Cooking Times for Slow Cookers
Once you learn the correct cooking times for slow cookers, using different types of foods will be a breeze. You will slip into the ease of using your cooker regularly and realize that slow cookers are a kitchen miracle. They make cooking simple and almost effortless especially for those who have limited time to prepare meals.
Most slow cooker recipes offer a range for the cooking time. Depending on the model you have, some foods may cook faster than others; but, as you become more and more familiar with the features of your cooker and the way it cooks, you will learn the correct timing range for your recipes.
The usual settings for a slow cooker are as follows:
LOW = 8-10 hours of cooking time
HIGH = 4-6 hours of cooking time
WARM = lowest setting that keeps food at a safe temperature until ready to eat it
The times will vary depending on the age and quality of the cooker.
Below are a few basic guidelines to follow no matter what you are cooking to make sure that the food is heated evenly.
- Try cooking your food on HIGH for the first hour and then switching it to LOW for the rest of the cooking time. This technique helps food to reach its safe cooking temperature quicker. However, there is no problem with cooking the meal on LOW for the entire time if you have to be away from home for the entire time.
- Tougher cuts of meat like brisket, Swiss steak and stew beef can withstand the long cooking times without drying out.
- Add rice about an hour before the end of cooking; and, use ½ cup of water for each cup of uncooked rice.
- Pasta should be added the last fifteen minutes because it cooks so quickly. An option is to cook the pasta on the stove and add it at the very end of the cooking cycle.
- When cooking with seafood, you have two choices: 1): Add the fish or seafood at the end of the cooking time (during the last hour) to avoid overcooking or 2) cook the seafood on the stove and add to crockpot after the meal is cooked and the cooker has been set on WARM..
- Soak beans first before placing in the slow cooker. They are best when simmered on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
- Most slow cooker recipes come with cooking time recommendations. Be sure to follow them when you first start using your cooker.
The above information will come in handy when you are selecting recipes. It will also be useful if you want to substitute ingredients.