I recently purchased a brand new vintage west bend slow cooker which I love however the cook settings are marked in numbers 1-5 rather than high and low like on a typical slow cooker/crock pot. Obviously I understand the lower numbers are less heat etc but I was wondering if anyone has cooked with one of these before and even if not, can you give me your opinions if I should cook the called for 7-9 hours on low setting on number 1 or 2 or even 3? Its a first try recipe containing 1" center cut chops with potatoes, rice, and onions etc.. I appreciate the help/advice : )

5 Answers 5


You should consult the owner's manual for your slow cooker. According to one manual on West Bend's website:

There are five numbered heat settings on the heating base, 1 to 5. Heat setting # 1 should only be used to warm dinner rolls, muffins, etc. Heat setting # 2 should only be used to keep warm cooked foods for serving, whereas Heat Settings #3, #4 and #5 are to be used for actual cooking of foods. Set the dial directly at the numbered heat setting or midway between the numbered heat settings for complete temperature control. DO NOT USE A HEAT SETTING BELOW # 3 FOR ACTUAL COOKING OF RAW FOODS AS SLOW COOKER DOES NOT GET HOT ENOUGH TO COOK FOODS AT SETTING #1 OR #2. Set heat setting and cook food for recommended time as given in recipe. As a general guideline, most meat and vegetable combinations need 7 to 10 hours of cooking at Setting #3 (low), 4 to 6 hours of cooking at Setting #4 (medium) or 2 to 3 hours of cooking at Setting #5 (high).

Your particular model might have different instructions.


I usually start mine on #5 until the food is cooking & then I turn it down to #3 to slow cook. Works great. I find I use it more than my fancy other type of slow cookers. Just doesn't have the automatic shut off which is handy. They show up quite often at the thrift stores so I have 2 different sizes that I bought for very little money & they both were like brand new. Love mine & use them often, in fact one of mine is cooking away as I type this.

  • do recipes that call for ‘low’ seem to come out at a similar time if you use #3? I ask because mrog’s comment suggested that #4 took roughly twice the time as #5, which is the typical relationship between low & high. (It’s also possible that #4 is the typical ‘high’)
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 0:09
  • 1
    (@Joe) I haven't used that model, but "high" certainly varies between brands - my current one is faster than either of my previous models, and benefits from being turned down to low after about 80% of the minimum recommended high time.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 8:37

I cook on 3, mine is from late 70s and still going strong. When the meat and veggies are done, I turn it to 1 or 1.5 to keep warm.


I received mine as a wedding shower gift in 1980. It still works as good as the day I got it. I usually cook a roast for 6 hours on the #4 setting. It falls off the bone and very moist! Add 1 or 2 cans of Campbells Golden Mushroom soup and 3/4 package of dry Lipton onion soup mix over the top and it makes its own delicious gravy!


I have had mine for probably 50 years. Use it more than my newer big one. It still works great. 3,4,& 5 are your low, med, & high. The others are for keeping food warm and 1 for warming rolls etc.
I love this baby.

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