Easy brunch ideas using your slow cooker

Your slow cooker can do double duty as more than just a dinner helper. Whip it out for brunches you can set and forget.

A beloved appliance of busy people everywhere, the humble slow cooker can be used to make myriad dishes, many of which are meant to be enjoyed for dinner after a busy day at work. While it may be underutilized for morning meals, a slow cooker can actually be used to minimize the amount of work required when brunch is on the menu.

The most appealing aspect of cooking brunch in a slow cooker? With the prep, cooking and cleanup already finished, you can treat yourself to some valuable “me time” before brunch is served. Whether you feel like indulging in some much-needed extra sleep or you plan on getting in a leisurely morning workout before sitting down to eat, this collection of slow cooker tips and brunch recipes is sure to inspire many future meals. If you want an even more streamlined experience, give yourself more free time the following morning by setting the table, getting the coffee ready to brew and cutting up fresh fruit the night before.

Three tips for ensuring a successful slow cooking brunch

Adjust cooking times to suit your slow cooker: Slow cookers vary in shape and size, depending on the model and manufacturer. You may find that you need to adjust the total cooking time to accommodate your specific model of slow cooker. If the size of your slow cooker is different than the dimensions specified in the recipe, it might be helpful to have a trial run before serving the dish for brunch.

Keep ingredients from sticking: To prevent ingredients from sticking to the slow cooker, spray the crock of your slow cooker with a neutral or butter-flavoured oil. For super easy cleanup, opt for a single-use plastic slow cooker liner that can be tossed after use (a plastic liner also lets you lift the entire contents of the slow cooker out at once without risk of the recipe falling apart.)

Prevent food from getting cold: Worried about keeping food hot over the course of brunch? Simply set your slow cooker to “warm” to keep the contents hot without having to worry about burnt food sticking to the bottom of the crock.

Make a hearty breakfast casserole

Breakfast casseroles are ideal for cooking in a slow cooker, not only are they well-suited to the low-and-slow method, they can be assembled in the crock of the slow cooker ahead of time (let the prepped casserole sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before placing in the slow cooker to prevent accidentally cracking the crock.) Potatoes have a tendency to become soggy in a slow cooker, but this can be easily fixed by draping a clean tea towel over the slow cooker before putting on the lid. The tea towel works to prevent condensation from dripping onto the potatoes, resulting in a crispier potato when the casserole is cooked.

Use a slow cooker to gently cook grains

Grains take on a distinctly creamy texture when cooked in a slow cooker, which makes this method perfectly suited to oats (especially rolled or steel cut oats), grits, wheat berries, and farro. Before serving, add a splash of your favourite dairy or plant-based milk; for savoury recipes try adding a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock instead. Offer a selection of toppings to garnish the cooked grains. Fresh or frozen fruit, toasted coconut, dark chocolate chips, and chopped nuts are always a welcome addition to oats and other breakfast grain-based dishes.

Enjoy an eggcellent start to your day

Unless otherwise specified, egg-based dishes that are made in a slow cooker are at their best when cooked on the appliance’s low setting. The gentle heat prevents the eggs from getting tough, leaving you with fluffy, perfectly cooked results every time. Eggs are notorious for sticking to the crock, so make sure it’s been sprayed with cooking spray or use a plastic slow cooker liner.

Wake up to freshly made breakfast baked goods

If you crave baked goods for brunch you’ll be happy to learn how easy it is to make cinnamon buns, coffee cake, monkey bread, and other breakfast treats in a slow cooker. Plastic slow cooker liners are especially useful for recipes in this category as they allow you to pull the entire contents of the bag out of the crock at once, making it easier to cut and serve your handiwork.