A crockpot is an important kitchen appliance and owning one means less stress and time in the kitchen. With its enhanced functionality, one of the great benefits of slow cookers is that it is a “drop-and-go” method of cooking delicious meals. In the different characteristics and features to play in the selection of a slow cooker type and cooking, the temperature is a big one.
At what slow cooking temperature should I cook crockpot recipes? What is the safe temperature for cooking foods like cuts of meat or chicken breasts? These and many more questions relating to Crockpot temperatures will be answered in this article.
The Safe Temperature for Slow Cooking
It is worthy to know that the temperature of a crockpot is dependent on its model. Most slow cooker model has a lower temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit and a higher temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, a lot of slow cooker recipes come with instructions on the best temperature and cooking methods.
The slow cooker low-high times conversion chart below will help you convert your cooking time easily. For instance, if you are used to cooking a recipe on high heat but need to switch to a low-temperature heat for some reasons, the chart will be of assistance for a quick and exact temperature conversion If you have a prescribed recipe book for the particular recipe, you are advised to take that for the exact temperature conversion instead.
Slow Cooker Low-High Times Conversion Chart
|Low Temperature||High Temperature|
|4 – 6 hours||1½ – 2½ hours|
|6 – 8 hours||3 – 4 hours|
|8 – 10 hours||4 – 6 hours|
|10 – 12 hours||6 – 8 hours|
Operating slow cooker on a low temperature or a high temperature? Which is Better?
Not to worry, you will find the following tips useful in figuring out the safe cooking temperature for your crockpot. Please note that the temperature of a food item in a crockpot will increase as it cooks. Why is this so?
Well, the temperature of the food in the crockpot increases because the heating element in the slow cooker’s ceramic insert generates heat energy slowly into the food. If the pot is empty without food, the heating elements dissipate heat directly into an area of the empty pot. So this is the first tip you should have in mind.
The second tip is that the temperature at which the food is being cooked will affect how the food tastes. For instance, tender foods like chicken breasts will taste better when cooked when you have your temperature probe at the low-temperature setting or the warm settings. Well except you are cooking with the modern crockpot that automatically shut down itself once cooking is completed.
On low settings, the crock pots run for 8 hours to attain the exact temperature. On high settings, it takes running the crockpot for 4 hours to reach the exact temperature. A thermometer is used to confirm the exact temperature but the majority of times, the low and high temperature are usually short of about 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because every time you open the glass lid of your crockpot to quickly measure the temperature, heat is lost.
The edge of slow-cooking methods over high temperature is that food item cooked on a high heat temperature simmer and get cooked first. But it is not so much of an advantage because it doesn’t give the food enough time to develop flavours and so it comes out less tasty. Slow cooking at a low temperature on the other hand will give extended periods for the flavours in food to develop. This is one good reason you should follow instructions on slow cooker recipe so that you don’t cut cooking time short when you are not supposed to and lose the flavour in the recipe.
General Guidelines for Slow Cooking
- It is better to cook fresh de frozen meat first before the frozen ones. It is, even better to unfroze all meats before cooking in a crockpot.
- Cut meats before cooking into smaller pieces, do not use large cuts.
- When cooking meats, the heat should not be at a low temperature all of the cooking time. You can start with cooking meat for an hour at high heat temperature and then turn to low-temperature cooking for the rest of the cooking.
- When using a slow cooker with water-contained recipes, I.e, when cooking recipes that include liquid, the cooker should be half or one-third filled.
- Make sure to check the internal temperature and be sure that the food reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Food warming or reheating is not encouraged to be done in a crockpot.
- Some degree of cooking temperature escapes the crockpot no matter how quick you open the glass lid so except you are measuring the temperature, always leave the lid on.
Manual Slow Cooker Versus Programmable Slow Cooker
|Manual Slow Cooker||Programmable Slow Cooker|
|Limited Control. It has a button or knob with 3 or 4 settings. Off, low, high and sometimes warm.||More Control. An exact cook time can be set and the cooker switches automatically to warm when the cooking time is up.|
|It does not completely have a “drop-and-go” cooking settings as food can overcook and crockpot scorned without monitoring||Because of its automation, it can be completely referred to as a “drop-and-go” cooker. It needs no monitoring, hence food safety is guaranteed.|
|When there is a sudden power outage even for just a second, the settings will go off. When power is restored, it will only flashlights.||When a power outage happens and the power is restored. Cooking continues as if nothing happened.|
|It is cheaper||It requires extra money to get|
The programmable slow cooker may not be needed if you are home most times when you have to use your crockpot. Just in case you need to get yourself a programmable slow cooker, Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker is a brand you might need to check out. A very common and standard manual slow cooker you can get if you need one is the Crock-Pot 8 Quartz Manual Slow Cooker.
Crockpot versus Dutch Oven
I have a Dutch oven at home, can I use it in place of a crockpot? Yes! Both kitchen appliance can prepare and cook the same recipe in almost the same way with little differences. Some of the differences are mentioned in the table below.
|Generates its heat with its heating elements||Uses cast iron to generate low heat|
|Uses a ceramic insert with an enamel coating||Similar enamel coating with an outside source like a stovetop or an oven.|
|You cannot sear||You can sear|
A crockpot is a slow but evenly cooker while Rice and Pressure Cooker does the direct opposite. They are fast and rapid cookers. Although, they are all kitchen appliance that offers convenient ways to get tasty foods on the table without a lot of prep activities.
There are a lot of crockpot recipes, but if you are not sure of what temperature to use in your cooking method, you might get frustrated with the results. The temperature of the crockpot is dependent on your cooking settings, once you can master how to get the temperature settings working for you, you would affirm that crockpot is convenient.
Hope we’ve been able to clear your doubts about the temperature of the crockpot? Do well to leave one or two comments.