When it comes to making dinner easy, the crockpot reigns supreme. Once a laughable appliance that seemed stuck in the ’70s, slow cookers are cool again. The Washington Post reported sales have skyrocketed in recent years, and growing numbers of those consumers are men. Americans have discovered it’s pretty hard to beat the convenience of throwing a bunch of ingredients together, tossing a lid on it, and hitting a button as they run out the door. The smell of dinner as soon as you get home doesn’t hurt either.
As tempting as it might be to try to adapt every recipe into a crockpot-friendly version, there are certain things that just don’t work well. Delicate foods and some starches will always do better with less time-intensive cooking methods. Instead of suffering through the crockpot mistakes alone, we’ve put together a guide to help you steer clear of some disastrous dinners.
Though it takes around 20 minutes to cook, longer if you include extra time to let it steam, rice isn’t something that benefits from more cooking. Better Homes and Gardens explained there are a couple of problems with trying to cook rice in the crockpot: brittle rice around the edges and undercooked grains in the center. A simple stovetop method is best. Start it as soon as you get home, and it will be ready in no time.
For soup recipes that call for the starch, you can add it in near the end of the cooking time. One Dish Dinners suggests adding the grains with 2 hours to go, but that isn’t really practical for busy days. Using sturdier grains like barley or farro is a better choice.