My Mom Shared Her Secret for Easy (and Fast!) Cleanup After Slow Cooker Dinners — and It’s a Game-Changer

published Oct 31, 2022
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Spacious kitchen with open shelving and solid oak work surfaces. The pendant lights and units are both by Ikea.
Credit: Andreas von Einsiedel | Getty Images

Ah, fall. There’s nothing I love more than the “‘ber” months — that’s September, October, November, and December. Not only do I love the holidays surrounding them, but it’s also the perfect time for cooking comfort foods.

One appliance in my home that gets a lot of use in autumn is my slow cooker. I love cooking hot soups, pot roasts, and chili. The smell wafting through the apartment while a football game plays on TV is sheer perfection!

Credit: Kate Oczypok

The only hard thing about slow cookers is the cleanup. You know what I’m talking about — the crusty, melted, slightly charred bits that get stuck to the cooker’s bottom and sides. They take forever to clean — especially when whatever food you’re cooking cools.

As a native Pittsburgher, I have an especially large Steelers-themed slow cooker (see below!), and it’s heavy and awkward to wash. I either spill dirty water all over or burn myself trying to scrub soup leftovers from the giant pot.

Credit: Kate Oczypok
My large slow cooker ready to go.

Despite the messy cleanup, I really adore my slow cooker. I love it even more now that I’ve discovered Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners.

Allow me to explain. Years ago, on a Christmas holiday at home, I saw my mom making her chicken tortilla soup. I noticed a plastic-like bag poking out of the top of the slow cooker. Of course, I had to ask my mom all about it.

I questioned what it was, and my mother showed me the handy box of slow cooker liners. She raved about how easy it was to clean up messy recipes, and how it made the dread of cleanup so much less daunting. 

I decided I would try them, too. I discovered that each liner is made with a BPA-free, nylon-blend that’s safe for low, medium, and high settings. The regular size fits three- to eight-quart pots. Plus, the liners come in a smaller size, which accommodates one- to three-quart pots. The smaller size is convenient for apartment dwellers with minimal space or those making meals for themselves.

The first time I used the liners, I made chili on a “chilly” Sunday (please excuse the pun!). I positioned the liner in our slow cooker, put my ingredients in, and found it easy to close the lid. The chili smelled the same as it always has when it cooked: deliciously comforting and spicy. We enjoyed it that night and had plenty of leftovers.

Credit: Kate Oczypok
Each liner is BPA-free and safe for low, medium, or high settings.

I paid attention to the instructions on the liner box that said to allow everything to cool before you clean up. And, let me tell you, it was incredibly easy — a literal scoop of the slow cooker liner (once I took out the leftovers) and a dump straight into my trash can. I was instantly obsessed! 

I’ve been using the liners for a few years now, and wouldn’t dream of cooking anything in my slow cooker without them. All they require is just a quick rinse-out before putting your slow cooker back on the shelf. It sure beats scrubbing endlessly or, even worse, letting things soak overnight and waiting until the next morning.

How do you easily clean your slow cooker? Tell us your tips and cleaning methods in the comments below.