1. Cut out the extra prep
It may not always be necessary to go to all the effort of pre-preparation, like sautéing the onions or browning the meat before you add them to the mix. It may add an extra flavour you personally prefer, but it really isn’t essential.
2. But prep the meat
The extra moisture in the cooker means you don’t need to add oil, so it’s a good idea to trim the fat from your chosen meat pieces.
3. Know your cuts
Look for cheaper cuts like chicken thighs and lamb and pork shoulders, since the process of slow cooking will make them beautifully tender anyway.
4. Reduce the liquids
If you’re adapting a regular recipe for the slow cooker, cut the liquid by about a third as the air-tight lid won’t let anything evaporate and the dish won’t naturally reduce, unlike a regular cooker. And don’t over-fill it; half to two-thirds full will ensure perfect cooking without spills.
5. Flour power
Just as the liquid won’t reduce, it won’t thicken. Try rolling the meat in a little flour, or mix a couple of teaspoons of cornflour with water until it makes a paste, and stir in to the pot at the end.
6. Make ahead
If you really want to get ahead, you can throw all of the ingredients in the pot the night before. Pop it in the fridge overnight, and let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes the next morning before setting it to cook.
7. Low and slow
It’s called a slow cooker for a reason; a low, gentle heat bubbling away all day will bring out all of the flavours and give you the tastiest result.
8. Step away from the slow-cooker
Just like opening an oven door, the more you lift the slow cooker lid to check on the contents, the more often the heat of the appliance is reduced, and the longer the cooking time will be. Trust your slow cooker and let it do its thing.