23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do from 23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do

23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do

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23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nolan Williamson / CC BY 4.0

23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do

While we all love the simplicity that slow-cookers bring to our cooking life, we don’t all take advantage of every aspect of this multifaceted piece of kitchen equipment.

No one is saying that the classic slow-cooker soups and stews aren’t delicious dinner ideas, especially on cold winter days, but you can use your slow-cooker year round for canning, roasting, baking, and even Play-Doh-making

Apple Butter

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mattie Hagedorn / CC BY-SA 4.0

Apple Butter

You can make turning your surplus into sweet apple butter to enjoy all year simpler than ever by using your slow-cooker. It might take some time — almost 12 hours — but this slow-cooker apple butter is well worth the wait. The biggest challenge will be not lifting the lid early to sneak a taste.

Baked Potatoes

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Baked Potatoes

Want to come home to a warm, perfectly cooked baked potato? Simply prick your potatoes with a fork, rub with a little olive oil, season with salt, and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Then, place them in slow-cooker with the lid on for four to five hours on high or seven to eight hours on low. Your potatoes will be tender, hot, and ready for loading with butter, sour cream, and bacon.

Bread

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Bread

Thought your slow-cooker was only for soups and stews? Wrong. You can bake (sort of) with your slow-cooker. Try a simple quick bread to start, like this recipe for a Slow-Cooker Banana Bread. Once you have that down, you can try to make a yeast bread. Line your slow-cooker with parchment for ease of removing the bread, select your favorite bread recipe, and then cook in your slow-cooker on high. The internal temperature will be around 200 degrees F when done, which will take about two hours (some trial and error may be required depending on how hot your slow-cooker gets during cooking). 

Brownies

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Brownies

Simplify dessert with your slow-cooker. You can use this low and slow cooking machine to make ooey, gooey brownies that are never overcooked. Line the bottom of your slow-cooker with parchment, and the sides with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from drying out, spray well with baking spray, and pour your batter into the slow-cooker. Cover with the lid and cook for about two and a half hours. Then, remove the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

Cake

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Cake

Making cake in your slow-cooker is simple. Just be sure to prepare the slow-cooker so that your cake is easy to remove when ready. Make classics like this Slow-Cooker Chocolate Cake that is rich and dense, or try this Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Orange Cake, which is similar in texture to a coffee cake.

Candles

Candles

Your slow-cooker works for non-food pursuits as well. Set the ambiance at your next dinner party with candles made using your slow-cooker. Fill mason jars with solid wax flakes, and then place the jar in the slow-cooker. Add water to reach up the sides of the jars. The heat from the slow-cooker will gently melt the wax. You can add dye and essential oils for colored and scented candles. Finally, add a wick as the candles cool.

Candy

Candy

You can easily make fudge, candied nuts, and clusters using your slow-cooker. The gentle heat is ideal for melting chocolate because slow-cookers use dry, gentle heat that won’t burn the morsels as they melt. Add your nuts, chocolate, raisins, etc. to the slow-cooker, and gently melt the mixture. This could take several hours to finish. Then, ladle the chocolate into small candy/cupcake liners, and allow to harden.

Chicken Wings

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Chicken Wings

Thought you had to deep fry your wings for game day? You can use your slow-cooker for tender, never-dry chicken wings. Place your wings in your slow-cooker, and cover with your favorite wing sauce. Cook on high for two hours, and then reduce to low and cook for two more hours. Finally, just before serving, heat your oven to 400 degrees F, spread your wings out on greased baking sheets, and bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Serve with more wing sauce.

Cupcakes

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Cupcakes

Want to make cupcakes, but would rather not sit around waiting for the oven to buzz? Use your slow-cooker. You will need silicone cupcake molds; line each mold with a paper cupcake liner. Fill them three-quarters with your favorite cupcake batter. Place the molds into your slow-cooker, and fill with water, being careful not to get water in the molds. Then cook on high until set, about five-and-a-half hours. Frost and enjoy!

Dulce de Leche

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Dulce de Leche

Make a large batch of luxurious, creamy caramel sauce with this simple dulce de leche that you can make in your slow-cooker. Never worry about burning caramel again — this low and slow method might take longer, but it is foolproof.

Fondue

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Fondue

If you are like us, you hate paying for kitchen tools that you can only use once. Save on that fondue set by subbing in your slow-cooker. Melt your favorite chocolate or cheese on high, and then reduce the heat to keep your fondue warm and ready for dipping without worrying about regulating heat from burners.

Humidifier

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Humidifier

Fight your winter cold with this slow-cooker hack that turns your favorite kitchen device into a humidifier. Just fill your slow-cooker with water and vapor rub. Then, turn it on low with the lid off, and you will wake up feeling much clearer.

Infuse Oils

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Infuse Oils

Don’t waste money on expensive infused oils; make your own with your slow-cooker. This mess-free infusion method calls for immersing mason jars of oil and your favorite herbs and aromatics in warm water with your slow-cooker on low. In about eight to 10 hours your oils will be ready for use.

Jams

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Jams

Why slave over a hot stove to preserve your fruit when you could use your worry-free slow-cooker? Simply assemble your ingredients as your recipe calls for, and then add them to your slow-cooker. Cook on low for two hours. You may want to occasionally stir. Then, increase the heat to high and cook for an additional two to three hours, or until your jam reaches the desired consistency.

Party Mix

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Party Mix

Use your slow-cooker to make a delicious party mix, while you worry about other kitchen tasks or make a large batch of this Slow-Cooker Chex Mix for snacking all week long.

Play-Doh

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nolan Williamson / CC BY 4.0

Play-Doh

Make your favorite moldable putty for your kids (or yourself) to play with in your slow-cooker. All you need is a blend of flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, and oil. Cook for 30 minutes in your slow-cooker, then knead in food coloring, and you are ready to play.

Ribs

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Ribs

Barbecuing has never been as simple as it is with your slow-cooker. Make tender, fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs while you’re at work, sleeping, or running errands. Then, just pop them under the broiler to get that barbecued taste and charred appearance.

Risotto

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Risotto

Traditionally, risotto is made by cooking the Arborio rice, while slowly stirring in chicken stock to create a creamy consistency. Using your slow-cooker you can free-up your hands, and cut back on the labor required for this classic Italian dish. This technique requires that you start the cooking in the skillet, and then add the stock all at once in a six-quart slow-cooker for the last two hours of cooking.

Roasted Peppers

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Roasted Peppers

You can create that same roasted taste and tender texture in your slow-cooker as you do when you actually roasted red peppers over a flame. Just rub the inside of your slow-cooker with olive oil. Halve and seed your bell peppers, and place them in the oiled slow-cooker. Cook on high for three hours, and then remove the lid and allow the peppers to cool. Once cool enough to handle, the skins should easily peel off. 

Stock

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Stock

Nothing improves the flavor of soup more than using homemade stock. However, making stock can be time consuming. Instead of tending to a pot, while you stock simmers away, use your slow-cooker. Combine your bones, aromatics, vegetables, and water, and then cook on high for about six hours for a rich, flavorful stock.

Warm Drinks

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Warm Drinks

What better way to keep warm drinks warm during a party or cold winter day than in your slow-cooker? Try our version of hot buttered rum or a less than traditional warm lemonade.

Whole Chicken

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Whole Chicken

If you shy away from cooking a whole chicken because you just don’t have the time, then slow-cooker whole roasted chicken is the answer you’ve been looking for your whole cooking life. Just place all the ingredients for this Slow-Cooker Roast Chicken in the pot, and cook on low for eight hours while you work or run errands. 

Yogurt

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Yogurt

Think making yogurt involves a churning mechanism and an old Amish woman? Think again. Your slow-cooker and two ingredients are all it takes. Yup, two ingredients: milk and what’s left of the yogurt you bought at the grocery store. You’ve just saved yourself a ton of money for the week. Be sure to reserve a half of a cup of this batch to use as a starter next time. — Fabiana Santana 

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23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do

23 Things You Didn’t Know Your Slow-Cooker Could Do