The Temperature Rule to Follow When Converting a Dutch Oven Recipe to a Slow Cooker

published Feb 29, 2016
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(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

Have a Dutch oven recipe you really love, but don’t feel like turning on the oven or stove? Get out your slow cooker! It takes a simple adjustment, but for most recipes these two pieces of cooking equipment can be used interchangeably.

So many recipes that call for a Dutch oven, like soups, stews, and braises, all cook using the same principle as a slow cooker — low, slow cooking. While a Dutch oven simmers away on the stovetop or braises in the oven, your slow cooker can get the same job done on the countertop — with the help of a few adjustments, of course.

One of the most important (and potentially confusing) adjustments is understanding how the oven temperature in a Dutch oven recipe translates to the temperature setting on a slow cooker. While recipes that use a Dutch oven may specify cooking at 350°F, slow cookers only have low and high temperature settings.

The Simple Rule for Adapting the Temperature Setting

Use the oven temperature in your Dutch oven recipe to determine whether the slow cooker should be set to LOW or HIGH. For recipes that are simmered on the stovetop or cooked in the oven at 300°F or higher, use the HIGH temperature setting on the slow cooker. Start checking the food after cooking for four-and-a-half to five hours.

For recipes that are cooked at an oven temperature lower than 300°F, set your slow cooker to the LOW setting, and check the food after six hours. While cook times will vary from recipe to recipe, this is a good rule of thumb to get you started, and you can add extra time as needed.

Follow This Rule

  • For recipes cooked at 300°F or higher: Use the HIGH setting for 5 hours.
  • For recipes cooked at 300°F or below: Use LOW setting for 6 hours.