The Internet-Famous Slow Cooker Hack That Doesn’t Actually Work

updated Dec 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The slow cooker is an amazing appliance. It can make everything from paste e fagioli (a traditional Italian soup of pasta and beans that’s so much more than the sum of its parts) to the easiest BBQ shredded chicken (we promise that you’ll never make it any other way). It’s also useful for non-food projects, like making soup, potpourri, or candles. But here’s the thing — and we’re sorry to disappoint you — your slow cooker cannot do all of the things.

Specifically, your slow cooker is not a substitute humidifier.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

We know, we know: You saw it on the internet! In fact, you may have even seen it on Apartment Therapy. And yes, in a pinch, you can use your slow cooker as a humidifier. But we’re telling you: If you need a humidifier on the regular, just buy one. Here’s why.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Your Slow Cooker as a Humidifier

1. A slow cooker-as-humidifier is high maintenance.

The main pro of a device like a slow cooker (for cooking food) or a humidifier (for humidifying your air) is that you can set it and forget it. But if you’re trying to use your slow cooker to increase the moisture in your air, you need to check on it on a regular basis. First, you fill it with water and set it on high. Once it starts to boil, you turn it down to low — and then you need to keep topping off the water so that it’s never less than half-way full.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. If you’re using your slow cooker as a humidifier, you can’t use it to cook things.

This is a big problem in the winter months, when you probably find yourself wanting to make all the soups and stews and braised meats. Winter is slow cooker season, people! And if you’re using it as a humidifier, you cannot be cooking up this super-tasty ravioli lasagna.

3. A slow cooker humidifier doesn’t work as well as a humidifier.

A humidifier is meant to add moisture — but not too much moisture — to the air. Using a slow cooker instead of a humidifier will probably mean either getting too little moisture into the air (a slow cooker is meant to keep moisture in, after all) or too much (which means mold and other things you definitely don’t want).

4. You might shorten the life of your slow cooker.

If you’re using your slow cooker as a humidifier, chances are the heating element will always be on — which, long-term, probably means your slow cooker won’t last as long as if you’d, say, just used it as a slow cooker.

5. A humidifier is not that expensive.

Can you pay hundreds of dollars for a humidifier? Yes, you can. You can also find a reasonable humidifier in the $30 to $50 range.

Okay, your turn: Have you ever used your slow cooker as a humidifier? How did it go?