Craving a pot roast? Perhaps your family wants a cozy stew? Either way, these meals need time to cook. Crockpots are a great way to simmer tasty dishes without being stuck in the kitchen. While you probably turn your slow cooker on without giving it a second thought, these appliances can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Although rare, your crockpot can start a fire.
Before you toss that brisket into your slow cooker, check out the following tips. We’ve got the crockpot safety information you need.
7 Crockpot Safety Tips
- Don't Overfill Your Crockpot
Crockpots come in all sizes, from a modest 1.5 quarts to a massive 8 quarts. Before you fill it, double-check the manufacturer's instructions. Most recommend filling a crockpot one-half to two-thirds of the way. Overfilling it may cause the contents to boil over, while not enough liquid may burn your dinner.
- Don't Use Near Water
Water and electrical appliances don't mix. When using your slow cooker, keep it away from the kitchen sink or other water sources. And don’t handle the plug with wet hands.
- Set on a Flat Surface
The best place to use a crockpot is on the kitchen counter. However, any heat-safe, flat surface will also suffice. Avoid setting your slow cooker on an uneven surface, and never place it near loose fabrics, including curtains, kitchen towels or napkins.
- Keep Away From Edges
Store your crockpot in the middle of a counter or table and far away from the edge. Try to hide the cord, too. All it takes is a hyper dog or curious toddler to knock the slow cooker – and all its hot contents – onto the floor.
- Avoid Walls
Setting your crockpot too close to a wall is a recipe for disaster. As a rule of thumb, allow a 6-inch clearance around all sides of your slow cooker.
- Pay Attention to the Temperature
Slow cookers do just that – cook slowly. Leave your crockpot on low heat, especially if you plan on cooking overnight. Crockpot safety starts with the right temperature.
- Program Your Crockpot
Invest in a programmable slow cooker, especially if you like to cook while you’re away from home. These models automatically switch to a lower temperature after a designated time. This feature helps to prevent burnt food and burnt homes.
Is It Safe to Leave a Crockpot on All Day?
Slow cookers are popular because you can cook food for hours without standing over a hot stove. But is it safe to leave a crockpot on all day? Yes! Since crockpots cook at a much lower temperature, it's often necessary to run the appliance for 4-8 hours.
What can you do while dinner simmers all day? You can go to work, run errands, do chores or relax. If you follow the manufacturer's instructions and the crockpot isn't a pass-me-down from your great-grandmother, there's no reason to worry. Just make sure you place it on a flat surface and away from walls.
Is It Safe to Leave a Crockpot on Overnight?
Cooking food overnight in a crockpot is a great way to save time, but is it safe to leave a crockpot on overnight while you sleep? Absolutely! If you feel comfortable leaving your crockpot on while you're at work, you should also feel safe using it overnight.
However, if your slow cooker is old, it may be time to toss it. While vintage appliances from the ‘70s look cool, you shouldn't use them for cooking. Before leaving your crockpot on overnight, make sure it meets current safety standards. For example, if it has a fabric cord, it's outdated. Throw out your slow cooker if it has an attached insert. You should also invest in a new model if it no longer heats up properly.
Are Crockpot Liners Safe?
Tired of cleaning out your dirty crockpot? Crockpot liners may be the answer to your cleaning woes, but are they safe? Yes and no. These plastic liners can withstand high temperatures, so the risk of fire is very low. However, not all liners are BPA-free. Why does that matter?
According to the Mayo Clinic, plastics can leach BPA when exposed to heat. Overexposure to BPA may cause health problems, especially in children. Look for BPA-free crockpot liners to ensure the foods you cook are safe to eat.
Call Rainbow International If a Cooking Disaster Strikes
Even if you follow all the rules, it's not always possible to avoid a kitchen disaster. Cooking equipment mishaps cause 49% of home fires. And if you find yourself part of this statistic, you'll want to start picking up the pieces right away.
Rainbow International offers responsive smoke and fire damage restoration services. Our IICRC-certified remediation experts use proven techniques and the latest equipment to restore your home to its pre-fire condition. Connect with us online or call (855) 724-6269 to schedule service.