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Fast Life, Slow Cooking - Crockpot 101

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Do you need meals that you can prep and clean up in minutes that will satisfy the whole family AND help you to your fat loss goals!? ...Yup, me too! I have tried a bunch of meals in my Crockpot over the years, some good, some bad and some totally burnt and ugly! I am pumped to be sharing my TOP 3 Recipes with you in a special EMAIL BASED Workshop, Fast Life, Slow Cooking with Jill Ortiz! JOIN HERE if you haven't already and in ALL email folders for my daily emails!

Want to Buy a Slow Cooker?

Ok, so my Rival Crockpot is somewhere between 15 and 20 years old, so I started doing some research on new ones, and figured I would share this Buyer's Guide List of the Top 10 Slow Cookers of 2021 with you! Let me know which one you get! My favorites are as follows:

  1. Hamilton Beach 33473 $54.99 - 7 quarts capacity, warm/low/high heat settings, stoneware with glass lid, exclusively for slow cooking, and auto-adjust temperature when the timer finishes.

  2. Cuisinart MSC-600 $154.99 - 6 quarts capacity, cooking temperatures up to 400 degrees, stainless steel body, nonstick inner pot, glass lid, 3-in-1 multi-use cooker, and a 24-hour programmable timer.

  3. Mueller UltraPot 6Q $109.97 - 6 quarts capacity, range of temperature from warm to 400 degrees, stainless steel exterior and nonstick interior pan, 10-in-1 multicooker, slow cooker, crockpot, and more.

  4. Crock-pot 5-in-1 Multi-cooker $164.99 - 6 quarts capacity, range of temperature from 150 degrees - 450 degrees, stainless steel body, nonstick inner pot, glass lid, 5-in-1 multicooker, and travel bag.

  5. Instant Pot 6 QT 7-in-1 $89.00-$99.95 - 6 quarts capacity, temperature range between 175-215 degrees, made of stainless steel, 7-in-1 slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and lid-lock prevents opening while pressurized or moving.

  6. Instant Pot LUX60 $134.99-$248.99 - 6 quarts capacity, 3 temperature settings, stainless steel body and inner pot, plastic lid, 6-in-1 multicooker, and clip-on-lid.

  7. Instant Pot Duo Nova $38.68-$198.00 - 6 quarts capacity, range of temperature not indicated, stainless steel pot, 7-in-1- multi-use cooker, and easy-grip handles.

  8. Crockpot SCCPVL600-R $34.16-$83.17 - 6 quarts capacity, warm/low/high settings, stoneware, glass lid, exclusively for slow cooking, and portable with locking lid.

  9. Hamilton Beach 3 QT Slow Cooker $29.99-$59.99 - 3 quarts capacity, warm/low/high temperatures, stoneware, glass lid, dishwasher safe, exclusively for slow cooking, and oval shape reduces countertop footprint.

  10. Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Portable Slow Cooker $64.99 - 6 quarts capacity, 2 heat settings, stoneware, glass lid, exclusively for slow cooking, and lid lock to secure lid while cooking or traveling.

I hope this helped narrow down the overwhelming amount of selections and aid in your search for the SIMPLEST way of cooking.

So... You get a Slow Cooker....Now What! Um....don't burn the food! Check out this List of Slow Cooker Do's and Don'ts

Source: Woman's Day Magazine


1. Brown large cuts of meat before adding them to your cooker to ensure they reach food-safety temperature standards.

2. Gently wash your cooker's insert with hot soapy water so it's completely clean before using it. And allow the insert to cool completely after cooking before cleaning and storing it.

3. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator overnight before adding them to your slow cooker. Skipping this step will increase the time necessary for food to reach a safe temperature. Improperly thawed food makes slow cooked dishes cook unevenly.

4. Place the foods that take longer to cook on the bottom of the cooker insert, then arrange the other solid ingredients on top, spreading them as evenly as possible so they cook at about the same time. Pour in liquid ingredients last.

5. Spraying the cooker insert with nonstick cooking spray before filling it will make cleanup much quicker and easier.

6. When your recipe is finished, be sure to turn off and unplug the slow cooker before you remove the finished dish. Doing so prevents the base unit from remaining heated after your recipe is complete.

7. Add the more tender ingredients, such as peas, zucchini, fish and mushrooms during the last half hour to one hour of cooking. This allows them to impart their flavors without becoming mushy due to overcooking.

8. Read the recipe you're using carefully—it will usually tell you at what point you should test the food for doneness. And don't forget to wear oven mitts when you do—both the lid and the cooker insert can get very hot!


1. Using abrasive sponges and cleansers to clean the cooker insert will scratch and damage it.

2. Don't remove the cover of your slow cooker during cooking unless the recipe says to. Doing so will cause the loss of valuable heat.

3. Never reheat leftovers in your slow cooker. It won't reach a high enough temperature in time to meet food safety standards. Use the microwave instead.

4. Don't put the cooker insert over direct heat, such as a gas or electric burner. Extreme or sudden temperature changes can cause breakage. For the same reason, you shouldn't use the insert in the oven or put it in the freezer.

5. Overfilling your slow cooker can be dangerous. Halfway to two-thirds full is the ideal fill quotient. It ensures optimal cooking.

6. Don't add dairy products until the last half hour to one hour of cooking time. When cooked for too long or at too high temperatures, dairy products tend to curdle and separate.

7. Never store leftovers in your slow cooker insert. Always transfer leftovers to separate containers or ziptop bags and either refrigerate or freeze them.

8. Slow cookers should not be placed near an open window or in the path of a draft. This interferes with their ability to reach the correct cooking temperature.

9. Preheating your slow cooker isn't necessary unless the recipe you're using specifies doing so.

10. Don't stir food in the cooker unless the recipe instructions say to. One of the many advantages of slow cooking is that it keeps foods from sticking or bubbling over, making stirring unnecessary.

So ya ready to Rock Out with Your Crock Out Now!?

You should feel pretty well equipped! Now ya just gotta get cooking with my faves! Check out my cooking demos and let's get cooking!

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