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I don't have 8 hours for slow cooking...any conversions?

Mojave Sep 23, 2012 01:02 PM


My husband really really wants a slow cooker dinner tonight. The sauce he picked says I can do it in a dutch oven 3-4 hours but for some reason he prefers the slow cooker (I usually use my Le Creuset but for a meal he's really looking forward to want to use his slow cooker). Can I use the slow cooker at a different temp for 3-4 hours? Will it have the same results, ie super tender and all the fat and whatnot melted away.


  1. dave_c Sep 24, 2012 11:52 AM

    A slow cooker on high will do the job.

    1. todao Sep 24, 2012 10:52 AM

      "...in situations like this when someone demands using the slow cooker, separate preheats are the best option."
      I find this to be good advice. I do it quite often to reduce the total cooking time with the slow cooker.
      A bit of humor: ",,, any coversions?" Nope. If it's not slow cooked it isn't.

      1. cowboyardee Sep 24, 2012 08:05 AM

        Too late to help, but here is a bit of posthumous advice should this situation arise again:

        Probably the single biggest factor in why a slow cooker takes longer to break down meat than a traditional braise is that the slow cooker generally takes much longer to get up to it's full cooking temperature, especially if you have much in it. A fix (of sorts): plug in the slow cooker while you assemble the ingredients and get it hot. Preheat the stew in a big saucepan on the stove until simmering. Dump stew in slow cooker. You'll cut the cooking time as low as the slow cooker can manage.

        Normally, I'd say just skip the slow cooker when you don't have time to use it well... and anyway I prefer the effect of a traditional braise. But in situations like this when someone demands using the slow cooker, separate preheats are the best option.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee
          gingershelley Sep 24, 2012 10:48 AM

          Coyboyardee - that is why I love my particular slow cooker; it is a rectangular shape with rounded corners (so you can stir easily into all areas), but the shape can actually hold a chicken to roast, or a long pork roast.

          The best part is, the heating element is seperate, like a griddle, and the pot can go on the stove to brown things first, or bring it up to a simmer, then put on the slow-cooker base and go on it's merry way. A gift from my sister, I have never seen one like it anywhere else. I love it so much that now at 8 years in, I searched all over until I found a replacement cord after the original melted through when accidentally got near a stove burner.

          Love it!

          1. re: gingershelley
            Disneyfreak Sep 24, 2012 12:32 PM

            what brand is your slow cooker? It sounds like a good one.

        2. LindaWhit Sep 24, 2012 07:39 AM

          Curious as to what you ended up doing, Mojave.

          1. m
            mariars Sep 24, 2012 07:06 AM

            I say, yes! If the meat is cut in bite size chunks, there should be no reason why you couldn't slow cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hrs. Just make sure the meat is covered in liquids.

            1. g
              GH1618 Sep 23, 2012 03:28 PM

              Two answers:

              He who specifies how something must be cooked does the cooking.

              You can't always get what you want.

              2 Replies
              1. re: GH1618
                foiegras Sep 23, 2012 03:47 PM

                Your answer #1 was my thought exactly.

                Perhaps you can send him out for the afternoon, cook in Le Creuset, dump into the slow cooker just before he gets back.

                1. re: foiegras
                  letsindulge Sep 24, 2012 12:03 PM

                  Lol...sounds like something I would do! I would fess up later after asking, and him confirming that he enjoyed his slow cooked meal, while sticking out my tongue. :P

              2. Hank Hanover Sep 23, 2012 03:18 PM

                Probably too late for the O.P. but if you make sure everything is thawed and at room temperature then preheat to a simmer, transfer to the crockpot on high. It will be done in a couple of hours. Of course if you did that, you might as well do it all in a cast iron dutch oven in the oven.

                Even faster... do it in a pressure cooker.

                1. ipsedixit Sep 23, 2012 01:15 PM

                  Is it too late to go buy a pressure cooker?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    Mojave Sep 23, 2012 01:18 PM

                    Yes, they scare me anyway lol (I know, they're generally safe)

                    1. re: Mojave
                      ipsedixit Sep 23, 2012 01:21 PM

                      How about taking a Jaccard to your beef, parboiling it, then saute the beef, before adding them to the sauce/stew mix?

                  2. LindaWhit Sep 23, 2012 01:08 PM

                    What are you hoping to make? Depending on what you're making, a higher temp might work, if it's something like spaghetti sauce. But if it's a roast, I'm not sure I'd want to chance it.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit
                      Mojave Sep 23, 2012 01:13 PM

                      It's a mexican stew with beef chuck chunks

                      1. re: Mojave
                        hotoynoodle Sep 23, 2012 01:17 PM

                        the meat and sauce sound like 2 separate issues, but i doubt 3 hours is enough to cook stew meat anyway. can you make the sauce over a quicker cooking meat?

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          Mojave Sep 23, 2012 01:20 PM

                          Everything is ready to go so the sauce isn't something I still need to make, it's just a matter of if I can cook everything together in 3 or 4 hours with the slow cooker. I know I can with the le creuset at 325.

                        2. re: Mojave
                          LindaWhit Sep 23, 2012 01:29 PM

                          Well, it looks like it might be possible on High heat:


                          And from Rival Crockpot's site under the General Cooking Tips tab:


                          Q: What’s the difference between "Low" and "High" cooking?
                          A: Both "High" and "Low" stabilize at the same temperature; it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the simmer point. Once food reaches the simmer point, total cook time is dependent on cut and weight of meat to reach the point of maximum flavor and texture potential. Most dishes can be prepared on either "High or "Low."

                          Q: What are the typical cook times for Crock-Pot® Slow Cookers?
                          A: Typical cook time for Crock-Pot® SlowCookers to reach simmer point is 209°F:
                          Low: 7-8 hours to reach the simmer point
                          High: 3-4 hours to reach the simmer point

                          Q: How do I convert cook times between "High and "Low?
                          A: Below is a conversion chart to illustrate the comparative cook times for "High" and "Low"*
                          3 hours 7 hours
                          4 hours 8 hours
                          5 hours 9 hours
                          6 hours 10 hours
                          7 hours 11 hours
                          8 hours 12 hours

                          *** It is not recommended to convert recipes with cook times less than 7-8 hours on "Low" or 3-4 hours on "High."

                          So it depends on the length of time recommended in the original recipe as to how long to cook it on High.

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