Can Food Burn in a Slow Cooker? Causes and How to Prevent!

A slow cooker is one of the best ways to cook any bone and meat perfectly. It is not unusual for one to worry about “can crock pot burn food” while cooking with slow cookers or crockpots.

Therefore, this level of concern should be certain as we are leaving food in cooking machines to become cooked without supervision. Regarding the fact that fire and high temperatures are related to it, it is a must to worry about.

Yes, foods are less likely to burn in crock pots or slow cookers. But foods will burn, and plenty of things and carelessness are responsible for this. However, the good news is that there are preventive measures and methods we can use to prevent the food from burning.

Go ahead and follow my lead to learn more about slow cooker-burning food causes and guides to prevent them from happening in your kitchen.

Can Crock Pot Burn Food?

We usually do not even think in our wildest dream that a crock pot can burn food till it actually happens. Well, under some particular circumstances or due to mistakes, crockpot foods can burn, get spilled, and even burn down your whole house.

Other than that, you are fine from all the risks and worries. As you know, crock pots or slow cookers are made with high-quality heating elements that are sealed pretty well.

If you think that boiling or frying foods in a slow cooker may reach over the flashpoint and ignite the heating elements. Well, that is never going to happen that easily unless something is wrong with your cooking or the crock pot.

As for the foods burning in the crock pot or slow cooker while cooking, we are mostly responsible. Slow cookers or crock pots are designed to cook food using heat.

But it is only suitable for cooking wet ingredients. If you cook dry ingredients without any water or overcook the food, this will lead the food to burn. Hence, it is we who do not follow the instructions and cook wrongly.

slow cooker burning food
Source: Reddit

So, here are the reasons why a crock pot can burn foods –

  • Frying or cooking dry foods in a crock pot for a long time will burn the food.
  • Overcooking food longer than the recipe time will make the ingredients burn.
  • A boiling large amount of dense liquid food like honey, melted sugar, and syrup without adding in any water will cause the food to burn.
  • Using a faulty slow cooker will not work properly and will burn the food into charcoal.
  • Forgetting that you left food in a slow cooker for hours and come back to its burning smell.

Only a majority of corporate workers and working students tend to use slow cookers for cooking or baking. And they are so busy sometimes that they become forgetful and face food burning to charcoal issues. Other than that, there are hardly any incidents of crockpot cooker food burning.

Read More: Are Slow Cooker Pots Oven Safe? Safety Guides

What Causes Burn Food in a Slow Cooker?

Just like crockpots, or slow cooker also cooks food by applying heat. Although these two cookers are so identical, not all crockpots are slow cookers.

Well, slow cookers cook foods slower than crockpots. However, both work the same when it comes to burning foods due to some of our mistakes and errors.

So, it is time you know about the things that cause burning foods in a slow cooker –

Not Enough Water

If you ever come across your slow cooker burning food, then the first and foremost reason you will find is not enough water.

I agree that a slow cooker is meant to cook super slowly. But the high heat and a long time cooking setting are not a good combination without enough water.

Therefore, it will burn when you do not add enough water into the slow cooker with other food ingredients. Well, the moisture inside the cooker heats up and vaporizes over time while the food is cooking. And some of the food ingredients require a good amount of water for being cooked properly.

But if there is not enough moisture, the heat will eventually dry up all the essential moisture within the foods and start burning.

Another thing to note, even if there is a good amount of oil, fat, or liquid stuff in your cooking ingredients, you will still need a quality amount of water in the slow cooker.

Dry Foods

Slow cooker burning food is more likely to cause when cooking food ingredients that are too dry. Well, it is not essentially mandatory to add water to the foods in the cooker. But some recipes require water, juice, or other liquids.

Sometimes, you can cook vegetables or other foods without adding water as they have enough moisture. However, a lot of food ingredients need a bit of water to be cooked without getting burned. These are honey, meat, fish, nuts, etc.

Cooking for Too Long

Sometimes slow cooker burning edges is a common occurrence. Well, that can quickly happen for quite a lot of reasons.

Cooking dry ingredients, adding no water, or cooking foods for a long time than required. Then not turning off the stove causes a slow cooker to burn food.

As the food is still getting heat after already being cooked, it starts to burn.

Regarding that, it is not unusual for people with busy schedules to forget about the food on the stove and leave it for hours.

Always Using High Heat Thermal Fuse

Even if the cooking instruction says to use low heat settings, we tend to use high heat. Well, it is not just you; I also have a fair share of days where I would make stupid cooking mistakes.

Therefore, you cannot cook some specific ingredients in high-heat settings at all. Or else the food will burn and get ruined.

Any type of overly dry food is not suitable to cook in high heat in the crockpot. On the other hand, some liquid ingredients are not meant t be cooked in a slow cooker either.

  • Dairy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Uncooked rice and couscous
  • Lean meats and etc.

A Broken Slow Cooker or Crockpot

Many reasons can identify your slow cooker as broken. And this will eventually lead to slow cooker burning edges and foods. Well, the three ways your slow cooker can get broken are –

  • Faulty Thermal Fuse.
  • Broken Temperature Switch.
  • Malfunctioning Heat Settings and Whistle.

More Read: Slow Cooker Lid Won’t Close: What’s Wrong With It?

can food burn in a slow cooker

How to Prevent Burning Food in Slow Cooker – Precautions

To stop your slow cooker or crock pot from burning foods, you first need to get rid of your carelessness while cooking.

And I second that you must follow through all the steps of the recipes till the end.

Well, to enjoy a good meal out of a slow cooker without burning any food, here are the things you must abide by –

Follow The Recipe Instructions

Yes, you got to follow the recipe instructions and steps thoroughly. That is cause all the food recipes are created by experts who know what and what not to do. They know things you must avoid while using a slow cooker.

Moreover, the recipes also provide you with some tips or hints to follow to circumvent incidents.

Use Plenty Water When It’s Necessary

In most cases of crock pots burning foods, the main reason turns out to be less water or liquid inside the slow cooker.

You all know that some food ingredients do not contain much moisture. Regarding that, foods always need a decent amount of water to be cooked properly without being burned.

And slow cooker cooks food for a long time in which water is a must.

Be Mindful of Cooking Time

Even if slow cooking cooks super slowly, you still need to be mindful of the cooking time. You also need to pay attention to that you do not forget you are cooking something.

In case you are too forgetful, you can set the alarm or reminder, so you finish cooking.

Take Action When Slow Cooker Acts Up

It’s common for people to ignore when machines or gadgets act weird. Or, in some cases, we leave things for tomorrow that turn to ages. Therefore, you should never be careless when it comes to a faulty slow cooker.

Read More: Why Does My Slow Cooker Cook So Fast?

Thereby, you must take essential actions if you see these changes in your crock pot –

  • The thermal fuse is not working properly.
  • Slow cooker burning edges.
  • Smoke and plastic burning smell coming out of the cooker.
  • The temperature switch is malfunctioning.

Thus, following these methods will be effective enough to make you of a good meal from a slow cooker every time.

slow cooker burning edges

Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQ):

Do you put water in the slow cooker?

All crock pots and slow cookers are designed to cook food with the least amount of water and low heat. Therefore, most of these cookers do not require much water to be added to a quick meal.

However, not all crockpots or slow cookers come with the same mechanism. Moreover, each type of food comes with different ingredients and cooking methods.

How much water to put in a crock pot?

Adding too much or too less water to crockpots is a no-go. Therefore, the safe amount of water you should put in a crockpot is around half (1/2) and three-quarters (3/4) full.

Can you cook raw meat in a slow cooker?

Yea, it is rather quiet to cook raw meat and fish in a crock pot. But you must be mindful of putting the meat to cook for a long time (6-7 hours). So, the meat will cook adequately and destroy all the bacteria’s growth. As well, you can use a thermometer to check whether the food is well done.

Does meat need to be submerged in a slow cooker?

As cooking meat in a slow cooker needs plenty of time, water is essential to prevent the food from burning. Therefore, the meat in the cooker needs to have enough water. And the ideal range is to fill the meat with plenty of water.

Should food be covered with liquid in a slow cooker?

The amount of liquid to add to a slow cooker depends on the ingredients you are found to cook. If you are cooking meats, you should add enough water to cover the ingredients. Or, in general, you can add 1/2 to 3/4 of water in a container.


I guess your question is, “can food burn in a slow cooker now.” No slow cooker burning food or slow cooker burning edges hardly happens. However, if you are careless, you will come across them and face a hard time dealing with dangerous fire damage.

Thereby, try to follow my leads and guidelines to avoid the worst from happening. Thus, you will always enjoy fairly cooked dishes out of your slow cooker.

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