What Can I Use if I Don’t Have a Slow Cooker?

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Slow cooking is not a concept of recent times and has existed even before slow cookers were invented. If you are craving some homemade delicious pulled pork but don’t own a slow cooker, there are other ways to go around this issue. For those who are facing the dilemma of “What Can I Use if I Don’t Have a Slow Cooker?” I will share some alternatives you can use.  

You can use both a stove and an oven to slow cook your food to perfection if you have the right pot. For slow cooking on the stove over direct heat, a stockpot will work the best. If you are more comfortable using an oven for slow cooking, a cast-iron casserole or a cast-iron Dutch oven might be the ideal option. 

Just because you don’t have a slow cooker doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy some delicious slow-cooked meals. In the rest of the article, I will share all the ways you can slow cook even if you don’t have a slow cooker and some recipes that go well with it. 

What Can You Use to Slow Cook instead of a Slow Cooker?

The great news is, most slow-cooker recipes can easily be converted to an oven or the stovetop. For the pot stock pots and cast iron pots work best. 

Slow cooking has been a popular method even before slow-cooker was invented and you can enjoy the same dishes without even getting one. You don’t need to own a slow cooker and clutter up your kitchen with another gadget just to try out some slow-cooker recipes. 

You can easily use a slow cooker recipe to use on an oven or a stove.  All you need to be careful about is to adjust your cooking time and the amount of liquid you add. Let’s take a look at all the ways you can cook without a slow cooker:

Slow Cooking on a Stove Top

To slow cook over direct heat and on the stove, I recommend using the stockpot. A stockpot is a large pot made from aluminum or stainless steel. These pots come with a lid and two handles and are the best option for slow cooking over a stove. 

Start your cooking by adding your meat. Then add any liquid that should go into the dish like soup, water, or stock. Now add all your seasonings and any other ingredients you want to add. Put in all your vegetables at last. Then bring your dish to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. 

Put your lid on and let it cook for about 30 to 45 minutes. Remember to check on it every 15 minutes. When it’s done, turn off the heat and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Finally, serve the table. If you want, you can remove the food from the cooking liquid and increase the heat. This thickens the sauce before you serve it.

Stockpot from Amazon
Stockpot from Amazon

Slow Cooking in an Oven

For this method, the best options may be a cast-iron casserole dish or a cast-iron Dutch oven. With these dishes, you get to ensure all the heat is distributed to the dish evenly.

Before placing the meat in a dish, brown it over a stovetop. Now add the browned meat into the Dutch oven. The vegetables, liquid, seasonings, herbs, and spices should go as well. Let it cook slowly on low heat. Take it out when the meat is beautifully tender and serve. 

3 Slow-Cooked Meals You Can Make Without a Slow Cooker

Luckily, there are numerous slow-cooked recipes you can cook even when you don’t have a slow-cooker. Transitioning from a slow-cooker to a stovetop or an oven is quite simple as long as you remember a few simple modifications. 

As long as you remember to take note of these slight changes to the temperature, cooking time, and amount of liquid, it should be easy to cook up most slow-cooker recipes. I’ve picked 3 of my favorite slow cooker recipes that can easily be transitioned to a stovetop or an oven with ease: 

1. Braised Lamb Stew

Even without a slow-cooker, this dish turns out just as amazing as it sounds. You can add some extra herbs of your choice, such as thyme or rosemary, and vegetables such as beans or chickpeas to make it even more delicious.

To cook it in the oven, you can brown the meat in a Dutch oven first. Then cook it for 2.5 to 3 hours at 200 degrees until the lamb is soft and tender. 

2. Cuban Braised Beef

The delicious, tantalizing smell of Cuban braised beef is always a winner. The dish is slightly zesty yet super comforting to eat. 

If you want to cook it in the oven, you can use a Dutch oven. Then cook for about 4 to 5 hours at 250 degrees. Serve the delicious dish with some cilantro or avocado.

3. Chicken Pot Pie Soup 

There’s no better comfort soup better than a beautiful bowl of thick and creamy chicken pot pie. The thick, creamy soup tastes best when it is slow-cooked to perfection and it is super easy to make it.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, it’s easy to cook it in the oven. Simply take your Dutch oven, cook the dish at 200 degrees for about 7 to 8 hours. 

Slow Cooker vs. Dutch Oven Vs Stock Pot- Which One Is Better?

Dutch oven
Dutch oven

To a cooking fanatic, both a Dutch oven and slow cooker may be the must-haves for their kitchen. But if you don’t like having that much clutter stored in the kitchen, having both may be a bit too much. It’s only right to own the better one of the two. But both have their perks, and the better one depends on your wants, needs, and budget. 

A slow cooker is much cheaper than a Dutch oven. You can easily buy one for $40 maximum. But for a Dutch oven, you may need to pay anywhere from $60 to even $600. So if you want to save some money, a slow cooker may be better. Stockpots are the cheapest among these but have an increased chance of burning your food. 

Some of the features of the slow cooker make it a better choice overall. It is a super convenient gadget to have and it will easily keep your food warm. 

But the fact is that a Dutch oven can make your recipes taste much better. There’s no risk of overcooking or undercooking your vegetables as you do with a slow cooker. You also have the choice of adding your vegetables later. So if you value the taste more than convenience and your wallet, a Dutch oven is the better choice for you. 

Stovetop cooking with a stockpot is the cheapest of the three options. But, as you are applying direct heat underneath, there is a greater chance of uneven heat application. This may lead to improper cooking in too little heat and burning on too much heat. So, proper heat control is essential for this method. This might be a bit too complex for some. 


Some of us don’t like buying every new gadget that comes out in the market. So if you want to try some slow-cooked recipes but don’t own a slow cooker, you may be wondering, “What can I use if I don’t have a slow cooker?” 

In this article, I have introduced all the different methods that may prove helpful. Now, you should be able to enjoy all the delicious slow-cooked recipes with ease without even using a slow cooker. Thank you for reading till now. 

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