Getting your slow cooker times right isn’t as important as you would think when it comes to slow cooking. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about timing and the options that are available to you to ensure your dish comes out to be as good as it can be.
If you have your food cooking on low and it isn’t dairy heavy, then you can likely go over the desired time by a few hours and the dish will still be fine. With that said you might still want get your times correct to ensure the best possible outcome.
Below I will go through everything you need to know about setting slow cooker times and any conversions that you might need to do. These tips should help perfect your slow cooker recipes.
Slow Cooker Conversions – High & Low
You can easily convert between high and low temperatures for the slow cooker. Turning to high will obviously shorten the cooking time but may affect the overall texture and taste of the dish.
Personally, I always recommend to go low and slow unless you need the food fast or the recipe asks for it to be set on high.
It’s important to remember despite which temperature you’re cooking on removing the lid will add to cooking time. Every time you remove the lid you need to add 15 minutes onto the cooking time as that’s roughly the amount of time it will take you heat back to the temperature it was.
Below you can find an extremely handy slow cooker conversion chart for when you need to convert between high and low temperatures.
Oven to Slow Cooker Conversions
Apart from converting between high and low you can also convert for oven to slow cooker and vice versa. This is extremely handy if you have a favourite oven dish that you wish to convert to slow cooker times.
The conversions are straightforward and the image below is a perfect example of it. You would simply prepare your food just like you would do for the oven but instead place it in the slow cooker.
Keep in mind an oven is a very dry heat and will dry your dish out but a slow cooker is sealed and will produce excess moisture. You may need to adjust fluids to make sure you get the best result.
Slow Cooker Timer Options
When it comes timing your food in the slow cooker there are several options that are available to you. I will briefly touch on the most common ways you can time your food so that you can have the slow cooker switch off or switch to keep warm when time is up.
Inbuilt Timer/Programmable Slow Cooker
Most modern slow cookers will have an inbuilt timer that you’re able to set so it will switch off or switch to keep warm when it’s finished cooking.
The way you set the slow cooker timer is different from model to model so because of this I will not go into detail on how you can set yours. It’s usually really basic and covered in the instruction manual for your device.
You will also find that most slow cookers will switch to a keep warm setting once the time is up so if you’re running late your food won’t go cold by the time you get home.
You can check out some cool modern programmable slow cookers over at amazon.
Using a power point timer is a cost-effective way of having your slow cooker turn off once a certain amount of time has elapsed. This is a much better option for anyone who already has a slow cooker and doesn’t want to fork out money for a brand new one that has a timer inbuilt.
There are quite a few different types of powerpoint timers and personally I would recommend getting a digital version as the analog types can be a bit fiddly to set. Below is a picture of an analog outlet timer that you can use.
If you’re interested in picking up a powerpoint timer for your slow cooker or crockpot, then you can find some over at amazon.
Things to look out for
As I mentioned a few times throughout this guide on slow cooker times there are a few things to look out for which I will briefly summarise below.
- Chicken can become really dry after hours and hours of cooking (8 hours or longer).
- Beef is best cooked on low and slow.
- Cooking on high may result in a dish that isn’t as nice in flavour and texture.
- Try not to remove the lid too much as this will add to cooking time. Approx. 15 minutes every time someone opens it.
- If your slow cooker doesn’t keep warm after cooking, then be careful to ensure the food doesn’t sit at room temperature too long as this can cause food poisoning.
- When converting between oven and a slow cooker it’s important to remember that an oven uses a dry heat whilst a slow cooker is sealed so moisture can’t escape.
There are plenty more slow cooker tips that will help you get the most out of your cooking.
I hope this guide has been able to help you learn everything there is to know about slow cooker times. If you have some feedback, disagree with something I said or anything else then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.