Welcome to Slow Cooker Week! We’re sharing all our favorite Crock Pot recipes, tips, tricks, and advice this week—and including the Instant Pot, of course, since it slow cooks too. Here, learn how to clean your Crock-Pot so your slow cooker always looks like new.
Crock-Pot cooking offers convenience, but cooking food for hours means it can get hard, dried on, and tough to remove. Over time, residue can build up on your Crock-Pot stoneware or even the heating base. But it’s not impossible to clean, and you probably already have all the Crock-Pot cleaning tools you need in your kitchen. Here’s how you can keep your Crock-Pot clean and ready to cook.
Related Reading: Enter to Win a Wolf Slow Cooker Through March 9!
Tips for Cleaning Crock-Pot Stoneware
Washing a Crock-Pot after regular use is fairly simple. You’ll just need to clean it quickly with dish soap or put it in the dishwasher if you prefer not to hand wash. Use these tips to make cleaning up after a Crock-Pot meal easy:
1. Get to Messes Fast
As with any cookware cleaning, the sooner you clean it, the better. Letting food sit in your stoneware only gives it a chance to dry out and harden, which makes it more difficult to clean. Once you’re done with your meal, remove any leftovers and get started cleaning. If you’re not able to get to it right away, fill your Crock-Pot stoneware with water and dish soap and let it sit. That way, food can’t dry out below the waterline and the soap can start working away at the food until you’re ready to clean.
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2. Be Careful with Temperature Changes
Crock-Pot stoneware is sensitive to sudden temperature changes, such as cracking if you fill a hot Crock-Pot with cold water. Let your stoneware cool down before cleaning it in cold water, or wash a hot Crock-Pot with hot water to keep the temperature consistent.
3. Use Basic Cleaning Supplies & Avoid Harsh Cleaners
Dish soap, vinegar, or baking soda used with a soft cloth or sponge should be able to handle Crock-Pot messes. Avoid using a scouring pad or abrasive cleaners, which can scratch and wear away the finish of your stoneware pot.
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4. Put It in the Dishwasher
Crock-Pot stoneware is dishwasher safe, so you can put both the pot and the lid in your dishwasher after you’ve rinsed it out.
5. Consider Using a Liner
Crock-Pot liners are available and can be used to prevent messes and stains in your stoneware. When you use a liner, you’ll just throw it away after use and don’t need to worry about cleaning the stoneware. However, not all cooks are comfortable using liners and some believe it takes away from the flavor of slow cooker dishes.
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These BPA-free liners are worth a look.
Deep Cleaning Crock-Pot Stoneware
Over time, residue and stains can build up in your Crock-Pot. When you’re ready to deep clean, your Crock-Pot can help clean itself the same way it cooks: with heat and time. Here’s how to do it:
1. Fill your Crock-Pot with water over the residue line.
2. Add vinegar. Use ½ cup for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker.
3. A little at a time, add baking soda. Use ½ cup for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker.
4. Cover your slow cooker and set it to low. Leave for at least an hour.
5. Allow your Crock-Pot to cool down, then wash it in your sink or dishwasher.
6. For stubborn residue not removed by this process, you can make a dense paste of baking soda and lemon juice. Then scrub with a soft cloth.
Related Reading: All the Places in Your Kitchen You Can Clean with Vinegar
Cleaning Your Crock-Pot Heating Base
Crock-Pot stoneware is where most of the mess happens, but food can get on your Crock-Pot’s heating base, which is usually metal and less easy to clean than stoneware. While the stoneware is safe to put in your sink or dishwasher, the base is not.
The first thing you should know about cleaning your Crock-Pot heating base is what not to do: Don’t immerse the heating base in water or any other liquid. Unlike the stoneware, the heating base is an electrical appliance and dangerous when immersed, even when it’s not plugged in. And like the stoneware, your Crock-Pot’s base should never be cleaned with abrasive products or scrubbers.
As with stoneware, cleaning messes quickly is key for keeping your Crock-Pot base clean. Baked on stains become stubborn, so you’ll want to wipe up messes before they become stains.
After each use, allow the base to cool down, then use a soft cleaning cloth, sponge, or rubber spatula and a small amount of soapy water to wipe it down. For more stubborn stains, spray a non-abrasive cleaning product on the area, let it sit, then wipe it down. Vinegar or a baking soda and lemon paste may help with old, baked-on stains.
See how to clean your Instant Pot while you’re at it.
Visit our Slow Cooker Week headquarters for everything else you need to know (and cook).
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