Your Crock-Pot can crack while cooking—here's what you should do if it happens

Do this if your Crock-Pot becomes a crack pot

Credit: Crock-Pot / Pinterest
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Just when I thought it was safe to resume cooking in my slow cooker, I heard this—a colleague's mom was cooking dinner when her Crock-Pot cracked. Wow, how did that happen? And what should you do if it happens to you?

Why the crock cracked

Although slow cooking is very safe, a few things can cause a ceramic or stoneware crock to crack.

1. You cooked something that started out frozen.
Always thaw poultry or meat before you add it to the Crock-Pot. Once the crock is heated, the temperature change initiated by the frozen meat can cause it to crack. Besides, it's not a good idea to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker, since bacteria can proliferate when food spends too long in what the USDA calls the "Danger Zone", 40°-140°.

USDA-danger-zone-temperatures
Credit: USDA

Bacteria can reach dangerous levels when your food is between 40° and 140°. On the low setting your slow cooker heats up to 190°, and reaches about 250° on high.

2. You refrigerated the food in the crock before cooking.
I know it seems easier to prep the meal in the crock and stash it in the fridge overnight. But once you turn the slow cooker on, the change in temperature can cause a crack. Workaround: Mix all the recipe ingredients in a large bowl the night before, and use a rubber spatula to scrape it all into the crock in the morning.

Gettyimages 507519050 crock pot

Related

Here's how to "deep clean" your slow cooker

3. You heated the crock on the stove.
Your crock may be microwave or oven safe without its lid. But it will probably crack if you place it directly on a burner. Check the user guide. If it doesn't say it's safe to use on the stovetop, assume it isn't.

Crock-on-burner
Credit: The Gardening Cook

Don't put your slow cooker crock on a burner—it will crack.

4. A hairline crack developed in the pot.
You may not notice a minor crack in the pot until it becomes a serious crack. Hairline cracks can develop if you fill a hot crock with cold water. Wait until the crock cools down before attempting to clean it. And although you may have heard that you can repair a surface crack by boiling the pot in milk, we believe that would be a very temporary fix.

What to do if it happens

Once you notice a crack, your first thought might be to throw the pot and the food in the trash. That might not be necessary.

1. For a hairline crack, serve the meal before throwing out the crock.

2. If you used a slow cooker liner in the cracked pot, dinner is saved.
It's okay to pour the meal into a big soup pot and finish cooking it on top of the stove. The liners make for easy cleanup, so they're worth using, all the time.

Slow-cooker-liners
Credit: Amazon

Slow cooker liners make clean up easier, and protect your meal if the crock cracks during cooking.

As long as the outer metal pot is intact, you can purchase a replacement crock for your slow cooker, often for under $20. That's the best long-term solution for your cracked crock.

Related Video: How to deep clean your slow cooker

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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