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Cooking Tips for the Slow-Cooker Cook

When your calendar is packed -- or when you simply want a satisfying supper -- let your slow cooker handle dinner duties. Does that sound like a plan for you? Here's what you need to know.

Photography by: Anna Williams
A slow braise of rich pork shoulder with orange marmalade and red-wine vinegar.

The Profile

You love a warm, comforting braise (who doesn’t?) but don’t have time to babysit a dish on the stove top or in the oven for hours (who does?). And when it comes to cooking in general, you like to keep it simple.

The Plan

Assemble ingredients in a slow cooker early in the day and then let dinner cook itself.


• Tough, inexpensive cuts become meltingly tender in a slow cooker. Try pork shoulder (as here), beef brisket, or lamb shanks.

• To modify a favorite stew recipe for a slow cooker, a rule of thumb is to reduce the amount of liquid by half -- the crock traps moisture, so you don’t want to start with too much stock or water.

• If you want the cooking to take even longer, put the ingredients in the crock and chill it overnight. Then add an hour to 90 minutes to the cooking time.

• No peeking! Every time you lift the lid, you release heat, and that slows down cooking.


Now try this divine hands-off recipe:

Slow-Cooker Marmalade-and-Vinegar Pork

The power couple behind this slow-cooker braise is orange marmalade and red-wine vinegar. They give the dish a tanginess that’s the perfect complement to rich pork shoulder. Serve the stew over couscous -- maybe the simplest accompaniment ever. Peppery watercress adds a fresh, crisp finish.

Get the Slow-Cooker Marmalade-and-Vinegar Pork Recipe
See Our Other Slow-Cooker Classic Recipes