Do Slow Cookers Need Water? | Plus 4 Dishes That Do Not

Slow cookers are so convenient for cooking delicious, tender meals with minimal effort. You can just throw the ingredients in and let it cook throughout the day. One common question regarding preparing food in slow cookers is whether you need to put water in it along with the food.

There are many dishes that do not need added water when made in a slow cooker. Pot roasts, pulled pork, queso dip and apple butter are great examples.

This article will explore when slow cookers need water, some great recipes you can cook at home and some easy tips for perfect slow cooking.

Do You Need to Add Water to Slow Cookers?

There are many recipes that do not need any added water when cooking. As long as there is already enough moisture in the ingredients used, water is not necessary. Many meats and vegetables have a high water content which is released when the food is heated.

This can provide enough liquid to prevent the food from sticking and keep it moist. The moisture released can cook vegetables and meat through until they are tender.

A few recipes that typically do need water added include soup, slow cooker bread, and some pot roasts. If you are using a specific slow cooker recipe to make a meal, it will instruct you to add water if you need to do so.

In regards to meals that you can make in your slow cooker without adding water, there are several to choose from. The following section will be covering some of these meals.

Slow Cooker Dishes That Do Not Require Water

This section will detail four different meals that you can make in your slow cooker without adding extra water. Take a look at the ones listed below, as well as a delectable recipe that goes along with each one.

Pot Roast

Since pot roasts have beef broth as an ingredient, there is no water necessary. For a savory pot roast, try this recipe that calls for the following ingredients:

  • 4-pound chuck roast
  • 2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

First, use the thyme, pepper, and kosher salt on your chuck roast before searing it in a pan or in your slow cooker with the canola oil. Wait until the oil is hot before putting the roast in the pan, and let each side cook for about five minutes.

Put the minced garlic, carrots, and potatoes in your slow cooker, and place the roast on top of them. Next, simply pour the beef broth over top, and let the pot roast cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. You can also use the high heat setting and get the roast cooked in about five or six hours.

If you feel like the sauce in the pot roast needs to be thickened up when it is done cooking, you can pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pan and cook it with a cornstarch slurry on high for a couple minutes. Pour it onto the roast once it is done.

Pulled Pork

You can make tasty pulled pork sandwiches without any water at all. The moisture is in the sauce that the meat is immersed in.

Here are the ingredients needed for a delicious pulled pork sandwich:

  • 3-pound pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Buns

Add the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, onion, tomato paste, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and mustard powder to your slow cooker. Next, cut the excess fat from your pork shoulder, and season it with the kosher salt and black pepper.

Now, you just need to sit back and wait for your pulled pork to cook to perfection, which should take about eight to ten hours on low heat or five to six hours on high. Once it has finished cooking, you can use a kiosk of forks to shred up the meat, then put it back into the juices in the slow cooker. Serve this on the buns of your choice.

Queso Dip

Queso dip requires minimal ingredients, and none of them are water. Here is what you need for this particular recipe:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded American cheese
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Kosher salt

First, get the American and pepper Jack cheeses coated in the cornstarch after adding them to your slow cooker. After that, add the evaporated milk and can of tomatoes.

Cook the dip on the low heat setting for about two hours or so. The queso will be slightly bubbling and thicker. Enjoy the dip with some tortilla chips.

Apple Butter

Apple butter does not require water since apples are full of it already. This recipe is super easy and yields apple butter in as little as five hours. Here is what you need:

  • 5 pounds apples
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt

The first step is to core, peel, and slice up the apples. Next, put them into your slow cooker with the cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, cloves, and salt. Mix up the ingredients to coat the apple slices, and let the apples cook for five hours on high or eight to ten hours on low.

Finally, transfer everything from the slow cooker into a food processor or blender, and pulse the mixture for a minute or so. You can also utilize an immersion blender to combine the mixture, which helps you avoid having to move it out of the slow cooker. Your apple butter is ready to enjoy once it has a nice and smooth consistency.

Final Notes 

Roast meats, soups, and broth based soups and sauces can be cooked in a slow cooker without added water. Meats and vegetables contain a high amount of water which will release when they are cooked. Try pulled pork or pot roast in your slow cooker and get an easy midweek meal.

Happy cooking.