Slow cooking is adaptable to a wide variety of recipes. Because slow cookers use low cooking temperatures and retain moisture during the cooking process, any recipe that requires cooking something “low and slow” can easily convert to a slow cooker recipe with a few easy adjustments.
Quick Reference Conversion Tips
- Many recipes for sauces and dips call for cooking on the slow cooker’s HIGH setting or for only 1-2 hours. Long cooking times of 6-7+ hours or using the LOW setting is best for roasts and large or tough cuts of meat, like a pulled pork shoulder. The majority of slow cooker-friendly recipes can be adapted to cook somewhere in the middle; stews and soups fall into this category.
- Since no moisture is lost to evaporation, cut the amount of liquid in half unless you’re cooking pasta, beans or rice.
- Fresh is best when it comes to using vegetables. Canned and frozen vegetables can cook too quickly. Remember to wash vegetables before use and cut them into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking. Placing them at the bottom of the crock is also recommended.
- Some items make a dish great, but cook more quickly than other ingredients. For foods like pasta, asparagus and summer squash, wait to add them in. Usually the last hour of the cook cycle is all they need. For seafood, only 15-30 minutes is necessary.
- Greasy meats such as ground beef or bacon should be cooked and drained before adding to the vessel.
- Cheese and other dairy products like milk and sour cream should be added in at the end.
With these simple tips, you’ll be ready to convert just about any recipe for your slow cooker. Let us know which recipes you’ve converted in your slow cooker by leaving a comment below.