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Friday evening. Throughout the house flows the smell of perfectly slow-cooked dinner. You feel super stuffed while laying in front of a TV with your loved ones.
And then it hits you. You have to clean the dishes and your slow cooker. Yes it is most likely dishwasher safe, but it will need some scrubbing, maybe even that special soap your mom brought you the other day and it is better to give your slow cooker light touch, not be as rough as the dishwasher.
Oh, man. Oh, man. Oh, man!
And as a bonus, there is a grandma coming in the morning. It would be great if You had a way to slow cook and don’t have to clean like a madman for 30 minutes every time.
I have been there. I have done that. The morning after, while I was still sleepy, my grandma showed me slow cooker liners and I have never gone back.
Quick reference table of my preferred choices.
Impact to nature
Reynolds Kitchens Premium Slow Cooker Liners
51c / piece
Reynolds Kitchens Non-Stick Baking Parchment Paper Sheets
15c / piece
Ultra-Thick Heavy Duty Foil
0.08c / piece
Silicon slow cooker liner from Mrs. V's Kitchen
25$ / piece
Slow cooker liners?
Simply they are thick plastic sheets made specifically to withstand slow cooker heat, while at the same time save you quite a bit of hard work that you would have spent with cleaning your slow cooker pot.
You just lay the liner in a pot, put the ingredients in, and cover with the lid. Once the meal is done, you simply take it out with the liner and with a towel wipe residual moisture from the slow cooker pot.
That’s how easy it is.
Liners are thick enough not to melt, but they don’t let any additional air or cold from outside into the slow cooking pot, while at the same time they are easy to handle.
They are not super expensive, but there is a cost to be paid for easy and quick handling and cleaning. This price ranges from 30c to 80c per piece.
I used to love the Reynolds Kitchens Premium Slow Cooker Liners. But these days I have opt-in for a better solution.
Sounds too good to be true right?
Well, partially it is, mainly because of the chemicals that might leak into your food.
Don’t be scared. based on FDA findings and test the Bisphenol A (BPA) is not getting into your food and if it does, the amount is well within the acceptable range.
Most liner producers should have on their packages seal stating FDA Approved, which should be the mark of quality and safety.
That all sounds nice, but what if the company that sells the liner is lying, FDA is mistaken or you just don’t believe them?
Are there any other options? Well as you can see above, yes there are and there is enough of them so anyone can choose the type that’s best for him/herself.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
Slow cooker liner substitutes?
There are quite a few of them out there.
You can switch them for baking paper, baking foil, or opt-in for silicon-based ones that will provide you with the benefits of classic plastic liners, but save you money in the long term while being way safer to you, your family, and to nature.
Mostly because you are not getting rid of tons of plastic every time you cook with your slow cooker.
Each of them has different pros and cons, so let’s take a look at them in more detail below.
Baking paper as a slow cooker liner
Also known as parchment paper, will provide you heat-resistant, non-stick surface. It is a solid choice as a substitute for a slow cooker liner, but it has its cons.
Since we as people tend to be lazy and product creators try to cater to this laziness, we tend to forget that most baking papers today are pre-cut, so if you go for something like Reynolds Kitchens Non-Stick Baking Parchment Paper Sheets you are getting great value for your money, but you are short, most of the time, on the sides of your slow cooker, so the contents are sticking onto them and it is just getting worse and worse.
Even though it looks like it will fit perfectly, you have to count in the depth of the cooking pot, so if you have a bigger slow cooker and small/normal baking paper you are in a fiddly situation where the paper doesn’t cover the whole pot and you have juices spilling on the side or you have to use two sheets folded in a cross shape, so the final solution is messier and way more complicated than you would like it to be.
So if you would like to use baking paper, get one that is not pre-cut and ideally quite bigger than your slow cooker. For example: My mom has a tiny slow cooker. I got for her one from the local store last Christmas. It is really super cute one. To make sure she reaps the benefits of baking paper, she got Kirkland Signature Non-Stick Parchment Paper and is more than happy with it. Non-stick, roll-up (so you can define your own length) with built-in tear blade, moisture, and grease resistance, what else would you possibly like to have?
If you have a bigger slow cooker and/or small baking paper that you still want to use, then prepare for quick and careful action. Once done and cooled, of course, you will have to grab all four corners of the baking paper, lift them up with the meal inside and transfer it to another pot, bowl, or on plates. If you don’t do it and start serving from the slow cooker, you will make a mess because parts of a meal will get under the baking paper or you might tear the paper or anything like it.
A little bonus that you will get from using the baking paper is the fact that in most cases you are not damaging the paper in any way, so it can be reused for baking or another round in a slow cooker. After two or three rounds it needs exchanging, but before that, you are just fine.
Baking paper is a solid choice as a slow cooker liner substitute. It is sturdy enough to be able to support most meal sizes without breaking or tearing them apart.
Best to use in smaller slow cookers, if you don’t have access to wider baking papers.
Baking foil as a slow cooker liner
Also called an aluminum foil. You know that shiny, paper-like, silver-colored thing that your mom used to pack your lunch in. Or you might have encountered it on your school trip, you know baking potatoes in the foil.
But since you are here then most likely you have used the aluminum foil for baking or packaging food.
Now how it stands against the other substitutes?
From experience, I have to say that it is a really good choice. Not the best one, but still. If you use the really thick type, like my favorite – Ultra-Thick Heavy Duty Foil you won’t be disappointed.
The foil is really sturdy, it is quite hard to even cut it to the required size and due to its thickness, it is quite easy to use as a liner in the slow cooker. Yes, it is pricier, but it really provides great support for your slow cooker clean-up and meal handling that you are looking for.
Why it is not the best you might ask. The reason is that I cannot speak about them in general. The point is that if you use any common baking foil as a substitute, it won’t do you any good.
It has a big chance of tearing or breaking, while at the same time it might not cover the whole insides of your cooking pot.
But if you use the really thick one, you can create a sort of a pot inside a pot, so you have an almost double-decker slow cooker. If you are creative enough, you can shape it in a different style. Like a boat or box or anything, you can imagine. The sturdy foil holds its form so you can unleash your imagination.
Baking foil is a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to use slow cooker liners but prefers an easy and sure way to transfer meals out of the slow cooker, as well as simplify its cleaning.
Important note: Do get only the thickest foil you can find. The thicker it is, the surer you can bet that it won’t tear apart.
Silicon liner as a substitute for slow cooker
These I love the most. Because they are like having another pot inside your slow cooker pot.
They are just awesome. And safe, since the silicon slow cooker liner from Mrs. V’s Kitchen is BPA Free and Non-Toxic.
The only problem with these is that they are super popular, so get one as quickly as possible, because every time they are sold super quick.
They might seem expensive to buy, but you buy just one and you are set for years. So if you cook at least a few times a month in your slow cooker it is cost-effective in the end. Also, you can use the silicon liner for other things. For example as a form for your cakes 😀
Of course, you can also go with things like this, but the silicone sheets tend to get a bit fiddly since you have to bend them and fold them into the pot, so it is almost more trouble than they are worth, but it the end if there is no better substitute and you have some time on your hands you can push them in and cook in them.
But try to get one that is as foldable as possible. You are not looking for hard and sturdy ones, but for light, bendable almost wiggly type.
Silicon-based liners are the best option that you have as a slow cooker liner substitute.
Proven by the years of baking in versions of them. Preparing the food on them and being helpful in all parts of our kitchens for quite some time now.
There you got it. A nice list of slow cooker liner substitutes. It is entirely up to you, which one you will choose.
But you should always keep in mind the size of your slow cooker and what do you expect from a liner or its substituted.
And what are You using as a slow cooker liner substitute? Let me know in the comments below.
I wish you happy cooking and will see you next time.