Kitchen Tip: Browning Meat in your Crockpot!

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When it comes to browning meat… I’d rather do almost anything else!  But… I know how much quicker meals can come together once the meat is browned and ready to go!

I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen, so here are some of my favorite Meat Browning Tips

1. Brown your meat before freezing! {thanks to my friend Kristee for this tip} I’ve found this to be a BIG time-saver! Rather than dealing with frozen raw meat, now I can just grab a bag of frozen {already browned} meat out of the freezer! Sometimes I’ll even add taco seasoning in when browning it… so that’s checked off the list, too! Half the battle is already over, and dinner comes together so much quicker!

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2. Brown your meat using your Crockpot!  When my friend Myra shared this tip back in January, I could hardly wait to try it!  I adore my crockpot, and am always looking for ways to simplify meal prep!  Now… every time I brown meat, this is what I do…

Simply transfer the meat to your crockpot {pictured below is 5 lbs of ground beef}, mash a little to separate it {I just use a hand potato masher or poke it a little with the edge of my spatula} ;) , cover, then cook on high for approximately 4 hours {or until done}.  Stir occasionally when cooking {I usually stir it around every 30 minutes or so}.

When it looks about done… drain out any excess fat.  Then if you want pre-seasoned meat… you can add in your favorite seasoning {I always add in taco seasoning}.  Let meat cook a bit longer on low {with the seasoning}, and you’re done!

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Use some in your meal that day, or freeze in 1 lb. portions for a quick and easy meal later! {taco night, burritos, nachos, pasta sauce, taco mac & cheese, etc.}

3. Reuse the freezer bags you store your browned meat in. {another great tip from my friend Kristee!} Reusing freezer bags is a simple way to save a little extra $$… and since you’ve already browned your meat, the bags won’t be the ooey-gooey throw away kind anymore! Just rinse, clean, and reuse!

Easy Crockpot Recipes from

Proverbs 3-5

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How do YOU save time in the kitchen? 

Or do you have a fun Crockpot Tip or Recipe??

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43 Responses to Kitchen Tip: Browning Meat in your Crockpot!

  1. Great idea! Thank you.

    One of my grandson’s favorite meals (cooked in the crockpot) is either beef stew meat or chucks of raw chicken breast cooked in a bottle of Walden Farm’s Sesame Ginger Dressing [ - I buy it locally at HyVee].

    The dressing bottles are only 12 oz size. I buy family size pkgs of stew meat & divide them down into 3 pkgs & then use them 1 per meal. I use 2 chicken breasts per meal. I have a small crockpot for this … either 2 or 2.5 qt size.

    Very easy … put thawed meat (1 pkg stew meat or 2 cut-up chicken breasts) in crockpot. Pour dressing over it. Cook 5-6 hours on low. Serve with rice. There are 3 of us and I usually have lunch leftovers the next day for me.

  2. Sarah H says:

    The pampered chef mix n chop is the BEST!!!!

  3. Krizinne Cross says:

    I am sorry but you cannot and will not actually brown meat in the crock pot. That is steaming the meat.

    • Judy says:

      The meat turns brown when cooked. The method doesn’t matter. True, it is not fried and crispy. It IS browned. You can also brown meat in the microwave, but keep a loose lid or paper towel on it to prevent too many spatters.
      I can’t wait to try the crock pot method to brown ground beef.

    • KelleyP says:

      You can brown meat in a moist environment. The Maillard reaction does occur when the protein is cooked over 350 for a length of time. Check out the America’s Test Kitchen on the subject.

    • Melissa says:

      yes, you can! maybe you need a new crockpot.

  4. Nancy says:

    Place your meat in a strainer and then place the strainer over a bowl slightly bigger than the strainer. Cook in the microwave stirring a couple time throughout. Cooks fast and drains at the same time.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Whats the best way to reheat once you take it out of the freezer? You wouldnt want to overcook it, right?

  6. Kimberly says:

    For those of us with limited freezer space (okay, I don’t have too little, I just store too much in the freezer), you can also can browned beef. It’s really simple and lasts for a long time (if canned properly it can last up to three years). More importantly, it makes meals even faster than just pulling from the freezer, it’s just popping the lid on the jar and heating through. We can all kinds of prepared and partially prepared meat dishes (soups, stews, italian chicken, bbq pork, etc.). Not only does it make for super simple and fast meals, but it gives me comfort knowing I’m storing foods healthy foods my family loves to eat in case of times of need.

    • Sarah says:

      Do you have to have a pressure canner to can meat, or can you use stock pot method? I’m still new to canning.

    • Could you send me the recipe and how to can the browned ground beef, please. I would like to try it because I have so much in my freezer that canning would be great.

      Thank you so much for sharing with us. You have a great day!

  7. Venessa says:

    Great idea. I will though go with Kathleen M’s idea of browning the meat in a skillet and then freezing it. I love ‘saving time’ tips!

  8. Carolyn Dunn says:

    I LOVE the frugal idea of reusing freezer bags but I NEVER reuse the ones that have contained meat or cheese, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. And that cannot be washed away.

    • Jan says:

      I reuse freezer bags. What I do is to keep the ones I have used in the freezer–empty. If you are not leaving them out at room temp, I think it would be hard for bacteria to grow on them and they take up hardly any room in the freezer!!

      • Linda Gialouris says:

        This is what I do too. I put them in the freezer empty and then reuse them. I also keep and reuse the bags I use for cheese and dry items like uncooked macaroni and spaghetti.

  9. Kristl Story says:

    That’s my kind of crock pot cooking! I have so many crock pot recipes that have you brown the meat first, and that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the crock pot!

    My favorite crock pot recipe / tip…you can cook those frozen chicken breasts in your crock pot, and they shred perfectly for casseroles or enchiladas! Here a 3 easy meals from 1 bag of frozen chicken breasts: King Ranch Chicken, Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole.

  10. Pearl says:

    I love cooking up hamburger in the crockpot key is to mark the bags – I have some just beef, beef and cream of mushroom soup&gravy. Usually I season and cook beef remove 2/3 to freeze then add 2 cans rinsed kidney beans,large jar of Salsa, 1 can of Delmonte diced seasoned tomatoes and let it cook atleast and hour to blend the flavors – I will have some that day and I will freeze the chilli in 2 cup portions for future QUICK meals. Just heat in microwave and sprink cheese of choice.

  11. tamara says:

    I’m definitely going to do this. This is the time of year where you wish the meat was ready for your dish…this way it will be!

  12. Jean Eldridge says:

    Have just discovered the Love it!

  13. doughiedeb says:

    Hallmark sells a tool exactly like the pampered chef tool that is about half the price and just as nice!

  14. anon says:

    I freeze my burger meat pre-cooked, but I don’t fry it or brown it. I boil a large kettle of water and crumble 5#’s of ground meat into it. I will also put some dehydrated onions in the pot. With a strainer over a larger pot, just drain the meat when cooked (takes 5-8 minutes), cool, and separate into freezer bags. When cool, I pour the water down the drain, making sure to use cold water to flush it. I have never had my drain back up but you have to make sure the water is cool to cold before doing this. I love having my meat pre-cooked and it can be used for everything except hamburgers and meatloaf.

  15. Kay says:

    I bought this slow cooker:

    You can sear/brown meats in the crock on the stove, then transfer to the slow cooker. Love it! I’ve used my slow cooker a lot more since I bought this.

  16. Jennifer says:

    This is a very useful tip for a college student living in the dorms. Thank you very much.

  17. I love cooking my ground meat in my crockpot….If you put it in frozen you can cook it on low the whole day while you are gone or at work. Also, baked potatoes are awesome in the crock pot. Clean them and wrap them in aluminum foil then put them in the crock pot on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4 hours. So much better than microwave and easy!

    • Heidi says:

      Ooh ~ thanks for the tip, Amy… I’ll have to try that!

      ~ Heidi

    • Debbie U says:

      When you cook it on low, will it come out crumbly and do you cook 5 lbs at a time?

      • Heidi says:

        Hi Debbie ~ for the ground beef… yes, I cooked five pounds at one time. To keep it crumbly, you’ll need to periodically mash and stir with a spoon or masher to prevent it from clumping together. Hope that helps! ;)

        ~ Heidi

    • Denise says:

      Cooking ground beef from frozen in the crockpot might not maintain safe temperatures to prevent food poisoning. It is more risky than other meats because it has so much more surface area for bacteria to breed on.

  18. Most amazing crock-pot ever: the All-Clad slow cooker. I cook right on my electric stove using the insert – like browning ground beef – then pop it right in the crock-pot. AWESOME. It’s expensive, but worth every penny.

  19. Kellye Bi=rown says:

    I am a huge fan of The Frugal Girls. I have been reading about browning ground beef in the crock pot, and now I can’t wait to try it. Sure beats standing over the stove waiting on it to brown. I also want to look into the Pampered Chef thing. Not sure what it does, but sounds like it would be a big help too. I have had 6 back surgeries and standing at the stove really aggrevates my back. Anything to quicken the process if A OK by me. Also, my family loves bacon. But, then again, that’s one of the things that starts my back hurting. Any ideas to simplify cooking bacon? Thanks for all your super ideas! Kellye

    • Carrie says:

      Kellye-You can cook bacon on a tray in the oven, it’s been on pintrest so should be easy to find but think it takes about 20 mins hth

    • Dee says:

      My back was broken about 40 years ago and I am currently recouping from major neck surgery so I understand how painful that stove and sink can be.
      Please let me help with the bacon. For as long as there have been microwaves that’s how I cook my bacon. Place six slices on a bacon pan, cover and start out with 6 minutes and add more minutes one at a time until
      It’s nice and crisp. Best darn bacon you have ever tasted. Be sure to spray or oil the pan and save those drippings to season with later.
      Hang in there.

    • Dee says:

      One of my biggest time savers in the kitchen is to recruit my husband, and anyone else that walks by, and dice onions, celery and bell peppers and freeze them in bags, so they are ready when I am. By freezing enough to last until the next year I save not only time but money also. This one is hands down my favorite. Hope this helps……

      • Sam says:

        Yes I chop veggies to store in freezer too! You can buy more and if/when you notice them going bad, I dice, chop, chunk, however I like them cut and store in baggies, SOOO much faster & easier when preparing meals. Quick easy eggs when you have pre-diced onions & bell peppers, use whats needed no waste!!
        I am def gonna try the crockpot ground beef, this could be a lifesaver for me!!

  20. Janis says:

    I solved the “browning” problem by browning all of my meat when I purchase it. I make a huge mess all at once and then just chill it and freeze it. It works for ground beef, pork chops, roasts and just about everything.

    It works best if you buy a whole lot at once. You can just re-use the same pans and then clean up the range just ONCE. It’s a win/win as far as I’m concerned.

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