Here's Why You Shouldn't Cook Fish In A Slow Cooker

If you're craving a warm bowl of seafood stew, you don't need to break out the slow cooker. In fact, it would actually be counterproductive. Almost any seafood you try to cook in a slow cooker will end up horribly overcooked with a texture like a rubber glove. There are two main reasons for this: Seafood has a very low cook time, and it's low in fat, which makes a terrible combination for slow cooking.

If you're going to slow cook protein, you want to go for the cheaper cuts of fattier meats, like pork shoulder or beef chuck. These will actually turn out better than the higher-priced cuts because of the nature of the slow cooking process. The prolonged low cooking temperature breaks down the collagen in these cuts (which is what makes them so tough) and transforms them into the fork-tender foods you'd expect from a slow cooked meal (via HuffPost). 

But if you're not slow cooking it, how should you go about making a savory seafood stew?

The secret to better seafood stew

Because of this short cook time and low fat content, slow cooking seafood almost certainly means overcooking it, resulting in a smelly kitchen and a bowl of tough, rubbery protein. Instead, break out a big stock pot and some aromatics. The vast majority of the time and energy you spend on the stew shouldn't involve the protein at all — you want to spend your time creating the broth and softening the vegetables, all for maximum flavor. You only need to add the seafood (like shrimp, squid, and muscles) for the last three to five minutes of cooking (via Bon Appétit). Once the shrimp are opaque and the muscles have opened, they're ready. Likewise, Eating Well recommends that fresh fish cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks should take about the same time to cook to perfection. 

This obviously means that the dish will take much less time to cook, and as an added bonus, won't stink up your house by simmering all day. But best of all, you won't end up with rubbery seafood. Do yourself a favor and save the slow cooker for the tougher, fattier proteins and for more tips, and while you're at it, check out all the other foods you should never cook in a slow cooker.