5 Unconventional Uses for Crock Pots

5 Unconventional Uses for Crock Pots

By Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

When I was a child, I thought the crock pot was for one meal alone: roast beef.

Oh, I am sure my mother used it for other meals, but for some reason the common Sunday lunch of a slow-cooked roast beef with a side of slow-cooked carrots and potatoes made a huge impression.

In fact, it wasn’t until I had been married for a total of four years that I even branched out and used my own crock pot for anything but roast beef! Truly, I was so humbled in the kitchen during those early years (and, let’s be honest…I still am!) that I couldn’t fathom using my slow cooker to make anything else.

Over the course of the last four years, however, I’ve discovered that crock pot cooking is literally limitless. Sure, you can cook a mean roast in one–along with a myriad of other meals–but you can actually prepare so much more by using this handy little kitchen appliance.

Check out these 5 unconventional uses for crock pots:

beans in a crock pot

Image by alex.shultz

1. Make stocks.

Homemade stock is so nourishing–and so easy to do in the crock pot! Check out these stock recipes:

Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot @ 100 Days of Real Food

Homemade Beef Stock @ The Prairie Homestead

Easy Slow Cooker Seafood Stock @ Anthony St. Clair

Homemade Crock Pot Vegetable Stock @ The Holistic Mama

2. Cook beans.

Every real foodie knows that it’s best to cook with dry beans to avoid the BPA in most canned goods. But cooking with dry beans can be a two-day process–and, if you’re like me at all, the beans may still not be perfect after the second day!

It’s easy to soak and cook beans in a crock pot! Simply soak them overnight, rinse the next morning, and cook them all day long. They will be perfect by supper time!

Slow Cooker Yogurt

Image by Creating Naturally

3. Make homemade yogurt.

I will be honest: I have never made homemade yogurt in the crock pot. But I have friends who rave about both the ease and consistency of using a slow cooker to perfect rich and creamy yogurt.

Check out Mindy’s step-by-step tutorial for making homemade slow cooker yogurt.

4. Make homemade condiments and sauces.

Condiments in a crock pot?! Yes, please! Check these out:

Crock Pot Pasta Sauce @ The Humbled Homemaker

Crock Pot Applesauce @ The Humbled Homemaker

How to Make Slow Cooker Ketchup @ Simple Bites

Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter @ Oh She Glows

Crock Pot Sugar-Free Strawberry Chia Jam @ Stacy Makes Cents (oh.my.goodness…I cannot wait to try this one!)

Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider Recipe 700x582

Image by Young Wife’s Guide

5. Make beverages.

You would think this one would be a no-brainer, but it was a lightbulb moment for me when I realized how simple it is to not only make but also keep beverages warm in a crock pot!

Check these out:

Crock Pot Honey Spiced Latte @ Stacy Makes Cents

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cider @ Young Wife’s Guide

Holiday Lattes in the Crock Pot @ Keeper of the Home

Want more crock pot inspiration? Check out my crock pot meals board on Pinterest!

Do you mainly use your crock pot to make meals, or do you have any unconventional uses for your crock pot?

 top image by nemuneko.jc
 Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

About Erin O

Erin is a follower of Jesus, wife to Will and mommy to three little redheaded girls (born in 2008, 2010 and 2012). She is a life-long, professional dreamer and recovering overwhelmed homemaker. Her mission is to encourage, educate and empower her readers at The Humbled Homemaker to live a grace-filled, natural life. She is the author of a 200+-page eBook all about cloth diapering-- Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.

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  1. How much water should be used to cover beans in crockpot? Cook on low or high all day? Seasoning recommendations? Thanks!

  2. I use my old one to make soap, you can use it staight away to wash up afterwards! lol

  3. When I was going through a chemo regimen, one of the immediate effects after the infusion was a 24-hour headache that defies description – - except that it could be soothed somewhat by hot and wet compresses. I would put four or five very damp small dish towels in my crockpot set to the lowest temp and would have the hot towels ready to change out for the constant change. I only needed to be careful to take the towel out with a tong, dangle it over the open crock pot for a moment to cool off, fold the towel and wring it out slightly, re-lid the crockpot, and use the towel.

  4. I use it mostly conventionally though I have done yogurt in it too. Two random things I often do with the crock pot:
    Bake potatoes: Wash and prick potatoes, wrap in foil, place in crock pot on high all day. Yum!

    Cook hamburgers: Layer hamburgers and coils of aluminum foil, season, and cook on low until dinner. This makes for easy burgers in winter when you can’t dig out the snow and ice to get to the grill. :) We like to do it for a Sunday dinner so it’s ready after church.

    I’ve shared a recipe for beans in the crock pot on my blog before – this is my favorite pregnancy snack! http://ourbusyhomeschool.com/crockpot-refried-beans/

  5. Sarah-Mae says:

    I make a potato soup in my crock pot. It’s great during the winter if I have to work all day and want something warm and savory to eat that night.

  6. I make soap in mine.

  7. Yes! I use my crock pot for all of those except yogurt–my brand doesn’t do well with maintaining the proper temperature. I love crock pot beans, and I actually never soak them the night before, either (don’t tell!). I put aluminum foil under the lid to keep in moisture, cook them all day, and we don’t seem to have any ill effects digestion-wise.

  8. TerriLin says:

    Also make soap!

  9. When making laundry soap, I melt the bar of soap — with some of the water — in my crockpot, so I don’t have to grate it (or my knuckles). I also do beans, rice, yogurt (so easy!!) and stock.

  10. Chicken stock in the crock pot is THE BEST!

  11. Dawn Breazile says:

    I bake potatoes (wash, wrap in foil, 4 hr on high).. Also I use it for steel cut oats.Put oats & liquid in a smaller, heat proof bowl that fits in the crock pot(follow package direction for oats & liquid- use Pam or similar on bowl). Put bowl in crock pot, Pour water in space between bowl and crock pot walls (like a water bath when baking). Cover & and cook low for 6-8 hrs. Do at night & wake up to a yummy breakfast!

  12. Another great thing to make in the crock pot…baked potatoes! Do everything to them like you were going to stick them in the oven or on the grill but instead just put them in the pot, wrapped in the tin foil and all. We do this a lot when camping, especially when camping at Walt Disney World, as it is perfect for when we are gone most of the day and plan to either eat a stuffed baked potato with salad or when we are cooking meat on the grill. No more waiting for the potatoes to get done! :)

  13. Jenny in the Mitten says:

    Rice! You can make RICE!

    Same as on stove top. Takes about 4 hours. 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid.

  14. You can render lard in it, as well. Much better than that trans-fat laden stuff they sell at grocery stores. I frequently do country-style pork BBQ in it. Steel cut oats do well overnight, and so easy, too!!
    See also: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

  15. I’ve made cakes in mine. I found this to be especially useful on holidays when the oven is otherwise occupied.

  16. Thanks for the mention! I love these other ideas for using the crock pot too, it’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets – saves so much time and energy!

  17. Living in HOT Arizona, I use my crock pot tons in the summer to avoid the oven adding more heat to the house. You can transform most any recipe to bake in a crock pot.

  18. Last week I found the BEST use of my crockpot: I made bread! Finally, I don’t have to wonder, “Should I bake my bread in the morning while my kitchen is still cool but doing so will heat it up?” or, “Should I make it in the late evening, when the kitchen is already hot, but I don’t feel like it?”


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