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8 foods you just shouldn’t make in your slow cooker

Preparing food like pasta in a slow cooker equals disaster.


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Slow cooking is a great way to prepare a meal while you’re busy doing something else. It’s great for families on the go because a slow cooker doesn’t require much oversight and still produces a delicious, hot meal. While most foods are fair game, there are a few that you just shouldn’t put in your slow cooker. Here’s what to avoid the next time you use your slow cooker. 

Most seafood

Fish, shellfish, oysters and clams need to be cooked quickly. Obviously, slow cooking isn’t quick, and it will obliterate these delicate proteins. The only seafood exceptions are squid and octopus because they tend to be tough meats and slow cooking makes them tender. 

Dairy products

I’m not saying that you can’t put dairy products in your slow cooker recipes at all, just wait until the last few minutes of cooking time. Otherwise, your cheese, milk or sour cream will separate and curdle. 

8 foods you just shouldn't make in your slow cooker


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Chicken with skin

Chicken with the skin still on is a big no-no in slow cooking. The skin will come out white, rubbery and generally unappealing. Take the skin off before popping it in the pot. If you really want to eat the skin, brown it in a skillet to get it nice and crispy and serve it alongside the chicken. 

Chicken breasts

While we’re on the topic of chicken, let’s talk about chicken breasts. Slow-cooked breasts can tend to be dry or have a rubbery texture. These thin slices of meat cook so quickly, it’s a good idea to prepare them outside of a slow cooker. Try chicken thighs instead.

Pasta

Pasta is another food that needs to be cooked quickly for the best results. Cooking pasta in your slow cooker can end with a pasty, mealy mess. Stick to cooking sauces in your slow cooker and leave the pasta to a pot on the stove.

Rice

Rice also turns to mush when it’s slow cooked. I recommend using a rice cooker instead. You can also use an Instant Pot to cook rice.

Tender vegetables

Vegetables such as peas, asparagus and peppers can become a flavorless, mushy mess in a slow cooker. Stick to heartier root vegetables like potatoes, onions, leeks and yams, or wait to add the tender vegetables until the last 30 minutes or so of cooking time.

Wine

When cooked in a pan, the alcohol in wine can burn off. In the enclosed space of a slow cooker pot, however, the alcohol remains. This can leave you with a strong boozy flavor you didn’t intend.

Cooking is often considered a relaxing pastime, but certain mistakes can lead to disaster. To avoid a culinary hassle, check out more of our cooking advice, including 9 tasty and surprising rice cooker meals and 10 foods you absolutely should not cook in your Instant Pot

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