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The Beginner's Guide to Slow-Cookin' Everything From Drinks to Dessert

Slow cookers are like the fairy cookmother you never had. All you need to do is toss in the ingredients, set the temp, and let the device bubble away throughout day. A few hours later, you have an aromatic kitchen and a delicious dinner served.

But if you're totally new to the low-and-slow appliance, our guide below dives into this timeless trend with zero stress. We'll teach you everything you need to know to get started — from how to buy the perfect slow cooker and use it safely to how to simmer just about everything. So plug in yours, and let's do this!

Shopping + Safety

Shopping + Safety

Ever since the This Is Us fire episode, slow-cooker safety has been a concern for some. Will a Crock-Pot catch on fire? Will it burn your house down? Will it implode?! While manufacturers claim modern versions aren't as prone to dangerous accidents, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take extra precautions. Shop our top picks and follow our tips, so the only thing you'll have to worry about is which recipe to make, be it pasta (like mac and cheese or stroganoff), or homemade take-out.

Brit + Co's Favorite Slow Cookers (That Aren't Crock-Pot)

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10 Safety Rules Every Beginner Should Follow

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Meat Recipe Ideas

Meat Recipe Ideas

Beef, chicken, and pork are the most popular types of meat to throw in your trusty slow cooker, but if you're squeamish about where to begin (raw meat can be a little suspect for us too), it's all good. Our articles below run through the best cuts of meat for slow-cooking, the necessary times and temps for mouth-watering results, and basic recipe formulas to follow.

How to Slow-Cook Beef into Tender Perfection

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7 Burning Questions About Slow-Cooking Chicken — Answered

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4 Cuts of Pork You Can Totally Slow-Cook

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Veggie Recipe Ideas

Veggie Recipe Ideas

Don't overlook veggies. With the help of your Crock-Pot, the produce highlighted below will make even the most devout carnivore want seconds. Slow-cooking veggies is more hands-off than roasting in a sheet pan, and yet it yields tasty results every time. They can hold up to hours of steamy action, so never fear accidentally turning them into a mushy, brown overcooked mess (unless you're going for mashed potatoes or caramelized onions). Discover everything you need to know to slow-cook veggies right here.

How to Make Slow-Cooked Veggies You’ll Actually Want to Eat

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Veggie-Packed Crock-Pot Recipes You Won't Believe Are Vegan

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How to Make the Best Slow-Cooker, Veg-Based Soup Without a Recipe

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Drink Recipe Ideas

Drink Recipe Ideas

The humble slow cooker's a welcome friend when you're feeling boozy. Alongside hot dips served straight from your Crock-Pot, whip up big batches of cozy drinks like hot chocolate, apple cider, and mulled wine for a welcoming treat. Here are basic recipes to warm up with friends.

Slow-Cooker Drinks to Heat Up Your Next Party

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10 Slow-Cooker Boozy Beverages for Fall + Winter

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Dessert Recipe Ideas

Dessert Recipe Ideas

Most think a Crock-Pot can only handle savory needs, but, truth is, you can slow-cook candy, cake, brownies, pie, and even bread pudding. See the deliciously decadent proof in these recipes. We're particularly fond of the chocolate candy drops, which you can customize with go-to add-ins like chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, marshmallows, and M&M's.

Serve This Chocolatey Slow-Cooker Candy for Every Festivity

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13 Easy, Delish Desserts You Can Make in Your Crock-Pot

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Hungry for more? Check out more of Brit + Co's fave slow-cooker recipes on Pinterest.

Reporting by Anna Monette Roberts, Rachel Bshero, and Justina Huddleston

Illustrations via San Trieu and Yising Chou / Brit + Co


This guide was originally published on August 14, 2018.