Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
For so many years I used my slow cooker without giving a second thought to cleanup. The time it saved with hands-off cooking certainly didn't justify a peep of a complaint over the 5 minutes it would take to scrub the insert clean once the meal had been dished and devoured. But that was before a box of Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners made their way to my grocery cart and, subsequently, to my slow cooker. Little did I know what I was missing. BUY IT: Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners, $2.98/6-count; amazon.com
I will preach the joys of my trusty slow cooker to no end. I've found my go-to recipes and make them on repeat, occasionally adding in a new-to-me recipe that I've heard is worth trying, which typically ends up on our rotation. It's this type of effortless cooking that helps our family prioritize dinnertime together. It's a win-win. Of course, there are days when even throwing ingredients into a slow cooker is too much of a time investment in which case you'll find the Shannon family winding through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru line. And, while the thought of cleanup has never been the impetus for a duo of kids meals and two number ones (hold the pickles on one, pile 'em on the other), jumping on the slow-cooker liner bandwagon has certainly made set-it-and-forget-it night that much easier.
The liners come in regular size (for 3 to 8 quarts) and small size (for 1 to 3 quarts). I opt for regular for my 8-quart slow cooker and haven't had an issue with fit. I simply place one over the pot, then insert it back into the cooker. From there, I just pile in all my ingredients as usual. When you're prepping, you might find yourself pondering if it's really safe to have these liners cooking away for hours. You betcha. The Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners max temperature encompasses all slow cooker settings thanks to their BPA-Free nylon blend makeup. Do these slow-cooker liners melt? Not a chance.
Once your family has raved over the results of your all-day slow cooked meal, it'll be time for cleanup. I suggest you volunteer for that role and bank it for the next time you're staring at a sink full of dirty pots and pans (it's someone else's turn this time!). All you need to do is gently pull the liner from the pot and toss it in the trash. Voila. Kitchen cleanup? Done.
Hot Tip: The Divided Slow Cooker Liner Hack
For party time or anytime, you can divide your slow cooker in two to cook two different dishes simultaneously. You'll just need two liners and a sheet of aluminum foil. Line half the pot with a liner, then place a folded piece of aluminum foil in the middle of the pot to act as a divider. Line the other half of the pot in the same way you did with the first and you'll be ready to cook up two different dishes at once. This technique works best for larger slow cookers.
Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners
BUY IT: $2.98; amazon.com
If you’re a frequent slow cooker or plan to use the divided slow cooker method often, go ahead and splurge for a couple of packs. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll fly through these liners once the slow-cook bug hits.