There are a lot of delicious recipes out there — and some happen to be designed specifically for Crock-Pot slow cookers. The moist, low heat is perfect for dishes requiring a longer cooking time. Not the proud owner of one or just not keen on using it at the moment? Don't worry. In most cases, you can still make your favorite slow-cooking dishes in the oven with a few adjustments.
Slow cookers vary, so there is no exact conversion time for slow-cooker recipes, but there are some general slow cooker to oven conversion times. Converting the cook time will also depend on the dish.
The Oven Temperature Equivalent to a Slow Cooker
According to Iowa State University, the low setting on a slow cooker is generally 190 degrees Fahrenheit and the high setting usually sits at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this may vary with different models, but these are general guidelines to help you convert the cooking time from slow cooker to oven.
Slow Cooker to Oven Conversion Times
According to the official Crock-Pot website, it is important to understand the difference between stove top cooking temperature, oven cooking temperature, and Crock-Pot temperature. A simmer on the stove top is typically around 209 degrees Fahrenheit. Crock-Pot indicates their slow cookers take 7 to 8 hours on low to reach simmer and 3 to 4 hours on high. Cooking in the oven or on the stove top will take significantly less time.
If you don't have 8 hours to spare or don't want to leave your oven or stove-top on for an extended period of time, it is possible to convert the high slow cooker times to low to shorten the time until your food is done. According to the Crock-Pot website, low to high conversion times are as follows:
- 12 hours on low equals 8 hours on high
- 10 hours on low equals 6 hours on high
- 8 hours on low equals 4 hours on high
- 7 hours on low equals 3 hours on high
When doing a full conversion from slow cooker to oven, follow these general guidelines for these common pieces of meat, according to the experts at Williams-Sonoma. They recommend braising — using a covered pot to simmer meat or vegetables in a liquid — at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. From a high slow cooker setting to oven:
- Cook chicken breasts at one to 1.5 hours in a covered pot instead of 2 hours in a slow cooker.
- Larger cuts of meat, such as roast or pork putt, that usually take 4 hours on high in the slow cooker, cook for 3 to 4 hours in the oven. Increase cooking time in the oven as the time increases in your slow cooker recipe per pound of meat.
- Cubed meats should have the same cooking time in the oven as in the slow cooker.
For dishes other than meat that usually call for a slow cooker, use these general guidelines to cook your food at a standard oven temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- One to 1.5 hours on high or 4 to 6 hours on low in a slow cooker equals 15-30 minutes in the oven.
- Two to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low equals 35 to 45 minutes in the oven.
- Four to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low equals 50 minutes to 3 hours in the oven.
Advantages of Using a Slow Cooker
Different types of dishes do well exclusively in a slow cooker or oven, and some can taste delicious with either type of cooking. The advantages of using a slow cooker may come down to space and hands-off time. Using a slow cooker allows you to free up your oven space for other foods, such as desserts or breads. The slow cooker can cook while you are not at home, whereas you must be home when an oven is on in the house. The slow cooker may also come in handy during the summer when you crave that slow cooked flavor, but you don't want to heat up your house with the oven.
Advantages of Cooking in the Oven
One of the biggest advantages of using the oven, is time saved for some dishes. In addition, when using a Dutch oven, it is possible to sear off meats on the stovetop, transfer directly to the oven, and cover to seal in the moisture. Most slow cookers do not have the ability to sear meats, which helps lock in the flavor.
Helpful Tips for Slow Cooker to Oven Conversion
There are some tips you can use when making the slow cooker to oven conversion. Some things to keep in mind are the following:
- A slow cooker makes its own moisture and does not reduce a liquid like a Dutch oven might, so when cooking in the oven, use less liquid than what your slow cooker recipe calls for.
- Not all recipes will convert well — recipes with pasta require large amounts of water with the slow cooker time, but will not do well in the oven. It's best to cook the pasta on the stove top first.
When to Know if Your Dish is Cooked
- All poultry, casseroles, stuffing, and leftovers should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beef, pork, lamb and veal and their roasts, chops and steaks should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crock Pot Website: What's the Difference Between Slow Cooking on Low vs. High?
- Iowa State University: Slow Cookers - Times, Temperatures, and Techniques
- Williams-Sonoma Taste: Slow Cooker Vs. Dutch Oven: A Conversion Guide
- USDA: Danger Zone
- The Spruce Eats: Use Your Favorite Recipes in a Crock Pot
- Pillsbury: Cooking Conversions for Slow Cookers