The slow cooker prepares your food at a low temperature and never really evaporates the moisture from it. Because not everyone likes watery dishes, reducing the extra liquid from the crockpot is an important culinary skill.
If you’ve ever had to search the food bits from a pot full of liquid, read on to learn some quick hacks for fixing this problem.
Too Much Liquid in Slow Cooker:
When there’s too much liquid in a slow cooker, scoop it out and cook your food for another hour for the perfect dry consistency. But if you want some quantity of that liquid in your final dish, prop open your slow cooker’s lid and let some steam escape. You can also cook at high heat for 2 hours to dry your food if losing its flavor is a concern. Once the excess liquid is out, your food’s consistency will be as required.
If you mistakenly added a lot of liquid to the slow cooker and now the food looks like a watery mess, draining it out is the best option. If you have a large crockpot, lifting it and pouring out the liquid can be tricky.
Use your cooking ladle and take out the excess liquid with it. Wear kitchen mittens while doing this because the slow cooker’s hot steam can burn your skin.
Contrarily, when you want to thicken the liquid instead of getting rid of it, remove your slow cooker’s lid. Since the crockpot’s lid traps the moisture and heat, removing it will let some steam and liquid out.
If your recipe is not done yet, set the slow cooker’s temperature to high with the lid off. This step will evaporate the excess liquid without impacting your recipe’s flavor.
Some home cooks worry about losing their food’s flavor while draining the excess liquid, but you can easily avoid this problem by thickening it. When removing the slow cooker’s lid, set the temperature high and let your food cook for 40-60 minutes for a thick gravy.
Pro Tip: To improve your food’s consistency, you can also add a flavored thickener or corn starch in the slow cooker. However, remember that doing so will alter your recipe’s authentic taste!
Do You Need More or Less Liquid in A Slow Cooker?
You need less than usual liquid in the slow cooker because of its functionality. A crockpot is designed to cook at low heat for prolonged periods, so it doesn’t burn your food’s moisture like other cookers. Instead, a slow cooker cooks your food in its moisture contents and doesn’t need additional liquid (unless you’re making stews or soups). It’s recommended to add half the usual cooking liquid to a slow cooker for best results.
Slow cookers don’t let your food’s moisture escape and cook it in an enclosed environment. When you cook braised or pulled pork, the meat won’t release any moisture during the first few hours and will start simmering in its juices later. This is the reason slow cookers don’t need a pool of liquid to prepare a recipe.
If you’re concerned about the meat coming out chewy and stiff, add some water to rule out this worry. When you let meat and vegetables cook in their juices, the final recipe comes out enriched even better.
It’s recommended to submerge the meat and vegetables in the cooking liquid for recipes like stews, curries, and soups. But if you prefer a not-so-runny food consistency, don’t submerge your food in the slow cooker.
Too much liquid in a crockpot can make your food taste bland and impact its consistency – balance is the key here.
How To Reduce Liquid in A Slow Cooker?
Don’t settle for that bland taste if you feel your slow-cooked chicken roast is too watery because you can still fix it. Here are some methods to get you out when there’s too much water in the slow cooker:
Method 1 – Open the Slow Cooker’s Lid
If you want to reduce the extra liquid from your crockpot without impacting your food’s flavor, cooking with its lid off is your solution. Remove your slow cooker’s lid and cook at high heat for 1-2 hours to let the excess liquid evaporate.
When the cooking liquid and sauces freely move out, your food doesn’t come out mushy or soggy!
Method 2 – Add Corn Starch or Corn Flour
Corn flour and corn starch are the most popular food thickeners present in almost every kitchen. If your recipe already has cornflour in it, add some more to thicken the gravy you’re making.
But be mindful that corn starch and cornflour can impact your recipe’s taste when used carelessly!
Method 3 – Drain the Excess Liquid
Take a ladle or cooking spoon and drain the extra liquid from your crockpot right away. This method comes in handy when you accidentally add excess liquid to the slow cooker and need a way out.
You can also thicken this drained liquid on the stovetop and transfer it to the slow cooker to retain the original flavor.
Can You Leave Lid Off Slow Cooker to Thicken?
Yes, you can leave your slow cooker’s lid off to thicken the food. Since a slow cooker doesn’t operate at extreme temperatures, cooking with its lid off won’t cause splatters or food spills.
Leaving a slow cooker’s lid off is a good practice for reducing sauces and infusing cooking liquids in your food without impacting its texture.
How To Thicken BBQ Sauce in a Slow Cooker?
You can quickly reduce BBQ sauce and other liquids in the slow cooker by cooking with the lid off. Keeping the crockpot’s lid close will trap the sauce’s moisture and take a considerable time to thicken its consistency. But you can speed up this process by letting the excess moisture exit your slow cooker.
How to Thicken Slow Cooker Sauce Without Corn Flour?
Corn starch is a good option for thickening sauces in a slow cooker. You can thicken a sauce in the slow cooker by adding a slurry of corn starch and water to it.
Mix one tablespoon corn starch in 1 cup of water and pour this solution into your food for improved consistency. Since corn starch doesn’t have gluten, it keeps your recipe’s authentic taste intact and quickly reduces the excess liquid. Flavored thickeners like tapioca and xanthan gum are also good choices for this task.
Crockpot recipes are delicious, nutritious, and presentable when cooked right. However, many home cooks struggle with balancing the correct amount of liquid in the crockpot and wind up with mushy foods.
Whether you accidentally add more than needed cooking liquid or your raw food releases moisture during the process, you can fix it. Removing the slow cooker’s lid and cooking at high heat will evaporate the additional moisture from your food.
And if you are not worried about losing any flavor, you can drain some liquid from your crockpot and continue cooking at the regular temperature. Cooking in a crockpot requires some practice and consistency. Once you get the hang of ideal heat settings and uncooked ingredients, a crockpot will reduce your workload by half!