365 Days of Slow Cooking: How to convert a recipe into a slow cooker recipe
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Monday, June 20, 2011

How to convert a recipe into a slow cooker recipe

My friend Jocee e-mailed me with this question.

How would I make this recipe a crock pot recipe? I love chicken cooked in the crock pot. So tender!

Jenn Jergensen’s Oriental Chicken

5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water (optional)

Mix in saucepan over heat until brown sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Put chicken breasts in a 9x13 pan, pour sauce over chicken, bake at 350 for one hour. Serve with white rice.
Thanks for the question, Jocee.  You make me feel smart when you ask me questions :)
Well, to answer your question there are a few rules when converting a recipe:
o Many recipes can be converted to cooking in the crock pot. Soups and stews, of course, are natural slow cooker favorites. Casseroles and most meats benefit from the low temperatures and even cooking heat.

o Reduce the amount of liquid a recipe calls for by about half, since liquids do not evaporate during crock pot cooking. (don’t reduce liquid for rice or beans, they need a lot of water to cook)

o The basic conversion times (if your crock pot is filled 3/4 full, if not it should take less time.  Also, chicken should only be cooked on low for 4-6 hours max):
  • If conventional time is: 15 to 30 minutes, then cooking time on low should be 2 to 4 hours.
  • If conventional time is 35 to 45 minutes, cooking time on low should be 4 to 6 hours. 
  • If conventional time is 50 minutes to 3 hours, cooking time on low should be 6 to 8 hours.
So for this particular recipe, this is how I would make it:

Karen Petersen's Slow Cooker Oriental Chicken (taken from Jenn Jergensen's recipe)

5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I would use thighs because breasts become too dry in the slow cooker, thighs stay moist and juicy)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca (there is no chance for sauce to reduce naturally in the slow cooker so using tapioca really helps.  If you don't have tapioca I would use cornstarch at the end or maybe dredge the chicken in flour before adding it to the slow cooker)
1/4 cup water (optional) (no water since food become runny in the slow cooker)

1.  Mix the butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, tapioca and Dijon mustard together in a bowl.
2.  Place chicken thighs in bottom of slow cooker.
3.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (chicken should only ever be cook on LOW and most of the time only for 4-6 hours, it's kind of temperamental). 
5.  Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

I hope this helps!  Jocee, if you end up making this in your slow cooker will you e-mail me a picture and let me know how you'd rate it? 

If you have a question about slow cookers and slow cooking you can email me (karenbellessapetersen at gmail dot com) and I'll be glad to answer it for you!


  1. Thanks, Karen! I will try it (probably next week) and let you know how it goes. I appreciate your help!

  2. This is so great! I've wondered about converting recipes and have tried on occasion, but haven't always been successful. Your guidelines are awesome, thanks!

  3. This will be so helpful during the summer months when I don't want to use the oven!