Slow cookers operate on a low wattage at low temperatures, making them perfectly safe to leave unattended while they’re cooking your dinner throughout the day.
Can You Leave a Slow Cooker On When You’re Out?
Slow cookers are designed to be left unattended for many hours at a time, and you can even leave them switched on when you’re out of the house. One of the many benefits of a slow cooker is that it does all of its magic while you aren’t bent over the stove, keeping a close eye on it, giving you delicious meals with hardly any hassle or real cooking on your part.
Many people throw their ingredients into the slow cooker first thing in the morning before they leave the house, then they go to work all day, and when they come home, there is a perfectly cooked meal waiting for them, and all they need to do is serve it. In many ways, a slow cooker is almost like having your very own personal chef who does the cooking while you aren’t even at home.
If the idea of leaving an appliance switched on while you’re out of the house fills you with dread, rest assured that slow cookers are actually intended to be left alone while they’re being used. Continually checking on a slow cooker by removing the lid is actually detrimental to the cooking process because it releases hot air and condensation from inside the crock pot.
Can You Leave a Slow Cooker On Overnight?
Yes, slow cookers are perfectly safe to leave switched on overnight. If you add some milk and oats to your slow cooker before you go to bed and set it to ‘low’, you’ll wake up in the morning to the alluring smell of warm, freshly cooked porridge.
There’s no better way to start the day than on a full stomach of healthy food that you haven’t had to waste time preparing. Slow cookers are designed to be left unattended even when they are in use, so you don’t need to worry about this appliance being switched on throughout the night.
How Long Can a Slow Cooker Be Left Unattended?
Slow cookers are designed to be safe when left unattended, but there is a limit to this. You shouldn’t leave your slow cooker on for more than 20 hours because this could create a fire hazard.
When a slow cooker is left on for an extended period of time, for example, for several days, then the liquid inside the pot is going to cook away, and the food inside is going to burn.
Not only are you going to end up with a ruined, inedible meal, but you are also risking a kitchen fire because the slow cooker could overheat and malfunction. Although slow cookers are very safe to leave unattended, they are not designed to be left switched on for excessive amounts of time.
Always be sure to turn your slow cooker off if you are going to be away from home for a while, for example, if you’re going on a work trip or taking a vacation. If you are heading to work and are unsure how late you’re going to be home, it’s better not to take the risk and leave your slow cooker switched off.
Are Slow Cookers Safe?
Slow cookers are a very safe way of cooking, heating meat through gradually to typical temperatures of between 170° and 280° F. These temperatures are high enough to kill any bacteria which may be present in the uncooked foods and yet low enough to ensure the appliance is not a fire risk when left unattended throughout the day or night. If you are unsure whether or not the slow cooker is heating things to a safe temperature, you can always use a food thermometer to check the temperature before you eat it.
Meats must reach an internal temperature of 160 °F or more to be safe to eat, which slow cookers will achieve if they are turned on for long enough. On the high setting, most slow cookers will take around 4 hours to cook food to a safe temperature, while the low setting will take more like 7 or 8 hours.
If you are planning on leaving your slow cooker unattended for more than 6 hours, then using the ‘low’ setting will be best in terms of safety and also in terms of ensuring a better result for your food.
Slow cookers should not be left switched on and unattended for an extended period of time, so remember to turn them off if you expect to be away from home for more than a day.
Are Slow Cookers a Fire Hazard?
Slow cookers are one of the safest cooking appliances you can use in the kitchen because they are a low-current piece of equipment, with most slow cookers running no more than 200 to 300 watts. However, just like an electrical appliance, it is possible for fires to start as a result of slow cookers being used.
Rest assured that slow cookers are responsible for very few kitchen fires, with an average of fewer than 20 fire occurring each year due to slow cookers across the US. To help ensure your slow cooker doesn’t cause any fires, you should always check the cable before each use.
Look out for any visible wiring or frayed ends at the end of the cable that attaches to the plug, as well as the end of the cable that is attached to the slow cooker itself.
If anything looks suspicious, don’t use it. You should also keep the slow cooker unplugged when it isn’t being used, and when it is in use, it should be a good distance away from flammable materials such as curtains or towels. Always make sure the slow cooker is on a flat surface and that there is nothing beneath it, such as a towel or dishcloth.