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Crock Pot ® Slow Cooker FAQ

Can I prepare the food in the stoneware and place it in the refrigerator the night before I want to cook?
Will the low cooking temperatures allow bacteria to grow?
Can I reheat food in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Why do you recommend boiling dry beans before cooking them in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Why are my potatoes/vegetables still hard at the end of the recommended cooking time?
What size slow cooker should I purchase?
Can I cook pasta in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Can I cook frozen meat in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Can I use the stoneware on my stove top burner?
Can I use foil or baking bags in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
My favorite recipe calls for raw rice, but it never gets done when cooking it in the slow cooker.
Is it necessary to brown meat before cooking in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Can Rival's Crock-Pot ® Slow Cookers be used while unattended?
Is it necessary to open the lid and stir the ingredients while cooking?
Usually when my recipe is done cooking it is very watery, what can I do to thicken the sauce?
When baking desserts or breads do I need any special inserts or pans?
What modifications can I make to recipes when using fish or shellfish?
What temperature does the low setting and high setting reach?
Are there special directions to follow when cooking these types of meats?
How do I know when meats are done?
How do fresh milk products hold up in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker? Should I put them at the end of the recipe?
My recipes always turn out too liquid, how can I prevent this?

Can I prepare the food in the stoneware and place it in the refrigerator the night before I want to cook?
No. The slow heat transfer of the stoneware will prevent food from reaching appropriate temperature within a reasonable time.

Will the low cooking temperatures allow bacteria to grow?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bacteria in food is killed at a temperature of 165° F. We do extensive testing to ensure that food cooked in a Crock Pot ® Slow Cooker reaches a temperature greater than 165°F.  It is important to follow the recommended cooking times and to keep the cover on during cooking.

Can I reheat food in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Based on extensive testing and consumer feedback, we do not recommend reheating food in the slow cooker. Because of the lengthy cook times necessary for slow cooking, not all foods will reheat to produce the same quality as when first prepared.

Why do you recommend boiling dry beans before cooking them in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
The proper softening of beans can depend on the age and moisture content of the beans and the hardness of water used. Certain ingredients such as tomatoes and sugar can cause hardening of beans and make it very difficult to completely soften them in the slow cooker. We have found through our testing that the most satisfactory results are achieved by cooking beans in water on the stove top until tender and then adding them your slow cooker recipe.

Why are my potatoes/vegetables still hard at the end of the recommended cooking time?
A: An unusual characteristic of slow cooking is that vegetables, especially root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, actually take longer to cook than meats. Be sure to peel and cut them into small pieces. Place vegetables near the bottom and sides where they will be covered by liquid.

What size slow cooker should I purchase?
This will depend partially on the number of people you are cooking for and partially on the type of cooking you are doing. For singles a 1 - 1 1/2 quart is deal. For a couple a 2 1/2- 3 1/2 quart is perfect. For a family of 3 - 4 choose a 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 quart. For families of 4 - 5 choose a 4 1/2 - 5 quart unit. For feeding 6 or more people a 6 quart is the best option. Of course a larger size is a great choice if you want to have leftovers to freeze and serve later. Most roasts also fit better in a 5 quart or larger unit.

Can I cook pasta in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Pasta is best cooked in rapidly boiling water. It is best to cook pasta just until tender and then add to the stoneware during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Can I cook frozen meat in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?

Yes, but be sure to add at least 1 cup of warm liquid to the stoneware first. Do not preheat the unit. Cook recipes containing frozen meats an additional 4 to 6 hours on Low or 2 hours on High.

Can I use the stoneware on my stove top burner?
No. The stoneware cannot withstand the extreme direct heat and will break if placed on a stove top burner. You may use the stoneware in the microwave or oven.  However, the tempered glass lid is not suitable for microwave or oven use.

Can I use foil or baking bags in my Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
Yes. Some recipes call for wrapping meat and other ingredients in foil and then placing in the stoneware for cooking. It is also fine to place ingredients in baking bags, place in stoneware, cook and then lift the bag our of the stoneware for serving. Rival offers cooking liners through our accessory sales.

My favorite recipe calls for raw rice, but it never gets done when cooking it in the slow cooker.
For best results when cooking raw rice in the slow cooker, always use long grain converted rice. If it still doesn't seem to be getting done, try adding an extra 1 to 1 1/2 cups of liquid per cup of rice.

Is it necessary to brown meat before cooking in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker?
It is seldom necessary to brown meat before cooking in the slow cooker. Some people prefer the appearance of meat if it is browned first. Very fatty meats such as rib should be browned to remove some of the fat and then added to the slow cooker.

Can Rival's Crock-Pot ® Slow Cookers be used while unattended?
Yes, they are very safe. The Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker operates at a low wattage. Depending on the model, the wattages vary from 75 to 300 watts. This is one of the major benefits of using them, put in your ingredients-go to work and come home to a "home cooked" dinner.

Is it necessary to open the lid and stir the ingredients while cooking?
No, in most cases it is not necessary to open the lid and stir. In fact, it is better not to open the lid as you can lose valuable heat when you remove the lid, causing the cooking time to be extended. Because of the side heat and the gradual heat buildup, there is no burning and no need for stirring. Resist the temptation to lift the lid and peek inside and your food will cook faster.

Usually when my recipe is done cooking it is very watery, what can I do to thicken the sauce?
You can make it right in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker. You may remove the food if cooking a roast, leaving the juices in the pot. Turn your Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker to High. Prepare a smooth paste of about 1/4 cup flour or cornstarch to 1/4 cup water or 4 tablespoons melted butter. Pour mixture into liquid in your Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker and stir well. Let cook 15 to 30 minutes, until liquid is simmering and thickened. You may also thicken stews in the same way.

When baking desserts or breads do I need any special inserts or pans?
Yes, Rival offers accessory pans for baking breads and cakes. We do not recommend the use of coffee cans or other cans for baking in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker. Contact Rival at 1-800-577-4825 for information about purchasing an accessory bake pan.

What modifications can I make to recipes when using fish or shellfish?
Seafood dishes are a great healthy meal for your family. If you are going to use fish or shellfish, it is best to stir it in during the last 30 minutes to 1 hour if uncooked and at the very end if precooked.

What temperature does the low setting and high setting reach?

We can not specify temperature ranges for the "High" or "Low" settings. Our slow cookers differentiate "High" and "Low" by wattage. These wattages are set to ensure that a standard food load (as described in AHAM spec SC-1-1979) will reach a safe internal temperature within approximately four hours. The wattage required to do this is different for different models, and many variables are involved; (start temperature, food load, room temperature, etc.). Eventually slow cookers will reach a maximum temperature, however the temperature will be different for different environmental conditions and different food loads. Given enough time most food loads will reach the same maximum temperature on both "Low" and "High."

Are there special directions to follow when cooking these types of meats?
London Broil, Flank Steak, Roasts, Etc...
No special directions, but slow cooking is better suited for tough, inexpensive cuts of meat that require a long cooking time to tenderize.

How do I know when meats are done?
Generally, roasts are done after 10 - 12 hours of cooking on low. Poultry is usually done after 6 to 8 hours on low. For added assurance, you may use a meat thermometer at the end of the cooking time to be sure the meat is cooked to the desired doneness. Poultry should reach 180° F. Beef and pork are considered medium done at 160° F and 170° F is well done.

How do fresh milk products hold up in the Crock-Pot ® Slow Cooker? Should I put them at the end of the recipe?

Milk products, including sour cream can break down with the extended cooking time necessary in the slow cooking. Add these ingredients during the last hour of cooking. Condensed soups may be substituted for milk and can cook for extended times.

My recipes always turn out too liquid, how can I prevent this?
Always use a minimum amount of liquid in slow cooking. Liquids don't reach a full boil in the slow cooker and the lid is always in place, so there is no boiling away of the liquid as in conventional cooking. One half to one cup of liquid is enough for any recipe unless it contains rice (follow recipe).