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Help! Why do my potatoes stay hard ( RAW ) in the slow cooker / crock pot?

This is my third attempt at making a crock pot recipe that involves chunks of potatoes, and once again, after many many hours of cooking (8 minimum) everything in the crock pot is incredibly tender and done EXCEPT for the potatoes. They appear to be "cooked" but the texture is only slightly softer than raw.

The usual method I have been using (following the recipes I have):
1. Cut potatoes up (cubes or chunks of about 1 inch wide by maybe 2 inches long)
2. Put at bottom of crock pot
3. Add other ingredients (meat, vegetables)
4. Cover all ingredients with liquid (broth)
5. Let it sit for hours on end, at least 8 (medium or high depending on recipe)

Everything else I've put in the slow cooker turns out great, but not the potatoes. They are overly firm, bordering on crunchy. I have no idea what's up.

Any of you 'hounds out there have any ideas? It's driving me crazy that I have to fish out my potatoes and microwave them whenever I do this. I have tons of crock pot recipes that claim you can just slap those potatoes right into the pot raw and magic will happen.

Am I not giving them enough time? Is submerging them the wrong way to go? Why do they have the texture of an under-ripe melon?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

-fr1p

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  1. I'm perplexed as to why that's happening; I've cooked potatoes in the crockpot this way for 6-8 hours and have had no problem getting them tender. Submerging them is the way to go. Perhaps the potatoes are old? But they should still cook in the same amount of time...I'm at a loss....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cherylptw

      I was playing around with the idea that my potatoe chunks are too big? But I would think cooking them longer would take care of that. I don't know what's up!

    2. Check the temperature of the liquid in the crock. According to some sources, potatoes must reach an internal temperature of 210F before they soften, very close to boiling.

      The other ingredients may be ready at a lower temperature. For example, well done beef has an internal temperature of 170F.

      1. Very frustrating, indeed! Similar issues with rice (jambalaya disaster). The culprits seem to be acidic ingredients and any sort of interruption of the cooking process.

        1. Slow cooker recipes that include starches (potatoes, rice, pasta) are somewhat dicey in my experience. These ingredients seem to come out either rock hard or turned to mush. I stick to slow cooker dishes that either don't include them or that call for them to be cooked by conventional methods and combined before serving, which rather cancels out the convenience of pushing a button and waltzing back home eight hours later just in time for dinner.

          1. It sounds like your crockpot may not be getting hot enough to cook down the potatoes. I agree with icecone, you should check the temp, you need to boil water to get potatoes cooked all the way through.

            Cutting them smaller may help, but I also agree with mandycat in that some crock recipes with potatoes or rice in them are not foolproof. And I tried to do jambalaya also, and the vegetables weren't done, (tiny small pieces of onion, pepper & celery) and the rice was very unevenly cooked. I'm convinced it's just not a slow cooker recipe.