How To Grease A Slow Cooker | The Best Effective Way To Avoid A Cleaning Mess

A slow cooker is an inexpensive kitchen implement you must invest in. It is economical to operate and perfect for making the most of your budget ingredients.

It is extremely versatile, letting you make varied food – from stews, curries, and even desserts. All you have to do is put the ingredients in it and let the machine do the work for you – perfect for hectic weeknights and family dinner!

However, eventually, you might encounter problems when food cooks and gets stuck on the inside walls of the slow cooker.

While ordinary crockpots allow easy removal of the stoneware insert for hand cleaning, this is not possible with most slow cookers.

You might even have noticed that with constant use of your slow cooker, it becomes more prone to baked-on items that are extremely difficult to remove.

Whether what you have at home is a slow cooker with a removable exterior or none, you’d want to maximize the use and life of your slow cooker.

You’d be surprised that pre-greasing can actually help you with this. Yes, this can be tiresome as it would be an added step to your cooking.

But this is a necessary step if you want to make the most out of your money with your slow cooker. To know more about greasing, read the article below.

Is it important to grease a slow cooker?

Yes, greasing your slow cooker is needed to help slow down and minimize its natural wear and tear. If you’re also not a fan of washing kitchen dishes with stubborn and oily residues, then this step would be another reason to do the greasing.

Of course, pre-greasing depends on the type of food you’ll be preparing. Greasing the slow cooker can (note the word ‘can’) be skipped if you’re cooking soup- and stew-based viands since they have a liquid base.

With these dishes, the slow cooker can be easily cleaned afterward. But if you used the slow cooker to prepare other types of dishes, it might need to be soaked first before scrubbing the insides with soap and a sponge.

Skipping the greasing step should be done cautiously. Yes, soups and stews have liquid bases, which can be less harsh on the inside coating of a slow cooker.

But if the sauce is acidic, it can still damage the coating. It wouldn’t hurt to be more cautious. After all, this extra step would not take a lot of your cooking time. Being proactive is better than being reactive.

If you are going to cook something starchy, don’t skip the greasing step. Starchy ingredients include pasta, potatoes, and grains.

Meals with these ingredients readily adhere to the sides and bottom, especially if they are left inside the cooker and put in the refrigerator. They result in a congealed mess and would need more vigorous clean-up.

What are some recommended oils to be used as grease on slow cookers?

There are a variety of oils or kitchen materials you can use to grease and coat the inside walls of a slow cooker.

It is recommended to use the nonstick cooking spray most of the time, but this can be substituted with butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.

Butter and oils are both fat, and they’ll have a similar effect on your cooking process.

However, taste and texture might be one of your cooking considerations. To help you choose which greasing material to use, read below.

1. Nonstick cooking spray: Nonstick cooking spray might be the best alternative if you are going to cook low-fat and low-calorie-dish in your slow cooker.

If you’re going to bake using a slow cooker, the nonstick cooking spray also provides a more even consistent coating compared to butter.

However, if you are looking to enrich the flavor of your dish, this option is not the best for you. Cooking sprays are made with neutral oils and will not contribute any additional layer of taste.

If your slow cooker has a nonstick interior, check whether the lining is made up of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

PTFE is not compatible with nonstick cooking spray. Nonstick cooking spray builds up over time if applied with PTFE surfaces.

This would defeat the purpose of greasing the slow cooker. It is best to consult slow cooker product instructions before using this greasing implement.

2. Butter: Butter is a dairy product made from churned milk. It is high in saturated fat, rendering it semi-solid to solid at room temperature.

If the dish recipe you’re preparing calls for butter, it would also make sense to use butter for the pre-greasing. Pie crust or other flaky pastries, candy, and recipes that need “creaming” are also best used with butter.

3. Olive oil: If you want a rich flavor to a dish without compromising health, then stick with olive oil. Olive oil has less saturated oil than butter and is a healthier option.

It also has a light nutty flavor that can complement vegetable dishes you’ll be cooking in the slow cooker. Additionally, olive oil is best for frying as it has a higher smoke point than butter.

4. Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil is a mixed neutral-tasting oil. If the oil is just labeled as “vegetable oil,” it means it is a blend of different vegetable oils.

Common components are palm, sunflower, soybean, safflower, and canola oil. Vegetable oil is quite versatile owing to its mild taste.

It is best used if the recipe instructs to use the nonstick cooking spray, but the slow cooker has a PTFE lining.

5. Canola oil: This oil also has a neutral taste and is a subcategory of vegetable oil. It is extracted from rapeseed.

Due to its mild taste and high smoke point are best for dishes or pastries that call for frying, sauteing, and baking.

An advantage of canola oil is that it has one of the lowest levels of saturated fats among other oils.

The amount of oil or fat needed for greasing your slow cooker would be small but can be used to add an extra taste to your dish.

What type of greaser you’ll need will ultimately depend on you. It is wiser to use the oil or fat in your recipe, but if you are confident that it would add a little complexity to the taste of the viand, go ahead and grease that slow cooker to cook that dish.

Can greasing preserve the life of a slow cooker?

Yes, greasing can preserve the life of a slow cooker. For slow cookers without shiny inner linings, greasing helps prevent food from sticking to it.

Baked-on food can accumulate over time, making cleaning your slow cooker appliance harder. The accumulated food can also ultimately damage your slow cooker.

Greasing is also beneficial to slow cookers with shiny inner linings. It provides an added layer of defense against baked-on food build-up.

Additionally, the added fat or oil will slow down the wear and thinning of the built-in inner lining during cleaning up since the lining is not scrubbed directly.

Aside from prolonging the life of the slow cooker, greasing it also reduces the time spent cleaning it. The fat or oil prevents the food from sticking directly to the inner walls of the slow cooker.

This would make washing the slow cooker easier and less a nightmare for busy individuals like you.

What will happen if I won’t grease a slow cooker?

As we have discussed earlier, greasing your slow cooker provides a layer of protection to its inner walls. If you skip the greasing step because your slow cooker already has a nonstick lining, its benefit would not be obvious immediately.

But remember, this lining will eventually wear out with constant use. Greasing it would prolong the life and usability of your slow cooker.

On the other hand, if you habitually skip the pre-greasing step to a slow cooker without a nonstick inner lining, you are actually setting up your appliance to deteriorate faster.

If you’d like to save bucks and make post-cooking cleaning a breeze, greasing would be beneficial to you and your versatile slow cooker.

How to grease a slow cooker: Detailed Steps

Convinced now to grease your slow cooker? The greasing process is really a no-brainer and is super easy to do!

Using nonstick cooking spray
Spray a generous amount of cooking spray inside the slow cooker. Make sure the walls and bottom sides are coated nicely.

Using butter or oil
You can use a cooking brush to apply butter or oil to the inner side and bottom of the slow cooker. Pastry or any other type of cooking brush will do. Make sure the brush for baking and meat cooking is not interchanged to prevent cross-contamination of flavor to your dishes.

Make sure you have enough fat or oil transferred to the brush and coat the inner linings evenly. You can reapply if needed. Alternatively, you can also use your finger if there is no brush at hand. However, this could be tricky and messy if you are greased with liquid oil. Attempting to use your finger should be reserved when using butter.

Do I need to use a nonstick cooking spray when using a slow cooker?

Your slow cooker is a low-maintenance appliance, and you might not think enough about how to take care of it other than the usual cleaning since nothing seems amiss even when you use it always.

I bet you don’t think about it; just toss your ingredients into the slow cooker, letting it do its work. Afterward, you clean it with soap and water.

Many of the latest models of slow cookers have a glossy inside coating to help prevent meals from sticking and make cleaning easier. However, the finish will eventually wear off with repeated use, and cooked meals will begin to adhere to the cooker’s walls.

This can be rather visible and may even prompt you to discard your slow cooker and get a new one. If you cook dishes with acidic sauces, the inside coating may disappear after a year or two.

To protect the linings of your slow cooker, greasing is an important step you should not skip. A nonstick cooking spray can be used for this purpose.

The nonstick cooking spray has the advantage of being easy to apply an even coating to the inner linings of your slow cooker.

But if you have no nonstick cooking spray at hand, fret not. Butter and different types of oil can do the trick too. Using other fats and oils also has the added advantage of adding complexity to the taste of your dish.

Can I prevent slow cooker burnt food when greasing?

No, greasing will not magically prevent the burning of your food prepared using the slow cooker.

Slow cookers are designed to cook meals efficiently by heating the liquid components of the food and evenly dispersing the heat.

If you always burn food when using your slow cooker, the food you place inside is either too dry or left too long inside. Enough moisture and the correct cooking process are needed to prevent burnt food.

Greasing can only do so much as provide additional moisture to your food. Greasing only adds small additional moisture that might be lacking in the ingredients themselves.

It is not a band-aid solution to prevent burning. If you really burn your food accidentally, then greasing can really lessen the chore of cleaning up the mess inside your slow cooker.

It does so by preventing burnt bits of food from sticking directly to your pot. It also protects the surface of the slow cooker lining, especially those nonstick ones, from acidic liquids and helps the shiny finish to last longer.

Final Thoughts

It’s very imperative to take good care of your slow cooker, whether you have lightweight slow cookers or even the larger ones.

It might sound troublesome, but it really helps in the longer run. By greasing, you are increasing the lifetime of your handy buddy as it cooks food conveniently for you.

Now that you know that greasing is an important part of cooking several recipes using a slow cooker. Now is your time to do it.

Grab some oils and show love for your slow cooker, and in return, it will pay you back thrice and more.

About Author

Al AminMy name is Al Amin and I am a food blogger. I studied hotel management. So I have a little more love for cooking.

After working as a cook for a long time, I can easily understand which cooking appliances are most suitable for cooking.

Here you will find very good ideas about cooking tools and appliances. At the same time, you can decide for yourself which product is best for your kitchen.

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