Aside from using it to get dinner on the table on busy nights, I always lean on my slow cooker when I need to keep food or drinks warm for a crowd. From Thanksgiving sides to summer cookouts, it's an invaluable tool. But sometimes I wish I had another slow cooker handy to keep a second dish warm.
I came across a totally ingenious hack on Delish (by way of Reynolds Kitchens) for making a DIY slow cooker divider out of a couple kitchen items. I was intrigued and curious — and pretty skeptical. Could a DIY slow cooker divider really hold up? Here's what happened when I tried it out.
The Original Tip
The original tip comes from Reynolds Kitchens (who count aluminum foil and slow cooker liners as part of their product lineup). They posed this hack as a smart solution for keeping two dips warm on game day.
They call for first constructing a DIY slow cooker divider using a few sheets of aluminum foil. It should span the width of the slow cooker (as in the photo below) and sit snuggly against each wall. With the divider in place, the original tip then calls for placing a slow cooker liner in each of the two sections. The liner is intended to hold the contents of each section, and keep them totally separate.
Read the original tip: Game Day Foil Hacks from Reynolds Kitchens
The Testing Method
Since the original tip didn't recommend what type of foil to use I covered my bases by trying several options.
The foil: To start, I constructed a divider out of both regular and heavy-duty foil. True to the original tip, it took a few large sheets of foil to shape and form a solid divider with a sturdy base. And while regular foil certainly gets the job done, I think heavy-duty foil is much better-suited to the task, as it makes a more solid divider.
The liners: With the divider in place, I tried this using two small slow cooker liners (for three-quart slow cookers), with one in each section of the slow cooker, and again with a single large liner (for five- to six-quart slow cookers), draped over the divider and secured around the edges of the insert. Both sizes worked equally well, although the large liner felt slightly more secure.
The food: Instead of dip, I tested this tip with two different soups (one creamy and white, and one tomato-based), with the slow cooker set to warm and the lid off (as it likely would be for a party or potluck). Not only did the soups stay warm, but they remained distinctly separated and did not seep through the divider.
Despite my skepticism, I am happy to report that this tip really does follow through on its promise. It is an ingenious slow cooker hack! The original tip suggests this DIY slow cooker divider as a smart solution for keeping two dips warm, but that is really just the beginning. Come Thanksgiving and holiday season, this is one to keep in mind because it is such a great way to keep all those sides warm, whether they were originally cooked in a slow cooker or not. It will even work to keep drinks like spiced cider and mulled wine warm all throughout the night.
Verdict: This is a mind-blowing tip!
Using a slow cooker liner is integral to making this hack a success. Without one, I'm not confident the foil divider alone would keep the dip or drinks in each section separate.
Your turn! Have you ever tried making a DIY slow cooker divider? How did it work for you?