In order to make sure your slow-cooker pasta turns out perfectly, check out the tips and tricks below.
One thing we really love about making pasta in the slow cooker is the way it melds the ingredients together creating super flavorful sauces – for example, Slow-Cooker Bacon-Ranch Chicken and Pasta. To make sure these sauces stick to your pasta, and not the inside of your slow cooker, it’s usually a good idea to coat your insert with cooking spray before adding ingredients.
Slow-Cooker Lasagna comes out tender with rich, creamy layers of melted cheese. But do be aware that not all dairy can cook for an extended period of time in the slow cooker. Betty Crocker recipes will always tell you when to add cheese, but as a general rule, cheese and sour cream should be stirred in during the last 30 minutes of cooking to prevent curdling.
Many of our favorite pasta recipes call for a sprinkle of fresh herbs, which provide a bright contrast to a rich sauce – like our Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken Manicotti. Do keep in mind that tender herbs, like basil and oregano, lose flavor when cooked for too long. It’s usually best to stir these herbs in at the end of the cook time or add herbs as a garnish when serving.
Another way to jazz up your pasta is with red pepper flakes. However, they can become bitter when cooked too long, so use small amounts to start and taste the food during the last hour before adding more.
When using frozen vegetables, like the spinach called for in our five-star Slow-Cooker Spinach Alfredo Lasagna, it’s very important to thaw ingredients before cooking. Slow cookers steam food, so there’s no chance for excess liquid to evaporate. Thawing ingredients prior to cooking will help you avoid a soggy dinner.
Do you love making dinner in your slow cooker? Explore the rest of Betty’s slow-cooker recipes, she’s not nearly out of ideas yet!