Do you put water in a crock pot? Is it bad if you don’t? When cooking in a crockpot, it is not necessary to add water unless the recipe calls for it. You could even damage your crock pot if you add too much water. A crock pot heats up not with water, but with coils hidden that are within its core. 


What is a crock pot?

A crock pot, also called a slow-cooker, is a device that people use to cook food in. It is a cooking unit that cooks food in four to ten hours on low heat.

There is hardly any water loss during the cooking process, because it doesn’t release any steam. In fact, it hardly boils at all while cooking. Below are the three main sections that make up a crock pot: 

The three primary parts to a crock pot

  1. The heating base: this section of the crock pot is primarily for the regulation and control of heat that is sent by way of the metal coils. 
  2. Cooking vessel or pot: what you put your food inside of during the cooking process; you can also use it to store away leftovers. 
  3. The lid: this is an essential part of a crock pot because without it you will not be able to retain the flavor and warmth of your food.


How much water do I put in a crock pot?

Only if the recipe strictly calls for adding water, you don’t need to add it. Certain recipes will require some type of liquid, such as wine, water, or broth.  You should keep in mind, cooking with a crock pot does not require as much water as it does when using the stovetop. 

Unless preparing a stew or soup, keep the amount of liquid to a minimum. This is particularly true if unsure about the amount of liquid required when trying out a new recipe.  


Instead of adding water, here’s what you can do:

The wonderful thing about a crock pot is there are several liquid options, other than water, to use. For instance, cooking meat and vegetables will create their own juices during the process. 

If you are concerned about food sticking to the bottom, spread some cooking oil on it before adding food.

Often, when allowing these food items to produce their own juice, there will be plenty of flavorsome liquid. To successfully allow other ingredients to make its own juices, ensure the crock pot is a minimum of half filled. 


Basic rules for cooking in a slow cooker

This next section is about a few basic rules about using a slow cooker. It is important to follow a recipes instructions so you know how much liquid to use.

Whether it’s a pot roast or chicken thighs, using enough liquid allows the slow cooker to cook as food braises.


If the base appears a bit runny use something to thicken it

When making stew, be careful with how much hot water you add. This is true when making soups, add liquid to allow it to cook properly. If you add water to much, your soup might be runny.

Another option is to put everything into an oven safe bowl or dish on the stovetop prior to adding thickener. Then allow it to get to the simmer point before you add water again.

If you are not sure what is a thickening agent for soup or stew, it’s right in your pantry! To create a medium-thick broth, add a tablespoon of cornstarch for each cup of broth.


Thaw the meat first

A common misconception when using a slow cooker is that frozen meat adds moisture. Some recipes call for less water. The water provided by the vegetables and meat will be soaked up during the cooking time. This required less liquid for you to put in slow cooker. You are better off to thaw the meat prior to adding it to the crock pot. 


It’s all in how you stack it

Keep in mind, when stacking all the ingredients into a slow cooker, the food at the bottom cooks the fastest. Therefore, when there are several ingredients involved, place the longer cooking ones at the bottom (meats), the veggies go up towards the top.

For instance, if you are cooking a pot roast, you would stack it with meat, potatoes, carrots, and then onions. This way the meat starts cooking first and will be done cooking at the same time as the vegetables.


Learn the art of utilizing raisers out of aluminum foil

An important thing to remember when you cook fish or chicken in a slow cooker, is you don’t want it soaking in liquid. This results in the food getting soggy and tasting water-logged. 

How do you avoid this? It’s simple, ensure the rack is placed above the level of water or liquid. If your slow cooker does not supply any racks, no worries, we have a solution! Just use some aluminum foil to create “raisers” inside your crock pot. 


How to make foil raisers

The way you made aluminum foil raisers is by forming some tinfoil balls. Then line the bottom of your slow cooker with these foil balls. Make sure the water level is below the top of the balls. 

Now, simply layer the desired meat you plan to cook over the foil ball raisers and cook! The end result will be perfectly cooked meat that is not soggy. These foil raisers also permit food to cook evenly because the heat is allowed to freely circulate within the crockpot. 


Avoid overfilling or under filling slow cookers

This is the final rule to successful cooking in a slow cooker. Avoid overfilling or under filling the ingredients and water in a crock pot. Many slow cookers are conveniently marked with a maximum fill marker. This is a tool for you to know how much is too much (or little) when you put water in the crock pot. 

A general rule of thumb is to put water between halfway to two-thirds of the top of the pot. Your food will be over cooked if you underfill. On the other hand, overfilling will create a messy overflow due to food expansion while cooking. 


Precautions to take when slow cooking

When you cook dinner in a crock pot, keep in mind that if there are leftovers you should remove and store in another dish. Food should never be reheated in the slow cooker, because it could result in food poisoning. The reason is crock pot temperatures do not get to the required levels to prevent the build up of bacteria. 


Heating options

Instead, first heat the food in a microwave oven or on the stove top. After it is at a safe temperature, you can then transfer it to the slow cooker to retain its warmth. 


Avert from peeking in on cooking food

The temperature inside a slow cooker reduces every time you take the lid off while it is cooking. It takes a significant amount of time for those temperatures to return to the levels they were at. Therefore, avoid taking the lid off to check on the food, doing so could increase cooking time by several hours. 


The ideal way to cook meat

Two ways to cook meat for the best results are not submerging or braising, and submerging or simmering. The best way to cook roast is not to slow cook it; roasting it will produce the tastiest results.  


Is it possible to overcook when slow cooking?

According to notes by the University of Wisconsin Extension, the liquid will not boil away, as when using a  stovetop in a slow cooker. Although meat can be overcooked, there will be no burned food when cooked in a crock pot. 


Can you cook raw meat in a slow cooker?

The answer to this question is a definitive yes. You can cook raw meat in your slow cooker. This includes raw chicken breasts. Simply put in the cold, raw meat, and follow the recipe accordingly regarding any liquid.

Depending on the instructions of a recipe either cook at a low or high setting for the suggested cooking time, anywhere from six to eight hours. 


Do you put water in a crock pot FAQ

We have gathered some of your related questions regarding using a crockpot and putting water in a slow cooker. 

The most popular question appears to be whether water should be put inside a crockpot. Should a roast be completely covered with liquid? Basically, in regards to the water or liquid level, always follow the recipe to get the best results. 

To make sure there is efficient transfer of heat within the entire crockpot, ensure liquid or water completely envelops all ingredients. 


How much water do I put in a crock pot?

When following slow cooker recipes, always follow the directions regarding how much water to put into the cooking pot. When using a slow cooker you generally use less water than the same recipe on a stovetop.

Remember, never overfill crock pots as they could begin to leak liquid from the top, to prevent burned food. The water level should be about one-half to three quarters from the top. 


What happens if I get water on the heating base?

Keep in mind that it is only necessary to add extra liquid or water to the slow cooker when the recipe calls for it.

Never allow any water to get on the slow cooker base as it will create lots of steam and even damage your machine. In addition, avoid getting water on the heating element to prevent damage to machine.


Can you use a crock pot without liquid?

Yes. It is possible to use a crockpot without any liquid or water added. You can wrap meat in aluminum foil, use vegetable oil, or disposable liners to prevent food from sticking to pot.

When you put water into the slow cooker the meat will not necessarily burn, yet it can become overcooked.

This is a general rule to follow with any slow cooker recipe, particularly so if not adding liquid. However, you will need some liquid in the crockpot to create steam.  

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