One of a slow cooker's best characteristics is its ability to cook a meal for you while you do a hundred other things. Dump the makings of a hearty chili into one, let it do its thing while you go about your day, and return home to a warm dinner ready and waiting. The only kicker is that some slow cooker recipes call for a shorter cook time than you want. If you're out for eight hours, a recipe that takes just four hours just isn't going to work. Luckily, those kinds of recipes don't have to be left for weekends. Here's how to add time onto short-cooking recipes and make them fit your schedule.
How to Extend Time on a Slow Cooker Recipe
While many of our favorite slow cooker recipes call for six to eight hours of cook time, many others don't. According to the Crock-Pot brand of slow cookers, you can pretty easily adjust a recipe to fit your schedule. The only difference between the HIGH and LOW setting on a slow cooker is the amount of time it takes to reach the simmer point, or temperature at which the contents of the appliance are being cooked at. The LOW setting takes longer than the HIGH setting. Once that temperature is hit, the appliance stabilizes at that temperature to allow for the ingredients to be cooked.
This means most recipes can be cooked on either setting. If a recipe calls for cooking on the HIGH setting for three hours, you can cook it for seven hours on the LOW setting instead. Or if a recipe calls for eight hours on HIGH, it can be cooked for up to 12 hours on LOW.
Converting "High" Cook Time to "Low" Cook Time
8 hours on HIGH = 12 on LOW
It should be noted that recipes that call for under three hours of cook time on HIGH should be converted cautiously. It should technically take six hours on LOW to cook something that calls for two hours on HIGH, but that might not be enough time for all the ingredients to completely cook. If you have meat cooking, check its internal temperature to ensure it's cooked through.
A Note on Those Short-Cooking Recipes
Do you have any tips for extending the time on a slow cooker recipe or when to use them?