Crock-Pot FAQ’s

Crock-Pot Frequently Asked Questions

Here we will attempt to answer any of your hot crock-pot questions (hot crock-pot…get it?). 

Is crock-pot cooking safe?
Cooking in a crock-pot is safe. Slow cookers reach a simmer temperature of 209°F, that along with the cooking in a moist environment over a long period of time safely kills common bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and botulism. Be sure to follow the cooking times for the recipe you are following to be sure to cook your foods, especially meats for the required times.
What is the difference between a crock pot and a slow cooker?
There is no difference. The term “slow cooker” is a generic term for the name brand “Crock-Pot. Crock-Pot is a registered brand of slow cookers owned by the Rival parent company. And any other brand is just called a slow cooker.
What is the difference between the low and high setting on my crock-pot?
Both High and Low stabilize at the same temperature, it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the simmer point. Once food reaches the simmer point, total cook time is dependent on cut and weight of meat to reach the point of maximum flavor and texture potential. (Most dishes can be prepared on either High or Low.)[
What are the typical cook times for slow cookers?
The typical time for slow cookers to reach the simmer point (209°F) is 7-8 hours on low and 3-4 hours on high. These times however are approximate as different slow cookers will come to temperature slightly differently.
Can I convert cook times between high and low?

Yes you can. Below is a conversion chart to show you the compative cook times for high and low.

HIGH           LOW
3 hours 7 hours
4 8
5 9
6 10
7 11
8 12

Note: It is not recommended to convert recipes with cook times less than 7-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

Do you have any recommendations for typical meats and how long they should be cooked?
Yes we do!

  • Pork Butt Roast, 6-7 Lbs. – 9 1/2 hours on low or 7 1/2 hours on high.
  • Pork Loin, 3-4 Lbs. – 6 hours on low or 5 hours on high.
  • Whole Chicken, 6 lbs. – 7 1/2 hours on low or 6 1/4 hour on high.
  • Bone-in Turkey Breasts, 6 lbs. – 7 1/2 hours on low or 6 1/4 hour on high.
  • Beef Roast, 3-4 Lbs. – 8 hours on low or 5 3/4 hours on high.
  • Stew Meat, 3 Lbs. – 6 hours on low or 4 3/4 hours on high.
How much should I fill my slow cooker?
A slow cooker should be at least ½ full to ¾ full for best results.
Does the water evaporate in a slow cooker?
Slow cookers have very little evaporation. When converting a recipe designed for the stove top remember that your final product may be thicker, adding additional water during or at the end of cooking will help thin it out.
Can I open the lid or stir when the food is slow cooking?
It is not recommended to open the lid of your slow cooker while cooking as this can reduce the temperature inside your crock-pot, thus causing you to need to cook your dish longer. Unless your recipe requires you to stir, resist the temptation to open your slow cooker.
Can I reheat food in my slow cooker?
We don’t recommend reheating foods in your crock-pot. However most crocks that come with most slow cookers are oven and microwave safe. Please read your instruction manual that came with your slow cooker to see if the crock can go in the microwave or oven.
Do I need to pre-brown meat?
We suggest that you follow the recipe if it calls for pre-browning then go ahead and brown it up. While this is an added step it is usually included to create a more flavorful product and to get rid of excess fat that may alter the flavor of the end result of the the dish.
Is it safe to leave my slow cooker cooking while I am not at home?
Most modern crock-pots are designed to be left cooking away on the counter-top unattended. Be sure that nothing is touching your crock-pot just to be sure.
How do I prevent over-cooking or under-cooking?
Always fill the stoneware 1/2 to 3/4 full to conform to recommended cook times (with the exception of certain cakes and custards.
Is the food in my slow cooker safe if there was a power outage while cooking?
If your power was out for less than 1 hour your food is probably safe to resume cooking and to eat. However if your power was out for more than an hour or you don’t know how long you were without power it is better to be safe than sorry and we do not suggest that you attempt to eat it. Remember, when it doubt, throw it out!
Do I need to keep the lid on my slow cooker while cooking?
Most recipes require that you cook with the lid on. Unless the recipe calls for it leave the lid on the entire cooking time, especially during the first 2 hours.
Can I start my dish off with frozen meat?
In most cases you can, however you will need to adjust the cooking time to compensate for the frozen meat. Allow an additional 4-6 hours on low or 2 hours on high when using frozen meat. Do not place frozen meat inside a dry pre-heated crock-pot as the quick change in temperature can crack your crock.
Can I cook pasta in my slow cooker?
Pasta is best cooked in rapidly boiling water. It is best to cook pasta just until tender and then add to the stoneware during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Can I cook in the stoneware crock on my stove top?
No way Jose! The stoneware cannot withstand the extreme direct heat and will break if placed on a stove top burner. You may use the stoneware in the microwave or oven. However, the tempered glass lid is not suitable for microwave or oven use.
What size of a crock-pot should I buy?
This will depend partially on the number of people you are cooking for and partially on the type of cooking you are doing. For singles a 1 – 1 1/2 quart is ideal. For a couple a 2 1/2- 3 1/2 quart is perfect. For a family of 3 – 4 choose a 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 quart. For families of 4 – 5 choose a 4 1/2 – 5 quart unit. For feeding 6 or more people a 6 quart is the best option. Of course a larger size is a great choice if you want to have leftovers to freeze and serve later. Most roasts also fit better in a 5 quart or larger unit. Check out Crock-Pot Ladies Amazon store for a vast selection of Crock-Pots and slow cookers.
Can I use foil or baking bags in my crock-pot?
You sure can! Some recipes even call for wrapping meat and other ingredients in foil and then placing in the stoneware for cooking. It is also fine to place ingredients in baking bags, place in stoneware, cook and then lift the bag our of the stoneware for serving.
What do you ladies think about the crock-pot liners that are available?
We love em! Anything that helps clean up time is a winner in our book. Buy them!
My crock-pot recipes turn out too watery, how can I prevent this?
This is probably happening because there is too much water in your recipe. One half to one cup of liquid is sufficient for most recipes that do not call for rice.
When should I add fish or shellfish to my crock pot recipe?
Add raw seafood 30 minutes to 1 hour before the cooking is finished. Add pre-cooked seafood a few minutes before the end of cooking.
Can a crock-pot go in the microwave?
Most modern stoneware crock-pot inserts (the actual crock part of your slow cooker) can be used in the microwave. Keep in mind however that the lid is usually not microwave safe and never put the actual heating element in the microwave! If you are in doubt please refer to the owners manual to the specific crock-pot you own.
How do you clean burnt on food in the crock-pot?
Often times foods that are high in sugar (such as desserts or dishes with a sweet sauce can burn in the crock-pot if left to cook too long. If you find yourself with a burnt on mess to clean up it should not be that difficult to tackle. First start with soaking your crock-pot insert in hot soapy water and see if that works. If soaking for a couple of hours is just not doing the trick then we suggest filling your crock-pot insert again with hot soapy water and placing the insert in the heating element, covering the crock-pot and cooking on high for a couple of hours. The combination of heat and a bit of soap should do the trick. However if you find you still have some stuck on food try scrubbing with a paste made out of baking soda and water and maybe just a few drops of dish-washing soap. This really should do the trick, however as a last resort you can use oven cleaner. It may take a few tries if your burnt something really bad but it should come off. Prevent burnt on messes when cooking sticky sweet foods by using a crock-pot liner. These specially designed liners make clean up so easy!
Can you provide nutritional information for your recipes?
We are home cooks and not dietitians and calculating the nutritional information for all of our recipes is a time consuming process as well as a legal liability for us (if we get the calculations wrong, someone could sue us!). So we are unable to provide nutritional information for our recipes at this time. However, there are some excellent online calculators out there were you are welcome to do your own nutritional analysis of our recipes and see if they are a good fit for your personal dietary needs. One of our favorites is My Fitness Pal.
My recipe didn't turn our right! What did I do wrong?
Our goal is to do our very best to give clear instructions for our recipes. However, without being in the kitchen with you we just don’t know what might have gone wrong. One of the most common reasons for a recipe not coming out correctly are:

  • Different slow cooker brands cook at different temperature. Older crock-pots tend to cook lower and slower than newer models. And some brands just run hotter or colder when they cook Substituting ingredients or not following the recipe correctly.
  • Not cooking the proper time and temperature setting as instructed in the recipe.
  • Water content of food. Sometimes the water content in certain meats and vegetables can really vary and this may cause a recipe to turn out watery or dryer than it should.