Slow Cooker Food Safety

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There is much debate about what is safe and what is not when cooking in a slow cooker. Here are some tips to help keep you safe.

1. Keep your foods in the fridge until the last possible moment.

2. You should NOT put frozen food into a slow cooker. This lowers the temperature of the food in the pot and creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Take a look at the USDA‘s recommendations on this one.

3. As tempting as it can be to lift the lid, don’t. Leave it in place until you need to check for doneness or on the rare occasion that you need to stir.

4. Veggies on the bottom, meats next, then broth and other small additions.

5. Never reheat in a slow cooker.

6. Get foods into the fridge within 2 hours after cooking. Anything after that should be thrown away.

7. Clean your slow cooker properly, click here to find out how.

Source: SlowCookerSafety

29 Comments on "Slow Cooker Food Safety"

  1. Aubie246  March 29, 2012

    Thanks…I have always wondered if I should put frozen chicken into a crock-pot. 🙂

    • Teri Wilson03  March 29, 2012

       I put frozen chicken breasts in all the time and have never had any problems…

    • Skinny Ms.  March 29, 2012

      Aubie, thank you. Skinny Ms. encourages everyone to avoid unnecessary risks. Cooking frozen meats in the slow cooker is a risk. Thank you.

  2. Speechteachri  August 7, 2012

    I have never had any issues with frozen foods in the slow cooker either.  Do it all the time.

    • Skinny Ms.  August 8, 2012

      We prefer to play it safe, but it's up to you!

  3. Jessica  August 23, 2012

    Just because you haven't had a problem with frozen food doesn't mean it can't or won't happen. The facts are there that it can happen. It's up to you what you want to do with that information. (I'm a public health official with an MPH and have studied food safety!)

  4. Shannan Kelley Lentz  August 23, 2012

    Yes and the USDA says all the man-made chemical ingredients in junk food are safe and milk straight from the cow, eggs straight from the hen house and veggies right out of the garden are a health risk. So take their guidelines with a grain of salt and do what you wish with them.

  5. George1234  August 23, 2012

    I am so glad that for thousands of years humans have survived with out the help of food safety people. And in our enlightened and fearful age we have more allergies and use nasty plastic cutting boards that harbour more bacteria then good old wood. We can be fearful of putting frozens in to cook. I do it all the time I am more apt to be worried about what goes on in the local restaurant than the crockpot

  6. Rarin2Go449  October 4, 2012

    You've been very fortunate. Not worth pressing your luck.

  7. Tara  October 4, 2012

    Thank you Skinny Ms for providing us with the current recommendations on slow cooking. And also thanks to everyone posting helpful comments, regardless of whether or not you agree!

    To everyone complaining about these guidelines… Relax. The food police aren't coming to your kitchen. This info is just meant to be helpful.

  8. Little ol' me  October 4, 2012

    Frozen foods unsafe?? That's funny because the grocery stores sell FROZEN crockpot meals, specifically made for CROCKPOTS courtesy of the brand name Banquet!

  9. Cheri  October 4, 2012

    I have a question about #5. If the power goes out, how are you going to immediately transfer it to the stove to finish cooking?

    • Skinny Ms.  October 4, 2012

      Cheri, That would be if the power comes back on.

  10. Danielle Bell  October 4, 2012

    I also always put frozen meat in my crockpot. The whole point to the crockpot is so I don't really have to think ahead of time 😉 However I always cook my frozen meats on high for a longer time frame, usually have it in the crockpot by 11:30 and cooks until my hubby gets home at 7pm. It's always always always completely done and no pink left in it, my roasts and chicken are always falling apart done. As everything, the phrase *USE COMMON SENSE* crops up. Don't throw frozen roast in on low for 2-3 hours like you would defrosted or small chunks or meat, save those for a roaster in your oven. But discouraging ALL frozen meat is ridiculous.

    I'm also of the opinion that we are living in a fearful age and so many recalls and bans are just ridiculous. But that's a whole 'nother subject 😉

  11. shellie  October 4, 2012

    Wow! Skinny Ms. Is doing a kindness in her eyes and people are getting all mad about it?

    Skinny Ms., thanks for telling us how you keep it safe.

    Everyone else, the choice us to folllow advice or not. No reason to tear someone down for their idea of safety for heaven's sakes!

    My opinion 🙂

    • Skinny Ms.  October 4, 2012

      Shellie, Thanks so much!!! Your feedback is truly appreciated. 🙂

  12. Laura  October 4, 2012

    I have always read (and done) that you need to cook all meat and poultry on high for 1 hour then you can drop it down to low. This is said to bring the food hot enough to kill any wandering bacteria. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Skinny Ms.  October 4, 2012

      Laura, We've been cooking raw meats on low for years and without problems.

  13. Shanda  October 4, 2012

    Me either, I have done it quite often and with great results.

  14. Cyndi  October 11, 2012

    I assume this part of the recommendation is for people with gas stoves that don't rely on electricity to operate.

  15. Susan  October 23, 2012

    And with that being said…I have always put frozen meat in the crockpot without problems. I just put that because people on here keep fussing about the people that put frozen chicken in the crock, that it is unsafe, it is no more unsafe than Laura pointing out about cooking it on high to kill bacteria.

    I have survived 50+years cooking the way I do and I dont think I need a food safety person telling me that NOW I am going to die if I do it the same way I have done it forever. Just sayin…

    • Skinny Ms.  October 24, 2012

      Susan, Thanks for your feedback. It's really up to you…just a recommendation.

      • Anne  May 2, 2017

        I am Grateful for all inputs you have
        Thanks a MILLION skinnyms

        • Emilia Horn  May 3, 2017

          You’re so welcome!

    • Jen  October 24, 2012

      Susan: sounds like saying I'm not going to wear seatbelts because I haven't been in an accident or a bike helmet, list goes on.

  16. Jeannie  October 21, 2016

    Wow! All she did was put some food safety rules up. It’s not like she was trying to force anybody to do anything. She’s just being helpful. I sure hope those who are so disagreeable don’t get a report over the radio/TV that there’s a murderer loose in your town. Since you’ve never been murdered I assume you wouldn’t take the advice to keep you’re doors locked. If you don’t agree with her why do you have to leave nasty comments? If you have to say something, just say “Thanks” and leave it at that. Stop being so mean. BTW Thanks Skinny Ms. I appreciate you caring enough to let us know what’s safe and what’s not.


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