Though cooking potatoes in a slow cooker is pretty easy, it is more than just putting raw potatoes on the cooker over a period.
It’s not what you do without a prior understanding of how to get it done without any problems. Hence, we’ve chosen to discuss everything you should know about cooking potatoes on slow cooker.
At the end of this write-up, you will know how long it takes potatoes to soft in the crockpot, how to bake potatoes on a slow cooker, how to cook potatoes without any stress among others. I’m sure you are ready for the adventure, so let’s get down to business!
Can you put raw potatoes in a slow cooker?
There’s nothing bad putting raw potatoes in a slow cooker as they fall on the list of supported foods. You might cook them in a soup or stew, but there are no adverse effects if you decide to wrap them separately.
Will potatoes turn to mush in a slow cooker?
No. Potatoes don’t turn to mush in a slow cooker because they have the tenacity to withstand the long cooking process.
Listed as hearty vegetables; onions, potatoes, carrots, and winter squash all have what it takes to stay for hours in a slow cooker without being mushy or overcooked.
However, the same can’t be said about delicate veggies like peas, asparagus, corn, and leafy greens. They don’t have the strength to maintain a healthy state if they stay longer than expected in a slow cooker.
Do potatoes need to be covered in a slow cooker?
Yes, cover your potatoes while cooking to aid the cooking process. First, coat the slow cooker with non-stick spray before placing the potatoes in the pot.
Add the ingredients including salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, garlic, oregano, basil, and and other recipes. Stir or toss gently so they can mix properly.
The last step involves covering the potatoes with foil paper or other heat-retaining materials. Turn on the slow cooker and choose an option between low heat and high heat settings.
With low heat, the cooking process would last for 4-5 hours, while it would take 2-3 hours if you choose a high setting.
How long does it take potatoes to get soft in a crockpot?
It is believed that cooking potatoes in a slow cooker shouldn’t take more than 3-4 hours. However, some factors must be considered before concluding on the hours it would take for potatoes to get soft in a crockpot. They include:
1. The size of your Potatoes: This is the first factor to consider before cooking your potatoes. Big potatoes tend to stay longer than the ones cut into small sizes.
It takes a slow cooker close to four or five hours to soften big potatoes while it requires only three hours to cook chopped or sliced potatoes.
2. The chosen setting: Here is another factor determining how long it would take a slow cooker to soften potatoes. Most slow cookers feature two settings, including high and low heat.
Meanwhile, some models boast three setting options include high, low heat, and medium temperature/heat.
Choosing a high setting means your large/big potatoes will soften between 4-5 hours, while cut or chopped potatoes will consume only 2-3 hours. This is because the high setting usually cooks around 212°F.
As for the low heat setting which is slightly above 200°F, large potatoes would take close 8-10 hours to get soft in a crockpot while cut or sliced potatoes will consume close to 4 or 5 hours.
Meanwhile, you might have to wait for 6-7 hours before your chopped potatoes get soft of you choose the medium heat setting which is somewhere between 200 and 212°F.
3. The operating power of the cooker: The crockpot’s operating power plays a massive role in determining how long it would take potatoes to get soft.
Your potatoes won’t stay long in the crockpot if your appliance features a powerful and intense heat supply. You might be wondering “What then is the importance of the high and low heat setting”?
The high and low settings don’t have much influence on the level of heat supplied by the appliance. Instead, they put you in control of the cooking process by letting you determine the length of time you want it done.
High setting means a shorter cooking period, while low heat settings mean a longer cooking period. Hence, you must check an appliance’s operating power before settling for one.
How To Cook Potatoes In Slow Cooker
Having discussed the possible hours it will take potatoes to get soft in a crockpot, below is a detailed step-by-step guideline on how to cook large potatoes in a slow cooker:
- Peel Potatoes back so you can have neat and healthy food.
- Wash the potatoes and dry them using a paper towel before putting them into the slow cooker.
- Peirce or prick the potatoes with a fork before putting them in the slow cooker. This ensures the steam is released easily during the cooking process.
- Cover the potatoes with olive oil. Though this step isn’t compulsory, it will give the potatoes a crisp texture and appearance.
- Wrap the potatoes in a TIN foil paper. As much as it’s advisable to wrap them individually, there’s nothing bad if you wrap them together in a wide foil. Note that there is a difference between tin foil and aluminum foil. Tin foil is advisable in this case.
- It’s time to put your potatoes in the slow cooker, and cover the lid firmly. Turn on the cooking appliance and choose your preferred setting.
- Cook for 4 to 5 hours or 8 to 10 hours depending on the settings, either low heat or high heat.
- Unwrap the baked cake from the foil and serve as soon as possible.
Why are my potatoes not getting soft?
Potatoes don’t soft if you cook them in a dish that contains high acidic contents, like wine. Potatoes cell walls have pectin which will form a very stable and formidable chain when they contact wine or other acids.
This pectin chain is responsible for the unnecessary hardness, meaning the potato will remain hard if your slow cooker is contaminated with wine or other acids. Luckily, there is a tested and trusted remedy. All you need to do involves adding salt to the potatoes to dissolve the pectin chain.
Don’t wait to experience the ugly cooking situation, endeavor to add a little salt to your potatoes before cooking them. It will serve as one of the ingredients and also dissolve all possible pectin chains.
How To Choose a Slow Cooker
There are numerous slow cookers in the market, thereby making it difficult to know the best one to buy. We’ve compiled a list of things and features to consider while buying a new slow cooker. See them below:
1. Heating method: We advise you to go for a product that distributes heat evenly, not the one from the bottom or top alone.
2. Lid material: You should choose slow cookers with glass lids, which ensures you can see what you are cooking without opening the lid. Try all you can to desist from opaque lids.
3. Crock Construction: There are ceramic, metal, and porcelain crocks. As much as they all conduct heat quite well, choose one that is easy to remove and clean.
4. Shape: Standard slow cookers are always round or oval. We can’t say which one is better among both shapes as it depends on what you intend to cook in it.
Oval shape slow cooker is suitable for whole chickens, brisket, and ribs. Meanwhile, the shape isn’t a problem if you intend to use it for beans and stews.
5. Size: No size is superior to the other. Nonetheless, ensure you get a slow cooker that your food will occupy at least half of it.
6. Warming function: As mentioned earlier, many Slow cookers have both high- and low-temperature cooking settings. Only a few have the warming setting which ensures your food remains warm.
Though it might be more expensive than the rest, go for this type of slow cooker.
Best Slow Cooker
Considering the features listed above, we can confidently admit that the best slow cookers right now are 6-Qt. Slow Cooker with Standard Lid, Digital Sauté Slow Cooker, 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker, 7-Quart Gourmet Slow Cooker
Do baked potatoes cook faster with or without foil?
Baked potatoes cook faster without foil since it takes more time to heat the aluminum foil. Apart from the speed, cooking without a foil is more economical and more delicious. Foil gives a “boiled” taste and texture as it holds moisture for a long time.
What Is A Slow Cooker
Also known as a crockpot, a slow cooker is an electronic appliance operating at a very low temperature or heat.
As a result of its low temperature and pressure, a slow cooker consumes a long time to cook your food making it a direct opposite to a pressure pot, which cooks with intense pressure and heat.
The countertop plug-in electronic cooking appliance takes at least four hours to cook soft foods or stews. This means you can cook your meal without paying swift attention because the appliance won’t burn your food anytime soon.
Benefits of Slow cooker
Cooking with a slow cooker has so many advantages. It gives you the chance to focus on other things while cooking. Other benefits of slow cookers are discussed below:
1. Slow Cookers Ensures Hands-Off Cooking
You are expected to pay some level of attention while cooking to prevent your food from burning, but things are different with a slow cooker.
With a slow cooker, you can cook your meal with zero concentration. Put the food in the pot, add all ingredients to the food and leave them to cook while you do other things.
2. Slow Cookers Aids The Flavor In Recipes
Cooking on slow cookers is one of the best ways to bring out the real flavor in recipes. The ingredients have enough time and space to be distributed to every portion of the appliance since they are cooked at low temperatures.
Apart from the aroma, meals prepared on a slow cooker tend to be more delicious and attractive than ones prepared in a pressure pot.
3. Slow Cookers Are Known As Good Tenderizers
Have you wondered why a slow cooker is used for preparing venison dishes? It’s because it tenderizes perfectly and easily.
Meats stay longer in the pot while the low temperature ensures it becomes soft without losing taste and spiciness.
With a slow cooker, you can be sure that your lean beef, roast, or chuck steaks will become soft and tender without any further cut.
4. Slow Cookers Are Easy To Use
A slow cooker is known for its user-friendly attribute. first-time users won’t find it difficult to operate as long as they read the user’s manual.
It’s pretty easy to use. All you need to do is to select your preferred burning setting or temperature, put the raw food and the ingredients into the pot. Then, turn it on and wait till your meal is done.
5. Slow Cookers Guarantees Healthy and Secured Cooking Experience
Cooking at a low temperature preserves the recipes’ nutritional value as it allows them to cook with ease. In the same vein, the slow cooker doesn’t emit chemical substances that are potentially harmful to the body.
With the slow cooker, there are slim chances of overcooking your meal as you won’t boil or fry it.
6. Slow Cookers are Economical
Unlike the standard electric oven, slow cookers consume less energy, thereby saving you from spending much on power. Apart from its reduced energy consumption rate, slow cooker are relatively cheap and affordable.
7. Low maintenance Costs
Slow cookers are easy to clean because food fragments don’t stick to their sides or bottom. The crockpot is known for its low maintenance costs; which explains why many working-class and busy individuals love having it in their respective homes.
How To Use Slow Cookers
Cooking with a slow cooker is one of the easiest tasks to achieve, thanks to the appliance’s easy-to-use feature. Meanwhile, ensuring the following tips guarantee a perfect cooking experience without abusing the appliance.
• Avoid removing the lid too frequently while cooking to prevent heat loss.
• Ensure the inner pot is at room temperature before cooking. Patiently wait for the slow cooker’s dish to warm up — if you just bring it out from the fridge — before you turn on the cooking appliance.
• Slow cookers vary in sizes and shapes; therefore, you should read the user’s manual for crucial info on temperatures and cooking times
• Endeavor to rinse your rice and pasta well before cooking to reduce starch level. Your cooked rice won’t look good if you didn’t get rid of the starch before putting it in the cooker.
• Ensure you brown your meat with sufficient flavor before cooking. This will ensure the flavor and other ingredients get to every portion of the meat for a better and tasty meal.
Pros and Cons Of Slow Cooker
As discussed already, the pros of a slow cooker include low maintenance costs, easy-to-use features, it requires little attention, it guarantees delicious meals and it saves energy.
The cons of a slow cooker are discussed extensively below:
• A Slow Cooker Isn’t Fast
You can’t depend on a slow cooker if you are in urgent need of food. The electronic appliance requires not less than three hours to get the food done, which is quite a long time for a hungry person.
• Slow Cookers Aren’t Suitable For All Recipes
As much as slow gas brings out the flavor in recipes, it isn’t suitable for all recipes. They aren’t ideal for meals with different ingredients because one ingredient might end up dominating the other.
• It’s Hard To Rectify errors While Cooking
Slow cooker requires you to be an error-free chef if you must end up with tasty meals. This is because it doesn’t give room to rectify your errors while cooking.
Users are advised to take their time to mix all ingredients in the right and accurate proportion before turning on the appliance.
• Condensation Might Affect The Food’s Spiciness and Overall Quality
Though this doesn’t happen too often, the overall quality of the food might be affected by condensation. The steam trapped by the closed lid condenses to add more water to the meal, thereby reducing the taste and quality.
It’s therefore advisable you reduce ¼ to ½ cup of water from what the recipe requires. Alternatively, ensure your cooked food doesn’t stay too long in the cooker before dishing it.
What Is a Slow Cooker Used For
Slow cookers are mostly deployed for liquid-based dishes such as stews, casseroles, curries, soups, grains, dhal, and yogurt.
However, we advise you don’t cook white rice in a slow cooker as it will become mushy by the time it’s done. The only exception is that you keep a close watch on the rice to know when it’s done.