Can I Leave Slow Cooker On For 24 Hours?

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Can I Leave Slow Cooker On For 24 Hours

How Long You Can Safely Leave the Slow Cooker On

If you are a die-hard fan of the drama series This Is Us and your heart broke after finding how Jack Pearson died, you must be worried about using your slow cooker. Hence, it’s fair to ask can I leave slow cooker on for 24 hours.

First things first, the slow cooker isn’t going to kill you, and Jack didn’t die because of the cooker. It did cause a fire in the Pearson family’s house, which eventually leads to Jack’s death. Coming back to the slow cooker, read further to find all the answers including; Can I Leave Slow Cooker On For 24 Hours?.

How Many Hours Can You Leave The Slow Cooker On?

Experts say this varies by what is inside the cooker, its temperature setting, and the model, of course. Most slow cooker recipes need 6 to 8 hours of slow heat. 

Leaving the appliance on for days is definitely not recommended. Hence why most cookers have a 24-hour programmable cycle. After the 24 hours are over, the cooker will shut off automatically. So let’s say you leave your house at 7 am for work, leaving the cooker on, and for some reason, you come back at 11 pm, you will be fine.

Can I Leave Slow Cooker On For 24 Hours?

This depends on the model of the cooker. Before using the cooker, it’s advised to read the directions since some cookers can be left for up to 24 hours while others recommend 12 hours only.

In short, as long as you are using the appliance properly, leaving it on and going about your day is safe. To ensure safety, check out these helpful tips:

Place the Appliance on a Heatproof Surface

It’s important to place the cooker on the right type of surface. A wooden table or countertop is not an ideal surface. Make sure the cooker is placed on a heatproof surface such as granite or a tiled surface.

Keep It Away From the Wall

When a slow cooker is on, the majority of the heat comes from its sides. Therefore, give it plenty of room to breathe. Keep the appliance at least 6 inches away from the wall or any other object. Also, keep the cord away from the cooker’s edges.

Don’t Overload the Cooker

Fill the cooker one-half to 3 quarters of the way with ingredients. If you fill the ingredients till the top, it’s obviously going to overflow. At the same, you wouldn’t want to run the risk of making all the liquid evaporate because you didn’t fill the ingredients appropriately. Along with filling the appliance properly, double-check its lid. It should be secured tightly.

Keep On Low Heat

If you are going to stay out of the house for long while the cooker is running, pick a low heat. In case the recipes require running on a higher seat, it should be saved for when you are in the house. Dishes that require high heat have a quick finish time.

Stick to the Cook Time on the Recipes

Although slow cooker recipes are designed to cook for a longer period, it can be overcooked if they are left for too long or in the wrong settings.

It’s best to follow the cooking time indicated on the recipe. Most meals take 8 to 12 hours on slow heat or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. Other recipes that contain meat may take up to 24 hours. To avoid overcooking and mushing up the veggies, follow the guidelines.

Older slow cookers require manual switching between settings. However, if you have a programmable slow cooker, you won’t have to worry about getting home on time. These models include a digital timer that automatically changes the cooker to a warm setting after a specific time. This way, your recipe will be cooked to perfection without overcooking.

You can set the slow cooker to cooking temperature. When it reaches that temperature, it will automatically switch to lower heat. This way, the temperature will be maintained throughout the time you are away and nothing will mess up.

Don’t Leave the Cooker on Warm All Day

Most cookers automatically shut off after 20 hours. Experts say you should not leave food in the slow cooker for extended hours. In general, leave the food on warm for 2 to 4 hours maximum. After this, your food is ready to be transferred to the refrigerator.

Wondering why? Most models have warm settings around 145 degrees F. this is close to the danger zone as referred by USDA. Bacteria start growing if the setting is between 40 and 140 degrees F. Therefore, if you are opening and closing the lid of the cooker frequently, and the temperature hasn’t been maintained, you might spoil the food if you leave it out for too long after it’s cooked.

Common Questions About Slow Cookers

Are plastic slow cooker liners safe?

Yes, they are totally safe. Just make sure you are getting the BPFA free ones and they are made for high-temperature materials.

Can you put a slower cooker in a microwave or oven?

Yes, you can. The ceramic inserts can bear 400 degrees F. before placing them in the oven or microwave, make sure you take off the lid.

Can you put them in a refrigerator?

Yes, slow cookers are refrigerator safe. You can store the dish in the fridge before cooking. However, slow cookers are not designed to go into freezers. The ceramic can crack.

Are they dishwater safe?

Most cookers are dishwasher safe and that includes their lids. However, read the instruction manual before putting yours into the dishwasher.

What temperature is high and low?

This depends on the make and model of your cooker. Check the manual for more information.

Is it necessary to keep the lid on?

Yes. However, if your recipe requires taking off the lid, then follow the instructions. Never leave the slow cooker unattended when the lid is off.

Slow cooker Dishwasher

Bottom Line

Every slow cooker recipe certainly turns out delicious when all instructions are followed precisely. In case you are wondering can I leave slow cooker on for 24 hours, now you know everything.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!