Common Ingredients That Shouldn’t Ever Be Placed In A Crock-Pot

Common Ingredients That Shouldn

Crockpots may be easy to use, but if you add the wrong foods, you could end up with a culinary nightmare. That may sound like a bunch of crock, but take a look at these 20 ingredients, and decide for yourself. Something about these dietary staples just don’t mix with Slow cookers.

Dairy Products

Ever had curdled milk? You have if you’ve ever eaten yogurt. When overheated, the proteins in milk clump up and create something new. But if you do it wrong, you could end up with a serious stomach ache. Opt to add dairy at the end of the cooking process instead.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Got Milk

Frozen Meats

Plop frozen meat in your slow cooker and congratulations: you’ve poisoned your dinner guests! Crockpots use a very low temperature that can leave your meat undercooked, risking the development of bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli, Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus. Yum!

NeedPix

Alcohol

Sometimes, the secret ingredient to your meal is a dash of liquor. While high temperatures cause alcohol to burn off, low temperatures won’t allow it to blend with your dish. Your dinner guests will end up disappointed with the taste… and mildly buzzed. Lose/win?

via Reddit

Eggs

Eggs cook fast. When overcooked, they release a toxic gas called hydrogen sulphide that contaminates the whites. If the yolk appears green, you’ve gone too far. Always make eggs a final ingredient to your meal. 

Ramesh NG/Wikimedia Commons

Tomatoes

If you’ve been making your tomato sauce in your crockpot, don’t panic, but you may be contaminating your favorite pasta dishes. Tomatoes are filled with acids that can leech out the lead from your slow cooker. Lead poisoning from a lasagna? Mamma Mia!

Pixabay

Vinegar

Just like tomatoes, vinegar is extremely acidic. Slow cookers from back in the day were particularly guilty of using this toxic metal. If your crockpot was a hand-me-down, you might want to think twice before thanking grandma.

Pixabay

Peas

Peas are one of the worst ingredients to add to a slow cooker. They’re so small and mushy to begin with that cooking them too long will cause them to practically disappear. If you want to add veggies to your crockpot, opt for root vegetables like onions, garlic, turnips, carrots — the list goes on!

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Fresh Herbs

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, I LOVE adding fresh herbs to my slow cooked meals!” While those spots of green may look pretty, letting herbs sit in a slow cooker for too long can strip them of flavor. Add them at the tail end of the cooking process for that straight-from-the-garden gusto.

Julia Wolf/Flickr

Chillies

If you can handle the spice, chillies can be a delightful addition to any meal. Add these peppers to your crockpot too early, however, and you’ll be ramping up the spiciness to extreme levels. This is fine if your dinner guests love the heat, but you’ll be overpowering all the other ingredients you’ve worked so hard on.

Photo by VCG/Getty Images

Lemon

Lemons are full of acidic citrus that can pull the lead from your slow cooker, especially if it’s an older model. Lead poisoning can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and constant visits to the bathroom. Better to leave the lemon out altogether.

Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images

Dry Beans

Did you know dry kidney beans can be toxic? Add them straight to a crockpot, and you’re asking for disaster. It’s better to boil them on high heat before mixing them into your meal. About ten minutes should do the trick.

Pixabay

Spinach

Don’t worry — you can still add spinach to your favorite crockpot dish. However, make it one of the last things you put in. If cooked for too long, spinach becomes total mush. It may not be dangerous to consume, but you’ll certainly be missing out on all those key nutrients.

Stiller Beobachter / Wikimedia Commons

Chicken Breasts

Chicken is the #1 cause of food poisoning across the world. Unlike other meats, poultry is extremely dangerous to consume if undercooked. Prepare your chicken separately and wait until serving time to combine it with your meal.

Pikist

Bacon

There are so many ways to cook bacon: on a frying pan, in the oven, even in the microwave. But when you add bacon to a slow cooker, you won’t be getting that same, crispy goodness. Instead, you’ll end up with soft lumps of meat that can ruin your entire meal.

Evan Cooper/Wikimedia Commons

Steak

Fillet steak is one of the most delicious cuts of beef in the world. But that tender, flavorful meat is far too thin to prepare in a crockpot. That is, unless you like chewy bits of leather. If you’re dying for red meat, go for a thicker cut instead.

via Reddit

Broccoli

Nobody likes overcooked broccoli. It’s mushy, stringy, and not nearly as healthy. To avoid stripping broccoli of its nutrients and ruining your meal, add your greens near the end of the cooking process. 

Maxpixel

Couscous

People these days love their couscous. This North African dish is as fun to eat as it is to say. But for those perfect little beads, it’s best to cook separately, especially when making broth. All you’ll get is a pile of mush that would make any African hang their head in shame.

Photo by Thierry Tronnel/Corbis via Getty Images

Seafood

Undercook your seafood, and you’re looking at a slimy mess. Overcook it and you end up with fishy rubber. With such a finicky cooking time, it’s best to prepare seafood separately from your slow-cooked meal. 

Photographer Sergy/Wikimedia Commons

Rice

Cultures all over the world love their rice. For thousands of years, people have managed to get that perfect texture without using crockpots. If you’re really feeling lazy, it’s better to invest in an electric rice cooker that you can easily step away from.

Sara/Flickr

Pasta

Pasta is easy to prepare and provides a simple, delicious meal to home cooks in a hurry. When overcooked, however, pasta becomes soft and looses those shapes and textures that everyone loves.

YouTube – StevenSush

Quinoa

This trendy superfood is a great addition to any health nut’s pantry. However, if you want it to retain its ideal consistency, avoid sticking it in the slow cooker, where it will absorb excess amounts of liquid, becoming mushy and flavorless.

Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Cheap vanilla extract

Since vanilla extract is alcoholic, the same rules apply as to other forms of booze. Its flavor will be more distinct when heated in a slow-cooker, and for that reason, you should always opt for the nicer brand.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Liquid

When in doubt, go for less liquid than you think you need when slow-cooking. These machines are very good at retaining moisture, meaning excessive use of ingredients like chicken stock will leave your dinner swimming in juices.

Janine / Wikimedia Commons

Asparagus

If a Crockpot recipe calls for vegetables you’ll notice that they’re usually of the heartier variety, like sweet potatoes or carrots. That’s for good reason, too. Vegetables like asparagus are easily overdone and won’t hold up well during a long slow cook. If you really want to use them, make sure to only add them in at the end.

living_the_dream_permaculture / Instagram

Leftovers

Leftovers are inevitable, but it’s important to avoid using your slow-cooker when going in for seconds. Instead, try reheating the food by steaming it on the stove or a microwave oven and then placing it in a preheated slow-cooker to keep hot for serving.

JodiJacobson / Getty Images

Slow Cooked Cran

This one you actually should do! Cranberry sauce is a national favorite, but you don’t have to buy it in a can if that’s not your thing. Instead, mix cranberries in a saucepan with water and sugar. For a smoother, more luxurious consistency, throw ‘em in the slow cooker!

Mr. B. Cooks / YouTube

Meal Prep

When the weather gets cold, life gets a lot more complicated, but the cold months don’t have to be sullen if you simply adapt to them, which can help you save time and money. Cooking a different meal every night can get tiring, which is part of why meal prep is making its way into the mainstream. Making meals in bulk can keep food from going bad in your fridge and give you more time to do the things you really care about.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Buy in Bulk

Buying groceries in bulk can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Instead of shelling out money over unreasonably small and expensive items at the grocery store, get a Costco membership and start saving!

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Wrapped Greens

The quality of fresh produce always goes down in the winter, but you can make sure your greens last longer in the fridge by wrapping them in tin foil. The tin foil helps vegetables retain their moisture so they don’t brown as quickly.

Queen of bargains / Facebook

Herb Cubes

Another preservation tip, but this time with herbs. Whether your herbs are fresh or almost expired, you can mix them with olive oil, freeze them in an ice cube tray, and plop one or two into a skillet at your own convenience.

Diana House / Flickr

Ice Cream Scoop

You might not be in the mood for ice cream during the winter chill, but your ice cream scoop doesn’t have to collect dust. The same utensil is great for carving seeds out of your favorite winter squash (and yes, it works for pumpkins, too)!

via Imgur/Flickr

Crock Pot

A crockpot is definitely a worthy investment. What’s better than a magical pot that cooks all of your meals for you? Simply dump the ingredients in and turn it on. Say goodbye to mountainous stacks of dishes!

Jamie’s Journey / YouTube

Liquid Diet

It’s officially soup season, but there’s an element to soup that’s far more important than hunks of vegetables or meat. The key to a cozy, warming bowl is the broth, so don’t skimp on flavorful broths for optimal taste.

Campbell’s Soup via Pinterest

Fresh Frozen Foods

Much like how farmers of yesteryear used to stockpile bases and ingredients for the winter, you can totally create entire soups, freeze them, and warm them up on the stove anytime during the cold winter months.

ilovebutter / Flickr

Juicy and Delicious

When you’re hunkered down during a blizzard, nothing hits the spot quite like stew. The key to a good stew is to make the liquid contents as flavorful as possible, and for a more dynamic taste, you can swap the water or broth for sherry or apple cider.

tvnewsbadge/Flickr

Potato Slicer

In a similar vein, you can totally use an apple or onion chopper to quickly breeze through the normally time-consuming chore of cutting potatoes. Your mashed potato and Shepherd’s pie recipes were just cut in half. You’re welcome.

Peter Halasz / Wikimedia Commons

Rolling Pin Hack

The holiday season means baking is in your future, but buying all the required tools can be expensive. Instead of spending money on a rolling pin, you can easily use something we know you already have: an empty bottle of wine!

via Reddit

Hot Knife

A cold, dull knife can be the difference between a beautifully sliced dessert and one that’s been hacked to death. If you want your slices to be perfect, run some hot water onto the knife before slicing. You’ll thank us later.

via Chris Loves Julie Blog

Butter Grater

With cold weather comes harder sticks of butter. Microwaving it is a tricky game, and some containers are unhygienic. Instead, put it through the cheese grater! It’s melt faster and keep your frustration levels in check.

didriks / Flickr

Keeping Warm

If you finish cooking a meal but your guests are late, don’t let it get cold! Instead, turn the oven on at a low setting and pop those suckers back in. They’ll stay warm without getting overcooked, and your guests will think their meal is fresh out of the oven.

Buena Vista Pictures

Smells Like Winter

For an easy and delicious way to make your home smell like the holidays, fill a pot with cloves, cinnamon, and citrus. Add in the apple cider and red wine, and you have yourself a wonderfully pungent (and tasty!) mulled wine.

Angela Huster/Wikimedia Commons

Chocolate Wine

There’s a way to make hot chocolate even cozier than you thought. For the adults in the room, adding some red wine may sound strange, but it mixes quite well with chocolate! Adding marshmallows is always encouraged, of course.

Tipsy Bartender/YouTube

Snow Cooker

You might think of snow as an annoying obstacle, but it can actually satisfy your sweet tooth! Pour some maple syrup onto (CLEAN) snow, and you’ll find that maple taffy plays nice with ice. It’s also a great activity for kids! 

via Wikimedia Commons

Spice Up Coffee

If you want to really warm up this winter, why not experiment with some untraditional coffee drinks? Try swapping your latte for a dirty chai next time. Adding more spice to any warm drink is sure to make you sweat!

ABC

Free the Frozen Foods!

Frozen vegetables get a bad rep, but as Food Network recommends, feel free to use frozen vegetables in winter meals. When cooked in soups and stews, they taste just as good as fresh vegetables. Plus, they obviously won’t brown as quickly as fresh veggies!

William Gottlieb/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images