Whether you are craving a heaping plate of pulled pork or a savory stew, if you’re like many home cooks, you agree the slow cooker is hands-down the most important kitchen gadget. Simply drop in the ingredients, turn on the cooker, and the whole family comes home to a scrumptious, savory supper. Best of all, you’re not stuck in the kitchen for hours at a time.
But do you know how to really clean it? We’re here to help with these three easy tricks.
How to Clean a Slow Cooker: 3 Easy Ways
Method 1: The Routine Clean
Your slow cooker may look clean, but if it’s the first time you’ve used it in a while, it doesn’t hurt to give it a scrub-down. After all, that black bean and pumpkin chili probably won’t pair well with dust mites. Simply fill the slow cooker insert with water, add a few drops of dish soap and turn it on for an hour. After 60 minutes, discard the soapy mixture and give the inside a quick rinse. Yes, it’s really that easy.
Method 2: When There are a Few Tough Stains
If bits of jambalaya are baked onto your slow cooker insert, this mission may call for reinforcements. Enter baking soda. If you haven’t gotten the memo, baking soda can do a lot more than make bread rise (here are 50 genius ways to clean with the stuff). You’ll want to follow the same steps mentioned above, but swap out the dish soap for baking soda. And for good measure, enlist a kitchen brush. Scrubbing the sides for a few minutes will help loosen those stubborn food particles.
Method 3. The Major Overhaul
Maybe you forgot to clean it right after dinner, or maybe you whipped up an incredibly thick and saucy dish, but one thing’s for sure: Your slow cooker is in need of a deep clean, stat. When you really need to get down to business, fill the cooker with water, baking soda and vinegar and then turn it on for an hour. Baking soda is a base while vinegar is an acid, so when the two are combined, they fizz up and can take on any tough stain. If you’re still not seeing the squeaky-clean results you hoped for, leave the slow cooker on for a few more hours and occasionally scrub the inside with a brush.
As for the outside, spot cleaning is the way to go. Wipe it down periodically with a damp microfiber cloth, and you’re all set. If it’s greasy, follow this advice.
Now that you know how to clean your slow cooker, the only question left is which finger-lickin’ dish you should make next.