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8 Reasons I’m Keeping My Crock-Pot

With the current Instant Pot craze, it's worth taking a step back. There are some foods where faster isn't necessarily better. When does it pay off to slow things down?

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preparing ahead of time makes hearty slow cooker meals are a favorite for fall and winter cookingsherwood/Shutterstock

The Instant Pot might be many home cooks’ latest obsession, but the slow cooker really defines convenience for me. Simply dump in your ingredients, set it and forget it! While I love the speed of the Instant Pot from time to time, I’m definitely keeping things slow with my slow cooker for these eight foods.

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Pulled pork with bbq sauceShutterstock / Joe Gough

Shredded Chicken and Pork

The Instant Pot can cook frozen meats, making it a godsend if you forgot to thaw your chicken or pork, but it just doesn’t taste as good as shredded meat made in a slow cooker. There’s nothing better than pulled pork sandwiches or tangy chicken tacos made in the slow cooker.

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French onion soup a healthy reduced fat version with plain toasted croutonShutterstock / D. Pimborough

Caramelized Onions

Caramelizing onions on the stovetop is a chore: It can take over 20 minutes of constant stirring and babysitting. The slow cooker won’t speed things up, but they’ll be the perfect color and consistency after 10 hours on low. Take things one step further and turn those onions into your new favorite French onion soup.

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Baked macaroni and cheese dish with parmesan and cream sauce in a pan on a wooden tableShutterstock / Anna Kurzaeva

Mac and Cheese

Without a doubt, the slow cooker makes the cheesiest, creamiest, easiest mac and cheese you’ve ever had. There’s something about that low-and-slow heat that transforms shredded cheese and milk into a perfectly ooey, gooey sauce.

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Homemade Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots and PotatoesShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Pot Roast

There’s nothing better than a slow-cooked, fall-apart-tender roast. Whether you’re using boneless or a bone-in chuck roast, the slow cooker is the perfect hands-off method to transform that tough meat into a tender, melt-in-your-mouth dinner.

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Heaped plate of delicious Italian spaghetti pasta with fresh basil leaves and grated parmesan cheeseShutterstock / stockcreations

Spaghetti Sauce

It’s completely possible to get the flavor of an all-day-simmered pasta sauce without putting in the time to cook it. When it comes to spaghetti sauce, my slow cooker is definitely the unsung hero of dinner.

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Vegetable stew with red beans. Shutterstock / ArtCookStudio

Chili

The slow cooker is great for making soups and stews because it slowly brings all the flavors together. I especially like using the slow cooker for thick and rich chili. I’ve made everything from traditional spicy chili to healthy white bean chicken chili with great success.

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Breakfast: oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, chia seeds and almonds. Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock

Oatmeal

There’s no better feeling than waking up to a ready-to-eat hot breakfast—with no effort at all! Simply combine your favorite oatmeal ingredients in the bowl the night before and set the cooker on low. In the morning, your grab-and-go breakfast will be ready and waiting for you.

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Dipping chips into bowl with creamy cheese sauceShutterstock / Africa Studio

Keeping Your Food Warm

The slow cooker has one major leg up on the Instant Pot and that’s its “warm” setting. Nothing works better than a slow cooker to keep your potluck buffalo wing dip at the perfect temperature. It won’t reduce, it won’t burn, and it won’t get cold. Perfect for potlucks!

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