1. When combining whole fresh root vegetables with a roast or chicken, always place the root vegetable on the bottom of the crockpot. Root vegetables include carrots, potatoes and onions. Because these vegetables generally take longer to cook, then benefit from being closest to the source of the heat.
2. Choose minced onion and garlic over powdered or instant for the best flavor.
3. If your food tastes too bland, it may be because of your herbs and spices (or lack of them). Dried herbs and spices tend to lose flavor during long cook times, so use more or try to add them in the last hour of cooking. You can also add some seasonings after plating your food.
4. If you are converting a traditional oven recipe to be used in a crockpot, remember to use less water. Crockpots keep the moisture in the food. If there is too much moisture, it may dilute your dish’s flavor.
5. Remove the skin from your chicken or turkey. It won’t crisp up in the crockpot and it doesn’t contribute to the taste of your meal.
6. Make sure that your food fits in the crockpot. Trim a roast, for example. The lid on the crockpot should seal well and not allow any steam or heat to escape.
7. Try not to open the lid of the crockpot while cooking if you can help it. Some recipes call for items to be added at the end, and that is fine. A good rule of thumb to remember is that every time you open the crockpot lid, it takes the crockpot 20 minutes to get back to its temperature. Extend your cook time if you are a frequent peeker.
8. A trick to see into your pot without opening the lid (see tip above)? Give the lid a gentle spin without lifting it. This will disperse any water droplets and give you a clear view of your food.
9. If you want to speed up your cook time, you can switch the temperature from low to high as needed. In my crockpots, two hours on low equals one hour on high.
10. Be careful of cheeses and other dairy products which may curdle in a crockpot. I usually add my cheese during the last 30-60 minutes of the cook time. Then again, I have had great success in making a crockpot macaroni and cheese without any curdling.