Why Do Slow Cookers Crack?

For the last five years, I have relied on the slow cooker as my primary cooking device due to its convenience and ability to produce tasty dishes. However, if not used properly, slow cookers are susceptible to cracking and breaking, which is regrettable.

If a slow cooker’s crock made of ceramic-insert or glass is faulty or not handled properly, it will crack. The most frequent causes of cracking are sudden changes in temperature, placing it on a stovetop burner, or dropping it too hard on a flat surface.

5 Reasons Why a Slow Cooker Cracks

The ceramic stoneware insert of your slow cooker may be thick and heavy, but it is also very fragile. This means that it can easily break under a variety of conditions, both when heated and not. Let’s explore some of the reasons why your slow cooker might crack in certain situations.

If Your Slow Cooker Cracks During the Cooking Process

Three primary factors can cause your slow cooker to develop cracks while in use.

  • Cooking Frozen Foods Without Defrosting. Avoiding the process of thawing frozen foods before adding them to your slow cooker can cause the crock to experience a sudden temperature change. This can lead to small, hairline fractures that may go unnoticed, but if exposed to further stress, these cracks can become much larger.
  • Chilling Your Slow Cooker Before Use. While it may be convenient to prepare your slow cooker the night before, refrigerating the crock overnight and then using it straight out of the fridge can lead to breakage. The sudden change in temperature can cause stress fractures in the ceramic, eventually resulting in significant cracks.
  • Placing Your Crock Directly On The Burner. Although the ceramic material of your crock is safe to use in microwaves and ovens, it is not suitable for stovetop burners. If you put your crock directly on the burner, there will be an excessive amount of heat at the bottom and insufficient heat at the top. This causes the bottom of the crock to expand rapidly while leaving the top half unaffected, leading to either cracking or snapping in half.
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Do You Have To Put Water In a Slow Cooker/Crockpot?

If Your Slow CookerCracks Before or After the Cooking Process

Although cracking during the cooking process is uncommon, slow cookers are more susceptible to cracking or snapping before or after cooking.

  • Putting a hot slow cooker in cold water may seem like a logical step to take after cooking, but it is not recommended. The heat causes the ceramic material to expand, and sudden cooling by submerging it in cold water can cause it to crack.

Placing a hot ceramic crock into cold water can cause cracks to form and break apart due to differential shrinkage and expansion of its parts.

The same reasons apply when cold water is poured into a hot slow cooker, causing cracks to form on the inside first.

  • Putting the Crock on Solid Surfaces with Force. Despite the sturdiness of ceramic crock inserts, they are actually quite delicate and brittle. This implies that although it is challenging to scratch them, cracking or chipping can occur easily. If you place your crock down too forcefully on a flat, hard surface, you will create tiny fractures in the material.

What Does a Hairline Fracture or Crack Look Like?

If you notice a hairline crack in your slow cooker, it will appear as a thin line resembling spiderweb cracks, with very little space between the two sides of the crack, unlike larger cracks that have a clear gap between them.

Typically, a hairline crack can be fixed easily and ignored, but when it comes to a crock, this is not the recommended solution.

How Do You Fix a Cracked Slow Cooker?

While there are food-safe choices available, like ceramic-cements and glues, for fixing kitchenware such as plates and coffee mugs, they are not designed to withstand the high cooking temperatures that slow cookers generate.

Slow cookers can cause ceramic-cements and glues to deteriorate, resulting in cracks. Although some ceramic-cements claim to address this problem, they are more costly than replacing the entire slow cooker or crock.

When it comes to hairline cracks in slow cooker, some people suggest a temporary solution of using simmering milk to fix the surface of the crack, which may seal it and prevent water from leaking through. However, this method is not completely reliable and requires a large amount of milk, so it might be more practical to simply buy a new crock instead.

See also
Is It Better to Slow Cook on Low or High?

Are There Replacement Pots For Slow Cookers?

Fortunately, several manufacturers provide replacement crocks for purchase to substitute the ones that have suffered from cracks and fractures.

It is effortless and cost-effective to revive your slow cooker with minimal effort and expense by purchasing replacement parts from Crock-Pot, a well-known brand that provides such parts for most of its slow cookers.

Is It Safe To Eat From a Cracked Crock-Pot?

Using a slow cooker that has cracks can pose several safety issues while cooking.

  • Cleaning. It is difficult to clean cracks effectively, which can result in food getting trapped and spreading bacteria into subsequent meals.
  • Aggravating harm. Similar to a crack in your car’s windshield, a crack in a slow cooker can expand and lead to a complete fracture, resulting in the crock being shattered.
  • Toxins. Certain older models of slow cookers (pre 2005) may have trace amounts of lead in the ceramic and/or glaze of the crock.  If there is any damage to either of these, this carries the risk of lead seeping into the food cooked within. This can cause long term health issues for anyone who consumes the meals over a prolonged period.

Statements have been released by manufacturers of contemporary slow cookers, asserting that their ceramics and glazes are devoid of lead.

The FDA has released a list of appliances that contain lead in their materials, and none of the major brands that make slow cookers are included on it.

What to Do If My Slow Cooker Lid Cracks?

Similar to the crock of a slow cooker, the glass lid is susceptible to cracking when exposed to sudden temperature changes or dropped on a hard surface. In case of a crack, it is necessary to buy a new lid.

If you don’t have the means to get a new glass lid for your slow cooker right away, you can use other pot covers from around the kitchen if they fit snugly. It is essential that the lid stays in place and does not let out heat or steam.

See also
What Is a Slow Cooker And How Does It Work?

If you don’t have a lid from your kitchen and are expecting a new one to arrive, you can use aluminum foil as an alternative. Cut two pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, place them on top of the slow cooker, and secure them around the edges of the appliance.

Before turning on the heat, make sure to crimp the foil tightly for a secure fit and use oven mitts to remove it once done.

Can You Put a Slow Cooker in the Oven?

Although the crock of your slow cooker cannot be placed on the stovetop, it can be put in the oven, excluding the heating element. The key dissimilarity between the oven and stovetop is that the oven will uniformly spread heat throughout the crock.

By enabling the crock to evenly absorb and release heat, the likelihood of cracking is significantly decreased.

To avoid cracking your crock, make sure to place it on a rack, towel, or wooden block when removing it from the oven as placing it on a cool surface can cause fractures.

Will My Slow Cooker Catch Fire?

If your slow cooker is in proper working order, it is unlikely to ignite even if you leave it on for an extended period of time. Why Do Slow Cookers Crack? If the appliance has frayed cords, broken switches, or defective components, this increases the chances of a problem occurring.

The reason for slow cookers cracking is due to the fact that any electrical appliance connected to a power source has the potential to ignite if the electricity is not channeled correctly or if there are defective components that cannot withstand the electrical current.

You can also check this video about “Why Do Slow Cookers Crack?”

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