Many people confuse slow cookers with many appliances, like pressure cookers, soup makers or sous vide cookers. However, they’re completely different. Their main similarity lies in that almost all of their compartments need to be cleaned after use, which in some cases, like the slow cooker insert, might be a bit tricky.
This appliance is every home cook’s best ally. It’s very handy, especially for those who work a lot and don’t have time to cook. There are many tasty slow cooker recipes online, and you’ll be surprised how easy slow cooking is. But can you tell the same about cleaning the crockpot? Do you know how to clean a slow cooker insert? Worry no more! We have a fully informed guide to help you clean your precious machine without damaging it.
What is a slow cooker?
A slow cooker, or else a crockpot, is a countertop electrical kitchen appliance usually made from ceramic, metal or even porcelain. It’s surrounded by an electrical unit that contains a heating element. It has a glass, metal or ceramic lid used to create a low-pressure seal, keeping the moisture inside the pot. Finally, it has an insert made from ceramic, stainless steel or stoneware, which in most models is removable.
A slow cooker is used to simmer at a lower temperature than other cooking methods. It’s ideal when it comes to meat and stews that need cooking for many hours. You simply add all the ingredients to the machine in the morning, turn it on, and after a few hours, you come back home from work, and your meal is ready. Interesting, right? What’s even more interesting is that it’s an affordable option and more energy-efficient than a conventional electric oven or any other device.
How to clean a slow cooker insert
Cleaning the slow cooker insert is very easy. It might be easier than cleaning a pot after use. If the insert is removable and dishwasher safe, you can just wash it after each use in your dishwasher. What’s more, you can use special slow cooker cleaning products or the oven cleaner; however, they are rather toxic. But why choose cleaning products containing chemicals when you can go for more natural cleaning hacks?
1. Dish soap
Cleaning with dishwashing detergent is probably the most straightforward way and the first thing that crosses your mind when it comes to cleaning a single tablespoon and plate to a whole cookware set or the oven door. The same should happen when you think of cleaning your crockpot. After using the appliance, you can wash all the removable compartments, as you would do with plates. Even if it’s full of cooked on stains, you can give washing up detergent a try.
- Dish soap
Steps to follow:
- Fill the insert with water and add a few drops of your favourite dishwashing detergent.
- Turn the device on for 60 minutes.
- After an hour, discard the hot water and hand wash the insert.
- Finally, rinse it very well and let it dry.
2. Baking soda
But what would you do if the insert had tough stains? Most likely, the soapy water may not work well. What would you think of using an ingredient you usually use for baking? Yeap! That’s right! It’s probably a task for baking soda. Hopefully, there isn’t a confusing task. You need to follow the same steps as above. You’ll just have to change the dishwashing detergent with the soda.
- Baking soda
- A kitchen brush or sponge
Steps to follow:
- Fill the insert with water and add a few pinches of the magic powder, soda.
- Let the soda-water mixture boil for an hour.
- Then, throw away the water and use the brush or sponge and a little bit of elbow grease to scrub the sides for a few minutes. This will loosen the stubborn stains, and it will be easier for you to clean the insert.
- Finally, rinse very well.
3. White vinegar
Sometimes soda or dishwashing detergent isn’t enough. You need something stronger to be able to remove the crusty mess from the insert. You need to deep clean your slow cooker combining cleaning hacks and adding a secret ingredient; vinegar. Vinegar is an acid, and along with bicarbonate soda and warm water, it will fizz up, removing all the baked-on gunk.
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- A soft brush or kitchen sponge
Steps to follow:
- Fill the crockpot with water and a few pinches of soda and vinegar.
- Turn the device on and let it boil for an hour.
- After 60 minutes, discard the mixture and scrub the cooker with a soft brush or sponge.
- If you find hard times getting rid of the stains, repeat the above steps. Just let the mixture boil for more than an hour.
Ammonia is known for its ultra cleaning properties. That’s why it is used a lot in different household chores. You can clean the stove vent fan filter or a toaster. Hence, this ultra-cleaning ingredient can be used to remove cooked-on stains from the insert of your slow cooker as well.
- A small bowl
Steps to follow:
- Fill a small bowl with ammonia and place it in the cooker insert.
- Cover with the lid and let it overnight.
- The next morning, open the lid, remove the bowl, and wipe the insert with a damp sponge or cloth and hand wash.
Simple, right? Ammonia will loosen the cooked food, and just wiping with a damp rag, you will be able to clean the insert easier.
Extra cleaning tips
Just like all the appliances and cookware sets, a slow cooker needs proper care and cleaning. Prior to cleaning it, your safety comes first. You should unplug the appliance from the outlet, let it cool down, and start the cleaning process afterwards. Then, beyond the above cleaning methods, you should follow a couple of extra tips and tricks to ensure its proper efficiency and prolong its lifespan.
- Always read the instruction manual before applying any cleaning products.
- Avoid using scouring pads and abrasive cleaners. Instead, you can use sponges, cloths or rubber spatulas to remove any stubborn and burnt-on stains.
- Don’t wash it with cold water while it’s still hot. Allow it first to cool down, and then rinse you can use cold water.
- Don’t soak any heating element and the base or other liquid.
- You can use slow cooker liners to reduce all the mess.
- Wipe regularly, at least once a week, outside your slow cooker with a damp cloth.
- Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray before adding food to prevent it from sticking to the stoneware or ceramic insert.
A slow cooker is the most important kitchen appliance. You just add all the ingredients into the device, turn it on, and then you enjoy the delightful meal. But to keep it brand new and keep enjoying healthy meals, you have to treat it the right way. You have to clean its insert regularly. Well, thankfully, you have nothing to worry about since you have our simple guide by hand. Follow our cleaning tips; your slow cooker will thank you, and you and your family will enjoy tasty meals.