Crock-Pots and other slow cookers are safe for preparing foods, including meat and poultry, as long as you use the device correctly. The low- and high-heat settings on the Crock-Pot reach a hot enough temperature to kill potential bacteria from the chicken. Cleaning your slow cooker and preparing chicken properly ensures that your food does not carry an increased risk of food-borne illnesses.
Thaw Your Bird First
If you are planning to cook chicken in a Crock-Pot, the poultry should be completely thawed first. Placing frozen chicken directly into a slow cooker puts you at risk of food poisoning because it will take a long time for the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature.
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Small Pieces Cook More Evenly
If you have larger pieces of chicken, cut them up before using a Crock-Pot. Large cuts of chicken can remain in the danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and stimulate the growth of bacteria, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. Do not overload the slow cooker, as the chicken might not cook completely. The slow cooker should be no more than two-thirds full.
Preheat and Cook
Preheating your slow cooker brings it to the proper temperature to keep your meal safe. Turn on your Crock-Pot approximately 30 minutes before you plan to use the device. Heat the chicken for the first hour on the high setting of your slow cooker. The remainder of the cooking can be done using the low setting. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of chicken, which should reach a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reheating Your Dish
It is not safe to use a Crock-Pot to reheat chicken. Use an oven or microwave to reheat foods. If you want to keep a chicken dish hot after reheating, it can then be transferred to a slow cooker. The slow cooker should remain at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the chicken hot, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.