Crock Pot Novice Here

Updated on August 30, 2010
A.M. asks from Lake Wales, FL
20 answers

Okay Ladies,
I am heading to the store today to buy a crock pot. I literally have very little time to cook dinner anymore and I am hoping this will help us out. The thing is...I know nothing about using a crock pot! Can you help me? What kind/size should I buy? Can you give me some simple instructions/recipes? Any tips or secrets? Again, I am very "cooking challenged", so any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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answers from Tampa on

I have the biggest crock pot and I also have two. I love making different meals including desserts!

We love manly stew. Just dump 3 pounds of stew beef, 1 can cheddar cheese soup, 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 packet of onion soup mix. Let it cook on low all day. Then make either rice or mashed potatoes and dinner is served! We love this easy dish.

Salsa chicken. Dump in chicken breasts, jar of salsa and shredded cheese (Mexican blend or what I have on hand). Cook on low all day. Chicken falls apart. Make rice and serve.

Roasts with carrots, potatoes and such are always good and easy to do.

Sloppy Joes, meatballs,soups, etc. So much to make and lots of good recipes posted here.

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answers from Houston on

the large oval crock pots are great if you want to throw in something big, like a pot roast and lots of vegetables, like potatoes, carrots and celery... so good!

shredded bbq is really good too, just add in your meat, bbq sauce, some onion, and cook on low 4-6 hours. then at the end of the day, serve it on chunky rolls for nice sandwiches.

while you are at the store, grab a fix it and forget it crock book cookbook, or if not that one, there are a lot of slow cooker recipe books

Chicken Azteca

an easy one I got from my friend:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
4 c frozen corn kernels
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 c chunky salsa, divided
2 can black beans, drained
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, cubed
cooked rice
shredded cheddar cheese
combine beans, corn, garlic, cumin and 1 cup salsa in slow cooker. arrange chicken breasts over top. Pour remaining cup of salsa on top. Cover cooker

cook on high 2-3 hours, or on low 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and cut in bite size pieces and return to cooker. stir in cream cheese and cook on high till it melts (doesn't take long). spoon chicken and sauce over rice and top with shredded cheese.

serves about 10-12, so half the recipe for serving less people, or if you don't want leftovers.
souir cream
1 can corn

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Oh honey I LOVE my crockpot and have TWO of them! Here's a couple of recipes to get you started:

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 envelopes of taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup of water

Mix your water and taco seasoning mix in the bottom of your crockpot. Add your chicken, cover and cook on 6 hours high or 8 hours low. Once it's done, take it out and shred it with a knife and pour some of the juice from the crockpot over it. Use soft flour tortilla shells to make your tacos and use shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa BAM! There's your dinner!

Crockpot Roast Beef

1 eye of round or bottom roast
1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1 clove of garlic sliced in three
12-15 baby carrots
1 medium onion chopped

In your crockpot dump the water in and HALF the onion soup mix. Place your roast in the crockpot. Make THREE slits in your roast and insert one slice of garlic into each. Pour the remaining envelope of onion soup over the roast and season with salt and pepper. Throw the carrots and onions in there and if you're feeling lazy that day, you can throw in potatoes too that are cut in 4's. Serve with a jar of brown gravy from the store.

Good luck girl! If you want more recipes, give me a shout!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have an oval O.--Rival, I think? 5 Qt?
Love, Love, LOVE it--when I use it!
I would suggest buying a cookbook especially for crock pot recipes--I use mine more since I got O..
In the meanwhile, here's an easy--and YUMMY--recipe:

Shredded BBQ Beef sandwiches
1 2 lb. chuck roast
1 onion

Spray crock with nonstick spray.
Quarter onion.
Place roast & onion in crockpot.
Cook on High about 6 hrs.
Drain liquid (will come from the meat cooking) from crock (remove meat & onions to platter if that makes it easier.)
Return roast/onion to crock.
Shred with two large forks
Add BBQ sauce (I like Jack Daniels) mixed with 1/2 jar apricot preserves.
Mix and let heat for another hour on low.
Serve on buns. (I like the clover-knot, small buns)


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'd recommend a 6 qt crock pot. AND one with a lid that will fasten down so if you decide to take it some where it will not leak or spill. The best time to buy one is right after Thanksgiving during the sales.

Money saving hint: Put a dry hand towel over just the glass lid when you cook. Don't let it drape over the side. It will act as an insulator and you can set the cooking knob to one lower setting. ((High to low, low to warm.) It saves money because you won't need to set it so high and you won't have so much heat going into your house in the hot summer.

Tough cuts of meat become very tender when thrown in a crock pot and cooked over low heat for several hours. If you like your meat tender and your vegetables somewhat undercooked (almost crisp), put the vegetables in last after the meat has had time to cook. I made a chicken chili with 4 pounds of chicken leg 1/4's, 4 cans of beans one 28 oz can of enchilada sauce, and a can of rotel. . I cooked the leg 1/4's (and the chili beans in enchilada sauce with a can of rotel) for about 4 hours and then deboned the chicken leg 1/4's and put the meat back in the crock pot. I added diced (1/2 cup at the beginning and 1/2 cup onions and 1 cup diced japaleno peppers (no seeds!) about 45 minutes before I served the chili. The peppers were somewhat solid and had nice texture. The onions were done but not mushy. (I won first place in a chili cook off with this technique and recipe.)

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I don't know how big your family is but they have one crock pot that actually has three different inners to it. A small, medium, and a large.

1 roast ( perferably beef)
1 large can of cream of mushroom soup (don't get disgusted)
1 pack of Lipton onion soup mix
potatoes (any kind, the red ones work really well)

Combine all in the crock pot, add 1/2 cup of water and cook on low for eight hours or high for four. Delicious.

About the soup, my family can't stand mushrooms. I made this and didn't tell them what was in it. After they told me how good it was I told them about the soup and they still love it to this day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Crock pot liners are a must and make sure that you get a crock pot where the pot comes out of the holder. It is a lot easier to clean. I have a 6 qt crock pot and have no trouble making anything in it. The easiest recipe I know is to throw in chicken or ribs and some bbq sauce. 8 hours on low and you have fall off the bone meat. Actually, I may do that tonight for dinner.

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answers from Stockton on

I absolutely love my crock pot. Not sure how many you are cooking for? I have four kids so I'm cooking for six therefore have the larger crock pot. There are a million and one crock pot recipe books out there so you're sure to find one easily (the little magazine cookbooks at the grocery check out are pretty good!) Here is my family's favorite recipe I make in the crock pot:

5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-24oz jar of medium Pace picante sauce (doesn't end up too spicy)

Place chicken breasts in single layer in crock pot, pour picante sauce over chicken and cook on high 6 hours or low 8 hours. Shred chicken with forks and serve on whatever tortillas you like. I use the Pace picante because it ends up being just the right consistency for the meat but feel free to try others! This makes a lot so we usually have left-overs and it's a great dish for football parties with a taco bar!

Tips: do not put frozen food in a pre-heated crock pot since it may crack the pot. Try not to lift the lid during cooking time since it will end up taking longer for the food to cook!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Large Oval. You can make ANYTHING in it.
There are lots of recipes online for crock pots, silly to waste your money on a book. Super easy and almost impossible to mess up!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

How many people are in your family? I had 3 kids, my husband and I and had the biggest crockpot I could find LOL. I love, love, love the crockpot you can fix anything in it. Roasts are great I just use water, onion soup mix, beef stock, carrots, onions, potatoes and salt and pepper I put the meat in frozen and set it on high and start it around 3-5am (whatever time it is I am up that day)and let it cook all day it is great for the last little while I add corn starch or flour to thicken it up to have a gravy. Beef stew is great and I do pork roast, spaghetti sauce, turkey breast, and my family wide favorite nacho dip which doesn't have to cook all day. If you want that recipe let me know. Any brand is good I have mostly rival (I have 4 crockpots) brand but others too. Good Luck I know you will love it I will send you a private message with more recipes as I think of them.

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answers from Dayton on

I agree that the large oval crockpots (at least 6 qt.) are the best. We use ours often. Just the other day I made BBQ country style pork ribs. The great thing about the crockpot is there is usually very little prep work that goes into any of the recipes. We make roast, stew, lemon chicken, and a whole bunch of other things. I have recipes for crockpot enchiladas, crockpot lasagna. I even saw one for cake.

I LOVE my crockpot and I hope you love yours!




answers from Los Angeles on

Don't know if anyone said this yet but: look for one that has differents settings and will switch to a "warm" setting when it is done cooking, look to make sure it is dishwasher safe, buy bigger if you want to have extra food to freeze for another night. I just got one this summer and it has worked out great. I was not big on cooking anything before we got it. I hope it works out for you!



answers from Tampa on

First off, you need a crock pot that the pot comes out and can be easily stored in the fridge and thrown in the dishwasher. You also want to make sure it has the option of cooking high or low for a certain period of time (typically 4 and 6 hours is about the norm for recipes) and then automatically goes to warm once it is done.

As for recipes - google campbells crock pot recipes! They have good ones. For example - if you like chicken...cut up an onion (how ever you like - small pieces, big pieces, doesn't matter) and put it at the bottom of the pot, put a whole chicken on top of the onion and then pour a can of cream of (what ever - chicken, garlic, mushroom, etc.) on top and set the timer for what ever you want. It can be 4 hours high and then go to warm or 6 hours low and then go to warm - either way you it will be done before you get home! This is my favorite of them all. We typically use the left over chicken to make chicken salad and use some of the soup part (which is like gravey and awesome over rice) to mix in it.

Have fun.


answers from Austin on

When you pick up the crockpot, also purchase the crockpot liners, they are made by Reynolds wrap and are sold where the foil is sold. They are like cooking bags. No oil needed, You will just have to trow away the bag when you are finished.

I agree, purchase a cook book.

The liquids and spices you use will change the flavors. Make sure the cook book has LOTS of recipes that look like your family will enjoy.
Some of those crock pot cook books are pretty odd..



answers from Houston on

I once made a really awesome meal by mistake in my crock pot, pork loin roast+ canned italian diced tomatoes, put them in the crock pot and cooked on low for like 4-6 hours, until the loin was falling apart. Serve over pasta with the tomatoes. Super easy and very yummy!!!

Tip: definitely use the Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners, sold by the foil. They are super easy and make clean up sooooooooooo easy!!!



answers from Boca Raton on

Crock Pots are one of man's greatest cooking inventions. So easy to throw together a meal in one that everyone will love. Stews are tops. Roasts as well. So much more. You need a good crock pot cook book to get started. Once you get the hang of it, you will just throw in what you have in the frig with some seasoning. YUM! I started with a small but realized I wanted to cook roasts for the easiest of meals. So I bought a large one too. Enjoy! ... for the health of your family, E. (



answers from Dallas on

I absolutely love my crock pot! It is a lifesaver at times.

I have 2 crockpots a large oval one and then a slightly smaller round one. They are both by RIVAL and I have had no issues with either one of them ever. The round one I bought at Big Lots for $12 so they don't have to be expensive either. If I were to get a new one at this point, I would probably get one with a timer so that I could set it to shut off at a certain point before arriving home.

As for cooking in them, you can do lots of different things. Example today I put in a package of frozen meatballs, some grape jelly and chili sauce, set the pot on low and when I get home from work to night will have delicious sweet and sour meatballs. Cook some noodles and throw some steamable veggies in microwave and dinner is done in 15 mins.

Yesterday, I took a whole chicken, put all kinds of seasoning on it, put in crockpot with a little water and let it cook all day and viola at 5pm chicken was done and falling off bone, I cooked some veggies and rolls which took about 15 mins.

I also do pot roast in there. Take a beef roast (can be the cheaper cut since it will cook all day), carrots, onions, potatos, celery, etc toss it in crockpot with seasonings, water and I always had a package of either Lipton beefy onion soup mix or a package of beef gravy mix and let it cook all day.

There really is no wrong way to cook in the crockpot. They only warning I would give you is that if you are going to do something with noodles or rice such as soup add those ingredients at the very end.

Hope this helps.



answers from Tampa on

You can go in the frozen section at the store and purchase crock pot meals. The stew is awesome. They all have full instructions on the bags. We also love to make turkey chilli in the crock pot. I purchased a crock pot recipe book years ago and there are a lot of good recipes in it. I am sure you could Google them. Depending on the size of your family but for me and my girls I used the regular size pot. When I got married a few years ago I went and bought a bigger one. I quit using them all together when I realized how much electricity they use. Far more than you would think. Have you considered cooking your meals on the weekend and then freezing them for the week? We have been eating a lot of tv dinners lately as they come with a complete heathy meal and it's been way to hot to cook. A crock pot will also add extra heat to your home. I personally think they are a waste of electricity and time. It's just as easy to cook somthing up quick.



answers from Houston on

The size probably depends on the size of your family and their appetites! There are tons of recipes out there, and those liners make clean-up a snap. It's a nice feeling to come home and smell something yummy and ready to eat. :-) I've seen crockpot recipes for everything from lasagna to meatloaf to orange chicken to ribs. I just went to and typed in 'crockpot' and got 923 hits! You will love it.



answers from Tampa on

I have a Rival crockpot & it's lasted a long time. Inside the manual you'll find some simple recipes to try. I don't know the size of it though you may want to consider your family size before buying. I actually don't think they come in different sizes to begin with. Enjoy!

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