How To Adjust Cooking Time For Slow Cooker – Tips For Getting the Perfect Timing

Knowing the exact cooking times in slow cooking is vital to have the best and perfect meal output. It is very important for everyone since it can be daunting to create an imperfect meal, whether undercooked or overcooked. You need to be vigilant in setting up the cooking times to enjoy eating afterward.

Today, we will learn more about some tips on adjusting cooking time for slow cooker. Knowing the basics can help you have the best cooking showdown with your good buddy’s slow cooker.

Exploring the ideal ways to achieve the best foods with your slow cooker will deal you with a lot of success and fulfillment. The tips below will help your slow cooker perform its best to get the meal you have dreamt of.

How To Adjust Cooking Time For Slow Cooker: Detailed Conversions

High to Low Slow Cooker Conversions

There are times that you need to switch from high to low heat because of some events or emergencies. You might also want to turn to low heat because the recipe says so.

Sometimes, we mistakenly set it too high without realizing it. It is really easy to turn the knob from high to low; however, you should know that action will affect the overall output of your meal, especially its flavor and texture.

Whether you need to switch from high to low, it all matters down to your own cooking style. That’s why knowing the exact conversions will help you achieve the perfect output.

In slow cooking, it is suggested to use low heat to ensure a perfect finish according to America’s test kitchen slow cooker. Though there are some cases that to switch to high heat will bring the crispiness of the food.

Another thing to remember is every time you remove the lid; it will add up to your cooking times. This is because whenever you remove the lid, the heat will escape making the temperature inside drop.

If you are so meticulous and want to check your food while it is still cooking, you need to add 15-20 minutes of cooking time. And it will take that exact amount of time to get back the original temperature of the slow cooker.

Cooking on high heat may result in a meal with less taste and texture. So, if you want to switch from high to low heat, just follow the table of comparison below:

High to Low Conversions

1 Hour5 Hours
2 Hours6 Hours
3 Hours7 Hours
4 Hours8 Hours
5 Hours9 Hours
6 Hours10 Hours
7 Hours11 Hours
8 Hours12 Hours

Oven to Slow Cooker Conversions

Oven dishes are supposedly carried out using an oven, but a slow cooker can actually perform them. If your oven has malfunctioned, it is the right time to use your slow cooker instead.

However, you need to know the conversion times to ensure perfect cooking.

Also, using a slow cooker is different from using an oven. Remember that a slow cooker can generate moisture, unlike an oven which can make your meal dry.

That is why you also need to adjust the fluids you need to put in to get the result you want.

Below are the conversion times if you want to convert your oven cooking to slow cooking. Just do the exact thing the recipe tells you, or perform the same method as if you are cooking with your oven.

15 minutes4 hours1 hour
30 minutes5 hours2 hours
1 hour6 hours3 hours
2 hours7 hours4 hours
3 hours8 hours5 hours
4 hours9 hours6 hours

Slow Cooking Times using Traditional Recipe

If you are used to traditional recipes, slow cookers can beat you with that. In some cases, when you use a slow cooker for cooking traditional recipes, it will take you about 6 to 10 hours of cooking time.

Remember that you are slow cooking, and from the word slow, it will take up much time, but it will become handy once you are an expert in using it.

It can definitely save you much time, and you can even do a lot of work rather than doing it the general way.

Below are the cooking times if you want to convert your traditional and usual cooking to slow cooking using a slow cooker:

Traditional CookingSlow Cooking (Low Heat)Slow Cooking (High Heat)
45 minutes6 to 10 hours3 to 4 hours
60 minutes8 to 10 hours4 to 5 hours
1 hour and 15 minutes10 to 12 hours5 to 6 hours

Note: Remember that when you slow cook, the dish won’t lose much moisture throughout the slow cooking process, unlike the traditional way.

As a result, when you want to transfer your traditional recipe to your slow cooker, you need to add 1 cup of liquid to ensure that it won’t dry out.

Slow Cooking Times using Different Meals

The table below shows the slow cooking times using different meals prepared using a slow cooker. Various cooking times vary for some models because of different temperature settings and features.

The information below shows only the approximate cooking times that a slow cooker needs to thoroughly cook every dish.

MealSlow Cooking (Low Heat)Slow Cooking (High Heat)
Beef Brisket8 to 10 hours5 to 7 hours
Chicken Breast6 to 7 hours3 to 4 hours
Swiss Steak6 to 10 hours3 to 4 hours
Meat Loaf5 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Chicken Darm Meat8 to 9 hours4 to 5 hours
Baked Sweet Potato6 to 8 hours3 to 4 hours
Vegetables2 to 6 hours2 to 3 hours
Baked Potato8 to 10 hours4 to 5 hours
Rice4 to 8 hours2 to 3 hours
Dry Beans8 to 9 hours5 to 7 hours
Stew6 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Soup6 to 10 hours4 to 6 hours
Casseroles6 to 10 hours3 to 5 hours
Duck Breast6 to 8 hours3 to 4 hours
Turkey Breast5 to 6 hours3 to 4 hours
Whole Duck4 to 5 hours80 to 10 hours

Slow Cooker Cooking Times by Weight

It’s almost a thing to consider the weight of the food that you will throw into your slow cooker. Every meal’s weight does have its own respective cooking time for it to be cooked thoroughly.

Here is some basic food with their weight and their cooling to times to get you up running your slow cooking perfectly:

MeatWeightSlow Cooking (Low Heat)Slow Cooking (High Heat)
Pork Loin3 to 4 lbs6 hours5 hours
Beef Roast3 to 4 lbs8 hours5 to 6 hours
Fish Meat2 lbs3 to 4 hours1 to 2 hours
Large Pork Roast6 to 7 lbs9 to 10 hours7 to 8 hours
Poultry Meat6 lbs7 to 8 hours6 to 7 hours
Stew Meat3 lbs6 hours4 to 5 hours
Lamb Chops3 to 4 lbs4 to 6 hours2 to 3 hours

Note: The cooking times represented above are only estimates, and each will vary depending on the meat quality and other components added to the recipe.

To ensure a perfect slow cooking finish, use a thermometer to get a glimpse of your meal inside.

Slow Cooker Time Calculator

To convert cooking time from high to low, you can use the formula below to get the exact cooking times that you will need to finish every meal.

Slow Cooking (Low Heat to High Heat)

FormulaHigh Heat Cooking = High Heat Cooking Time + 4 hours (Low Heat Cooking Time)
Example3 hours High Heat Cooking = 3 + 4 Hours | 7 hours Low Heat Cooking Time

Do I need a cooking thermometer when adjusting cooking times?

To ensure that you are cooking the right way with the conversion times, you need a cooking thermometer. You may always use it to instantly read and know the heat of your food.

This is to ensure that your food has safely completed the slow cooking process and that it will be done according to your taste.

In acquiring an accurate reading, insert the thermometer into the main section or the thickest section of your meal without contacting the bones and the slow cooker.

In newer slow cooker models, you don’t need to have a cooking thermometer since it is integrated into the slow cooker. All you have to do is watch the readings carefully on the LED panel and monitor it properly.

Is there a way to time slow cooker?

Knowing the cooking times can be frustrating if you just look at your clock. Waiting patiently for it will make the most out of your time.

Instead, you can use different slow cooker timer options to make it easier for you to get the perfect timing.

These are simple ways to get the timing done to ensure perfect cooking. This will also help you to avoid undercooking or overcooking.

Built-in Timer | Programmable Slow Cooker

Today’s modern slow cookers actually have built-in timer features that you can use. If you have a slow cooker model that can able you to set the time properly when slow cooking, that would be convenient for you.

There are also programmable slow cookers that can help auto shift to warm heat whenever the time is up.

Read the instruction manual carefully to learn more about setting up the timer properly. In most cases, the way you set up a slow cooker is different than the other.

So no matter how you set up yours, just deal with it and only with it.

PowerPoint Timers or Phone Timers | Outlet Timers

Suppose you don’t have the budget to buy a slow cooker with a built-in timer or a programmable one, do it simply and conveniently.

If you are always on your laptop, you can utilize your PowerPoint to do the exact timing, or if you are on your phone, you can also set it up there.

These are simple DIY methods to alarm yourself in order to get the exact timings when slow cooking.

One option is to get outlet timers. These are most useful in terms of convenience. You can just put it in the same outlet as your slow cooker.

However, be careful when using this because there are some risks that you may encounter. If you have bought a faulty timer, to begin with, and you have used it with your slow cooker, the outlet timer might short circuit leading to a power outage. Thus, when getting one, always test it first at the store before purchasing it.

How can I extend time on a slow cooker?

The main difference between using the high and low settings of a slow cooker is the cooking time that it will reach a certain temperature to cook the ingredients inside.

Take note that low settings take a much longer time to cook food than high settings. The purpose of both settings is to reach the exact temperature for the slow cooker to stabilize the heat inside to have an even and consistent heat when slow cooking.

To easily extend time on a slow cooker, you need to convert the exact cooking times as follows:

Just add 4 hours for every cooking time you set on high setting, which means 4 hours high setting cooking will be just the same as 8 hours on a low setting.

Slow cooking at higher altitudes might also give you a knack for your cooking performance. It differs the way you cook on lower altitudes.

If you are on the upper highlands for a vacation trip and brought your slow cooker with you, increase the suggested cooking time for an additional 30 minutes to cover up the missing times because when you go at higher altitudes, it makes it harder for your slow cooker to heat up.

When you are also lifting the lids to check your meal now and then, you need to add at least 15 minutes of cooking every time you lift it.

This will cover up the missing heat that had escaped from the inside. The additional time will keep up with the heat upon putting the lid back to your slow cooker.

Also, if you want to speed up things, you may use aluminum foil at the top of your slow cooker. That will speed up the slow cooking process if you are in a hurry.

Final Thoughts

Using your slow cooker can do wonders for your slow cooking methods and recipes. One can make an easy and tasty meal when you have enough knowledge of how to cook and when to cook every recipe.

These helpful tips for adjusting cooking time for slow cooker will definitely help you thoroughly slow-cook meals to get the desired perfect meal finish.

Try to utilize and familiarize the timings as much as possible, and don’t forget to use your handy timer to ensure everything is right. Do the math, and every slow cooking setup will bring forth a very flavorful meal that you can ever imagine.

About Author

Al AminMy name is Al Amin and I am a food blogger. I studied hotel management. So I have a little more love for cooking.

After working as a cook for a long time, I can easily understand which cooking appliances are most suitable for cooking.

Here you will find very good ideas about cooking tools and appliances. At the same time, you can decide for yourself which product is best for your kitchen.

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