How To Cook Gammon Joint In Slow Cooker? Learn More!

Cooking a gammon joint in a slow cooker is a great way to add flavor to the meat, while keeping it tender. Gammon is a salt-cured, usually smoked, ham from the hind leg of a pig that is usually sold canned.

However, if you feel like buying a fresh ham, there’s nothing to stop you from doing so, and cooking it in your slow cooker. It will taste great and save you a lot of time and effort.

Cooking gammon joint in a slow cooker is one of the best ways of cooking gammon joint. It’s a form of braising, and the technique infuses the meat with the flavor of the broth while it cooks in the slow cooker.

If you’re looking for an easy way to prepare gammon joint in the slow cooker, let us show you how it can be done.

Transform an ordinary joint of gammon into something truly special! This slow cooker gammon is cooked in sweet apple juice and then basted with a honey and mustard glaze. Delicious!

Allow around 175-200g uncooked gammon per person for a generous portion.

Ingredients :

  • gammon joint – I used 0.75 kg (1.6 lbs) but you can use a larger one and slightly adjust the cooking times (see notes)
  • 1 large onion, sliced into 8–10 pieces
  • 500 ml / 2 cups apple juice (increase to up to 1 L / 4 cups if you are using a larger piece of gammon)
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions :

  1. Place the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker and then sit the gammon on top, fat side up. 
  2. Pour the apple juice around the gammon and then cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. 
  3. Mix together the honey and mustard and place in the fridge until needed. 
  4. When cooked, remove the gammon from the slow cooker and heat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Remove the thick skin from the top fo the fat, leaving behind a thin layer of fat. Score the top of the fat in a cross-hatch pattern and then brush over the honey and mustard glaze. 
  5. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the glaze has thickened and browned. 
  6. Leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving. 

Note :

You can use either smoked or unsmoked gammon, depending on your preference. If you are using a larger joint (over 1 kg /2.2 lbs) then increase the cooking time for high by 1 hour and the cooking time for low by 2 hours. You can use cider, stock, or even coke instead of the apple juice to give a slightly different taste profile.

What are different ways of cooking gammon joint in slow cooker?

Cook A Gammon In A Slow Cooker With Water

This is the quickest method. You just need to place the gammon in the slow cooker, and then pour some water around it – around 250 ml is enough, which should be about 2 to 3 inches deep.
Like with other slow cooker recipes there is no need to put in any additional liquid. I like to put in a little at the bottom as I find it helps the gammon to come out a little more moist. But, if you don’t add any water to the slow cooker, the gammon won’t burn.

Slow Cooker Gammon In Coke

Slow cooking a gammon joint in coke might seem like a strange idea. But if you’ve not tried, it, you should! The gammon does not end up coming out sweet as you would imagine – and it’s best to use normal full fat coke. 

Slow Cooker Gammon In Cider

Cooking a gammon joint in some dry cider is equally as tasty as the coke. Use 400 ml or 500 ml of dry cider and pour it over the gammon joint in the slow cooker. You can also add in some cloves, peppercorns and some chopped up onions.

Slow Cooker Gammon In Apple Juice

If cider isn’t your thing, you can substitute it for apple juice. Use a similar quantity (400-500ml) and pour it over the gammon joint. Alternatively you can also use pineapple juice, or a large tin or 2 of pineapple chunks in juice.

Gammon In Slow Cooker With Honey

If you are making a glaze for the gammon , you can use honey then before putting it in the oven. You can also use some honey during the slow cooking process. Just mix 5 tbsp of honey with about 250 ml water – hot water would be better as it will help the honey dissolve. You can also stir in some mustard and make it a honey and mustard gammon.

Should I soak gammon joint before cooking It?

If you have bought a smoked gammon you might want to pre-soak, or boil away some of the salt before cooking it.

You don’t have to do it – it depends on how salty you like your gammon.

If you do want to reduce the salt content, ideally you will soak it in a bowl of fresh water for at least 12 hours before you want to cook it. Make sure the whole of the gammon joint is covered.

However, if you don’t have the time, you can boil away the salt. Simply place the whole gammon joint in a large enough saucepan and bring it to the boil. 

How long does gammon take to cook in the slow cooker?

To boil (the most common method), take a water-filled pan big enough to fully submerge the gammon, then place the meat into the water and slowly bring it to the boil. The weight of the gammon will determine the cooking time required.

Generally speaking, you’ll want 20 minutes of cooking time per 450g (or 1lb), plus an additional 20. Beware of overcooking, as this can ruin the food.

When the meat is ready, haul it out carefully and place it on a chopping board. Ensure that it is thoroughly cooked, then remove the fat and serve.

TIP: Do not tip the water away immediately. Firstly, it will be very, very hot at this point and secondly, you might need to return the meat to the water if it isn’t 100% ready.

To roast, simply cover the meat in honey or maple syrup (soy sauce is also an option, although this can make it a little too salty for some), then wrap it entirely in kitchen foil and roast in the oven. For roasting, you’ll need about 30 minutes of cooking time per 450g/1lb, plus an additional 20.

You can also par-boil the meat for half the time, then roast it for the rest, creating a meal that has the great flavour of a roast, but retains the moisture of boiled meat.

How long does it keep?

Cooked gammon will last for up to 4 days when kept well covered in the fridge. There really is no better excuse to make more than you need and enjoy the leftovers for a few days after.

You can also freeze cooked gammon for up to 3 months. Make sure to defrost thoroughly before reheating.

When you are reheating the gammon (from chilled or after defrosting), it may not be quite as tender and juicy. To counteract this reheat slices in the oven in a baking dish and drizzle over a little apple juice, stock, or even water. Cover with foil and heat at 200C/400F until piping hot.

Most people don’t know it but gammon joints are a hidden treasure of the slow cooking world. Slow cooking not only tenderizes the gammon but also can make a cheap cut of meat taste like something that has come out of a more expensive cut. Here are 5 tips to help you cook this great cut of meat to perfection.

What are the healthful benefits of a gammon joint?

Gammon joint is great source ‘B’ vitamins, especially B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B6 (pyridoxine). It is also chock full of protein (containing something like 30% more than most fresh meats), which is great for strength and especially good for children.

This delicious meat is rich in iron, magnesium and zinc as well as potassium, phosphorus, copper and selenium.

Gammon also has a high concentration of amino acids (essential for growth).

On the negative side, this food is very high in sodium (too much salt) in your diet can be quite destructive, especially to children) and also quite high in cholesterol. You will need to balance it alongside other, less fatty and/or salty foods.

Can You Cook Pasta In A Slow Cooker? Find Out!

Cooking pasta in a slow cooker isn’t as difficult as you might think, but the results can be a bit unpredictable.

If you are looking for a stove top alternative to cooking pasta, you may have heard that you can use a slow cooker to prepare pasta instead of a large pot of boiling water and a big pot holder. Cooking pasta in a slow cooker can be tricky. 

If you cook pasta on low-heat for hours, you are likely to end up with a soggy mess. Instead, high-heat settings can be used and you may cook the pasta directly in sauces you have prepared in the slow cooker.

For starters, you’ll need to use a slow cooker that has a removable ceramic insert, since off-set models can’t be used for cooking pasta. And, keep in mind that pasta takes more water to cook than most other foods.

Finally, the thickness of your pasta will affect the cooking time, so spaghetti will take longer to cook than angel hair pasta. Yes, you can cook pasta in a slow cooker.

The key is to make sure the pasta is added at the end of the cook time so that it doesn’t absorb too much liquid and get mushy. Typically pasta is added to the slow cooker about 15-20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

You can try it but don’t expect the results to be the same as if you had cooked the pasta on the stove. But if you are strapped for time and need to put something together quickly, the slow cooker might just do the job!  

How long can you cook pasta in a slow cooker?

How long can you cook pasta in a slow cooker? That depends on how much you would like to enjoy a hot dish of pasta! You see, the longer you cook pasta in a slow cooker, the softer the pasta will be.

Of course, you can always cook the pasta longer, but the texture will change. Some dishes need soft pasta while others need firm pasta.

When you are planning a pasta dish, you want to keep in mind how long you can cook pasta in the slow cooker. This is important because if you do not cook it sufficiently, it will be like jello when you go to eat it.

The only way to ensure that your pasta reaches the correct texture is to test it with a toothpick.

One of the easiest things to get right is the pasta-to-liquid ratio, which should be around 1 cup of water for every 6 ounces of pasta. Any more water than that and your pasta may be too watery, while less water and you’ll be left with clumpy, overcooked pasta.

Be sure that all of the pasta is completely covered with liquid when you put it into the slow cooker so it softens with the heat and moisture; any pasta that sticks out of the liquid will not cook properly and will be too tough and hard.

You’ll also be able to save time, effort and money, because you won’t have to run the stove and use all the pots and pans. It’s not difficult to make pasta in a slow cooker, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Just cook it until the pasta is al dente or “to the tooth.” That means the pasta is tender, but still firm. The center of each thin strand should be opaque, not white, and the pasta should taste cooked.

Can You Put A Slow Cooker Pot In The Oven? Find Out!

Your slow cooker is a versatile tool: you can use it to make soup, cook a roast, simmer sauces, and more. But, can you put a slow cooker pot in the oven? The short answer is, yes, you can put your slow cooker in the oven.

The ceramic pots isn’t recommended for oven use, but it is oven-safe up to 300°F for up to an hour. The lids are not oven-safe. Whether it’s a ceramic or metal slow cooker, most manufacturers advise against putting your slow cooker in the oven if it exceeds 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

But you may want to avoid cooking in the slow cooker if that is your only option. Your slow cooker is designed to cook food slowly and at a low temperature. Baking in a slow cooker will make your food dry out, and it may cause the ceramic pot to crack if you do not choose the right setting.

A slow cooker pot can be a real game-changer in the kitchen. It’s no secret that life gets chaotic, however, still cooking home cooked meals allows you to stick to a certain budget or continue to fulfill your dietary requirements.

You can speed up the cooking process of slow cooker pot by moving it into the oven. Slow cooker pot ceramic interiors are oven safe. Just be sure to remove the lid. The slow cooker pot will be hot if it’s been on for a number of hours so when moving it from the electrical outlet to the oven you’ll need oven gloves.

How hot do slow cooker gets?

A common misconception about slow cooking pot is that the high setting cooks at a higher temperature than the low setting.

The truth is, both the high and low reach the same maximum temperature: 209°F. It’s just a matter of how fast they reach that temperature. When you use the high setting, it takes 3 to 4 hours to stabilize at 209°F. But on the low setting, it takes 7 to 8 hours.

If you use the warm setting, the temperature remains between 165°F and 175°F.

If a recipe calls for temperatures over 209°F, you may want to use a different pan and roast in the oven.

But if you need to add more heat in the beginning or at the end of a long slow roast, it’s safe to put the pot insert into the oven up to 400°F.

Some other brands allow you to set the slow cooker’s temperature, but most don’t exceed 300°F.

What are precautions to take when you put slow cooker pot in oven?

Although a slow cooker pot is oven-safe, there are some precautions you should take to maintain safety.

  • Always follow the recommended oven-safe temperatures. Do not exceed 400°F.
  • Use potholders and two hands when moving the insert to and from the oven.
  • Don’t overfill the Crock-Pot.
  • Avoid drastic temperature changes. Don’t put a cold insert (say, from the refrigerator) directly into a hot oven. Likewise, let the stoneware completely cool before placing it into the fridge.

How to convert slow cooking time into oven cooking time?

The low setting on a slow cooker is generally 190 degrees Fahrenheit and the high setting usually sits at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this may vary with different models, but these are general guidelines to help you convert the cooking time from slow cooker to oven.

It is important to understand the difference between stove top cooking temperature, oven cooking temperature and Crock-Pot temperature. A simmer on the stove top is typically around 209 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slow cookers take seven to eight hours on low to reach simmer and three to four hours on high. Cooking in the oven or on the stove top will take significantly less time.

If you don’t have eight hours to spare or don’t want to leave your oven or stove top on for an extended period of time, it is possible to convert the high slow cooker times to low to shorten the time until your food is done.

What are the advantages on cooking with a slow cooker?

Different types of dishes do well exclusively in a slow cooker or oven, and some can taste delicious with either type of cooking. The advantages of using a slow cooker may come down to space and hands-off time.

Using a slow cooker allows you to free up your oven space for other foods, such as desserts or breads. The slow cooker can cook while you are not at home, whereas you must be home when an oven is on in the house.

The slow cooker may also come in handy during the summer when you crave that slow cooked flavor, but you don’t want to heat up your house with the oven.

As a result of the long, low-temperature cooking, slow cookers help tenderize less-expensive cuts of meat. A slow cooker brings out the flavor in foods.

A wide variety of foods can be cooked in a slow cooker, including one pot meals, soups, stews and casseroles. A slow cooker uses less electricity than an oven.

What are the advantages on cooking in an oven?

One of the biggest advantages of using the oven, is time saved for some dishes. In addition, when using a Dutch oven, it is possible to sear off meats on the stove top, transfer directly to the oven, and cover to seal in the moisture.

Most slow cookers do not have the ability to sear meats, which helps lock in the flavor. Baked foods have certain advantages that may not be found with meals prepared by other methods. Here are some of these benefits:

  1. Low in fat

    Baked foods are considered healthy because of their low-fat content. The food only requires a little amount of oil to jump start the baking process. Since baking occurs in a closed environment, no heat is lost.

    This heat helps to burn the natural fat inside the food, releasing most of it by the time the food is cooked. Sometimes, no oil is required in baking at all. You can substitute apple sauce for oil when baking cookies and cake.
  2. More nutrients

    Since minerals and some vitamins are water-soluble. They can be lost through boiling as they leech into the water. Baking on the other hand uses dry heat thus preserving these minerals and vitamins like vitamins B and C.
    Also, baking is advantageous to frying because it uses very little oil.

    Baking hence preserves the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K which would otherwise leech into the cooking oil when frying. As a result, baked foods are more nutritious.
  3. Management of weight

    When food is deep fried, oil is absorbed into the food. When ingested, deep fried food increases both fat and calorific content in the body, hence contributing to weight gain and obesity.

    As already mentioned, baking requires little to no oil and releases most of the natural fat in the food. As a consumer of baked foods, you are guaranteed to ingest less oil lowering the risk of fat deposition in your body is very low. Thus, you can count on baked foods to slow down the addition of weight and prevent obesity.
  4. Appetizing

    Studies have linked food appearance to the level of appetite. If food stimulates your senses, you eat more of it. Baked foods are very appealing to both your eyes and your mouth.

How To Make Stew In Slow Cooker? Check This Out!

Stews are among the easiest of all slow cooker recipes. Slow cookers are great for cooking stew because they allow the meat, vegetables and broth to simmer gently, so there is very little evaporation.

The simmering process breaks down the connective tissue in the meat, making it tender and easy to digest, and gives the stew a rich, complex flavor.

Making stew in slow cooker is quite easy and convenient way to make delicious stew. The slow cooker sets and forget method of cooking allows you to leave the house and come back to a ready meal. 

Stew is a really easy meal to make in a slow cooker. You don’t have to worry about anything burning or overcooking. Just throw your ingredients in the slow cooker and go about your day. That’s one of the best things about slow cooker meals—you can do other things while they are cooking and not worry that food will get overcooked.

Slow cooker meals are so popular right now with good reason. We have less time with school and holidays and the weather is so cold we all want food that is hearty and comforting.

It will cook all day while you’re gone and when you get home you have the most amazing smell going through your kitchen. 

Traditional beef stew is basically tender beef simmered in beef broth with potatoes, fresh herbs and a variety of veggies like carrots, celery & onion. We’re jazzing this beef stew recipe up with dry red wine and Worcestershire sauce for extra delicious flavor.

What is stewing?

On a cold, damp day, few things are more pleasing than a rich and steaming bowl of stew. But, what exactly is “stew”? Stew is not only the name of a dish, but it is also its cooking method.

Stewing is the process of cooking ingredients slowly in a flavorful simmering liquid in a closed container which obviously requires a leak-proof vessel for cooking. Cooking by boiling has occurred for literally tens of thousands of years. In fact, primitive tribes are thought to have used conch or turtle shells to boil water.

The development of pottery some 10,000 years ago was the impetus for the development of several dishes named for the container used to prepare them including (but not limited to) tagines, casseroles, and stews.

In a stew, the meat is generally cut into smaller pieces rather than left whole and in a braise, the liquid might only come halfway up the sides of the meat whereas the meat is immersed in cooking liquid when stewed.

The general method of preparing a stew is to sear meat on all sides in a little oil in a Dutch oven (or whatever pan you’ll be stewing in) until deep brown and then setting the meat aside.

In the same pan, chopped mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) or trinity (onions, celery and green pepper) are cooked until golden brown. Dried herbs and spices are added at this point. The pan is deglazed with liquid (stock, water, wine, beer, etc.)

The meat is added back to the pan and liquid is added to cover the meat, and bring it to a simmer. Frequently, a starchy ingredient is added to thicken the stew before serving.
Examples of these include potatoes, beans, corn, and rice, or in the case of gumbo and burgoo, fresh cut okra.

What are the types of stewing?

Types of stews exist all over the world which are referred to by a variety of names: French Cassoulet, Italian Cioppino, Beef Bourguignon, Pot au Feu, Kentucky’s burgoo, Louisiana’s gumbo, and even Chili con Carne. While stewing is easily confused with braising, there are a few distinctions between the two.

In a stew, the meat is generally cut into smaller pieces rather than left whole and in a braise, the liquid might only come halfway up the sides of the meat whereas the meat is immersed in cooking liquid when stewed.

What ingredients you will need in making a slow cooker beef stew?

This easy slow cooker beef stew recipe is filled with savory flavors, hearty potatoes and veggies to make it filling and delicious. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Beef chuck: you’ll need about 3 pounds of beef chuck, which will end up about 2 1/2 pounds once you trim the excess fat off.
  • Beef broth: you can use beef broth or beef bone broth in this recipe.
  • Dry red wine: my recommendations are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. If you don’t to use red wine, you can feel free to use more beef broth.
  • Tomato paste: you’ll use some tomato paste to help thicken the broth and to give it a nice tang of sweetness.
  • Worcestershire: the wonderful addition of worcestershire gives this beef stew recipe an incredible savory umami flavor.
  • Balsamic vinegar: helps to give the beef stew a little tang and sweetness.
  • Fresh herbs: both garlic and thyme are used!
  • Vegetables: onions, carrots, potatoes and peas are forever my favorite.
  • Flour: this helps to thicken the stew once it’s done. You can use regular, whole wheat or gluten free all purpose flour.

What are the steps in making a slow cooker beef stew?

Making this slow cooker beef stew is easier than you think!

  1. Prepare your beef. First, you’ll need to trim the beef of excess fat. After that you’ll saute the beef in a skillet until seared (you don’t need to cook it all the way); browning the meat just helps to create additional flavor so please don’t skip it.
  2. Add the liquids. Pour your beef broth, dry red wine, tomato paste, worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper into the bowl of your slow cooker. Stir together with the beef until combined.
  3. Veg it up. Next stir in the garlic, onion, carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. The longer it cooks, the better and more tender the stew will be.
  4. Thicken it. Once the stew is done, you’ll add in the flour and the peas and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes until the stew thickens up. If it’s too thick for your liking, just add a splash of beef broth!
  5. Enjoy! Serve with cornbread, crackers or biscuits. Enjoy a big bowl of deliciousness.

What are some tips in making a slow cooker beef stew?

  • Sear your beef beforehand. 
    This is important! Browning the beef in a skillet beforehand will bring out even more flavor.
  • Cook it on low. 
    While many slow cooker recipes can be made on high for 3-4 hours, I highly recommend cooking this beef stew on low for the full 7-8 hours. This will ensure that the beef gets nice and tender.
  • Thicken your stew properly. 
    When it’s time to add your flour to thicken the beef stew, remove 1 cup of beef broth from the slow cooker and add it to a bowl. You’ll then whisk in ¼ cup flour until there aren’t any lumps, add back to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Be sure you don’t add flour straight to the slow cooker as it will become lumpy.

What kind of meat is best for beef stew?

For beef stew, there is no better cut of meat than chuck! Buy a thick chuck pot roast and cut it into chunks for the best tender flavor.

Chuck roast is a tougher cut of meat than sirloin or rib roast which really benefits from pressure cooking or slow cooking making the best beef stew! Pressure cooking or slow cooking breaks down tough fibers so the beef pieces become melt in your mouth tender.

Stew Meat is also a good option for the busy and budget-conscious cook. As beef stew meat tends to be a mixture of bits and pieces some bits can have a different texture when stewing.

What are the best cuts of meat for stew?

The following are some of the best cuts of beef for stewing, yielding meat that’s juicy and tender even after long cooking:


When I talk about the chuck here, though, I’m talking specifically about the meat from around the shoulder and not the arm or neck portions. It’s a relatively cheap cut, with good flavor and lots of connective tissue and fat, making it a very appealing choice for stews.

The downside is that chuck is made up of many different muscles, so you’re more likely to get irregular pieces—some leaner, some fattier, some tenderer, some tougher. Overall, it averages out in a good way.

Bone-in short rib

Short ribs come from a primal cut on the underside of the cow called the plate, not, as one might expect, from the rib primal. They are, in essence, the ribs right down where they get close to the belly.

They tend to be more expensive than chuck, and you have to consider that some of what you’re paying for is bone weight, but what they offer is a deep beefy flavor with a beautiful, even grain throughout.

Bohemian (Bottom Sirloin Flap)

This cut is a little harder to find unless you go to a good butcher. It comes from the sirloin, the part of the cow right in front of its hind legs. According to one butchery book I have, it used to be left attached to T-bone steaks (it made the steaks look like they had long, thin tails), but these days it’s sold separately.

A lot of sources recommend high, dry heat for the cut, like grilling, and indeed it’s delicious that way—meaty and buttery. But it turns out to work well as a stew meat, too. If I had to describe the taste and texture, it’s almost like the love child of a hanger steak and a short rib, tender enough but still with some chew.


Oxtails are, to my taste, one of the most delicious cuts to come from a cow—if not the most delicious. (It’s a toss-up between them and tongue for me; I can’t pick a favorite.) They pack more gelatin and fat than any other cut I can think of, and their flavor…oh boy, their flavor!

Each cross section of the tail has a bone in the center that’s filled with marrow. As they cook, rendered fat from the marrow seeps out, basting the meat and flavoring everything in amazing ways.

The downside, though, is that those bones make up a good deal of their weight, and they add quite a bit of labor, too: If you want a stew made from oxtails, be prepared to fish them all out of the sauce at the end, flake the meat off, and discard the bones before returning it to the pot.

The fact that you have to pull the meat from the bones also means you’re not likely to get nice little cubes of beef in the final stew; morsels and shreds are mostly what you’ll end up with.

Fatty brisket (“point” or “second cut”)

Brisket comes from the breast of a cow and is most often smoked for barbecue and cured to make pastrami. It’s divided into two parts: the leaner flat (or “first cut”) and fattier point (“second cut” or “deckle”).

The lean flat is far easier to find than the point, which is a shame because the point is far juicier and moister, thanks to all that fat in it. For stews, I’d steer clear of the flat, since it’ll end up tough and dry, which means that hard-to-find point is what you’d need.

One of the best things about brisket is how cheap it is—it cost less than the chuck. After a couple of hours in the stew pot, it was moist and had a pronounced beef tallow flavor, much more so than the other cuts due to its ample fat. The muscle fibers themselves are thick verging on ropy, which I didn’t love in a stew context.

Cross-cut shanks

This cut is best known for its use in osso buco, though it traditionally comes from veal in that dish. It’s a cross section of the cow’s legs, which is why you get that single big bone in the center.

Beef shanks aren’t usually cheap, and on top of that, you have to account for the fact that a good third of each piece is bone weight (though, as a bonus, you get to eat the marrow after!).

Some of the muscles in the shank have more visible threads of connective tissue than others; those lacking them can come out a little on the dry side after long cooking, though overall the meat is pleasantly moist.

Those thicker strands of connective tissue, though, require longer cooking than average—mine took about three hours of simmering to soften up.

What are few tips on stewing in a slow cooker?

  • Make sure you cut your items to the same size to ensure even cooking. If you are cooking small pieces of meat as well as vegetables, make sure they will all cook at the same time, which may mean the vegetables are cut to a larger size than the meat.
  • Searing the meat and vegetables and deglazing the pan are recommended as it will provide more flavor. 
  • Use a heavy gauge stockpot or cast iron pan with a tight cover.
  • Cooking temperatures are very low with stewing, usually keeping the liquid at a simmer (about 180-200°F).
  • The best test for doneness is using a fork to pull the meat or vegetables apart, if it comes apart easily with little resistance, it’s done.
  • Use at least one acidic liquid when stewing. Tomatoes, vinegar or wine help break down connective tissue and tenderize tougher meats.
  • Season your liquid with salt at the end only. The liquid will reduce and can lead to a very high concentration of salt at the end.

Make sure you use a tight-fitting lid and keep it on while stewing to prevent moisture and heat loss, which can impact cooking time.

Can You Dry Cook In A Slow Cooker? Read More.

While the slow cooker is usually used to cook food that needs a long time to cook, some recipes can be cooked quickly or even “dry” in the slow cooker. In this case, the food cooks in the cooker with nothing added to it. Some ingredients may be added during cooking, such as a liquid to cook rice, but the food will still cook without any added liquid.

Yes, you can dry cook in a slow cooker!

When dry cooking in slow cookers, you should use foods that already contain a considerable amount of natural liquid. The liquid creates the needed steam to cook the food.

I’ve already named some types of meat that can be dry cooked in a slow cooker. These meats have two things in common: they have lots of natural moisture and fat.

When dry cooking meat, you can also create steam by adding minimal amounts of liquids to it. These could be from the vinegar or the sauce used for marinating, a little beer or wine, or even a small amount of broth.

Root vegetables are also suitable for dry cooking in a pot.

The commonly dry cooked root vegetables are carrots, onions, and potatoes. All these contain enough liquid to form the steam for dry cooking.

What will happen if I use too much liquid in a slow cooker?

If you add too much liquid to a slow cooker, your food might be overcooked or have a bland taste.

If the food you’re cooking requires a limited amount of liquid, here are several ways you can pre-empt the dryness without adding too much liquid:

  • Defrost food before cooking. Frozen food accumulates extra liquid if it’s not tightly sealed during storage. The extra liquid will increase the intended amount during cooking.
  • Allow the frozen food to thaw before placing it in the slow cooker.
  • Cover meats and vegetables with flour. Dipping meat or high-fluid vegetables (georgettes, eggplants, etc.) in flour before placing them in the slow cooker will reduce the amount of liquid they release. Adding a little oil will also give the meat or vegetable a crispy taste similar to that of pan-cooked food.
  • Drain the liquid. If your food is cooked and you still have a lot of liquid in the slow cooker, remove the lid and cook on high until the extra liquid is gone. You can also drain the extra liquid manually and use it for cooking other foods.
  • Add a thickener. Thickening the liquid will redeem some of the lost taste. You can thicken the extra liquid with cornstarch or tapioca.
  • Adjust the seasoning. If you’re afraid that the extra liquid has watered down the flavor of your food, you can add a bit of seasoning to ensure to boost the taste.

Does meat need to submerge on liquid when drying?

It all depends on how you want your end product.

If you want your meat to break apart easily, don’t dry cook it in the pot. You will have to submerge your meat in liquid if you want it to be extra tender.

Leaner meats also need to be submerged in a liquid when prepared in a slow cooker. When cooked dry, they become tough and stringy, which defeats the tenderizing intent of simmering meat in a pot.

If you are using a dry meat recipe, dry cooking works perfectly. The only liquid you’ll need is that which creates the steam. Dry cooking fatty pieces give them a great flavor while keeping them moist.

In the past, many cooks have been burned by slow cooker recipes that call for too much liquid. When you add too much liquid, your food gets waterlogged and the result is bland and soggy. Not to mention that you may have to cook longer to get your food tender.  

That’s why it’s so important to keep your liquid to solids ratio in check. Slow cooker recipes typically call for liquid in ratios of 2 to 1, or 3 to 1. For 2 to 1, that means using 2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of dry ingredients.

What tips to remember when cooking in a slow cooker?

There are a few things to know about using a slow cooker, like how much liquid to use and when to lift the lid. If you’re not careful, any of the following 15 things could seriously wreck the perfect meal you had planned. Know what you should avoid so you can have a tasty hot meal ready when dinner rolls around.

  1. Don’t overfill or under fill the slow cooker.

    Perhaps second to a Dutch oven and a just-hot-enough oven, slow cookers are the ultimate braising machines.

    They cook up perfect pot roasts and brisket so tender you could eat it with a spoon. The key to getting that kind of result out of the machine is filling it with the right amount of food and liquid.
  2. Never start with frozen meat.

    While you can start with frozen meat when using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, the same doesn’t go for your slow cooker. Frozen meat should never be cooked in the slow cooker.

    Because slow cookers operate at a lower temperature, food is likely to be in the temperature danger zone (temperature range between 40 and 140°F) for too long when starting with frozen meat, which increases the risk of harmful bacteria.
  3. Don’t open the lid during cooking! 

    It’s mighty tempting to lift the lid to see what’s going on inside, or even to take a taste, but try to avoid this. Slow cookers work by trapping heat and cooking food over a long period of time. Every time you remove the lid, the slow cooker loses heat, and it takes a while to heat back up.
  4. Don’t add too much wine or liquor.

    Unlike cooking on the stove top or oven, where the heat is much higher and food often simmers without a lid, wine and liquor don’t boil down and reduce in a slow cooker. So instead of subtle wine undertones, you may end up with the harsh flavor of “raw” alcohol, which is far from appetizing.
  5. Don’t add dairy products too soon.

    Adding dairy products like milk, cheese, or sour cream too soon will cause them to curdle.
  6. Do not add herbs too soon.

    When food simmers for a long time, the flavors soften and mellow, and some herbs aren’t strong enough to survive to the end. Wait until the end of the cooking time to add soft herbs like parsley and chives.

    On the other hand, hearty herbs like rosemary or thyme can go in at the beginning and the flavor will carry through, though you may still want to add a bit more before serving, especially if the recipe has been cooking all day.
  7. Add enough flavorful ingredients. 

    We’ve already established that slow cooking mellows out flavors over time. This means that if you want a flavor to stay strong and carry through to the end, you need to add a little more of it than you normally would.

    If you’re cooking a dish with garlic, for example, put in more at the beginning or throughout if you want to taste the flavor at the end.
  8. You overcook vegetables.

    Few things wreck a dish like mushy, flavorless veggies. To avoid this, cut hearty vegetables like onions and carrots into bigger chunks than you normally would, and add delicate vegetables like spinach toward the end of the cooking time. Just leave them in there long enough to be heated through.
  9. You overcook the recipe.

    Many slow cooker recipes like roasts and soups can take eight or more hours to cook. (It’s called a “slow cooker” for a reason.) However, thicker recipes that don’t have a lot of liquid (such as casseroles or meatloaves) can burn on the edges after just a few hours. Save these dishes for your day off so you don’t come home to a burnt dinner.
  10. You add all the ingredients at once.

    If you throw a handful of ingredients in the slow cooker and come home several hours later expecting a ready-to-serve meal, you may be disappointed. Instead, think about layering the ingredients over time so you get a nice blend of textures and flavors.

    It can be as simple as adding ingredients at the very beginning and then topping off the recipe with a layer of ingredients at the end. It’s not adding a bunch of work or time, it’s being thoughtful about tasting before you serve. Things like herbs, nuts, seeds, and soft vegetables all make great last-minute additions.