Slow Cookers

To qualify as a safe slow cooker, the appliance must be able to cook slow enough for unattended cooking, yet fast enough to keep food above the danger zone.

To determine if a slow cooker will heat to a safe temperature:

  1. Fill cooker with 2 quarts of water.
  2. Heat on low for 8 hours or desired cooking time.
  3. Check the water temperature with an accurate thermometer (quickly because the temperature drops 10 to 15 degrees when the lid is removed).
  4. The temperature of the water should be 185°. Temperatures above this would indicate that a product cooked for 8 hours without stirring would be over-done. Temperatures below this may indicate the cooker does not heat food high enough or fast enough to avoid potential food safety problems.

When preparing food in a slow cooker, follow these guidelines:

  • Start with fresh or thawed meat - not frozen.
  • Use chunks rather than large cuts or roasts. Use pieces of poultry - not a whole chicken.
  • Cook meat on high for 1 hour and then turn cooker to low.
  • Only use recipes that include a liquid.
  • Check internal temperature to make sure food reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Do not delay starting time.
  • Do not reheat foods in slow cooker.
  • Keep the lid on.