Sometimes you need to leave your slow cooker or crockpot while at work. So, can you leave a crock pot unattended while cooking? Well, it is a very common concern for slow cooker users. Even I was concerned about this, although I did leave my slow cooker unattended a few times.
So, I went ahead and asked some expert manufacturers. And they said that it is safe to leave a crock pot unattended for a few hours. I breathed a sigh of relief. But then I got more questions concerning the safety of my slow cooker and my kitchen.
Well, you guys still got some other queries regarding crockpot. For example, how long can you leave your crockpot on low, and so on? Thus, I will gradually answer all of your slow cooker questions further.
Are Crock Pots Safe To Leave Unattended?
Are crock pots safe to leave unattended? This is a question that many people have. Generally, Crock pots are designed to be left on for hours at a time, so they should be safe to leave unattended.
However, there have been some reports of crock pots catching fire when left unattended for a long time. If you are concerned about safety, you can always unplug your crock pot when you are not using it.
How Long Can You Leave a Crockpot on Low?
The next concern of slow cooker or crockpot users is how long can you leave the crockpot on low. We all know leaving a slow cooker unattended has a time limit of 20 to 24 hours. And the time limit to leave the crockpot on low unattended is the same as well.
Yes, slow cooker or crock pot manufacturers say these appliances are programmed with 20 to 24 hours cycle shut down. Well, this means the slow cooker or crock pot will automatically turn off after 20 or 24 hours exceed.
But, we know that it is inadvisable to keep the crockpot on for days or way off the time limit. So, it is ideal to leave your crock pot on low for approximately 10 to 12 hours. And you shouldn’t exceed this limit.
Well. Sometimes it is okay to leave the crockpot for more than 12 hours. However, keep in mind to turn it off before it reaches the shutdown cycle.
How Long Can You Leave a Crockpot on Warm?
If you are using a new crockpot with new features, you must already notice the keep warm option. Yep, only the brand new versions of crockpot or slow cookers come with this new feature.
Keep warm option is a very convenient function that keeps the food from being spoiled after cooking. And it maintains a safe warm temperature for the just now cooked food.
Technically, the warm settings turn on right after the food gets cooked in the crockpot and manages a safe warm zone till you turn it off or eat. According to the developer of the slow cooker or crockpots, it is safe to use the keep warm function for 1- 5 hours for the cooked food.
Well, let me elaborate a bit more. In the keep warm setting, the temperature inside the crockpot turns 145°F or more to create a secure area for food. But the safe temperature can increase and overheat the foods too.
So, it is ideal to measure the temperature in the instant cooker using a probe thermometer. Thus, now you know how long can you leave the crock pot warm and the time limit you should not go past.
What To Do Before Leave Crock Pot Unattended?
Yes, there is a particular way with which you can ensure proper safety while leaving your crock pot unattended to go out for some work or adventure. Therefore, here are the tips to follow:
1. Fill The Crockpot with Liquid Properly
You need to consider what you should cook while you are planning on leaving your slow cooker unattended. For example, you must not cook dry ingredients or anything that requires less water.
Therefore, while cooking, always fill up three-quarters of the cooker with water. Well, it also depends on what ingredients you are cooking. And that is why try to ensure that you are neither adding too little nor too much water.
Moreover, adding a sufficient amount of water keeps both your recipe and the insulation in the bottom of your crockpot safe. And lastly, always remember to close the lid of your slow cooker properly and securely.
2. Keep Your Crockpot Away from The Wall
As you know, crockpots release most of the heat from their sideways. Therefore, it is better to put the cooker cooking in an open space.
In this way, it can easily release excessive heat without heating the objects or wall around it. Always keep at least 16 centimeters of space between the crock pot and other stuff around for safety measurements.
Another worth mentioning thing is that please remember to place away the power cords from the cooler sideways or edges. You do not want the power cords to melt and burn to fire accidents.
3. Keep on Heat-Proof Flat Surface
Now, why must you put your slow cooker on a heat-proof flat surface? You know that your crockpot will be cooking for quite a long hours while you will be away or won’t check it. Regarding that, it is a terrible idea to set your slow cooker on wooden tables or platforms.
Well, the wooden countertops are not fully heatproof or fireproof. Thereby, you should not place the crock pot on the wooden surface lest it will best up unsafely.
For better results, you should place your slow cooker on surfaces with better heat handling like tiles, granite, or marble. Moreover, you can also put a trivet under the crock pot for additional heat control security.
Always Set The Crockpot Settings on Low
That’s right; you must always use the slow cooker in low settings whenever you leave it unattended. Yes, some of the recipes require higher temperature settings to cook evenly. But most of the food recipes are easy to cook in low-temperature settings.
At this moment, when you plan on leaving the crockpot by itself, do not cook meals that need high temperatures. The food will end up cooking faster and even start burning afterward.
On the other hand, cooking at a lower temperature will ensure you extra time while you are taking your sweet time outdoors.
Plan on Getting Back in Time
Plan your meal properly depending on how many hours you will stay outdoors. As I said, you can leave your crockpot alone on its own as long as it does not exceed 12 hours. So, make sure you get back before the time limit.
Moreover, double-check the settings, lid, and power of the slow cooker before you leave for safety. Further, set a timer for the approximate time when the food is well cooked, and it’s time the slow cooker shuts down.
Finally, you must ensure that your meal is done properly and not spoiled before you eat. If you can’t identify it, simply discard the meal or cook it again at higher settings for the preferred time.
Note: If you are using a crock pot or slow cooker that is well or brand new, it is basically safe to leave unattended. However, in case your crock pot is old and worn out, rethink your choices~.
How Long Can You Leave A Slow Cooker Unattended?
By now, we know it is quite safe to leave a crock pot unattended for a few hours. But here comes another concern exactly how many hours can you leave the crockpot alone?
You can easily leave your crock pot unattended for more than a few hours. However, it should never exceed 20 hours.
While you are at it, you also need to ensure that the slow cooker does not turn itself off or that the liquid inside it is over. These two situations will either ruin your meal or damage your crockpot.
So, always try to come back for your crockpot before either of the two things happen.
Is It Safe to Leave Soup or Stew in a Crockpot Overnight?
Making stew and soup is a hard process as you need to work with many ingredients and cook for a long time. Especially for an office worker like me who loves soup every weekend.
As it is meticulously tiring to make soup, some people want to leave the soup in the slow cooker overnight. Therefore it is genuine tension whether can you leave soup in a crockpot overnight or not.
Regarding that, you can leave the soup in the slow cooker overnight. As cooking soup takes a very long time to cook, you can take your sweet time there.
Afterward, when the soup cooking is complete, you can leave it in Keep Warm settings till you start eating. About the Keep Warm settings, you can keep stew or soup in warm mode for about 2 to 4 hours. You see, this is the ideal duration.
Moreover, do not turn off the crockpot or cooker while the soup is in there overnight. Since soup is a perishable food, you cannot keep it below 140°F temperatures. Thus, these are the most ideal and general rules to follow for soup.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
A slow cooker can be used to cook food at a low temperature over a long period. While slow cookers are generally safe to use, there is a potential for them to catch on fire if they are used for an extended period with high temp. If you are using a slow cooker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and never leave it unattended for a long time.
Crockpot manufacturers typically include an automatic shut-off feature on their products. This safety feature is designed to prevent the pot from overheating and causing a fire. If your crock pot does not have an automatic turn-off feature, you should unplug it when you are finished cooking.
No, it’s not long for a slow cooker. Generally, some recipe takes 8-10 hours to cook in a slow cooker. So, it’s not a problem to leave your slow cooker for 8-10 hours, but you shouldn’t leave a slow cooker or crockpot unattended for an extended time, like 20 or so hours.
Now you know all about whether can you leave a crock pot unattended or how long you can leave a crock pot on low. Therefore, all the things I told you about are from what I know from manufacturer’s guidelines and rules.
Although they are safe, you should still be cautious and avoid leaving the crock pot unattended. Thus, have a safe and delicious cooking experience using a slow cooker or crock pot.
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