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Are Slow Cookers Safe? The TV Show That Has Everyone Freaking Out

A recent episode of This Is Us has slow cooker users on edge.

Are Slow Cookers Safe

Fans of NBC’s family drama, This Is Us, were understandably shaken after the end of last week’s episode (Jan. 23). And in case you haven’t heard….it has something to do with a slow cooker. 

This Is Us SPOILERS AHEAD! 

If you’ve been watching the show since the beginning, you will know that the cause of Jack’s death is a major mystery at the heart of the series’ plot. This episode reveals that Jack's death is caused by a faulty slow cooker on game day.

But, don't throw your slow cooker out just yet. They are still safe when used properly!

On football Sunday, Rebecca makes a pot of chili in a hand-me-down slow cooker given to the Pearsons by an old friend. In a flashback, we see the friend warn Jack and Rebecca about its problematic on-off dial as he hands them the gift.

After the game ends, Jack cleans up the kitchen, switches off the slow cooker, turns off the kitchen light and heads to bed. As he walks upstairs, we see the slow cooker light flicker back on. Since there is an electrical short in the wire, it quickly catches fire and spreads to a nearby dish towel. 

This Is Us fans are shaken by this heartbreaking plot twist, and are now curious about the safety of slow cookers.

According to a statement from a Crock-Pot spokesperson in an interview with Eater.com

“Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs. For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode.”

“The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures…The switches within our slow cookers are subjected to additional internal testing, which includes a Rotary Knob Endurance test, Rotary Knob Force Test and Flame Burning Test and constructed of self-extinguishing, flame resistant material.”


Still reeling from Jack’s demise? There are several things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while still using your slow cooker.

​​5 Ways to Stay Safe When Using a Slow Cooker

1. Always unplug your slow cooker when it’s not in use.

Always unplug your slow cooker when it’s not in use.

As with any small appliances that get limited use (blender, waffle iron, slow cooker, etc.) it is safest to unplug them as soon as you’re finished using them. Once you are finished eating, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator, and then unplug the slow cooker before removing the insert to wash it. This is a good practice for both food safety and slow cooker usage!

2. Don’t leave dish towels next to your slow cooker while it is plugged in.

Don’t leave dish towels next to your slow cooker while it is plugged in.

While it may be a handy reminder to wipe up spills, this is actually a fire hazard. Make sure the counter top around the slow cooker is free from any clutter such as towels, napkins, or even water puddles. Not only will you have a cleaner workspace you will also lower the risk of anything going wrong.

3. If you notice an issue with your slow cooker, stop using it.

If you notice an issue with your slow cooker, stop using it.

If your slow cooker doesn’t heat up as quickly anymore, there’s a crack in the lid, or anything seems “off” about it, it’s a good idea to stop using it. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is especially important if you plan to leave your slow cooker unattended.

4. Be aware of your slow cooker's age.

Be aware of your slow cooker's age.

Vintage appliances can become more unsafe over time due to normal wear and tear. So if you notice any issues with the cord or plug– fraying cord, bare wire, a fabric-covered cord -  it’s a good idea to get a newer slow cooker. Not sure when to call it quits on your slow cooker? Learn more about slow cooker safety in this article from the Kitchn by slow cooking expert, Stephanie O’Dea.

5. Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.

Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.

Always keep batteries in all of your smoke detectors and test them monthly to make sure they are working properly. For more information on smoke detector maintenance, read these guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association.

Read Our Product Reviews!

We've reviewed many different slow cookers in our offices. Find all of the slow cookers we have reviewed below. If you are on the lookout for a new slow cooker, keep our reviews in mind!

See all of our product reviews right here.

Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker

Have you been neglecting any of these slow cooker safety measures? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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That was an upsetting episode indeed. Good to know that it's not a common issue and that there are many ways to prevent anything like that happening in our homes. Thanks!

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