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I'm having a problem cooking potatoes using a slow cooker recipe. I'm using russet potatoes. Recipe did not specify what to use. Recipe said "thin sliced". Used mandoline to crinkle cut 4.5mm thick (more surface area). Recipe said done in 4hrs on high. It's now over 6 hrs and potatoes are still raw. Everything else is turning to mush. Question.. Did I use the wrong potato? Is there a different potato I should have used that would cook faster?


They were washed. If I cannot pierce them easily with a fork, when I have to bite down hard, I consider them raw. Raw=uncooked=hard=not soft=raw! I'm 62yrs old. probably been cooking longer than you. Allow me the courtesy of knowing a raw potato when I bite into one.(and I still have all my teeth.)

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    Commenting because I'm not an expert but that doesn't seem right -- are you sure they're "raw"? Also did you wash them out before you started cooking to get the starch out? Not sure if either of those have anything to do with it. – aug Nov 8 '15 at 19:55
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    I second what @aug said. It seems highly unlikely that they are still raw. I think that would break several laws of physics after 6 hours in a slow cooker. How did you determine that they were raw? Have you tried tasting one? – Johanna Nov 8 '15 at 20:16
  • related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/12432/67 – Joe Nov 8 '15 at 20:35
  • Walter, I added your answer/comments into the question for you, but Catija is right, you should have been able to do so yourself. – Escoce Nov 9 '15 at 15:50
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    Were there other vegetables in the slow cooker with the potatoes? Or was it just meat and potatoes? Meat can turn to mush at a lower temperature than vegetables. So, if the slow cooker isn't reaching an adequate temperature to cook the potatoes, it could still turn certain types of meat (fish, chicken, low collagen cuts of beef, etc.) to mush. That might indicate a defective slow cooker. If, on the other hand, you have other vegetables (especially hard ones like carrots) in there that are cooking properly, then I'm baffled. – mrog Nov 9 '15 at 20:52
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Sorry for the late answer. I would say that you did NOT use the wrong potato. In my experience russet potatoes end up MUCH softer than waxy or yellow potatoes, after cooking. That's the reason I only use russets when making mashed potatoes.

I ran into a similar situation not too long ago. In this case I was using a mixture of russets and yellow potatoes, but close enough. What else were you cooking in your crock pot? This is a very important question. For example, if you were making something with a lot of liquid (like soup), the heat should have been evenly distributed and you should not have run into this problem. On the other hand, if you were making something with very little liquid or very thick liquid, I can see this happening. In my case, I was making "cheesy potatoes", which starts with a really thick cheese sauce.

Here's the problem...the atoms of the thin liquid move around a lot easier making a sort of current throughout the pot, distributing the heat to all the food. A thick liquid or insufficient liquid won't do that, so the stuff towards the middle don't get as much heat at the stuff at the bottom or sides of the pot. A "fix" would be to stir everything about once an hour. I know that you don't want to take the lid off the crock pot and lose the heat, but the heat needs to be distributed throughout the pot somehow.

Anyway, that's my guess of your problem. Hope this helps.

  • "wrong potatoes" would have been my first suspicion too ... had exactly that happen to me with simmered dishes and ignorantly using "festkochende" (german designation for very,very waxy types) potatoes... I would assume that uneven heat distribution through the food, though, is exactly what will NOT happen in a slow cooker or long simmer... unless whatever process turns the potatoes cooked is extremely endothermic (can a chimist cheme in here?), it would be strange if even whole potatoes weren't heated to the core in 2hrs ... – rackandboneman Nov 23 '15 at 16:58
  • Thank you. I was making a slow cooker cottage ham recipe I found online. And you were right, not much liquid in the pot. It seems they were trying to steam themselves which wasn't working very good. – Walter Grzelewski Dec 20 '15 at 21:33
  • @rackandboneman Sorry. I wasn't being too clear. If there isn't enough liquid, or if the liquid is too thick for convection to happen, the food may not cook thoroughly/properly because the heat from the walls cannot be distributed. – Macromika Jan 27 '16 at 17:46
  • If I am not wrong meat has a tendency to acidify the cooking juice, making the issue even more pronounced. If there was enough water this is likely the cause, you can try to add some baking soda too to reduce the acidity if the potatoes are still too firm. Or add green peas or other alkaline foods. – Sharnt Mar 14 '16 at 15:34

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