foods is killed at 165 F. Crock pots will reach a temperature greater than this on a LOW setting. To be sure check the manual before you purchase your crock pot.
13. How do I cook raw rice in my crock pot?
Rice generally needs more water to cook. Add an additional 1 - 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.
14. What foods are not suited for my crock pot?
natural cheese: they tend to break down. However, processed cheese may be used instead but should be added at the end of cooking.
milk: generally, milk will curdle if exposed to a long cooking time. However, evaporated milk or heavy cream/sour cream may be added at the end of cooking.
15. Do I have to brown meant before adding it to my crock pot?
No you do not. It is entirely up to you and your flavour preferences!
16. What is the best way to ensure my vegetables will be cooked?
Cut all vegetables in 1-inch size pieces and layer on the bottom of the crock pot. Since they take the longest time to cook, this will ensure they come out perfectly.
17. How do I cook pasta in my crock pot?
Cook pasta until slightly tender before adding to crock pot.
18. How do I cook beans in my crock pot?
A good tip is to soak dry beans overnight in water before adding them to the crock pot. Another tip is to place dry beans in crock pot and cover with water. Cook overnight (8 hours on LOW). In the morning drain water and add other ingredients for recipe.
19. How do I cook with herbs and spices?
Due to the long cooking times, add herbs and spices at the last minute to ensure their flavour will not dissipate.
20. Can I prepare the food in the crock pot the night before and leave it in the refrigerator?
No. Due to the slow heating element of crock pots, it will prevent the food from reaching adequate temperatures in a reasonable amount of time.