small slow cooker

Crock Pots are used in a variety of ways at a variety of temperatures. Newer models of Crock Pots cook at high temperatures and cook faster than the older models. But… Do small Crock Pots cook faster than the larger ones?  

Smaller Crocks Pots DO cook faster, but they have to be a 2013 and newer model. The older models cook at lower temperatures. These higher temperatures are perfect for cooking meals at a faster rate. If you’re considering buying one there are many factors to consider, like size and how much you’re cooking.  

However, although the newer Crock Pots cook at a faster rate they may not be what you’re looking for. Some have shown to cook too fast and food ends up burnt. The recipe you’re using will need adjusting.

Let’s look at the differences between newer slow cookers and old ones as well as looking at some common slow cooker questions. 

Can a Small Crock Pot Cook Faster?

There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to smaller and larger Crock Pots. Both sizes heat at about the same rate, the difference is that there is less space in the smaller sizes, so they heat and cook a bit faster.

Slow cookers should be filled with ingredients and liquid about ¾ of the way full, so the only difference is the overall space being heated. 

Small or big slow cooker

How Hot Do Mini Crock Pots Get?

On average newer Crock Pots cook at high temperatures. With digital presets, you can see what temperature you’re actually cooking at. Below is a chart that goes through each setting and what temperatures they can reach. 

Cooking SettingPreset Temperature in ℉Max Temperature in ℉
Warm165 ℉195 ℉
Low200 ℉245 ℉
Medium Low250 ℉ 320 ℉
Medium325 ℉370 ℉
Medium High375 ℉410 ℉
High415 ℉450 ℉

How Fast Do Slow Cookers Heat Up?

Slow cookers are slow, and that’s on purpose. It takes a slow cooker eight hours to reach simmering on the low setting. It takes about four hours to reach simmering on the high setting. 

Can Slow Cookers Cook too Fast?

New changes to the newer models of slow cookers have required them to bring food to a boiling instead of a simmering. This means that if the recipe that’s being used is for an older slow cooker (over ten years older) then the meal may come out overcooked.

Play around with your cooker and use a food-safe thermometer to check temperatures. Also, try cooking foods on a lower setting and adding just a bit more liquid.  

What Are Tiny Crock Pots Used For?

Smaller Crock Pots are great if you’re making a meal for yourself, or you and a partner. They make a small-sized meal that serves up to three. Smaller slow cookers are good for dips, and even cooking desserts. They are also useful if you need to cook a small number of beans for an extended period. 

Advantages of a Small Crock Pot

  • Perfect size for a single person or a couple
  • Good size for making dips
  • Have a meal waiting after a long day
  • Cook a meal while multi-tasking

Disadvantages of a Small Crock Pot

Can you Cook Small Meals in a Large Crock Pot?

If you already have a large slow cooker and are considering getting a small one for smaller meals then read this and reconsider. You don’t need a small slow cooker to make a small meal. Using an oven-safe bowl you can cook your small meal. Place your meal in the bowl, and place that bowl in the cooker. Run as normal.

Can you Put too Little in a Crock Pot?

Slow cookers require they be at least half full to get the full function out of them. If you need to make something a bit small follow the steps above and use an oven-safe bowl. 

Can I Slow Cook Beef for 24 Hours?

Each slow cooker will come with a manual that will tell you how long it should be operated for. Most can operate for eight to twelve hours safely. Usually, a recipe shouldn’t call for 24 hours of cooking, but if you find one make sure your slow cooker can do so safely. 

Can I Leave My Slow Cooker on Warm Overnight?

Some slow cookers turn off after about 20 hours. It’s not recommended to keep your food in the warm setting for more than four hours. If left on longer than that the food inside can drop to an unsafe temperature where bacteria can grow. 

How Efficient are Slow Cookers?

Compared to other methods of cooking, slow cookers are quite efficient. Here is a chart that compares slow cookers to electric cooking and gas cooking, and which one is better for the job. 

Electric Vs Slow Cooker

FoodCook TimeCrock PotElectricity 
Roast1 ½ Hour Oven8 Hours Crock Pot0.8 kWh 3 kWh
Quick Soup1 Hour Stove8 Hours Crock Pot0.8 kWh0.8 kWh
Slow Simmer Recipe4 Hours Stove8 Hours Crock Pot0.8 kWh3.2 kWh

Gas Vs Slow Cooker

FoodCook TimeCrock PotGas
Roast1 ½ Hours Oven8 Hours Crock Pot 87,000 BTU173,000 BTU
Quick Soup1 Hour Stove8 Hours Crock Pot87,000 BTU12,071 BTU
Slow Simmer Recipe4 Hours Stove8 Hours Crock Pot87,000 BTU48,242 BTU

 Some Safety Tips for Using a Crock Pot

Using a Crock Pot properly can be confusing for beginners. Here are a few things that will keep you and your food safe when using a Crock Pot. 

Have your Cooking Space and Crock Pot Clean

Before you begin adding ingredients to your Crock Pot make sure it is clean. The space it will be sitting on should be clear of clutter as well. All ingredients should be prepped and washed. To avoid bacteria growth, wash your hands before working with any food. 

Refrigerate all Perishable Foods Until Time to Use

If you need time to prep or clean anything, keep your ingredients in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. Bacteria can grow at room temperature, so keeping ingredients refrigerated until they go in the pot will keep them safe. 

Keep Meat and Vegetables Separate During Prep

To avoid cross-contamination during preparation keep the meat and vegetables away from each other. Bacteria from the meat can grow onto the vegetables if you mix them before the cooking process. 

Defrost Meat Before Use

Plan ahead by pulling out your meat to thaw the night before. Frozen meat thrown directly into the Crock Pot can spend too much time in the bacteria-creating temperature and can become dangerous. 

Check the Internal Temperature Before Consumption 

Use a food-safe thermometer and check that your meal is above 140 ℉. Below this temperature is where bacteria can grow. Check your meal to make sure your Crock Pot is functioning correctly. 

Don’t Overfill

As we’ve briefly mentioned above you can easily overfill a Crock Pot. Keep in mind that the pot  needs to be filled ½ or ¾ of the way. If you’re using a fatty meat and hard vegetables they release their own liquids during cooking and can cause an excess of water, which can spill over. 

Cut Large Pieces of Meat

Huge chunks of meat can take much longer to cook in a slow cooker. To ensure that the whole thing is cooked evenly and finishes when you want, cut the large chunks into small more manageable pieces.

Defrost Meat Before Use

As we’ve discussed, frozen meat doesn’t cook evenly in the cooker, because it’s frozen. The temperature of the meat can also lower the overall temperature of the slow cooker, putting the meal at an unsafe temperature where bacteria grow. 

Keep the Lid On

It may be tempting to peek at what you’re cooking early, but this can ruin your meal. The lid is what traps moisture and heat for cooking. By removing the lid you chance dropping the temperature and drying out what you’re cooking. The only exception to this rule is a soup that you’re adding to throughout the process. 

Use a Food Safe Thermometer 

To ensure the food is at a safe temperature you’ll need a food-safe thermometer. Having one of these you can make sure your slow cooker is working properly every time. You can also make sure that your food hasn’t dropped to unsafe temperatures where bacteria grow. 

Storage Options

The ceramic liner of a Crock Pot can easily be transferred into a fridge if you have the room. Never put the liner into the freezer. The cold temperatures can cause the ceramic to crack and ruin it. If you’re leaving the food on warm, try not to leave it for more than four hours, as most only operate that long on the warm setting. 

Is it Safe to Leave the Crock Pot Unattended? 

Slow cookers are designed to be pretty hands-off. Unless you have a meal that you’re adding to they can be left alone. Slow cookers are designed to be on cooking for hours and use little electricity. Leaving the house or multitasking is perfectly fine while the Crock Pot makes your food for you. 

Can a Crock Pot catch Fire?

The chances of a Crock Pot catching fire are very small. If you have an older model with a cloth cord then replace it. These cloth corded models don’t reach the same standards as new models and are more likely to catch fire. 

What’s the Right Sized Crock Pot?

The answer to this question depends on what you plan on cooking and how many people you plan on feeding. If you only plan for yourself and another person then the 1.5 to 3-quart sizes will work well. If you need to feed about four people then you’ll need a larger sizer, around 4 to 7 quarts. Feeding six or more then you should get the 8 quart or larger sizes. Also, keep in mind how often you cook for that many people. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What’s the Smallest Crock Pot Size?

Crock Pots come in a large variety of sizes and a couple of different shapes. The smallest is the 1.5 quart Crock Pot. This is a great size for a single person, making dips, or making a small dessert for yourself. 

Can you Leave the Lid off to Thicken the Meal Inside? 

Leaving the lid off is absolutely the best way to thicken up something like soup or stews. This method is recommended if you have too much liquid in your cooker as well. Another option is to place the contents into a pot and reduce it on the stove. 

How Can You Slow Cook Faster?

If you want your slow-cooked meal to cook just a bit faster all you need is aluminum foil. Place the foil on top of your food, or on the lip of the pot and cover. This will trap more heat and allow the meal to cook at a faster rate. 

Final Thoughts 

Newer models of the Crock Pot now cook at faster rates than before. If you’re considering getting a smaller Crock Pot you need to ask yourself what you’re planning on cooking in it. The smaller models don’t cook large chunks of meat, as they won’t fit, but they are good for smaller meals. With what you’ve learned from this article hopefully picking out the size and type of slow cooker you want will be a breeze. 

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