There can be various reasons behind your urge to put your crock-pot in the oven – you want to speed up the cooking process, your food needs more heat, or you want an easy way out while reheating your food.
If you are wondering if you can put your crock-pot in the oven, the answer in a word is yes. That said, it is a little complicated; there are only certain elements of this electric slow cooker that are oven-safe.
In this article, we will let you in on all the information you need before turning the oven on with your crock-pot inside it (and a little more because we are nice that way). So, if you want to avoid damaging your oven and crock-pot, keep reading!
Are crock-pots oven-safe?
The good news is that crock pots are oven-safe. However, when we say that a crock-pot is oven safe, we do not mean the electrical appliance as a whole. A crock-pot has three constituent elements –
- The removable crockery inserts
- The metal casing that houses the heating element (that surrounds the crockery inserts)
- A lid (usually made of glass) that covers the crock-pot and ensures that the water vapor does not escape.
The first step to knowing if your crock-pot is oven-safe is checking the material of your crock-pot. The second step that you need to follow is referring to the manual.
If the manual declares your crock-pot oven safe and specifies a certain heat temperature until your crock-pot can withstand heat, you are good to go. However, if your crock-pot’s temperature restrictions are not specified, we suggest not crossing 400°F or 204°C.
So, which parts of your crock-pot are oven-friendly and safe?
Removable crockery inserts: oven-safe.
Only the removable crockery inserts of this handy appliance are oven-safe. The inserts are made of heat-friendly materials such as ceramic, porcelain, or metal, which makes them heat-resistant.
The metal casing/heating element and the lid: not oven-safe.
While the crock-pot insert is made of heat-resistant metals, the lid and metal casing or heating element are not. Instead, they are made of materials such as rubber, silicone, and plastic (the lid handles, for instance). These materials either melt in high temperatures or get permanently damaged because of the heat.
Putting your crock-pot in the oven with the lid and heating element comes with more risks than just damaging your crock-pot, such as –
- Damaging the oven
- Starting a fire (because the constituting materials are more flammable than heat-resistant)
- Creating a fume that can prove to be a health hazard
Author’s note – if you want to cover your food while cooking or reheating, you can use aluminum foil instead of the lid.
Crock-pot liners: not oven-safe
Crock-pot liners are used to avoid making a mess; they line or cover the base of your crock-pot during the cooking process. So, can a crock-pot go in the oven with a liner? The answer is no.
Liners are usually made of plastic, silicone, or rubber, which are not the best materials for oven cooking. While a quick workaround is spraying your crock-pot liner with cooking spray, the entire oven process will be much safer without the liner.
Oven vs. microwave vs. broiler
Only the removable crockery inserts of your crock-pot are safe for the oven, and the microwave, provided your oven or microwave does not exceed the 400°F mark.
However, when it comes to broilers, no part of your crock-pot is broiler-safe because broilers tend to exceed the safe temperature of 400°F.
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Crock-pots and stove-tops
Using the crock-pot inserts on the stove is not a good idea because the bowl or the removable insert cannot withstand extensive heat. The insert is usually made from materials such as ceramic, which are susceptible to breaking or shattering due to thermal shocks (from the extreme change in temperatures).
Crock-pots are not made to withstand extensive heat; they generate high pressure and heat within themselves for cooking. The heating element or metal casing is not heat-proof either and will melt.
Moreover, toxic components can make their way into your food due to the high heat. These toxic components will negatively affect the taste of the food and your health.
That said, some brands in the market offer stove-safe slow cookers (or removable inserts). For this, refer to the manual of your slow cooker or check the bottom of the insert for a stove burner sign.
Author’s note – stove-safe or not, a stovetop (without the stove on) is an ideal or perfect place for your crock-pots to do their job and for you to clean the mess that follows.
In a crock-pot, the heat is generated at the base, from where it spreads to the sides by making its way up. After this process, the heat seeps into the food.
A vacuum seal is formed due to the lid not allowing steam to escape. In slow cookers such as a crock-pot, moisture is retained while cooking, and very little evaporation occurs.
There are three settings in a crock-pot; all operate at less than 300°F. The three settings are low, high, and warm. You should only use the warm setting to keep already-cooked food hot or warm before serving it.
While both the low and high settings of the crock-pot stabilize at the same temperature, you reach the simmer point faster when the slow cooker’s setting is high. That said, you can prepare most dishes in either setting.
Check-list before putting your crock-pot in the oven
Even though your crock-pot is deemed oven-safe, taking some precautions won’t hurt.
- Only put the removable insert or the crock in the oven.
- Ensure that the insert is not overfilled.
- Avoid the possibility of breakage due to thermal shock by ensuring that there is no drastic temperature change in the crock.
- Do not exceed the oven-safe temperature of your crock-pot’s insert (400°F).
Are other slow cookers oven-safe?
Some slow cooker manufacturers do not recommend putting the slow cooker’s removable insert (the only part safe for microwaves and ovens) in the oven. So, how can you know if your slow cooker is oven-safe?
- Material matters – Whether or not the removable pot in your slow cooker is oven-safe depends on the material.
- Refer to the manual to know if your slow cooker is oven-safe and to what temperature the removable insert will be able to handle the heat.
Some brands that do offer oven-safe slow cookers (or oven-safe removable crocks, to be specific) are –
A Hamilton beach slow cooker’s crock or removable insert is oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe. The brand specifies no safety temperature mark, so you must be careful.
Moreover, when you put the crock in the oven, ensure it is not empty or extremely cold to avoid breaking it.
All-clad creates two kinds of removable inserts for its slow cookers –
- Cast-aluminium inserts: this is oven-safe as long as the temperature does not exceed 400°F.
- Ceramic inserts: this removable insert is not oven-safe.
While Kitchen-aid’s slow cookers aren’t popular in India, if you decide to buy one, you should know that Kitchen-aid does not recommend putting their slow cooker removable crocks in the oven. That said, the removable insert tends to be oven-safe till 300°F.
Calphalon’s slow cooker insert is declared oven-safe by the brand. However, just like Hamilton, there is no maximum temperature specified. So, we suggest being extremely careful.
1. Can I put my crock-pot in the dishwasher?
Since crock-pots have electrical elements, putting the entire crock-pot in the dishwasher will cause irreparable damage. You can only put two parts of your crock-pot in the dishwasher – the removable crockery insert and the lid (provided they are not hot to avoid thermal shock and breakage).
2. What’s the difference between a crock-pot and a slow cooker?
While the terms are used interchangeably, they differ; a crock-pot is a type of slow cooker, but not all slow cookers are crock-pots. This difference is because “crock-pot” is a brand that created the original slow cooker, and “slow cooker” is what the appliance is called.
3. Can I put my crock-pot in the microwave or oven?
Yes, you can. However, the most vital thing to know is that out of all the elements of a crock-pot, only the removable bowl is oven/microwave-safe. Moreover, the removable insert is only safe if the temperature of your oven or microwave does not exceed the safety mark of 400°F.
While crock-pot, a brand that sells slow cookers, declares its product oven-safe, not all slow cookers are oven-safe. At the end of the day, the removable insert of your slow cooker should be the last resort as a vessel that you put in your oven.
If you decide to go down that road, ensure that you take the necessary precautions and do not exceed the maximum temperature your crock can handle.
Cue the crock and roll time.