5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make in Your Slow Cooker

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You know all about the perks of setting it and forgetting it, but are you aware of your slow cooker’s secret powers? Beyond the game-changing greatness of slow-cooked meaty chilis, beef stews and more, this most trusty appliance has a few hidden tricks up its sleeve. In addition to its ability to cook dinner while you’re away at work, check out a few surprising things you can make using the slow cooker’s gentle heat.

Instead of standing over the stove or turning to the microwave for your early morning oatmeal fix, go for Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal. Before you turn in for the night, combine steel cut oats, dried cranberries, dried figs and some liquid in the slow cooker and, come morning, you’ll have a bowl of perfectly cooked oatmeal waiting for you.

If you thought your slow cooker was capable of cooking only real meals low and slow, think again. With the help of your slow cooker, Slow-Cooker Spiced Nuts soak up all the goodness of cinnamon, maple syrup, orange peel and a little cayenne pepper for hours on end. The end result is a nutty snack that’s oh so addictive.

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Traditional risotto is known for being a labor of love, with all the stirring and stirring and stirring, but Slow-Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto is anything but high maintenance. Instead of constantly hovering over a pot until the rice reaches its notoriously creamy consistency, throw barley and veggies into a slow cooker for a dish that has similar vibes. It’s creamy, savory and completely vegetarian.

When you’ve got your slow cooker at the ready, it couldn’t be easier to transform fresh apples into Slow-Cooker Apple Butter. After cooking sliced Granny Smith apples with spices, applesauce and sugar for a few hours, store the fruity, silky butter in sterilized jars and slather it over hot biscuits, toast or scones.

Especially if your slow cooker is on the smaller side, it’s perfect for a hot, melted and dippable favorite: fondue. Make a sweet version, Slow-Cooker Chocolate Fondue, and dip pretzels, cookies, fruit and more. When you use a slow cooker to make this treat, there’s no need to worry that the bottom of the chocolate will burn, and it won’t go cold when feeding a crowd.