Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

crock pot bread

When I moved to the midwest I was introduced to Crock Pot cooking. I had never even seen a slow cooker before and had no idea the range of foods that could be created in a plug-in cooking pot. Since then I have had everything from No-Peek-Chicken, Swedish Meatballs and Peach cobbler, done in one of these magic devices. When my husband was an art director Aveda they had “crock pot parties,” which meant everyone plugged in their slow cookers at their desks and made a dish to share.  Brilliant! Maybe kids should bring crock pots to school and have healthy food cooking at their desks.

But, bread in a crock pot? Over the years we have gotten requests from readers to develop a method of baking our dough in a crock pot. I had my doubts, lots of them. I didn’t think the slow cooker could get hot enough, I thought it would take too long, I didn’t think it would bake through or have a nice crust and I resisted trying it. I was so convinced it would be a fail. Oh, how wrong I was. The crock pot does indeed get hot enough, and it takes less time than using  your oven, because the rising time is included in the baking. The only thing I got right was the crust, it is very soft and quite pale when it comes out of the slow cooker, but just a few minutes under a broiler and I got a gorgeous loaf. I am a convert and it is just perfect for summer baking when you don’t want to heat up your oven. You could even amaze your friends at work by baking a loaf under your desk!  *

1 pound dough (Here is our No-Knead 5-Minute Bread Recipe. I used the Peasant Bread from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but the recipes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day would also work.)

Form the dough into a ball and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Lower the dough into the Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker), mine is a 4-quart, but I think it will work in any size.

Update: I just mixed up a fresh batch of ABin5 Peasant Bread Dough, let it rise for the two hours in the bucket, then formed a 1-pound loaf and stuck it in the crock pot.  So, you can use fresh or refrigerated dough.

Turn the temperature to high and put on the cover. (Not all crock pots behave the same, so you should keep an eye on the loaf after about 45 minutes to make sure it is not over browning on the bottom or not browning at all. You may need to adjust the time according to your machine.)

Bake for 1 hour (this will depend on your crock pot, you may need to increase or decrease the time. If you are using a 100% whole grain dough, you may want to go for a bit longer as well). You will have a fully baked loaf of bread, but the crust is very soft, almost like a steamed bun. To check for doneness I poked the top of the loaf and it felt firm. Before it is fully baked it felt soft and almost mushy when I gently pressed the top.

The bottom crust should be nice and crisp, but the top of the loaf will be quite soft. Some folks desire a softer crust, so you will love this loaf. If you want a darker or crisper crust…

crock pot bread

Stick the bread under the broiler for 5 minutes or until it is the color you like, with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven.

Let the loaf cool completely before slicing. Cutting into a hot loaf is tempting, but it may seem gummy and under-baked.

It is fantastic with butter or as a sandwich. I love this method!

Related Post:

Gluten-Free Crock-Pot Bread - another surprise from my slow cooker

Herb Crock-Pot Dinner Rolls - Making room in your oven at the holidays

Sweet Brioche in a Crock-Pot – in the mood for something sweet

*Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended.

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717 thoughts on “Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

  1. Oh I love this! I will be trying next weekend with the family :) Have you tried a good yummy apple bread? That would be amazing!! Thank you!

  2. I have the bread baking now, so excited! It smells delicious and so easy, I think this will happen a lot in my house now. Just got the book, gonna look through ask the recipes, they sound great. I was so hesitant to make bread cause it seemed like a lot of work, but this is wonderful, thank you!

    • Mel: Haven’t tried that. Just leave frozen bread on the counter to defrost. I wouldn’t think frozen DOUGH is going to work in the crockpot though.

  3. I took your advice and called Rival about my red slow cooker from Target. They said they recommend some liquid in the pot, not just parchment and bread. I’m going with their recommendation since I don’t need any more drama in my life. Does anyone know of or have a brand they’ve used, that doesn’t need water that would work safely? Thanks in advance. I’m dying to try this!

    • Christine: We’ve been using a Chefmate brand– an older model that doesn’t have its instruction manual anymore. My guess is that most manufacturers are going to play it safe, and recommend you don’t do it. And we certainly don’t want you using one this way unattended. Is it going to shorten the life of the crockpot? That’s the question, and it’s going to have to be an open question as long as the manufacturers stick to the Rival recommendation.

    • You can still use your slow cooker. Just put the dough in a glass or metal bowl or pan first, add about 1 cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker and add crumpled aluminum foil or a trivet (to hold the dough pan up off of the bottom of the slow cooker). Cover the dough pan loosely with foil or something to keep any moisture from dripping back down onto your bread.

    • Hi I made bread in my crockpot with an inch of water in the bottom, put a canning jar lid there and set my 18cm pyrex bowl on top put my bread dough in there with lid and towel on top cook on high for 3 hours and voila bread is done!

      • Hi Georgina,

        I have done the same thing, and it turned out wonderfully! No need to add any more liquid to our dough either.

        Thanks, Zoë

  4. I’m so impressed with your response to questions and comments that I’m actually going to post one myself! I tried this method, and I really loved it. I only got three loaves out of my batch. Does that sound about right, or does it sound like I did something wrong like using bad yeast or not letting it rise enough before putting it in the fridge?

    • Heidi: Our regular batch makes 3.6 pounds of dough, about four 0.9 pound loaves. That’s actually pretty small. If you eyeballed the loaf-size, I bet you made closer to two pounds.

      Sounds like you should double the batches!

  5. I weighed each loaf of dough, so each was right at 1 pound. Not too far off the estimate you gave, so I better get doubling on that batch! Great bread!

  6. I tried this with my shiny new crockpot last night and it worked PERFECTLY! I did heat up the crock pot before putting in the bread dough, but otherwise your recipe is flawless and seamless. This is Artisan Bread In Less Than Five Minutes. Congratulations.

  7. It’s funny that you use the name “Crockpot” (which is actually a brand name), but the slow cooker pictured is a “Chefmate”. Also, I just buy ready-made pizza dough at the grocery store. I rub oil over the whole ball of dough before placing in the crockpot, and skip the parchment paper.

    • Crock-pot has become the cover word used for any slow cooker regardless of the brand. Kind of like how people say Ziplock for all zipper storage bags, and say Velcro for all hook and eye. I think it’s funny too :)

  8. Small living quarters.. no space for the larger amounts… Isa there a way to make this using just 2 cups of flour,and other ingredient to make a ONE pound loaf of bread.. My crockpot is small.. I do not have the refrigerator room to make the ORIGINAL 5 minute batch..

    • Hi Jan,

      You can cut any of our recipes down by 1/2, or even a 1/4 of their original size to get just one loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I have been baking your challah recipe in my “vintage” pink 3-qt Rival with wonderful results! Because of the tall, narrow shape of the crockpot insert, I’ve been putting the dough (16 oz) into a buttered borosilicate glass container, made originally to accommodate 1-lb coffee can quick bread recipes. It was made with borosilicate handles at the top, which greatly facilitates removing it from the crockpot, but a large French press glass replacement part would work as well with perhaps more care given to removing it, hot, from the crockpot. A metal 1-lb coffee can would work, also. (Cafe du Monde still comes in metal cans.) You would just want to be aware of what materials are in the seam. I place a small round metal cooling rack/trivet in the bottom of the crockpot, put in the container of dough, spread a smooth weave dish towel over the top of the crockpot to prevent condensation drips on the bread, and keep it taut and away from the dough with the crockpot lid. (Flip the ends up over the lid to prevent the fabric touching the outside of the crockpot.) Because of the buttered sides, the bread has a lovely darker crust, except on the top – I just haven’t let that bother me – and have buttered the top, hot, to keep it soft. Have also baked the challah in a larger wider, shorter 5-qt crockpot using a round 4-cup Pyrex baking/storage container with the same success. Metal cooling rack-type trivet that came with the crockpot in the bottom. The texture is fine and even, and the flavor is superb. Have your Pumpkin Pie Brioche in the crockpot now! Thank you, thank you! This is just.so.much.fun!

    • Hi L,

      Thank you for this info about baking in the crock pot, so interesting! So glad you are enjoying the challah!

      Cheers, Zoë

  10. Zoë and Jeff,
    Thank you for this great solution! I’m about to head over to my kitchen to begin. I just have one question – can I use waxed paper instead of parchment paper?

    Thank you and Happy Sunday!
    Paige

      • I tried the ready made pizza dough option that some one had posted. my first loaf was a little doughy but still tasted good. I found that it takes longer to cook in my slow cooker (2hrs) but is still MUCH easier for me than baking in the oven. Have to say that my family is really enjoying having fresh bread all the time! thanks so much!!

  11. I took one load of frozen bread and thawed it in a bread pan sprayed with Pam. Once the bread thawed, I put it in my crock pot on parchment paper with the lid on for one hour on high. The bottom did not brown so I cooked it 15 minutes longer. The bottom was still not brown so I cooked it for another 15 minutes! The bread at that point seemed to deflate and wrinkle. I could not continue with the broiler to brown the top of the bread because it looked awful! Could you please tell me what I did wrong? I tried it twice with two different crock pots and I got the same results. Thank you.

    • Hi Sandy,

      Although the bottom crust was not brown, did the loaf feel completely set, just pale? Or did the loaf see, like it was still raw dough? All crockpots seem to heat differently and yours may not have as intense heat on the bottom, but could still be baking the dough evenly. You can always brown the crust in the oven when you put it under the broiler, which will also effect the bottom crust.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Leslie,

      Looks like you responded to Jim’s comment? Does that sound right? Your comment is there, imbedded under his original one.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. I’ve been making the original AB5 recipe you posted in my slow cooker for months now. The kids consider it a special treat — and I’m not about to tell them how easy it is. My question is whether the other recipes in your book can be converted to slow cooker, or if your book has more slow cooker bread recipes. My budget is limited, but I wouldn’t mind investing in a cookbook that helps me feed my family great food without requiring hours in the kitchen!

    Thanks!

    Peggy

    • Hi Peggy,

      You can adapt most all of our doughs to the crock-pot. It will take some experimenting, just because it seems each crock-pot bakes so differently.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. Will the Simple Crusty Bread bread work? If so do I just follow the same directions above that you use for the peasant bread?

  14. I love my slow cooker and was so excited to try this, but I have to be honest that I was bummed to discover that there wasn’t an actual recipe included – only a link to recipe books for purchase. Will this technique theoretically work with any bread recipe?

  15. I have been avoiding doing the ABin5 for about 6 months, since it is too hot to bake during the long summers in AZ…doing it in the crock pot is a wonderful idea!

  16. Made this tonight-it is wonderful-SUPER easy and really tasty. I had to cook mine for about two hours but it was the easiest bread I have ever made and it will become a regular menu item for us-Thanks!!

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for the note and for letting us know how long it took your loaf to bake. Now I have a better range of time to tell people!

      Cheers, Zoë

  17. I wonder if one could insert a corded digital probe thermometer into the loaf while it’s baking, so one could be alerted as to when the inside of the bread was fully baked. Or would that deflate the loaf?

    Hmmm…have to experiment.

    • Rebecca: So long as those can be left in the oven, not sure and haven’t tried it. Make sure that’s OK with manufacturer. Shouldn’t deflate the loaf.

  18. I LOVE everything you all have done. I make your whole wheat dough all the time and use it mostly for pizza dough. Delish! I have a question. Have you ever tried slashing the tops of the loaves that you put in the slow cooker? It would give it a nice look but I didn’t notice it in the pictures, thanks so much!

    • Traci: we didn’t slash because the rise is so gentle, it doesn’t crack in an uncontrolled way. But it won’t hurt anything and if you prefer it slashed, go for it.

  19. I’m sorry for the dumb question but I’ve never made bread, let alone in the crock pot. Do you have to let the dough rise first before you put in the crock pot? Or will it rise in the crockpot?

  20. I’ve been making your doughs for the last few years and love this new option. I am head over heels for your sticky buns, do you have any thoughts about cooking those in a slow cooker? I don’t mind experimenting to find out- safely of course :)

    • Jessica: I’m worried that the sugary fillings will ooze and then burn on the bottom surface. If you do experiment, don’t leave it unattended, the sugar might smoke if it burned. Also, do enough buns to cover the surface of the bottom.

  21. When I purchased my Crock Pot there were accessories available. I also bought a bread pan that went in the crock as well as a rack for the bottom. Are these still available? A coffee can also works well according to my grandmother.

  22. mikesmom: My years-ago 5-qt Rival has a round metal trivet (like a small cooling rack)and a round covered baking pan. Perhaps contacting the company would let you know if those are still available. ~ A 10/04/12 post has some of my experiences with a cylindrical pan. Great results! Love this slow cooker method. Many, many thanks to Zoe and Jeff!

  23. Okay, is it just me, or did anyone else have trouble with making this actually… bake? After 2 hours on high, my bread still looked mostly like warm dough. I think it was in for a total of three hours when I put it in the oven for 10 minutes to get brown on top. It was still a little more moist than I’m used to, but it was cooked all the way through. Everyone loved it, but it took over three hours to look baked, not 45 minutes!

  24. Am crazy about this method. I just ripped off some dough from the fridge today, shaped and put in crock pot and brought to work and had fresh kalamata olive bread for workmates in about 2 hours. Thank you!!!! You’ve changed my life. I never baked bread before, seemed too complicated. And now I am a bread baking fool, oven and crock pot! Love your books and website. Passing on the recipes and methods too. So fun to see people take to it, it’s such an ah ha moment!

  25. LOVE your bread!!!!! Dying to try it in the crockpot!!! And YES I would love to send a crockpot to school with my children so they can have hot healthy meals!!!! I think we should start a crockpot revolution, lol :)

  26. I’m so excited to try this. Any advice if I plan to use my sourdough starter bread recipe? Do you think it’ll still work?

  27. My bread has been in the crock pot for almost 2 hours and it looks and feels gummy on top. I think I did something wrong. Well, this is only my second time trying to make bread, so might try again. I halved your back to basics recipe and have the other half in the fridge now.

    • Hi Debbie,

      It is very possible that your machine is just not as powerful as mine and will just take a long time to back. We had one reader say that their crockpot took 3 hours! I baked in a friend’s machine at Thanksgiving and it was a good 2 hours to finish. So you may just need to let it go longer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Can I use Rhodes frozen bread dough! I have Arthritis and can’t knead dough. Thank you. Would love to use my crick pot for making bread.

    • Hi Clara,

      That is exactly right. You will make a big batch, let it rise and then for each of the loaves you just put it in, no extra rising time.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. I made your AB in 5 recipe several days ago and the only change I made was to add one cup of freshly ground spelt flour. The dough smells wonderful and I was excited as I took out two “grapefruit sized” hunks and put them on parchment on my pizza peel to rise. When I went to slide the parchment onto the pizza stone I was shocked to find that the dough was “glued” to the parchment. I ended up scraping it off with a knife and opted to bake on silpat. It turned out great. What is the secret to the parchment paper?

    • Hi Sheila,

      You are meant to slide the dough and the parchment right into the oven together. When the protein in the dough sets, the bread will release itself from the parchment. The only time it sticks is if you’ve used wax paper by accident.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Two questions:
    1. My favorite thing about Artisan Bread in 5 Min is the wonderful springy, chewy, crunchy crust. Does finishing the crock pot bread under the broiler really produce as good a crust as a free form loaf on a pizza stone in a steamy oven?
    2. Have you tested brioche in the crock pot? What’s the verdict? Also, is such an eggy dough safe in the crock pot?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      No, the crust will not be as crispy baking in the crock pot. For that you really need a hot oven, a stone and steam. But, if you bake the bread in the crock pot and crisp it under the broiler it is a great way to have bread with even less work and minimal oven time.

      I have not tried the brioche yet, but I’ve got some rising now, so it is a great idea!

      Cheers, Zoë

      • I make the pumpkin brioche (both with and w/o spices), always with great success and no ill effects. Looking fwd to hearing what you think about the regular brioche with its extra eggs!

  31. Tried this. Failed. Was the crock pot too hot and killed the yeast? It didn’t rise hardly at all, and I’ve been baking bread for over fifty years. Too bad, waste of dough.

      • Hi Jeni,

        All of the techniques on this website are based on the recipes from our bread books, so I am not sure how the Rhodes dough will behave in the crockpot? If you are looking for an easy way to have home made bread, I hope you will give our recipes a try!

        Cheers and happy new year! Zoë

  32. i’m a college kid who has been looking for a simple way to bake my own bread, and this is it! thank you so much, my bread is amazing!!!

  33. I used the 5 minute bread recipe linked to this site. The dough turned out wonderfully. It rose like it was suppose to and everything. When it was time to bake it, I put it on parchment paper in the crock pot and let it cook on high for an hour. It did not stay in a ball shape. The dough kind of spread out. It was about 2.5″ thick at it’s tallest point and had an ugly grayish color. The inside didn’t appear to be done either. I put it in the oven to brown it and still nothing. Any idea what went wrong??

    • Nicole. Sounds like your dough might be too wet and/or your crockpot’s not developing enough heat. Maybe try it in the oven start to finish?

      • Hi Nicole,
        mine did the same, the second time I used from my cakeform (a german one with a bottom to take off from the rim)and put it “around” the dough, it spread while baking into this rim and shaped nicely :)this way it was much higher (just as expected)
        :)
        Dany

  34. Will this method work if I use non-stick foil instead of parchment paper?
    I have all other ingredient and hate to have to shop before trying this.

  35. For some reason, it is still not clear to me regarding the addition of the water. If the parchment paper with the dough on it sits on the bottom of the SC, where does the water go? For lack of knowing I didn’t add water the first time I made the bread. Sounds like I could have ruined my slow cooker. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Wily: You don’t add water to the slow cooker; our point was that you’re at your own risk baking bread in an SC, since some manufacturers recommend that you always have liquid in a slow cooker when it’s on.

      • Sorry I got cut off when I went to add stuff. I asked Hamilton Beach customer service about putting water in and they even looked up this website. But, they couldn’t tell me whether or not to do it.

      • Suzan: when you look in their printed directions that came with the product, does it say anything about this? If not, all you can say is that this manufacturer hasn’t identified it as a problem (that doesn’t prove it isn’t). Again, what we’re stuck with is saying that it’s at the user’s risk.

      • Nothing in the directions. However, there was one recipe in their book that had veggies and chicken but no liquid so I’m thinking it might be okay. I am still working up my nerve to try it. I was all set to do so with the water and a bread pan and discovered that even my smallest pan is too large for the slow cooker. My aim was to get sandwich bread that didn’t have a heavy crust – sig. other likes it less firm. Back to the drawing board *G*.

    • If you add water, you put about an inch in the bottom of the pot, and use a trivet or foil or something to raise the container with the dough up off the bottom. (this is explained in an earlier post).

      • Jean: We elevate those in the Dutch oven on the grill to prevent bottom-crust burning, not to keep it out of a reservoir of water, so this is different. Your idea will work, but the bread will steam rather than bake– no idea of the effect of that. Have you tried it?

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