When it comes to making soup, your slow-cooker is your best friend. You can pull it out, fill it with your ingredients, and leave it. You come home to a wonderful pot of soup. There are some rules you will need to follow though in order to make a tasty soup for now or later. Some of these rules apply to anything you cook in your slow-cooker, so don’t throw them out the window when you’re not cooking soup. It doesn’t matter if your making a delicious Lemon Chicken Soup or corn and sweet potato chowder, these slow-cooker rules will guide you to soup success.

Give It Space

Fill the slow-cooker no more than half to two-thirds full so there’s extra room for the liquid to bubble and simmer. If you fill it too much, your food will start to steam instead of simmer.

Thaw Frozen Ingredients First

Thawing frozen ingredients before you add them to the slow-cooker will prevent them from altering the recipe’s overall temperature and cook time.

Cook Pasta or Rice Separately

It’s tempting to throw everything in the slow-cooker, but cook noodles and rice separately to avoid mushy results.

Add Herbs Towards the End

Long cook times and delicate ingredients don’t mix. Add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking process to preserve their flavor and color. You can substitute fresh for dried herbs. These can be added with other ingredients.

Don’t Remove the Lid

Removing the lid to your slow-cooker will only slow down your cooking process.

Don't Spill

Anyone who has ever tried pouring a pot of soup into a freezer bag knows things can get messy. The job requires two sets of hands—or this ingenious clip, which securely holds most sizes of bags open so you can fill and freeze with ease. You can get a set of two from Amazon for $9.57.