Have a family favorite recipe that you really wish you could make in the slow cooker? Us too! Use these tips to convert most* recipes to cook in the slow cooker.
1. Find a similar recipe
Instead of floundering around doing test after test, find a similar slow cooker recipe to use as your guide. Note the amount and volume of meat and vegetables it calls for, plus the cooking time, heat setting, and amount of liquid you add to the pot.
Slow cookers cook slowly because they’re set at lower temperatures. Most of them hit about 190º on low and 300º on high. Typically, we like to start with this basic formula:
1 hour of simmering on the stove or baking at 350º = 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high in a slow cooker
That’s how long it takes for the meat to reach food-safe temps. So reduce cook times accordingly: If your pork tenderloin roasts for 30 minutes in the oven, for example, reduce slow-cooking time to 4-5 hours, and so on.
Because slow cookers trap steam, you may need to reduce the liquid measurements in your new recipe. If the original calls for 6-8 cups of water, for example, start with 5 cups. Don’t leave liquid out entirely, though. If the base recipe doesn’t include any liquid at all, add 1/2 cup of water or broth to create some steam in the crock.
*some recipes just don’t convert i.e. baked goods, while others may technically work in your slow cooker but may not have the same qualities you like about the original dish.
Before you start trying every recipe, see our slow cooker safety to make sure your meals come out safely!
Taste of Home. How to convert (just about) any recipe into a slow cooker one. Ellie Martin Cliffe.