One of the most common questions we get is: Can I make this recipe in my crockpot? The answer isn’t as easy as yes or no so we did some research and wanted to share our tips on how you can start converting oven recipes to your slow cooker/crockpot. We have kind of turned into crockpot experts around here with all this research and have a few other resources to share. Make sure you check out all the crockpot/slow cooker information so you can be a ninja in the kitchen. Here they are:
Now we will add the final piece of information to your arsenal. Everything you need to get started converting oven recipes to the Crockpot/slow cooker.
Converting Oven recipes to the Crockpot/Slow Cooker
- Pick the right recipe. Recipes that convert best are slow-cooked foods that simmer on the stove or bake in the oven for at least one hour or more of cooking time. Soups, stews, and many casserole recipes convert well to cooking in a crockpot.
- Crockpot temperatures. For most crockpots, the low setting on crockpots is approximately 200 degrees F, and the high temperature is approximately 300 degrees F. However, newer crockpots tend to cook at higher temperatures than older ones.
- Cooking times. Typically, an hour simmering on the stovetop baking in a 250 degree F oven is equal to 6 to 8 hours on low and 3 to 4 hours on high in a crockpot.
- High altitude. If you live at a high altitude, the cooking time of the converted recipe may need to be increased by up to 50 percent.
- Spin the lid. To see into the crockpot without lifting the lid (which can add up to 30 minutes of additional cooking time), spin the crockpot lid to remove excess condensation to be able to check on the cooking food.
- Reduce liquids by half. Liquids will not boil away in a crockpot as it would in the oven or stovetop. Therefore, liquids (except for soup recipes) need to be reduced by up to half in the converted recipe.
- Add liquid or sauce. If the original recipe does not have any liquids as ingredients, add ½ cup of water, bone broth/stock or sauce to the recipe. Since crockpots need moisture to create steam in order for it to reach the correct cooking temperature, liquid is a necessary ingredient in most crockpot recipes.
- Too much liquid. Remove the lid and set the crockpot temperature to high to allow the liquid to reduce if there is too much at the end of the cooking time.
- Soups. Add enough bone broth/stock or water to just cover the ingredients. More liquid can be added at the end of the cooking time if a thinner soup is desired.
- Dairy. Dairy products (such as full-fat milk, cheese, etc.) should be added during the last 30 to 60 minutes of the cooking time.
- Browning meat. Browning meat is not necessary prior to adding to the crockpot, but it will enhance the flavor of the dish.
- Seafood. Add seafood to the crockpot during the last two hours of cooking time when the crockpot is on low and during the last 1 hour of cooking time when the crockpot is on high.
- Herbs and spices. Fresh herbs and spices gain flavor in the crockpot while dry herbs and spices lose flavor. Therefore, use half the amount fresh herbs and spices as called for in the original recipe. Dry herbs and spices should be added to the crockpot during the last hour of the cooking time.
- Vegetables. To ensure even cooking, cut all vegetables approximately the same size. Heartier vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.) should be placed on the bottom of the crockpot. Delicate vegetables (such as tomatoes, summer squash, etc.) should be added at the end of the cooking time.
- Onions and garlic. Sauté onions and garlic in coconut oil, butter, or ghee before adding to the crockpot as it help to enhance their flavor.
- Rice. For the best texture, add pre-cooked rice to the crockpot at the very end of the cooking time just long enough to heat through.
Of course this isn’t an end all be all guide to converting oven recipes to the crockpot/slow cooker but it is a great place to start. There is nothing more valuable then getting in your kitchen and experimenting and using this as a guide will ensure success. I have a confession to make as well, I have 6 crockpots!! I may have a problem and I am ok with it. Have fun cooking.