I love a slow cooker. I inherited mine from a friend a few years ago (it's an older version of this). It's amazing and probably will be for decades to come: My mom still has the one she got for her wedding in the '70s and it works great. I love that I can throw a few ingredients in there in the morning and come home from worked to a perfectly done meal.
The thing I don't love — and I'm sure other slow cooker fans will agree — is that the long cook times sometimes leave you with a ring of crusty, baked-on food that's a pain to remove.
Well, it turns out you don't need to waste your time or energy scrubbing, because you can actually get your slow cooker to clean itself! And unlike other hacky ideas in this genre, this one is actually endorsed by Crock-Pot, so you know you're not going to accidentally ruin your slow cooker.
The short version is that instead of soaking the ceramic insert in your sink and then scrubbing it, heat a vinegar-baking soda mixture inside of your slow cooker and let it do the work for you.
The Crock-Pot team likes this method because it isn't too harsh — they say they don't worry about the baking soda harming the ceramic surface — and everything is food-safe, so you don't have to worry about any harmful residue.
How To Set Your Slow Cooker to Clean Itself
- Slow cooker
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Add water: Fill your slow cooker with water until it's just above the leftover food line.
- And vinegar: Add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker.
- And baking soda: Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker. Allow bubbles to die down and then add a little bit more.
- Cover: Cover and set your slow cooker to LOW for one hour or up to four.
- Cool and wash: Allow the slow cooker insert to cool and wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water. Set it on the counter to dry.
For a deeper clean, try this method: How To Clean a Slow Cooker
How do you clean your slow cooker?