The slow cooker is a parent's best friend on those weekday afternoons or lazy weekends when you are going to be chauffeuring kids to and from soccer, football, basketball, or cheerleading practices and games, chaperoning play practice, or just working late on a big project. Whether you are making carnitas, split pea soup, or BBQ chicken, you know you can just throw the ingredients into the ceramic insert, set the cooking time, and come back hours later to a complete meal, ready to eat. Slow cookers are the time-saver we can all depend on.
But just like with any meal, your slow cooker can still lead to an epic clean-up that requires a little or, sometimes, a lot of scrubbing from time to time, depending on what you are cooking. Per the Spruce Eats, even though the ceramic inserts of these small electric appliances are coated with a shiny glaze, cooked food can still get stuck to the walls and not want to leave. That kind of mess can definitely deflate all those good vibes of using your slow cooker; however, the Spruce Eats has a remedy for this problem and suggests that you may want to start greasing your slow cooker. Here's why.
Per the Spruce Eats, over time, that shiny coat on your slow cooker's insert starts to deteriorate. But if you spray the insert with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray, you can help head off, minimize, and slow down that natural wear and tear on your slow cooker.
If you are not a fan of non-stick cooking sprays, the Kitchn suggests using another type of grease, noting butter, olive, or vegetable oil will do the job just as well. But in addition to potentially lengthening the life of your slow cooker, greasing the insert can also help reduce the need to put a lot of elbow grease into your clean-up. Win-win!
That said, when you do have food that is glued to the insert and won't budge, Southern Living suggests using some vinegar, some baking soda, and water, and then turning your slow cooker on the lowest setting for a couple of hours. This process should loosen the remaining food remnants. Once the insert has cooled, you can then take another swipe at the inside, rinse with warm water, and scrub away whatever is left. Of course, be sure to avoid getting the cord and plug wet.