Why Do My Slow Cooker Tomato Dishes Taste Burned?

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Q: I’ve had an issue with tomato-based recipes in my beloved slow cooker: they all seem to get that burned tomato aroma and flavor (like when you leave spaghetti sauce on the stove too long or too high).

I work all day and don’t have time to stir the contents, so it often gets that “rind” along the top of the crock, but that happens with any recipe I make — I don’t have the burnt issue with non-tomato recipes.

I am currently using the The Crock-Pot SCCPVP700-S Programmable Slow Cooker (7-quart), and this happened with my previous cooker (not Rival brand). Is this just a quirk of my particular model, or is there something I can do so I can make tomato-y goodness in my slow cooker?

Sent by Shannon

Editor: It sounds like the temperature might be too high on your slow cooker, or the dishes might be cooking too long. If you’re not already cooking on low, switch to that instead and go for a shorter cook time, especially if you have a slow cooker that has a timer. One other possibility might be that your slow cooker isn’t full enough — it should be between half and two-thirds full.

Readers, do you have any tips for avoiding a burned tomato taste in the slow cooker?