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temperature of slow cooker

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 05, 2013 at 4:41 AM

I just bought a slow cooker but am not sure if the temperature it runs at is hot enough to cook food safely.

I read a lot of reviews on Amazon before buying one (which wasn't reviewed on Amazon as I couldn't find any locally that were). Most of the reviewers on Amazon who had problems with their slow cookers complained that they were either too hot or not hot enough. I thought before putting any food in it might be a good idea to check the temperature.

I 3/4 filled my crockpot with water. I ran it for 2 hours on low after which time the water was about as warm as water I'd have a bath in (but it could have been warmer and still capable of having a bath in it) - so, really, not as hot as I'd think you'd need to cook food in. I then ran it on high for 2 hours. The water didn't get to a simmer but was too hot to put my hand into. (I know these aren't exact measures of temperature but I don't have a thermometer). My expectation based on Amazon reviews was that the water would at least get to a simmer on the high setting although many reported that their slow cookers boiled on the high setting.

So, I'm wondering if others with slow cookers could give me some advice on whether mine sounds like it will be safe to try to cook with. I know it's supposed to cook food slowly but I also know it's recommended to keep meat above a certain temperature whilst cooking. I would guess my slow cooker isn't hot enough but also wonder if putting in so much water is a reasonable way to test it as you wouldn't usually have that much liquid (except for broths/soups).

736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on August 06, 2013
at 04:05 PM

My understanding is that standard slow cooker temps will kill parasites in meat, but not eliminate the toxins in eg. beans.

Dfa90a7646675420b3998a913935a697

on August 06, 2013
at 07:15 AM

Thank you both. I will get a thermometer when I next go to the shops. That's a good point about only having to get up to temperature by the end of the cooking time. I'll try leaving the cooker on for longer and measuring the temperature much later - I think you are supposed to cook on low for 8-10 hours so will use that as a guide.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on August 05, 2013
at 01:51 PM

Keep in mind also that it's not necessarily what temperature the food is at DURING cooking that's important, it's what temperature it ends up at. Meat cooked to 165F at the center will not harbor pathogens, regardless of how long it took to get to that temperature.

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1 Answers

best answer

1
8a58bc2ddd8dbe6ca3f07238d913137c

on August 05, 2013
at 07:19 AM

Test using a digital thermometer.

Bacteria grows best between 40??F and 140??F ... AVOID this temp range.

I'm guessing...

The crock pot's Low setting should cook 150??-160F.

A High setting should cook 195-200??F.

Dfa90a7646675420b3998a913935a697

on August 06, 2013
at 07:15 AM

Thank you both. I will get a thermometer when I next go to the shops. That's a good point about only having to get up to temperature by the end of the cooking time. I'll try leaving the cooker on for longer and measuring the temperature much later - I think you are supposed to cook on low for 8-10 hours so will use that as a guide.

736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on August 06, 2013
at 04:05 PM

My understanding is that standard slow cooker temps will kill parasites in meat, but not eliminate the toxins in eg. beans.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on August 05, 2013
at 01:51 PM

Keep in mind also that it's not necessarily what temperature the food is at DURING cooking that's important, it's what temperature it ends up at. Meat cooked to 165F at the center will not harbor pathogens, regardless of how long it took to get to that temperature.

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