Do you want to reduce the number of servings in a slow cooker recipe? Or, maybe you want to double a recipe? Here are our tips for How to Adjust Crock Pot Servings.
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How to Change the Number of Servings in a Crock Pot Recipe
Readers often ask me for tips on how to change the serving sizes of our recipes. Some folks want to reduce the number of servings to slow cook for two, while others ask me about doubling and tripling recipes for holiday parties.
There are three main factors when adjusting serving sizes for slow cooker recipes: ingredient amounts, pot size and cooker cooking times.
Figuring Ingredient Amounts
Did you know that our site will automatically figure ingredient amount changes for you? All you have to do is tell the site how many servings you want and it will change the amount of ingredients listed to meet the number you set. Watch the video above to see how it works in action. Or, just go to the recipe you want to adjust. Scroll to the bottom until you see the recipe card’s big red header. In that header is a blue number of servings. If you scroll your mouse over that number it will give you a slider to change the servings as desired. As you change the amount of servings, the site changes the amount of ingredients needed.
Please note: While the site updates ingredient amounts, it cannot update the recipe instructions. Please make sure to see the tips below about crock pot size and cooking times.
Choosing Crock Pot Size
Once you know how much of each ingredient you will need to change the servings, next you will need to know what size slow cooker to use.
If you are reducing the number of servings in a recipe:
- The easiest thing to do is to DECREASE your slow cooker size. So, if the original recipe calls for a 6 quart and you cut your recipe in half, try to use a 4 quart or smaller crock pot.
- If you don’t have a smaller slow cooker, you could use an oven safe bowl inside your 6 quart to reduce the size of your cooking area. Simply place the oven safe bowl inside of your larger crock pot and put ingredients in the bowl. Then pour water into the crock around the outside of the bowl. Just make sure NOT to put water more than halfway up the outside of your bowl. Water can boil over into your bowl if you use too much water.
- Use the 6 quart slow cooker with caution, checking often. Cooking times will be reduced greatly.
If you are increasing the number of servings in a recipe:
- The easiest thing to do is to use two slow cookers if you can when doubling a recipe. If you are not quite doubling, you can often get away with just adding the extra servings and increasing cooking time.
- Use a bigger crock pot. Oftentimes a 4 quart recipe can easily be doubled into a 6 quart slow cooker. And, sometimes a 6 quart recipe can be doubled into a 8 quart.
- If you are “baking” with your slow cooker, always use caution with doubling a recipe in the same pot. One of the biggest struggles with crock pot “baking” in general is getting the center to rise up. When increasing servings of a crock pot cake, bread or egg casserole, this becomes even more of a challenge. We almost always recommend using two slow cookers when doubling ANY recipe that requires the center to “bake” up.
- If you are making a soup, casserole, etc. that does NOT need to set in the center, you can oftentimes just fill up whatever crock you are using and just adjust cooking times.
How to Adjust Crock Pot Servings: Slow Cooker Cooking Times
Slow cooker cooking times are ALWAYS a basic guideline, not a rule. All slow cookers cook differently. Some will cook hot and fast, others will cook unevenly and others will cook slower. Always watch a new-to-you recipe closely in your slow cooker the first time you cook it regardless of whether or not you change serving amounts.
Keeping cooking times about the same:
- When changing serving amounts, the best way to keep cooking times of tried and true recipes similar to the original recipe is to choose a crock pot size that fills the crock similar to the original. So, if you are cutting a recipe in half, using a smaller crock will help keep times similar.
Cooking a recipe FASTER:
- If you choose to reduce a recipe’s ingredients but still use the same size slow cooker as the original recipe, it will cook a lot faster.
- It is always best to keep a close eye when attempting this method.
- If one side is cooking faster than another, you can rotate your crock to allow for more even and faster cooking.
Cooking a recipe SLOWER:
- You can lengthen cooking times by slow cooking with a fuller pot. Either by using more ingredients in a large pot or by putting a larger recipe in a smaller slow cooker.
- You can also lengthen cooking times by using the bowl-in-pot technique described in the Crock Pot Size Section. The smaller cooking area slows cooking and the water reduces the potential for the sides to overcook and burn.
- Do not attempt this method with “baking” crock pot recipes or they may not get done.
We hope our tips for how to adjust crock pot servings was helpful to helping you make amazing dishes to feed your loved ones!
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