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How Long It Takes For Potatoes To Soften In The Slow Cooker

open baked potato
open baked potato - John Shepherd/Getty Images

If you've ever baked a potato, you know how important it is to see the process through to completion, as pulling out your potatoes early can lead to hard, starchy, and wholly unappetizing spuds (not to mention they'll be practically impossible to wrangle out of the skins). Although it takes longer to bake potatoes in a slow cooker than the oven, the slow cooker won't overpower your kitchen with heat the way the oven would. Plus, you can set it and forget it, leaving your hands free to do other things. It depends how well-done you prefer your spuds, but in general, they'll be ready to eat after 4 to 6 hours in a slow cooker. If you use the low setting, which is helpful if you won't be ready to eat anytime soon, they typically take between 6 to 8 hours.

Even at high temps like 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take almost an hour and a half to bake potatoes in the oven. But maybe it's the middle of summer, and you don't want to leave it on for hours at a time. Or, you need that space to make an entrée or additional side dishes. That's when the slow cooker really shines.

Read more: 17 Potato Roasting Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

How To Bake Potatoes In The Slow Cooker

slow cooker on counter
slow cooker on counter - Powerofforever/Getty Images

To get soft, tender baked potatoes out of your slow cooker, here's what to do: First wash and dry your spuds, then prick them all over with a fork or make slits with a knife. Just like with baking potatoes in the oven, this step is crucial to make sure they can release steam in the slow cooker. Next, coat them in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

All you need to do to cook your spuds is let them sit in the slow cooker for the aforementioned times. You should not need to add water or cover your potatoes in foil; the closed lid of your appliance is enough to properly steam root vegetables. However, you will want to make sure the potatoes sit in an even layer in the cooker instead of piling them up in the basket. To verify your potatoes are completely done, stick a fork in them — if it slides easily through, you should be good to go. Once they're nice and tender, you can pop them under the broiler for a few minutes to make crispy skins; just make sure not to overcook your spuds, or they'll get soggy. Then cut them open, pile on your favorite toppings, and dig in.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.