How to make great soups in your slow cooker

Crockpot Soup Tips

by Leanne Ely


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We are big on crockpot cooking over here. Many of our most popular menu mailer recipes and ebooks are based around this "Queen of Convenience" in the world of kitchen appliances.

We're into the fall of the year, which means it is soup season. There really is nothing quite like coming home at the end of a busy day to the smell of soup simmering away on your counter.

Yes, I said counter! Soup on the stove is great, but soup in the crockpot is a lifesaver during the busy weeks following the kids' return back to school.

If you have a favorite soup recipe that you're not sure how to adapt to the slow cooker, or if you are new to crockpot cooking, keep reading because I'm going to share some basic tips with you here for turning a few simple ingredients into a delectable pot of soup that your whole family will go crazy for!

Top Tips for Making Crockpot Soups

Brown the meat. One of the most overlooked steps in creating sensational crockpot soups is browning your ingredients. Sure, the crockpot will cook your soup just fine without taking this step, but if you do take the time to sear your meat before putting it in the slow cooker, you'll be happy with the rich, intensely flavored results.

Cut ingredients uniformly. Take care to cut your vegetables in similar sizes so that they cook evenly.

Crockpot Soup Tips

Layer properly. Put your ingredients that take the longest to cook in the crockpot first. Root vegetables take longer to cook than meat so they should be placed on the bottom where they'll have more direct contact with the heating element of the slow cooker. Meats, spices, and onions can also be placed on the bottom. Veggies like cauliflower and broccoli can go in next. You'll place your liquid on top of all the veggies before covering the crockpot and turning it on.

Watch your liquids. You won't need as much liquid as your traditional soup recipe would call for, but just add enough to cover the veggies by about half an inch. (If you have too much liquid at the end of your cooking time, simply remove the lid of your crockpot 30 minutes before you plan to serve dinner and it will evaporate.)

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Add ingredients in stages. Some ingredients don't take much time to cook, so you'll want to add them in during the last hour of cook time. Things like pasta, milk, peas, bell peppers and spinach would fall into this category.

Take the time to learn how to use your slow cooker and you'll be amazed at how much easier it will be to get a meal on the table at the end of a hectic day!


Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular, FlyLady.net, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. SavingDinner.com. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

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