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

  1. Oh wow! I have never attempted baking my own bread but had been wanting to try. This is incredible! My daughter literally just told me she wants to go in the kitchen and eat all the bread :) The loaf size is perfect for just the two of us. I can’t wait to pack her a sandwich tomorrow with my own bread! Thank you for sharing this. Looking forward to trying other varieties too :)

  2. I tried this with my neighbor’s Rival Crockpot. I has settings for High (4hr, 6hr), and Low (8hr, 10hr). Both my 1 hour and 2 hour ‘baking’ attempts were complete failures resulting in overly pale, extremely gummy bread – undercooked. I plan to try once more for a full four hours, but have few expectations.

    In this light, is there a list of which models people have said definitely work?

      • I have baked some wonderful bread in my Crock Pot. It has been several years, though. I will start again when I unpack my pot. The family loved this bread. I’d really like to try the Challah recipe baked this way. I have a special add-in pan that fits inside the pot. Sometimes I see these pans at thrift stores or flea markets, but not recently. There was a pan for the Rival pots in two sizes.

      • Hi Grace,

        Please let me know how it goes baking the bread in your add-in pan. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for one.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • I just tried a loaf in my crock pot (Betty Crocker regular small size super 70s style oldie hand-me-down). It seemed to work great and it baked in about an hour and a half. The top even got crispy and browned. But when I tried to take it out of the pot, the bottom was underdone and sticky! Any suggestions? I didn’t use parchment paper because I don’t have any, but I can’t imagine that having a huge impact. There was a little pool of water on the bottom of the pot when I opened it.
        Should I broil the loaf upside down?
        At any rate, the loaf still tasted great, but the bottom just isn’t as firm as I’d like.
        I’d appreciate any suggestions!

      • Hmm. Let’s try resting the loaf before putting it into the pot. 40 to 90 minutes might make a big difference. If you try that– please let us know if it solves the problem.

        Another thing might be that the 70s crock pot doesn’t get as hot as the the newer ones. Assuming it has a temperature control and you’ve already tried it on the highest, one other thing to try is to make flatter or smaller loaves (or both). Those are easier to bake through.

  3. In the second paragraph you say the rise time is included in the baking time, then in the update you say you made it and let it rise for 2 hours. So you have to let this rise before you can put it in the crockpot? Not just make it and put it directly in there?

    • No, we’re referring to the initial rise after mixing, not the resting time after shaping, which isn’t needed in crockpot baking. Just meant that you can use freshly-risen dough that hasn’t yet been refrigerated.

      • I have a little 2 qt cooker that I tried 1 lb of dough in. I also used 1 cup of whole wheat flour in your recipe. After the initial raise I formed a 1 lb ball and placed it in the cooker. I had buttered the sides and put the parchment in. It raised up quite a bit in the cooker (actually pushed the lid off!!) but I just poked it down a bit. This made the top flatter. I cooked for 2 hours, then 15 mins in oven on bottom rack with broiler on (electric). Very nice results. I wanted a taller loaf and that is what I got. I will use only 1/2 – 3/4 lb of dough next time. It seems that the little cooker doesn’t have the room to build up ambient heat around the loaf so that is why I needed longer time. I am going to try more whole wheat and whole grains in the next batch. Enjoyable blog. Thanks.

      • I’m still a little confused about the comment on rising in the crockpot recipe. Do I continue to let it rise after mixing? If so, then how long do I let it rest? I don’t think it’s clear. Can you just give a 1,2,3 version?

  4. I tried using my Crock-Pot, which only has 2 temperatures.

    I pre-heated in high fo5 5 minutes, added the dough and waited for 60 minutes, then I added 3 minutes in a broiler and got perfect bread.

    Thanks!

  5. can I half the size of the dough for my recipe you have for ‘healthy bread in 5 minutes a day’? Or is that playing with fire? I would rather make too much than try 1/2 the ingredients and ruin it my first try, but have the ingredients but not a container large enough for the rising process.

  6. I started with the crockpot last summer and haven’t stopped since. I bake 1 – 2 loaves a week for our family. 2.25 hours on high in my Rival. About 8 minutes under broiler. So delicious! Thank you!

  7. My first loaf turned out great, even though I had to make a few substitutions. I had to use foil instead of parchment, and two large Pyrex bowls in lieu of the single container. Next time, I will be sure to make it exactly as per the directions. Even with the subs, the bread is awesome. Thanks!

    • Hi Nancy,

      How was the bottom crust with the foil? I wonder if that isn’t a better heat conductor? I’ll be interested to hear if you like the foil or the parchment better.

      Thanks! Zoë

  8. Made some bread and it was good! I think it needed a little more than an hour because it is just a little bit doughy. It is wonderful when I toast it! Also, my slow cooker is a West Bend, one that sits on a base instead of being surrounded by heat. I used parchment paper that was foil on one side and parchment on the other, and this worked well. I’m anxious to make some more. Thanks for teaching us how!

    • Hi Virginia,

      Thanks for letting us know. Each machine seems to bake differently, so you may just need a little more time. Also, be sure to cut into the loaf after it cools, or it may seem gummy on the inside.

      Cheers, Zoë

  9. Imade mine with foil and the crust was fine…not over browned or too crispy. Has anyone tried this method with a larger loaf? I’m sure the time would have to be extended.

    • Should I even consider dropping the liner from my rice cooker into my slow cooker and trying the bread in there? I think it might fit.

      • Hi Louise,

        Are you trying to create a loaf pan effect by using the rice cooker liner?

        Thanks, Zoë

  10. I have made bread using the method with the above ingredients and letting it rise for about 1-1.5 hrs. Then removing it, I cut it in half form 2 balls and place on a greased cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with some cornmeal (just lightly). After about 25 min.allowing it to further rise, I then take a sharp knife and cut 3 slits on top and sprinkle with some flour . Placing it in the preheated oven, it is important to add a cup of ice water in a pan under neath for a nice golden crust. I’m telling you that I had my doubts about this recipe after years of kneeding..kneeding..kneeding the dough for bread. This bread is Wonderful! and to be able to store the dough in the refrig when needed is a big plus! Its a WINNER! I am looking forward to making a loaf using my crock-pot; hope it comes out as well as the above!

  11. Hello,

    Made this for the first time yesterday. Didn’t have any parchment paper and didn’t think to line with foil so I sprayed the inside of the crock pot with non stick spray and put the dough right in. The bread itself was delicious but it didn’t keep it’s shape it spread out so when finished baking was only about 1 and a half inches high. How can I prevent this with the next loaf?

    Thanks,
    Aimee

    • Hi Bobbi,

      I have never tried it, and have been meaning to. The rising agents in the flour will make the dough rise initially, but they have a very short life, so they will collapse and leave the yeast to do its work. I think it can work, but I am not sure how the flavor will be??? If you try it, I’d start with a small batch, just to make sure you like it.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Rebekkah,

      You are welcome to buy the books, but there is also a link to the 5 minute bread recipe in the post. We hope you enjoy it and are excited to try other recipes.

      Cheers, Zoë

  12. So, I made the 5 minute bread recipe yesterday and after the 2 hour rise, I through a ball of dough in the crock and after 1 and 1/2 hours it was done and delicious. Worked great. Then today I grabbed another ball of dough out of the fridge, let it sit 30 minutes to warm up to room temp, then turned on the crock to high. 2 hours later, it was just barely done, hadn’t risen as well as the fresh dough and was much more dense. What did I do wrong? Was it not warmed up enough? Should I have not let it rest right out of the fridge? It’s just so strange that after 2 hours on high it wasn’t even golden on the bottom as it had been the day before after only just over an hour. Any tips for using refridgerated dough in the crock?

    • Hi Tina,

      I tried baking it in the crock pot both with dough that rested first and dough that I just threw in cold, I found almost no difference. I can say that I have baked in my crock pot several times, with the same dough and same amount and got different results. I don’t have a very sophisticated crock pot, so I wonder if the heating element is a little flaky? One thing that may help is handling the dough as little as possible, which may improve the dense interior.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I wanted to say that I tried it again with the last of my refrigerated dough from that batch. This time I let it rest a little over an hour before starting the crock pot. It was a little bit smaller than the first two loaves and it still took over two hours to cook and it still was dense despite handling it very little. I make homemade bread often (at least weekly) so I am familiar with handling dough. I’m guessing it must just be my crock pot (even though it is almost brand new) and says in the directions that it can be “baked” in. It is just interesting that the first dough, unrefrigerated, came out so well in just over and hour, but the refrigerated dough was dense and never really seemed to cook fully despite over two hours of “baking.” I think I’ll just stick to the oven methods from now on.

  13. (Mea Culpa in advance; this is long.) I have seen your ABin5 recipe talked about everywhere, and finally worked up the nerve to try it a couple of days ago. My mom and I followed the recipe exactly and while it was rising, I gleefully pulled out a pan to fill with water for steaming, then opened the oven to discover that I’ve somehow never noticed that I do NOT have a bottom oven rack. It’s just not there. We’ve been in our home for 5 years, and I never knew this until that instant. We mitigated by filling several smaller loaf pans (and a tin camping cup) with water and setting them around the bottom element. My resulting boule was somewhat small, with a very crusty crust, and somewhat chewy on the inside. (I love a good crisp crust and chewy bread, so I was fine with this.) I feel like the results would have been somewhat larger and less crusty with a better steam source. Long story short, I’ve been unable to find an oven rack in a nearby store, and was considering driving a good ways to obtain one, and then I read that you had a crockpot recipe. OH MY GOSH! REALLY?! After sending the hubs to the store to snag some parchment paper, my lovely ball of dough is cooking in my crockpot right now, and I am SO excited! Thank you so very much! (We also bought the ABin5 book. Love it!)

  14. If you layer a few paper towels under the lid and vent the lid with a match stick,the crust will form in the crock pot. This eliminates gooey bread.

    • Hi Melissa,

      This is such an interesting idea. I would just fear it allows too much heat to escape, but worth a try!

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. I. Love. This. Recipe. Baked the first loaf in the slow cooker. Fantastic. Yesterday I had a roast in the slow cooker, bake a second loaf from the refrigerator dough in the oven. Equally fantastic. I love being able to have the dough ready for when I come home from work!

  16. What a brilliant idea; must check out my slow-cooker but think it needs liquid to work and….. I’ve lost the instructions!

    • Hi Terri,

      I have never tried it with frozen dough. You can certainly freeze our dough, but I would fear the bottom would get too tough before the center was baked through.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Jodie: you can freeze our doughs, well-wrapped, in one-pound portions and then defrost in the fridge overnight, then use as above. Don’t put it into the crock pot frozen. We don’t recommend commercial frozen doughs from the supermarket; not happy with the flavor.

  17. I am in the UK. I have the UK version of the book and have made my first loaves yesterday and today with very pleasing results.
    I bought a slow cooker this afternoon and am at present baking a loaf in there. It is smelling lovely. It has had 2 hours so far, I just briefly lifted the lid touch it – it is not done yet.
    All the slow cookers I researched did not recommend heating with no liquid in them. I hope it will not cause damage to the slow cooker. Fingers crossed!

    • Tilly– we’ve seen the same in some makers instructions so we always tell readers that you’re at your own risk if you try this, but we haven’t had trouble yet. Don’t leave the cooker unattended when you do this.

  18. I live in Australia and I don’t know what a “broiler” is. It is not a term we use. When you say you finish it off by putting it in a broiler, would putting it under the griller in the top of the over work?

  19. Question: do I have to use wax paper? Both times I’ve baked this bread in the slow cooker, the wax paper is stuck to the bread and I can’t get it off without pieces of it still sticking to the bread. Any ideas? The bread tastes great but it’s such a pity to have to cut off the crust and waste that yummy bread!

  20. I need to make gluten free bread, but soy is worse for me than gluten. I noticed several of the g-f recipes call for soy flour. Is there anything that can be used as a straightforward substitution for soy flour in these recipes?

    • Hi Janet,

      We added soy to the doughs to add a bit of protein to the bread. You can substitute another bean flour (garbanzo) if you’d like to maintain some protein.

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. Hmm I have a very small crock pot no temp setting using a glasslike bowl you sit in it [ cant think what it is called ] but wondering if I could do this as no temp setting ? I mainly use it in winter with out lid to have steam in the house [ keep air from being so dry ] .

    • Hi Star,

      You may want to check with the manufacturer to make sure you can bake without the liquid, especially in glass.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. I tried using a bread machine mix. Set on dough. When the dough was done I placed in crockpot and followed your direction. We don’t care for the way the bread machine bakes so I had been looking for an alternative. The oven is just not doable in summer. Thanks so much I would never have thought of this. It made awesome honey wheat bread in about 2.5 hours in the crockpot. Also made some raisin bread that turned out well. Again thanks this is going to really help.

    • Hi Kathy,

      You are so welcome! I hope you will try some of our simple bread recipes sometime. They are quick, easy, inexpensive and healthy.

      Cheers, Zoë

    • Just click on the e-mail or print buttons, follow the instructions, and you’re set. Just tested them and they’re working well. Can’t e-mail you anything manually.

  23. A friend of mine gave me some sourdough starter. Can I make sourdough bread in crock pot. This is my very first try making bread.

    • Sure, see our FAQ on using sourdough starter. If you’ve never made bread before, this can be a little more complex than our basic method…

  24. We always used a spray bottle of water…spray the tops of your loaf in the oven…after ten or fifteen min.spray again.. finish baking…

  25. I have a West Bend 5-6 qt crockery slow cooker. Can I use that to make homemade bread and can I use my own receipe for making dough with yeast

    • Hi Barbara,

      It is best to consult the manufacturer if you have concerns about baking bread in your slow cooker. I have only ever used our doughs in this method, so I can’t speak to whether or not your recipe will work? I’ve tried several of our 5 minute doughs and they all seem to work, so give it a shot and hopefully you will have wonderful bread at the end.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. I used your basic recipe in a 1.5 quart crock pot. The shape was kind of an oversized cupcake but the process worked a charm. Contemplating upgrading to a larger crockpot to get a better shaped loaf. Thanks for sharing this!

  27. Hello,

    I came across your site in a search for bread baked in a slow cooker. (It’s summer and too hot and muggy in the Midwest for having the oven on.) I thank you for the recipe and tutorial, but what strikes me most is your absolutely outstanding writing for web and exemplary use of imagery. I think this is some of the best blog and tutorial writing I’ve ever seen. You guys are great!

  28. Can pan spray or aluminum foil be used instead of wax paper? Wax paper isn’t a staple for my household, so trying to find an alternative..

  29. Oh my Lord! Where have you been all my life? Bread in 5 minutes a day, and in a CROCKPOT!!!! I am afraid there is no way to keep my husband from finding out about our love affair….. he will certainly be onto us as soon as there is fresh baked bread served with dinner every night. The endless possibilities are making my head reel and I was awakened at 5:30 this morning thinking about this site, which I found at 11 PM last night. My son helped me whip up our first batch at 6 am before I sent him off to school. At 7 he loves cooking as much as I do! We will let you know how it turns out!

  30. We do a beer bread. 3 c. self rising flour, 1/3 c. sugar, 1 can of beer. Dump and bake at 350. I wonder if this would work in the crockpot. Since my oven went out, I might just have to try this. :)

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