Chili in a crock pot or slow cooker

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Updated: July 19, 2023
By Shauna Henley

Crockpots, also known as slow cookers, can be a great way to make a quick meal. Throw in a few ingredients, turn it on, and come back to a delicious meal! However, it's important to remember that crockpots can also be a safety hazard if not used properly. So, how can we make sure that we're using our crockpots safely? Follow these few simple steps:

man preparing to use a crock pot
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  1. Keep your crockpot and any other utensils that you use to cook clean. By keeping your cooking area and utensils clean you can help stop food contamination, which could make you sick.
  2. Defrost meat before putting it in the crockpot. Frozen meat that is not thawed first can make it easier for bacteria to grow. Defrosting your meat first helps make sure that it reaches high enough temperatures to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria.
  3. Meat should also be cut into smaller pieces to make sure that it is cooked all the way through.
  4. When your food is done cooking, take it out of the slow cooker. Any food that is not eaten immediately should be placed in the refrigerator for safe storage.
  5. Do not use your slow cooker to reheat food, instead use a microwave or stovetop.

It is also worth noting some ingredients should not be cooked in the crockpot for long. For example, dairy products or thickeners like flour and cornstarch, should be added only in the last 30 minutes of cooking to prevent curdling or clumping. As always, it is important to follow the instructions on your slow cooker for specific details on how to use your crockpot safely.

By following these few safety tips you can enjoy delicious meals made from your crockpot without any worries. Remember, when using a crockpot, safety should always come first.

Food Safety Tips for your Crockpot from University of Illinois Extension


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