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14 Genius Slow Cooker Tips From Celebrity Chefs

How to slow cook like a pro.

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1. Giada De Laurentiis amps up the flavor of her stews by sautéing her garlic and onions before adding them to her slow cooker.

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She quickly cooks garlic, onions, and herbs in a sauté pan to bring out their flavor. (Just imagine the taste of cooked garlic versus raw ― this is the same idea.)

Get the recipe for her slow cooker beef and kabocha squash stew here.

2. Chrissy Teigen gives her short ribs a hard sear before adding them to her slow cooker

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This trick is all about the Maillard Reactionthat delicious browning that occurs at high temperatures. Searing your meats before adding them to your slow cooker does take extra work, but the added flavor is totally worth it.

See the full video here.

3. Marcus Samuelsson's trick for making his slow cooker chili taste amazing? He adds beer and coffee.

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The deep flavors of coffee and beer give his chili a rich flavor and hearty body. Try swapping half of your stock for beer or coffee the next time you make chili for extra layers of flavor.

Get his recipe for dark roast beer chili here.

4. Martha Stewart broils her chicken thighs before adding them to her slow cooker...

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She lines them up on a sheet tray and browns them under a broiler before throwing them in. Similar to Chrissy's trick, this extra step is all about building another layer of flavor.

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5. And she preheats it as she preps her other ingredients.

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Instead of adding hot ingredients to a cold slow cooker, try heating it up while you prep everything. This simple step will reduce the cooking time and save you some serious minutes.

See the full video here.

6. Grant Achatz turns his into a steamer and cooks dumplings in it.

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He adds lemongrass, banana leaves, ginger, and a splash of water to create a DIY steamer for dumplings. In an interview with Food and Wine, Grant said, "as they steam, they pick up the perfume of those aromatics."

Check out even more ways Grant uses his slow cooker here.

7. Trisha Yearwood cooks her mac and cheese in it.

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Trisha's genius method for making mac and cheese in a slow cooker includes two large eggs to help bind it together and prevent it from curdling (a problem that sometimes happens when cheese sauce is kept warm for too long).


Get the recipe for her slow cooker mac and cheese here.

8. Hugh Acheson makes homemade stock in his.

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The gentle (and even) cooking temperature is perfect for cooking stocks. Simply throw your ingredients in, cover with water, and let it lazily bubbly away while you're at work.

See even more slow cooker tips in his new cookbook, The Chef and the Slow Cooker.

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9. Eddie Jackson makes bread pudding in his.

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The low temperature and steamy environment cooks the bread pudding without drying out the top. You can even make cake, brownies, and cheesecake in it as well!

Get the recipe for his slow cooker bread pudding here.

10. Tia Mowry cooks her beef in a skillet, deglazes the burnt bits, and adds that liquid to her slow cooker.

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Deglazing fond (the burnt bits stuck to the bottom of a pan) is every chef's secret to creating flavorful braises. Tia mimics this technique by searing her beef in a skillet, deglazing all the burnt bits, and transferring that flavorful liquid into her slow cooker.

Get the recipe for her slow cooker lentil and beef stew here.

11. Alton Brown brines his pork chops the night before to prevent them from drying out.

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He brines them in a mixture of veggie broth, brown sugar, and peppercorns to make sure they come out moist and flavorful.

Get the recipe for his pepper pork chops here.

12. He also makes overnight oatmeal in it for a fuss-free breakfast that practically makes itself.

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Just dump everything in the night before and let the slow cooker do the work.

Get the recipe for his overnight oatmeal here.

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13. Ree Drummond figured out how to make lasagna in it without ending up with overcooked noodles.

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Her trick? Don't boil your pasta sheets. This way the pasta can cook for several hours without becoming mushy.

Get the recipe for her slow cooker lasagna here.

14. Kelsey Nixon makes a big batch of bolognese in hers and freezes it in individual portions.

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This way, all you have to do is boil pasta and heat up the sauce for a fancy pasta night in no time.

Get the recipe for her slow cooker bolognese here.