Nutrition Articles

Slow and Easy Crockpot Cooking

You DO Have Time for Home Cooked Meals

Cooking Time
  • Dried beans should be cooked and softened before you add them to the recipe. Cover the beans with 3 times their volume in unsalted water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Boil 10 minutes, reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer 1-1/3 hours or until the beans are tender. Discard the water after boiling. The beans can now be added to the Crockpot recipe.
  • Cook pasta, rice and noodles until just tender. Add to the Crockpot toward the end of cooking.
  • Uncooked meat and vegetable combinations require 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
  • One hour of simmering on a range, or baking at 350 degrees in an oven, is equivalent to 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
  • Fresh vegetables should be added at the beginning of cooking. Canned and frozen vegetables (remember to thaw first) should be added during the last hour of cooking.
  • Do not remove the cover of the crockpot unless it's necessary for stirring, though most recipes don't need stirring. You can lose 30 minutes of cooking time each time the lid is removed.
Safety Concerns 
Although your Crockpot thermometer may be at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, everything in the pot may not be at that temperature. To avoid problems, follow one or more of these tips:
  • If you plan to cook on the low, 200 degree setting, run the Crockpot on the high, 300 degree setting, for the first hour. Then turn it down to the low setting.
  • Put the removable stoneware pot and the food contents in the microwave. Microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, stir and then place in the Crockpot on the low setting.
  • Never use frozen vegetables in the crockpot. Always thaw them in the microwave or on the stove first.
  • If you start with chilled meat, make sure the liquid you add is boiling.
  • Warm meat before adding it. Either brown the meat on the stove or use the microwave.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

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