Slow cookers generally are seen as heroes of busy housewives. They can easily replace other kitchen appliances and cook perfectly any recipe.
To convert the cooking time of a recipe, it will depend on whether you set it on a high or low temperature and the recipe’s original cook time. Usually, the higher the temperature, the faster it gets cooked. Cooking times can vary depending on the contents and amount you are cooking.
In this article, I will talk about cooking in a slow cooker, how you can convert your cooking times and what to expect when converting meals into a slow cooker.
Can Any Regular Dish Be Converted Into Slow Cooker Meals?
Generally, dishes that are cooked at 180 degrees Celsius or lower in the oven can be converted into slow cooker meals. Furthermore, most dishes cooked on the stove can easily be converted into slow cooker meals.
However, there are also regular dishes that can not be cooked in a slow cooker or are not cooked as well and are relatively unappealing.
Dishes that require sautéing on the stove or need to be cooked above 180 degrees are not compatible with slow cookers. Moreover, higher temperatures are mainly used to brown food, and slow cookers don’t have that capability.
How To Convert Cooking Times For Slow Cookers
As a rule, it is best to fill only two-thirds of the slow cooker with the ingredients. By doing this, the food will be cooked faster. To achieve this and have excellent food, you may want a smaller slow cooker or double the recipe.
There are some basic rules you should remember when cooking in a slow cooker. Specifically, these rules focus on any liquids required by a recipe. Slow cookers trap steam. Thus, liquids can be the biggest concern when cooking in a slow cooker.
If a recipe does not require any liquids, always add half a cup of water to the crock’s bottom before starting cooking. If the recipe does need a liquid, reduce the amount given in the recipe by half.
Here are some more tips for a smoother conversion of a recipe into a slow cooker:
- To evenly cook the fruits and vegetables, chop them into the same shape and size.
- The arrangement of the ingredients is often essential for smooth and even cooking. Place the hard vegetables around the slow cooker’s bottom or side, then place the meat on top.
- Similarly, with the amount of water, you should also adjust the measurements of herbs and spices. It is recommended to reduce them by half.
- Softer fruits and vegetables such as peaches, peas, corn, greens, squash, peppers, plums, and tomatoes, add them only at the last 30 minutes of the cooking time so that they won’t melt.
- Fruits and vegetables with tougher skin, such as carrots, apples, onions, potatoes, and fresh green beans, should be added at the beginning because they take longer to cook.
- Dairy products should be added at the last half to one hour of the cooking time to prevent curdling.
- To add more flavour and better texture to the dish, prior to using the slow cooker, brown or sear meats on the stove.
- It might take a while until you find the right amount of ingredients, liquid, and spices used in one of your favourite recipes while using a slow cooker. However, don’t give up. Experiment with the recipe. Once you get the right measurements, you will be able to do it whenever and wherever you desire.
For easier conversion of the cooking time of different dishes and ingredients, here is a helpful chart of normal cooking time to slow cooker, both on a high and a low setting.
|Ingredient||Normal cooking time||Slow cooker time (high)||Slow cooker time (low)|
|Large Pork Roast||2 to 2.5 hours||7.5 hours||9.5 hours|
|Pork Loin||1 to 1.5 hours||5 hours||6 hours|
|Chicken (whole)||1.5 to 2 hours||6.5 hours||7.5 hours|
|Chicken (breasts/thighs)||30 to 45 minutes||2 to 3 hours||4 to 5 hours|
|Beef Roast||1.5 to 2 hours||5 to 6 hours||8 hours|
|Stew Meat||1 to 1.5 hours||4 to 5 hours||6 hours|
|Potatoes (pricked, foil wrapped)||1 to 1.5 hours||4.5 to 5 hours||8 to 10 hours|
|Vegetables||15 to 45 minutes||1 to 3 hours||2 to 6 hours|
|Rice||30 to 45 minutes||2 to 3 hours||4 to 8 hours|
|Soup||45 minutes to 1.5 hours||3 to 5 hours||6 to 10 hours|
|Casseroles||45 minutes to 1.5 hours||3 to 5 hours||6 to 10 hours|