Advice for converting recipes from one appliance to another

 Crockpot, Dutch oven, pressure cooker

Slow cooker, Dutch oven, electric pressure cooker: you probably have at least one, if not all three, of these in your kitchen. Each has its own appeal. The slow cooker is a set-and-forget tool that doesn't require attention, Dutch ovens allow you to get a good sear on your meat and vegetables and can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, and the pressure cooker is perfect for making short work of making braises and cooking legumes and grains.

Perhaps you have a recipe for one of the above types of cookware that you'd like to use in another. Making the switch may seem straightforward, but it is not as simple as transferring the ingredients to a different vessel,  according to Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of dozens of cookbooks including The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book and The Great American Slow Cooker Book. You must make adjustments to ensure that the dish turns out properly in each type of cookware.

Several variables must be taken into consideration when converting recipes, including the timing, amount of liquids, and level of spices. If switching a braise from a Dutch oven to a slow cooker, for example, you'll probably want to up the amount of dried herbs and spices dramatically, sometimes up to three times as much as you would normally use, or the flavors will be dull and flat. When changing a recipe from the Dutch oven to a pressure cooker, however, you will need to increase the level of dried herbs but you wouldn't need to adjust the amount of dried spices.  

You might have to tinker with recipes to get them right, say Scarbrough and Weinstein. But once you get the hang of what each type of equipment requires you should be able to successfully adapt your recipes to suit the cookware you wish to use.

Photos, left to right: Slow cooker chicken cacciatore from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka and Heather K. Jones, Pressure cooker chicken stock from MarthaStewart.com and Dutch oven cornbread with fig jam from Bon Appétit Magazine by Adam Perry Lang

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