How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes to Your Instant Pot

How to Convert Oven Times to Slow Cooker Times

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I get asked this question a lot: I want to try this recipe in my slow cooker, but it’s written for the oven. How long should I cook it in my slow cooker?

How Does My Slow Cooker Work?

Cooking with a slow cooker is most similar to cooking with a Dutch oven on a stovetop. On a stovetop, a pot is heated from the bottom and the heat rises up the sides of the pot to heat the food within. Similarly, a slow cooker creates heat toward the base, which transfers up the sides of the vessel to heat the food within. In addition, setting the temperature for both cooking methods is very similar. Instead of cooking something at a specific temperature on the stovetop, you set the temperature to low or high. Your slow cooker works in the same manner.

When you set the temperature to low on your slow cooker, your heating element will put out less heat. When you set the temperature to high, the heating element will put out more heat. Cooking something on low takes more time than cooking something on high. Because the temperature settings work most like stovetop cooking, it is hard to give an actual temperature for the various heat levels.


The Trivet is Your Friend

If adding liquid would ruin your recipe
  1. Put the meat up on the trivet and the liquid below, or 
  2. boil off the liquid with the “Saute” button after the meat is done.

Meat, Poultry, and Stews

Generally, if your slow cooker meat, soup, or stew recipe calls for 8 hours on the low setting or about 4 hours on the high setting, it should be fully cooked in about 25 to 30 minutes in the Instant Pot. For chicken or turkey, use the 15-minute poultry button. 

While volume doesn’t matter, density does. Roasts and large, thick pieces of meat will take longer, and a baking dish filled to a 3-inch depth will take longer to cook than a baking dish filled to a 2-inch depth. Cut large roasts into smaller pieces for faster cooking.

Frozen meat can be cooked in the pressure cooker as well, but you will need to add about 10 minutes to the total cooking time. If the meat doesn’t look done after the pressure is released, put the lid back on and cook it at high pressure for another 5 to 10 minutes.

How much liquid should I use?

Cooking liquid can’t really go anywhere inside a slow cooker, so you’ll need to adjust the amount of liquid that you add in order to avoid making your recipe too watery. 

A good starting point is to halve all of the liquids that you would normally use when cooking the recipe in the oven or on the hob. 

If you find that this still leaves you with too much liquid, then you can simply place it in a pot and simmer it on the hob at the end of the cooking time or leave the lid off for the last couple of hours (depending on cook time) or until it thickens up.

Always Follow the Safety Rules

  1. Don’t fill a pressure cooker more than 2/3 with food (it needs head space for the steam to build up) and no more than 1/2 if you’re cooking with legumes or grains.
  2. Add a Tbs. of oil to any dry beans.
  3. Never quick release with thicker foods like beans, grains, etc.
  4. Never add a thickener or “cream of” soup before pressure cooking – do that at the end.

Is My Slow Cooker Energy Efficient?

We like to say slow cooking is energy efficient for you AND your home. Slow cooking gives you the ability to cook while you are away, saving you time and energy. It’s great to have a home-cooked meal ready for your family when you arrive home from work, isn’t it?

The slow cooker is not just efficient for you, it’s efficient for your home. A small slow cooker uses approximately the same power as one and a half 100 watt light bulbs. Because it cooks with contained heat, it uses less energy. And since it’s an appliance that’s intended to be used unattended, there’s no need to worry about it while you’re gone.

Research Hamilton Beach Slow Cookers here.

We hope this helped answer some of your questions about slow cooking. What others do you have? Leave your follow-up questions and comments in the “Comments” section below.

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