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Is It Safe to Leave a Crockpot on When You’re Not Home?

Slow cooker filled with stew sitting on a countertop

The crockpot (or slow cooker) is a cooking revelation. Since it was first introduced, it’s provided a way for busy people to come home to warm, comforting meals without having to slave over a hot stove for hours. While crockpots are meant to be “set it and forget it” appliances, are they really safe to leave on when you’re away from home?

If you’re like me, you might be hesitant about it because you binge-watched This Is Us and saw how a slow cooker sealed the fate of Jack Pearson.

But, don’t fret. As long as you use it the right way, it’s safe to leave a slow cooker running when you’re not home.

The basic concept of a slow cooker is that it, well…cooks things slowly. The appliance has a very low wattage, allowing it to heat food up over a period of 8-10 hours. While the “low and slow” method often results in tender roasts and perfect cozy soups and stews, it also makes the slow cooker pretty safe to use.

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Slow Cooker

Make full-sized, home cooked meals for the whole family with minimal effort in this large, stainless steel slow cooker.

You probably wouldn’t leave your oven running unattended for 8-10 hours, but it’s much more powerful than a slow cooker and could cause things like flare-ups. Or, it could get too hot and either potentially cause a fire or break down. While those things can be taken care of when you’re home, no one wants to have to worry about those issues while you’re at work or enjoying a day away.

What’s more, many of today’s slow cooker models can be programmed to automatically shut off or keep foods warm without continuing to cook them once the official cooking time is done. So, if you put in an extra hour at the office or get stuck in traffic on the way home, you don’t have to worry about your meal being ruined or your appliance suddenly becoming more of a risk.

But, again, it’s important to use your slow cooker the right way. Never used a damaged appliance. Whether it’s a crack in the lid or a frayed power cord, it can make the slow cooker defective. Additionally, make sure nothing is near the device while you’re using it. It should be on a flat surface away from things like kitchen towels.

Gorilla Grip Heat and Slip Resistant Silicone Oven Mitts Set

Keep your hands safe while touching or transporting your slow cooker.

If you have pets at home, make sure they can’t get to the appliance, either. Not only could they hurt themselves, but they could potentially mess with the electrical cord or knock the device over.

With fall and winter on the horizon, you might want to break out the crockpot more frequently. And, if you do it the right way and keep it in a safe spot on the counter, you won’t have anything to worry about when it comes to cooking a meal while you’re away from home.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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