Were you affected by Hurricane Ida? Get help now


Crock Pot Fires: Is Your Kitchen in Danger?

Last Updated on September 27, 2019 by Diana Rodriguez-Zaba

You love adding ingredients, turning a dial and letting the slow cooker do the rest. You don’t like hearing stories on the news or a favorite TV show about crock pot fires that burn down houses.

Slow cooker fire statistics are on your side. Still, these countertop appliances aren’t completely safe. A crock pot can transition from a kitchen convenience into a serious fire hazard more easily than you think.

Everything You Need to Know About Slow Cooker Fire Safety

Electric crock pots have graced kitchen counters since the 1940s. They’re easy to use, but they’re easy to take for granted. Stay safe by getting to know your slow cooker a little better. You need to understand its fire-starting potential.

Maintenance Makes a Big Difference

Cleaning a crock pot between uses isn’t enough. Keep it in top working condition with these simple maintenance tips.

crock pot in chicago kitchen
Image via Flickr / CC by SA 2.0

• Regularly check the condition of the cooker’s control panel. Make sure the pot is securely attached to its base.

Inspect the crock pot’s electric cord and plug-in hardware. If you notice any signs of wear, replace the cord with OEM equipment, or invest in a new model.

Test the cooker for overheating problems. Fill it three-quarters full with water. Leave it on a low setting for eight hours. Use a cooking thermometer to confirm a safe operating temperature between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Politely say no to hand-me-down crock pots and bargain slow cookers at garage sales. Older models with fabric wrapped cords don’t meet today’s safety standards, and most don’t include automatic shutoff features.

How You Use It Counts

In general, crock pots are safe to leave unattended. Minimize the chances of your slow cooker starting a kitchen fire by making sure you use it safely.

Read your owner’s manual. It’s filled with best-practice tips for safe cooking procedures and equipment operation.

Pay attention to measurements in slow cooker recipes. Don’t overfill the pot with too many ingredients or too much liquid. Always cook at recommended temperatures.

Use the crock pot on a level surface positioned away from the counter edge. This keeps it safely out of reach when busy kids and family pets enjoy the kitchen.

• If you notice an electrical smell around the slow cooker or wall outlet, unplug the appliance immediately, and investigate the source of the odor.

• Always turn off the unit and unplug it as soon as you’re done cooking. Even models with automatic shutoff features should be unplugged right away.

Crock Pot Fire Damage Can Be Serious

Once a crock pot starts a fire in the kitchen, it can cause as much damage as an oven fire. Heat and flames from the unit and outlet spread to cabinets and walls and quickly engulf the kitchen. Because the slow cooker plugs into the wall, its combustion also impacts your home’s electrical system.

crock pot kitchen fire in chicago
We cleanup and repair fire damaged kitchens in Chicago, IL on a regular basis.

Even after the fire is put out, damage isn’t always contained to the kitchen. Soot, smoke stains and mold can spread through the entire house. We help Chicago homeowners recover from kitchen fire damage on a regular basis.

Our teams are always available with expert fire cleanup and restoration services. Fire damage can be very serious, but we’re here to help at 773-647-1985. ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba stands by to answer your call 24/7.

Are crock pots dangerous?

Like any kitchen appliance, they can pose a fire hazard. Generally speaking, slow cookers and crock pots operate safely as long as they’re clean, well-maintained and properly used.

Do slow cookers cause house fires?

Yes. They aren’t responsible for as many residential fires as ovens, but slow cookers can and do start house fires. They’re plug-in appliances, and they can generate significant heat.

Is it safe to leave a slow cooker on overnight?

Generally speaking, yes. Make sure the equipment is in good shape. Set the alarm so that you don’t oversleep. Check smoke detectors and batteries throughout the house, and keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. .

Is it OK to leave a slow cooker on for 24 hours?

Most crock pot recipes call for cooking times that average between six and eight hours. Some new models are programmable and include 24-hour cooking options and an automatic shutoff mechanism. Never operate a slow cooker beyond its recommended temperatures or cooking times. .