The Summer Party Staple That's Perfect For Slow Cooking Beginners

If you've tucked your slow cooker away until fall and cooler weather hits, you may want to break it out for your next summer party. This small kitchen appliance allows you to throw all the ingredients of a meal into a single pot and walk away as it slowly cooks throughout the day. And of course, this can apply to dips or side dishes as well, making it a perfect vessel to host all your backyard barbecues as a beginner.  

In fact, one of the benefits of making your dips and side dishes in this kitchen gadget is you can make them ahead of time and simply warm them up before guests arrive. This allows you to focus on crafting a beautiful dessert or grilling the perfect steak. However, if you are new to the slow cooker scene, you may feel a little wary about how a dish will turn out. After all, cooking is all about the TLC you put into a recipe, and this culinary convenience is all about benign neglect. But don't worry, trust in your slow cooker.

A slow cooker is a beginner's best friend

You can make a smooth and creamy spinach artichoke dip or a sweet creamed corn recipe in one of these babies, exerting less than 10 minutes of your time putting all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and letting it do its thing. Or try your hand at our favorite crock pot buffalo chicken dip, which combines chicken breasts with cream cheese, blue cheese dressing, your favorite wing sauce — sweet and mild or spicy and eye-watering — and shredded cheddar cheese to create a dish that will be the talk of the party.

If you are unsure about how much you can make in one of these appliances, a good rule of thumb is to use a 3 or 5-quart slow cooker for smaller gatherings of up to four people. But if your summer party is going to be larger than that, you'll want to opt for a 6-quart size, and adapt your recipe accordingly. Just be cautious not to overfill it or you will end up with both a mess to clean up and overcooked food.