Slow cookers and crock pots are great for cooking delicious and tender meals over several hours.
These meals come out tender and flavorful, but what if you want to speed up the cooking process or add a nice sear?
Can the insert be transferred to the oven?
If these cookers can go in the oven, how long should you leave them in, and at what temperature setting?
Let’s jump in and see what a slow cooker is and if it's a good idea to put one in your oven.
The Difference Between Crockpots and Slow Cookers
We rely on crockpots and slow cookers to deliver delicious meals with a set-it-and-forget-it method, to tenderize meat, and cook meals while we’re away from the kitchen.
Although “crockpot” has become the generic term for these slow cookers, the two are not necessarily the same.
Crock Pot is a brand name introduced by Rival Manufacturers in 1970 and was advertised as a bean cooker.
Over time, it was redesigned as a slow cooker for different types of food, and other manufacturers designed their own version of slow cookers, but the name “crockpot” became synonymous with all slow cookers.
The main differences lie in the commercial slow cookers.
Though the design is similar to a crockpot, some have metal inserts on top of the heating element, which has five heat settings instead of three, and the commercial units can cook in cycles.
Can You Put a Crockpot Insert in the Oven?
Crockpots are designed to cook in a base on the countertop, but the insert can handle heat up to 400°F.
The answer is yes, you can use the insert inside the oven, but not the lid or the base, as these are not oven-safe.
As a precaution, the insert should not be placed in the base or in the oven right out of the refrigerator, because the ceramic insert could crack.
For several reasons, inserts are often added to an oven to finish cooking a meal.
Finishing a slow cooker meal in an oven is a time saver, and the top (particularly of roasts) can be broiled to a nice, brown finish before serving.
What Slow Cooker Inserts are Oven Safe?
There are plenty of slow cooker inserts that are oven safe.
Hamilton Beach, Calphalon, and Chefman are affordable and quality options.
They are also stovetop and microwave safe, but I don’t recommend heating them above 400°F.
Can You Put a Crockpot Liner in the Oven?
Yes, Crockpot (the brand name) liners are oven and microwave safe.
Here is a direct link to Crockpot, where they answer this question directly.
However, the other pieces of the slow cooker, the lid and the base, are not oven-safe because of the tiny metal and plastic parts.
If your liner requires covering, aluminum foil will do the trick.
What Oven Temperature is Safe for a Slow Cooker Insert?
Always stick with 400°F as the maximum temperature, but I would stay closer to 350°F to be safe.
If you overheat the ceramic liner, the high temperatures can cause thermal shock, where a breakable material like ceramic expands because of high temperatures and could potentially break.
What Types of Slow Cookers are Not Oven-Safe?
Thin-walled slow cooker inserts are not oven safe because the heat could ruin them. If the insert is made of ceramic, chances are good that it is oven and microwave-safe.
All-Clad is an example of a ceramic insert not recommended for the oven. Although this is a great slow cooker, the prolonged exposure of the ceramic to high temperatures could cause the insert to shatter.
Will a Slow Cooker Insert Crack If I Put it in the Oven While Cold?
Yes, because if heated up rapidly, cold ceramic will likely crack from thermal shock.
It's best to leave the insert on the counter for a few minutes prior to cooking and allow it to gradually warm up to room temperature.
Can the Crockpot Insert go from the Oven to the Crockpot?
Yes, transferring the insert from the oven to the crockpot is safe because both elements are warm.
Preheat the slow cooker base before removing the insert from the oven to keep the food from cooling too much.
Slow cookers, whether Crockpot or another brand name, are great additions to any kitchen.
They consistently produce delicious meals with little to no fuss.
Plus, if you have a ceramic liner, you can finish the meal in the oven, producing faster results and a crispy brown finish.
When placing your liner in the oven, remember that the other slow cooker pieces are not oven-safe due to their thin metal and plastic pieces.
Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations before you place any insert into an oven.