Since recently becoming a mom, crockpot meals have skyrocketed on my list of favorite meals to make. A dinner that’s simple and can be thrown together before leaving for work is a must for many moms.
Normally, crockpot meals are cooked to perfection without you having to lift a finger. In fact, a huge advantage is the meal can cook all day while you’re away at work. Coming home to a savory meal that tastes like you spent hours on it is always the goal and usually achieved. But what happens when the meal doesn’t turn out as planned — it’s either overly dry or, the exact opposite, too moist?
A very common problem with crockpot meals is that they can turn out too dry and not have enough juice to really appreciate the flavor. Typically, this is caused from either too much steam escaping from the crockpot or the meal has cooked for too long. To avoid an overly dry meal:
- Avoid lifting the lid. If you normally lift the lid and your meals turn out fine, then lifting the lid is OK. If the meals have turned out dry on more than one occasion, try not lifting the lid for any reason. This allows the steam to stay put and lock in that moisture.
- Make sure the lid fits. If you notice steam escaping even when the lid is on, put aluminum foil over the crockpot dish before placing the lid on. This will ensure no steam escapes.
- Add more water. If your meals consistently come out dry, add half a cup more water to the crockpot in the morning.
- Try a different recipe. Using a water-absorbing ingredient, such as rice, tends to make the rice too mushy and the rest of the meal too dry. If your recipe called for rice and came out too dry, make a different recipe next time without rice to see if that was the problem.
- Cook for less time. Finally, if the meal is too dry, consider cooking it 30 minutes to an hour less next time. Dry meals can be a sign of being overcooked.
Another common crockpot problem is the meal turns out too moist. Though this may sound tastier than it being too dry, it’s still not ideal. No one wants a mushy meal. To avoid an overly moist dinner:
- Use less liquid. If the meal is dry, you add more liquid, so it makes sense to use less liquid if the meals are typically too moist. Roasts technically don’t need any liquid at all, though by adding some water you’ll end up with rich, succulent gravy at the end which will enhance the flavor.
- Take the lid off a few times. A too moist crockpot meal is caused from too much steam being created. If you’re home, take the lid off for 15 minutes every two to three hours to release the steam. This will help dry out the meal.
- Reduce the heat setting. If you normally cook the meal on high while you’re away at work, try cooking it on low next time. Cooking it on low creates less steam and prevents it from cooking too fast.
- Cook for less time. Similar to meals turning out too dry, meals that turn out too moist can usually mean they were overcooked, too. Too much steam for a long amount of time makes the meal too moist. Try cooking it for an hour less next time.
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