Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is almost done building a new website! Please take a sneak peek or read about our redesign process.

Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Preparing Safe Meals > Slow cookers and food safety

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Preparing Safe Meals

crock pot

Slow cookers and food safety

Suzanne Driessen and Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness

A slow cooker or "crock pot" is a convenient portable electric appliance popular in today's kitchens. Slow cookers have several advantages. It's "all-day cooking without looking." They are economical to operate and a great way to tenderize less expensive and tougher cuts of meat (shoulder, round, and chuck).

Is a slow cooker a safe way to cook food?

Yes, if you use them correctly. The slow cooker cooks foods slowly at a low temperature, generally between 170° and 280° F, over several hours. The combination of direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam, destroy bacteria making the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods.

How much liquid do I add?

Water or liquid is necessary to create steam. When cooking meat or poultry, the water or liquid level should cover the ingredients to ensure effective heat transfer throughout the crock. Some manufacturers of slow cookers recommend adding liquid to fill the stoneware 1/2 to 3/4 full.   Follow the manufacturer's recipes and directions for best results.

Slow cooker food safety reminders


Slow Cookers and Food SafetyUnited States Department of Agriculture

Ask KarenUnited States Department of Agriculture

Related Resources

Slow Cooker Safety Fact Sheet (448 K PDF)

2013, Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2016

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy