There are a lot of delicious recipes out there — and some happen to be designed specifically for Crock-Pot slow cookers. The moist, slow cooker temperature is perfect for dishes requiring a longer cooking time. This also brings out the flavor in your food, according to PennState Extension.
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.
Oven Temperature to Slow Cooker
According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 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
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 that its slow cookers take seven to eight hours on low to reach simmer and three to four hours on high. Cooking in the oven or on the stove top will take significantly less time.
If you don't have eight 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, Crock-Pot low temp to high conversion times are:
- Twelve hours on low equals eight hours on high.
- Ten hours on low equals six hours on high.
- Eight hours on low equals four hours on high.
- Seven hours on low equals three hours on high.
When doing a Crock-Pot to oven time conversion, 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 two hours in a slow cooker.
- Larger cuts of meat, such as roast or pork putt, that usually take four hours on high in the slow cooker, cook for three to four 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 four to six hours on low in a slow cooker equals 15 to 30 minutes in the oven.
- Two to four hours on high or six to eight hours on low equals 35 to 45 minutes in the oven.
- Four to six hours on high or eight to 10 hours on low equals 50 minutes to three hours in the oven.
Advantages of the 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 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 stove top, 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.
Follow These Tips
There are some tips you can use when making the slow cooker to oven conversion. Some things to keep in mind include:
- 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.
Check the Temperature
It is not enough to look at a dish, especially meat, to see if it is done. A thermometer is a good investment for the safety of you and your family, especially when converting cooking times. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, the following temperatures should be reached to make sure your dish is safe to eat.
- 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 Extension and Outreach: "Slow Cookers — Times, Temperatures, and Techniques"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Danger Zone"
- Williams-Sonoma: "Slow Cooker Vs. Dutch Oven: A Conversion Guide"
- Pillsbury.com: "Cooking Conversions for Slow Cookers"
- PennState Extension: "The Benefits of Slow Cooker Meals"