The slow cooker used to be reserved for cooking dried beans and tough cuts of meat, but in the last few years it’s come back into vogue as a go-to source for low-fuss meals of all kinds. Slow cookers are now used for everything from ratatouille to bread pudding.
One of the most versatile uses for the slow cooker is to use it for making baked potatoes. While technically the potatoes aren’t baked when you slow cook them –they’re actually steamed– they do come out with a perfectly moist texture.
The best part about making slow cooker baked potatoes is that they are almost impossible to overcook. You can leave them for up to 10 hours, meaning you can make them while you’re at work and come home to heavenly hot potatoes.
Top slow cooker baked potatoes with chili and low-fat cheese for an easy meal, or make them a hearty side dish. A baked potato and salad can also be a filling dieter’s dinner with no trouble whatsoever.
Slow Cooker Baked Potato Recipe
Scrub 4 or more potatoes and prick with a fork. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in an empty slow cooker (do not add water). Cook 8-10 hours on low, or 2 1/2-4 hours on high.
See how easy it is? It’s barely a recipe, but it may just change your life. You can load up the cooker with as many potatoes as you can fit in: most 3 or 4-quart models will hold as many as 10-12. Top your slow cooker baked potato any way you like, but keep in mind the healthy benefits of a simple, filling potato and choose one of these lighter toppings:
Greek yogurt (thicker and richer than regular yogurt) and chives
Chunky garden salsa
Leftover stir-fried vegetables (Don’t be afraid!)
Light creamed spinach
Mediterranean style: light feta cheese, kalamata olives, chopped bell pepper
If you have a condiment you crave, try it on a potato, and don’t worry about anyone giving you funny looks. However you have your slow cooker baked potatoes, remember: you’ll cook them slow, but they’ll go fast.
By Elizabeth Kelly