What's the Difference Between Slow Cooking on Low vs. High?
It might sound like a no-brainer, but there's actually a lot you might not know about slow cooker cooking temperatures.
For the best results, remember that it's called a slow cooker for a reason. Simmering recipes over long periods of time extracts all those subtle flavors. You shouldn't always intend to cut your prep time in half just by using the high setting instead of the low one.
Changing the Setting Won't Always Speed up the Prep
Don't just crank up the dial so you can grab your Crock-Pot® Programmable Cook & Carry™ Slow Cooker and high tail it. It's not recommended that you switch the setting to speed up the time for recipes that are originally made to simmer for less than seven hours. In other words, if a recipe calls for around six hours of slow cooking or less, it's best to keep your hand off the dial. However, an eight-hour recipe that suggests a low setting can usually be converted to four hours on high.
There's a conversion chart here for clarification.
It's a two-way street as well. Recipes that suggest the high setting for three or more hours can be converted to a low slow simmer if you extend the time. It's a great way to give your dishes a subtle change in flavor if you have the time to spare.
Understand the Low and High Temperature Settings
Don't think of your slow cooker like a stove top. Cranking up the dial might move the temperature up, but it's better to think of your meals in terms of time. That's why you should think of the simmer point first.
The simmer point is the time it takes to bring all the contents of your slow cooker just below the boiling point. It's right around 209 degrees. On the low setting, the time it takes to reach the simmer point is around seven to eight hours. For the high setting, it takes around three to four hours.
Does that mean your food won't be safe to eat until that time has passed on either setting? Not exactly. The safe to serve internal temperature is around 160 degrees, which your food may reach well before three hours. Just use your best discretion.