Can You Cook Pasta In A Slow Cooker?

Recently I've really been getting into trying different dishes using my slow cooker.  I recently wrote this post about using a slow cooker to make different potatoes. Now I've moved onto pasta dishes.  I really wanted to know can you cook pasta in a slow cooker, so I decided to give it a try.

So what is the answer to can you cook pasta in a slow cooker?   Yes, you can cook pasta in a slow cooker.  I would not recommend cooking pasta on it's own in the slow cooker though. Overcooking pasta can cause it to become mushy, so you want to add it towards the end of the slow cooker cycle, approximately 35 to 40 minutes before you are finished your dish.

So once I realized I could in fact use my new slow cooker to cook pasta, I did some more reading about exactly how I could do this, and what dishes to make.  Read on below to see how you can do this too.

Can You Cook Pasta In A Slow Cooker?

So as I stated above, the simplest answer to this question is yes you can cook pasta in the slow cooker.  There are, however, some things you will want to consider.  I have seen some people ask if pasta can be cooked on it's own in the slow cooker.  Whilst I guess you technically could probably make this work, I'm not sure why you would want to.  It will take a relatively short amount of time to do this, and it kind of defeats the purpose of a slow cooker.

The number one thing you want to avoid when making pasta in the slow cooker is over cooking it.  Once pasta has been cooked for too long, it becomes very mushy in consistency, and you are absolutely not going to want to eat this.  It is for this reason that you want to add it to dishes that are already cooking.

Can you cook raw pasta in the slow cooker?

Another question I have seen asked a lot is weather or not you can cook pasta raw in the slow cooker, or if you need to boil it first.  The beauty of using your slow cooker to make pasta is that you do not need to pre cook it, and can simply add it straight to the slow cooker.

Adding your pasta to a dish that is already complete, or almost complete is the way to go with this, and should take about 35 to 40 minutes for the pasta to cook perfectly.  The juices already in the dish being will help the pasta to cook. This will be absorbed by the pasta as part of the cooking process.  As well as cooking the pasta evenly, giving it the perfect texture, the other benefit of this is that the flavors are absorbed by the pasta. So if you are making a nice tomato dish, the pasta will absorb the flavors in the sauce, giving the pasta a lovely tomato taste.

When you come to add the pasta, if you feel the amount of liquid left in the slow cooker is not sufficient, then just add a little pre boiled water.  After doing this a few times, you will get the hang of exactly how much excess liquid is needed.

Preparing your slow cooker for cooking pasta

In terms of preparing your slow cooker for making pasta, there is one little trick I have found works really well.  Without the use of this tip I have found that my pasta can become stuck to the slow cooker during cooking.

Before adding any ingredients to the slow cooker, I simply give the inside of the cooker a coating with a non-stick spray.  This ensures that the pasta does not become stuck to the sides or the bottom of the slow cooker, and doesn't affect the taste at all.

Which slow cooker is best for cooking pasta?

So can you use any slow cooker to make pasta?  Obviously I haven't tried them all, but this works fine with the one I'm using.  I use the  Hamilton Beach  Slow Cooker Crock with Touch Pad, which I highly recommend. This slow cooker has a touch screen display, and three heat settings.  I love that when the timer cycle is up the slow cooker switches to automatically keeping my food warm at just the right temperature.  You can see some other popular slow cookers here.

I've tried cooking my pasta for 35-40 minutes on each of the different settings, and I've really had the same results each time in terms of the taste and texture of my pasta.  So even if you don't have the most powerful of slow cookers, this will work well for you.

Cooking times for each type of pasta

Obviously each type of pasta takes a slightly different amount of time to cook when you are boiling it.  I only tried a couple of different types of pasta in the slow cooker.  So far I haven't found any variation in the amount of time it takes to cook.

Below is a table showing roughly how long each type of pasta normally takes to cook when boiling. You can use this as a rough guide in adjusting cooking times in the slow cooker.  I'm not really sure if there will be much variation.  If you find there is, you could always leave a comment below to let me know.

Type of Pasta

Cooking Time ( In Minutes)

Acini de pepe

5 to 6

Capellini

5 to 6

Egg noodles, regular

8 to 10

Egg noodles, extra wide

10 to 12

Elbow macaroni

8 to 10

Farfalle

13 to 15

Fettuccine

11 to 13

Fusilli

11 to 13

Japanese curly noodles

4 to 5

Lasagna noodles

12 to 15

Linguine

9 to 13

Mafalda

8 to 10

Manicotti

10 to 12

Mostaccioli

12 to 14

Penne

9 to 13

Radiatore

9 to 11

Rigatoni

12 to 15

Rosamarina (orzo)

8 to 10

Rotelle

10 to 12

Rotini

10 to 12

Shells, jumbo

12 to 15

Shells, medium and small

9 to 11

Soba noodles

6 to 7

Spaghetti

8 to 10

Vermicelli

5 to 7

Wagon wheel

10 to 12

Ziti

14 to 15

The above data was taken from www.fromkarenskitchen.com.

Related Questions

Can you cook noodles in a slow cooker?  Yes you can cook noodles in a slow cooker. This is really going to be just the same as cooking pasta.  Simply cook your chosen dish in the slow cooker for the required time. About 35 to 40 minutes before the end of the cooking cycle add your noodles. Make sure there are enough juices in your dish to aid the cooking process.

Can you keep pasta warm in a slow cooker?  If you have made pasta separately, and just want to keep it warm you can use the slow cooker for this.  Keeping pasta warm in water will cause it to go soggy.  To keep it warm in the slow cooker, coat the cooker with a non-stick spray and place pasta in.  This will keep it warm, but I wouldn't recommend doing this for too long.

Why is my pasta mushy when cooking the the slow cooker?  There could be a number of reasons for this. If you have pre-boiled your pasta before putting it in don't do this next time.  Also try cooking for a slightly shorter time, or turning the heat down on your slow cooker.

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