If you’re like us, you’ve had the slow cooker out on the worktop since September (or maybe you never put it away…). But if you’re only using it to make delicious, flavourful soups and stews, you’re missing a trick. Slow cookers are capable of all kinds of cookery, from jams and preserves to delectable desserts. You can even make breakfast in there! Here are our favourite recipes to get you through this long, cold, locked-down January.
Slow cookers are a great bit of kit for think-ahead breakfast cookery. Program yours to cook these Mexican-inspired pinto beans for five hours, or pop this porridge in before you go to bed. You can even make a full English in there, which is perfect if you’d like to take the pressure out of cooking a big family fry up at the weekend.
It’s possible to make light, fluffy scones in the slow cooker using only three ingredients. Take a mug and measure three scoops of self raising flour, two of lemonade and one of cream. Mix the ingredients together and roll out the dough on a floured surface before cutting the scones out with a cookie cutter. Brush the tops with milk or egg to glaze them, and then pop them in your slow cooker, with a bit of baking paper under the lid. Serve them with lashings of butter and some slow cooker jam like this gorgeous peach one.
Sometimes all you need is a mid afternoon treat; a sugar spike to keep you going until your next meal. These rich dark chocolate brownies are perfect with a drizzle of double cream or a dollop of natural yogurt, while this giant cookie can be easily divided up (or nibbled throughout the day, if you’re not in a sharing mood).
Slow cooked meals often call for simple ingredients such as root vegetables and cheaper cuts of meat, using time to turn them into hearty plates that taste like more than the sum of their parts. You can use the slow cooker to make really sumptuous meals, too. Try this creamy mac and cheese if you’re veggie, or enjoy the silky sauce that envelopes this beef bourguignon. Opt for a simple salad as a side to keep dinner quick and super easy.
Use your slow cooker to create exciting drinks to share with guests or family members on cold days. You can pop this creamy hot chocolate on just before you go out for a nice walk together, and it’ll be ready when you return. It’s perfect for festooning with marshmallows. If you’re not doing dry January, we recommend this amazing apple cider punch. The Calvados gives it a real kick!
This spectacular slow cooked cheesecake is a real showstopper, and you can put your own stamp on it with a range of gorgeous toppings, from an eton mess inspired macerated strawberry< and meringue to a mint chocolate crisp.
Have you made any recipe discoveries we should add to our list of slow cooker surprises? Let us know in the comments!