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I am cooking a tator tot casserole and it has raw cut up chkn breast and frozen broccoli and frozen tataor tots . Can I cook it on high and my slow cooker as opposed to low to accommodate timer restrictions?

3 Answers 3

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You'll be fine cooking on high. I'd expect it to be best at 50-70% of the time on low. Starting any significant ingredients from frozen, I'd be inclined to use high (or auto, though I've never had one with that mode) anyway, as the contents will take a long time to get up to temperature otherwise.

While plenty of things can't be cooked on low for safety reasons, there's very little that's improved by cooking low. Casseroles aren't among them

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  • I predominantly cook on low, tbh. I start from boiling, but then usually have about 8 hours or so til dinner, so low times it just fine. It might depend how low 'low' is.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 11:49
  • @Tetsujin I nearly always include dried beans (soaked, or soaked+boiled if they're kidney beans) and all day on high works well for those. Otherwise all afternoon on high (lentil-based things) - but I use mine at weekends or if working from home.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 11:54
  • and (@Tetsujin) the sort of things that can't be cooked on low according to the manuals for all I've owned are pork joints, whole chickens, etc. (not beef joints; they're OK). It's all about the internal temperature, and holding it high enough for long enough. On the rare occasions I eat meat I don't slow cook it.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 11:56
  • Mine makes no mention of foods that cannot be cooked on low - but then again it makes no mention of cooking whole chickens either. That's something I'd simply never have thought of doing in a slow cooker, ever. I use mine 9/10 times for cooking what could loosely be termed a 'stew', + the occasional pot roast.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 12:29
  • @Tetsujin I also mainly make stew-like things. I have done a chicken in it, many years ago; it looked insipid but the texture was decent. Starting from the one I had with a metal pot (I didn't get on with it sliding around on the gas stove and went back to a proper one), they seem to have got a bit more powerful.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 13:23
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My slow cooker has generic instructions for timings as well as specifics for detailed recipes.

We don't know if yours is the same, but as a general guide…
Low 8-10 hours
Medium 5-7 hours
High 4-6 hours.

These timings assume you have pre-seared any meat.
Without pre-heating, add time… Low 2-3 hours, med 1-2 hours, high 1 hour.
It also says to add 15 minutes for every time you lift the lid, to stir etc.

Many of the specific recipes, though, give huge time variants for each dish - for instance goulash 4 - 8 hours on medium, chicken paprika 4 - 7 hours, med.
That's a lot of leeway in which you have to use your own judgement. For stewing/braising beef, longer is better, for chicken breast the shorter end of the timescale might be best. You may end up using the broccoli as your timer; it's done somewhere between when the broccoli is soft but not yet falling apart. Chicken breast somewhere between when the centre of the largest piece is no longer pink & it turning to rubber.

All of this is highly dependent on how full the pan is too. More stew, longer time.

You could reduce all these times if you bring your stew to a boil before putting in the slow cooker - but that's dependent on what your pot is made of. Mine is metal, so it goes straight from stove top to slow cooker. Also how easy it is to stir your stew. Tater tots don't strike me as being very stirrable; I'm assuming they need to just sit gently on top.

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I have never had much luck in cooking frozen foods in a slow cooker. I believe the indirect heat is just simply never hot enough to get frozen foods to the needed temperature for it to be cooked. Just simply better to defrost everything before it goes into the slow cooker.

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