At what temperature does a crock pot or slow cooker cook?

November 26th, 2012

I’m making a crock pot recipe in the oven. What temperature should I set the oven for?

Actually, that’s a bit of an interesting question because slow cookers use more watts and cook at higher temps (for both Low and High) than older slowcookers do.

This is out of increased concern about food safety (and potential lawsuits) –to make sure the ingredients are heated more quickly past the danger zone for bacterial growth. That temperature used to be considered about 140F, although more recent USDA guidelines say that bacteria in food is killed at a temperature of 165F." Although the instructions that come with slowcookers always warn against putting frozen meats, etc., into a slowcooker, some people were still doing it, then getting sick from eating meats that didn’t get fully cooked.)

The bottom line is that you’ll have a hard time keeping an oven at as low a temp as even a newer crockpot, particularly if you wanted to cook on the equivalent of "low" … the best you can probably do is set your oven for 200 if you have that low a number… otherwise 165-185 would be about right. ()If your pot is less full that about 2/3, it may well cook hotter at the same set temp.)

Here’s some stuff from my files that may help you figure out the time, though in *reverse*:

". . . One reader posted that her 1984 slowcooker used 75 and 150 watts (low/high), while her much newer one had wattages of 180 and 250, which means it was drawing more power on low than the old one was on high!!

. . .Every time I saw the word "braised" or "bistro" in a recipe, or came across something that needed more than an hour’s cooking, I knew I could adapt it easily to a slow cooker .‚Ķrecipes that call for long simmering, or braising or stewing or even slow roasting will be the most successful and easiest.

There isn’t one tried and true conversion formula that always applies, especially since individual slowcookers can vary, but here are some general guidelines.

cooking times:

If the original (braising) recipe calls for
15-30 minutes of cooking time:
cook on low 4-8 hours or high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours

30-60 minutes of cooking time:
cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours

1-3 hours of cooking time:
cook on low 8-16 hours or high 4-6 hours

Generally, figure that 1 hour on high equals about 2 hours on low.
However some recipes genuinely work better on one setting or the other (e.g. tough, cheap cuts of beef are usually better with longer cooking at a lower setting, while lean boneless chicken breasts are often better on a higher setting for a shorter time), requiring some experimentation.

HTH,

Diane B.

2 Responses to “At what temperature does a crock pot or slow cooker cook?”

  1. bob shark

    Crock pot will be a slow boil, so it will be at least 212F or 100 C
    If I were doing this I would put temp @ 225 F. Have a lid on anything you cook.
    References :

  2. Diane B.

    Actually, that’s a bit of an interesting question because slow cookers use more watts and cook at higher temps (for both Low and High) than older slowcookers do.

    This is out of increased concern about food safety (and potential lawsuits) –to make sure the ingredients are heated more quickly past the danger zone for bacterial growth. That temperature used to be considered about 140F, although more recent USDA guidelines say that bacteria in food is killed at a temperature of 165F." Although the instructions that come with slowcookers always warn against putting frozen meats, etc., into a slowcooker, some people were still doing it, then getting sick from eating meats that didn’t get fully cooked.)

    The bottom line is that you’ll have a hard time keeping an oven at as low a temp as even a newer crockpot, particularly if you wanted to cook on the equivalent of "low" … the best you can probably do is set your oven for 200 if you have that low a number… otherwise 165-185 would be about right. ()If your pot is less full that about 2/3, it may well cook hotter at the same set temp.)

    Here’s some stuff from my files that may help you figure out the time, though in *reverse*:

    ". . . One reader posted that her 1984 slowcooker used 75 and 150 watts (low/high), while her much newer one had wattages of 180 and 250, which means it was drawing more power on low than the old one was on high!!

    . . .Every time I saw the word "braised" or "bistro" in a recipe, or came across something that needed more than an hour’s cooking, I knew I could adapt it easily to a slow cooker .‚Ķrecipes that call for long simmering, or braising or stewing or even slow roasting will be the most successful and easiest.

    There isn’t one tried and true conversion formula that always applies, especially since individual slowcookers can vary, but here are some general guidelines.

    cooking times:

    If the original (braising) recipe calls for
    15-30 minutes of cooking time:
    cook on low 4-8 hours or high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours

    30-60 minutes of cooking time:
    cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours

    1-3 hours of cooking time:
    cook on low 8-16 hours or high 4-6 hours

    Generally, figure that 1 hour on high equals about 2 hours on low.
    However some recipes genuinely work better on one setting or the other (e.g. tough, cheap cuts of beef are usually better with longer cooking at a lower setting, while lean boneless chicken breasts are often better on a higher setting for a shorter time), requiring some experimentation.

    HTH,

    Diane B.
    References :

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