Got a favorite stovetop or oven recipe that you wish you could make in the slow cooker? If it has some moisture in it—whether from water, broth, wine, sauce, or canned soup—you’re in luck. Just about anything you can braise, stew, bake, or roast can work well in a slow cooker. Just keep some tips in mind when you’re converting a conventional recipe for your crock pot.
Top Slow Cooker Conversion Tips
- Cut liquid amounts from a conventional recipe in half.
- For maximum flavor and a more appetizing color, trim visible fat from meats and remove the skin from chicken, then coat the meat lightly in flour and brown in a hot skillet before adding to the slow cooker.
- For every hour you’d bake, roast, or braise something, allow about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high in the slow cooker. (When in doubt, turn it on low and leave it all day or overnight.) The low heat setting is about 200F; high heat is about 300F.
- To thicken or enrich sauces, stir in cream, sour cream, shredded cheese, or cornstarch slurries at the end.
- Brighten flavors at the end with salt and pepper, lemon juice, or vinegar. A handful of fresh chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro doesn’t hurt anything either.
Convert Your Favorites
These 5-star recipes are easily converted from stovetop or oven to slow cooker.
Lightly coat the roast with flour and brown well on all sides. Then it’s everything in the crock pot! Remember to cut the liquids in half, though.
This recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs — always a great choice for crock-pot cooking. But you might want to take the skin off for this preparation.
Even after cutting the liquids in half, you might end up with too much here. In which case, remove the lid, turn the pot up to high, and cook some of it off.
As the veggies cook, they break down and combine with the meat’s juices to create a natural sauce that’s terrific with horseradish mashed potatoes.
This recipe already calls for skinless chicken thighs. Brown ’em up, along with some chopped onions and mushrooms. The slow cooker will take it from there.
Here’s one of those dishes that just gets more and more delicious the longer it simmers. The slow cooker’s the perfect choice for this operation.
Drain some of the juice off the diced Italian tomatoes. Or cook down the liquid at the end.
You know the drill: Remove the skins from the chicken thighs. And add the buttermilk biscuits at the end.
When you use the slow cooker, you can skip the boiling step. Just give the ribs a good browning, and toss ’em in the crock pot.
The recipe calls for boneless chops, but bone-in chops would be terrific here.
“The beef must be really well browned,” says Chef John. “I’m talking deep, dark, crusty, and caramelized. After browning properly, the only way to mess these up is to undercook them, so don’t.”
Brown the pork shoulder in cubes as the recipe says, or leave the meat whole and shred it up after it’s cooked to super-tender.
13) Carnitas Filling
Another one that just gets better with more cooking time. Shred the meat and enjoy it in tacos, burritos, and tamales.
Brown the beef, veggies, and mushrooms in a skillet and then add to the crock pot. Toss in the fresh herbs at the end.
Add the sour cream and the secret ingredient — cream cheese — at the end of cooking.
Get more great tips for using your slow cooker.
Good news for carnivores on a budget: Slow cooking is especially effective for turning cheaper, tougher cuts of meat into fork-tender comfort food.
Did you know your slow cooker is a smart way to make caramelized onions?