Slow cookers are designed to simmer food on low heat over an extended period of time. Most slow cookers have three settings:
- Low: Cooks for eight hours – 170°F
- High: Cooks for six hours – 280°F
The slow cooker cooks fast enough to keep food out of the danger zone, and slow enough for unattended cooking. But, what if you don’t have a slow cooker? And, what other appliances can you use, like a slow cooker? Here are 11 ways you can slow cook without a slow cooker:
- slow cooking in oven
- slow cooking in air fryer
- slow cooking in dutch oven
- slow cooking in a rice cooker
- slow cooking in a pot
- slow cooking in pressure cooker
- slow cooking in thermomix
- slow cooking on the stove top (glass or electric)
- slow cooking on induction cooktop
- slow cooking on gas stove
- slow cooking on gas grill
An oven can be used as a slow cooker. However, in order to successfully use this appliance as a slow cooker, the slow cooker recipes may have to be altered slightly. There are several other kitchen appliances which may function as a slow cooker simply by adjusting the settings. Alternatively, you could use the French technique known as sous vide to slow cook food in a vacuum-sealed pack.
Slow cooking in oven
The oven can be used as an alternative to a slow cooker. The time setting for the oven should be decided by four for low cooking. For example, if the recipe calls for the dish to be slow cooked for eight hours at 170°F (76°C), then you should slow cook the dish in the oven at the same temperature for 2 hours. If the recipe calls for high cooking at 280°F (137°C), then half the time. So six hours on high in a slow cooker will become three hours on high in the oven.
The problem with using the oven for slow cooking is that it may easily cause the food to burn or dry out. You’re going to need to keep an eye on the food throughout the cooking process. It is best to use a baking dish with a lid for this process.
In addition, this process requires high energy consumption, which makes this quite an expensive option.
Slow cooking in air fryer
Air fryers have become a staple in many homes across the world. Some air fryers now have a slow cooking feature that allows the appliance to cook large cuts of meat in a similar fashion to a slow cooker.
Probably won’t be able to slow cook in a traditional slow cooker. You may need to buy an appliance that acts as a 2-in-1. These appliances also looked more like a slow cooker than a traditional air fryer. It has a larger basket capacity to hold bigger cuts of meat as well.
Start by placing your prepared meat in the basket and set the air fryer to the slow cooking function. Depending on the size of the meat, you should be able to fully cook a roast at 375°F for thirty minutes. Not quite as slow as a slow cooker, but it still gets the job done properly.
Slow cooking in dutch oven
You can definitely use a dutch oven to slow cook meat and other food items. Start by placing your meat in the dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C). Keep in mind that you will need to do a time conversion for the dutch oven. Meat that cooks on low in a slow cooker over eight hours will take approximately a quarter of the amount of time in a dutch oven that’s placed inside a 325°F (162°C) oven.
To put it into perspective with an example, if a recipe calls for an item to be slow cooked at 325°F (162°C) in a slow cooker, for eight hours, the same item will cook for three hours at 325°F (162°C) in a dutch oven.
Slow cooking in a rice cooker
Rice cookers make a great alternative to slow cookers and can be used to prepare a wide variety of food. However, using a rice cooker will require a bit of elbow grease. You will need to set the program between the “warm” setting and the “high” setting, repeatedly, until your dish has cooked all the way through.
For example, start by setting the rice cooker on high and allowing the contents to come to a boil. Once the contents are hot enough, turn the setting to “warm” or “keep warm” and allow the contents to slow cook for an hour on this setting. Then repeat the cycle. Continue this process until the food is thoroughly cooked though. Check the food with a thermometer to ensure that it has reached the correct internal temperature.
When you apply this technique, the food remains in the safe zone while cooking, without drying out.
Slow cooking in a pot
Slow cooking in a pot on the stove top is quite simple.
Start by browning the meat. You want to create the Maillard Reaction to infuse flavor into the meat. Then, place your meat inside the pot on the stove top and add stock, seasonings, and any other ingredients that you may need to infuse the meat with the desired flavor.
In addition, when adapting the recipe for the stove top, it may be required to add a third, or to half more liquid, than stated in the recipe for slow cooking. This is because when food is created in a slow cooker it creates its own liquid. The same does not occur when slow cooking on a stove top.
This method is more suited to certain types of dishes. You can find conversion rates here.
Slow cooking in a pressure cooker
A pressure cooker is a multifunction device that is easily able to act as a slow cooker. Before you start, you may need to change the pressure cooker lid for a tempered glass lid with a steel rim. This lid allows steam to escape and creates a better final result.
Additionally, you need to make two adjustments. One adjustment for time and the other is to add liquid to the pot to help with the cooking process. Prep your food, place the lid on the pressure cooker, select the slow cook button, adjust the time, depending on the recipe, and cook. The time conversion works as follows:
- High cook time – multiply the high cook time of the pressure cooker by 60 and divide by 10.
- Low cook time – multiply the low cook time of the pressure cooker by 10 and divide by 60.
Slow cooking in thermomix
It’s quite easy to slow cook in a thermomix. Place all of your ingredients into the mixing bowl. Be sure to thaw frozen ingredients before placing them in the mixing bowl. Be sure to spread the ingredients evenly in the mixing bowl.
Cut meat pieces into even sizes and thickness to ensure even cooking. Trim the fat off the meat as it won’t cook away in a thermomix. Select the time and setting to slow cook and allow the thermomix to slow cook your meal. And, remember to add ingredients that cook faster, closer towards the final part of the cooking process.
Slow cooking on the stove top (glass or electric)
Cooking on a glass or electric stove top is probably the easiest of all the methods. Place all your ingredients in a pot and set the stove to high heat. As soon as the ingredients start to boil in the pot, reduce the heat to simmer and cook the food for at least a few hours.
Keep checking the liquid in the pot to ensure it doesn’t cook dry.
Slow cooking on an induction cooktop
Using an induction stove top to slow cook food is similar to using a traditional stovetop. An induction stovetop will allow you to cook food safely over low-medium heat for longer periods of time.
Prepare the ingredients and cut the larger ingredients into smaller pieces. Place your ingredients into a pot and place the pot on your induction cooktop. Cover your pot with a well-fitting lid. Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow the food to cook for 6 to 8 hours. This would typically be setting two or three.
Slow cooking on a gas stove
Using a gas stove may not be an ideal option for slow cooking. You will need a very small flame. Some stoves have flames which are too large even on the lowest setting, the flame may still be too hot for this type of cooking.
That is why it is important to put into a pot a lot of liquids and cover it with a lid. This way, you can keep your food moist. Add liquids every half an hour to one hour, so the food doesn’t dry out.
Slow cooking on a gas grill
You can use your gas grill for low-and-slow cooking. Certain fatty foods, like brisket and pork shoulder are ideal when using a gas grill. The rules for using a gas grill are simple:
- Only use half of the burners.
- Do not overcrowd the grill.
- Take your time when cooking. Don’t rush it.
- Keep the temperature low.
Keep in mind that this process is slow. Account for three to four hours for ribs and up to 14 hours for pork shoulder. Ideally, you want to keep your grill at 200°F to 400°F for optimal results.
How to slow cook a roast without a slow cooker on a stovetop
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 – 5 lb chuck roast
- 2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 whole onions, peeled and halved
- 2 – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup red wine
- 2/3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups beef broth
- Start by browning the meat first.
- Add the meat, seasonings, onion, and broth to a stock pot. Do not add the vegetables just yet.
- Bring this dish to the boil on the stovetop. Then bring the temperature down to a simmer. Cover the roast and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Closer to the end of this cooking time, add the carrots.
- Check the roast every 15 minutes, making sure there is enough liquid.
- When the meat is tender, turn off the heat and allow the dish to sit for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Remove the meat from the liquid and thicken the liquid before serving the dish.
How to slow cook chicken without a slow cooker in a dutch oven
- 4 bone-in chicken breast halves
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- For this recipe, slowly cook the chicken in a cast iron dutch oven inside the stove.
- Brown the chicken on the stove top prior to placing the chicken in the dutch oven.
- Add the browned chicken, liquid, herbs, spices, and vegetables to the dutch oven.
- Set the timer on low heat, approximately 250°F and allow the meat to cook in the dutch oven for approximately three hours or until the chicken falls off the bone.
How to slow cook chicken breast without a slow cooker in an air fryer
- 4 chicken breasts
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Coat the chicken with olive oil and place the chicken in the fryer basket.
- Combine the seasoning and spices and rub the chicken generously with the mixture.
- Bake the chicken at 360°F for nine minutes. Flip over and cook for an additional nine minutes. Check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
How to slow cooked beef roast without a slow cooker in a pressure cooker
- 1 x 5 lb bone-in beef pot roast
- 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Season the roast with salt, pepper, and flour.
- Sear the roast in vegetable oil.
- Place the roast, spices, herbs, butter, garlic, tomato paste, vegetables, and broth in the pressure cooker. Simmer for 1.2 hours.
- How to slow cooked diced beef without a slow cooker
How to slow cooked diced beef without a slow cooker in a thermomix
- 1 lb top sirloin steak strips
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 finely chopped onion
- 1/2 lb thickly sliced brown mushrooms,
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lightly sear the meat for two to three minutes in olive oil in the mixing bowl for 10 min/100°C//speed 1.
- Place all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir around. Cook for 10 min/100°C//speed 1.