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I bought a Hamilton Beach slow cooker a while ago. I never had success with it since all the stuff that I made didn't smell good. I finally figured out that it was the rubber gasket on the lid that smelled bad. I don't know if the smell was concentrated food aroma or burnt rubber. I soaked the lid in vinegar overnight and then rinsed it. The smell was gone. I then made some pinto beans in the slow cooker and the gasket again stinks, this time similar to a very very strong pinto bean smell. I am thinking of either giving up on slow cooking or buying a crock pot brand. My questions:

  1. Is the extremely strong smell from the rubber gasket a common occurrence in slow cookers in general?
  2. If not, I guess I should just go and buy a different brand/model and shouldn't have this problem.
  3. If they are, are there any gasketless slow cookers or lids that would solve this problem?
  4. Does overcooking tend to bring out different, or offensive smells from otherwise normal food and sauces?

Results: For those coming here with the same problem, I simply removed the gasket and everything was fine. Since the lid has a small hole to release pressure, there was no need for a gasket to make a seal in the first place.

  • I have had the same problem with a counter-top electric pressure cooker. I am going to try the vinegar-and-dish soap solution. – Brian K1LI Oct 2 at 14:22
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  1. Well first off, most slow cookers don't have a gasket. So its not a problem for them. Rubber can often times take on strong smell.
  2. I would consider buying one without a gasket - I don't think its a majorly useful feature personally. Or, consider buying the more versatile enameled Dutch oven (there are some very affordable, excellent ones) .
  3. Yes, most don't have a rubber gasket. And it would solve that problem.
  4. Yes overcooking will lead to bad/different smells, even in good food otherwise. It will often lead to bad tastes and textures as well.
  • +1 for very helpful answers! I can't use Dutch ovens for "slow cooking" to have food ready when I am back from work, can I? – highBandWidth Mar 5 '14 at 21:42
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    @highBandWidth - It depends on if you trust your oven to be on all day or a small electrical appliance to be on all day. Either way there's a risk of leaving something plugged in like that. Generally small appliances carry a much higher risk than an oven at 230 degrees. – rfusca Mar 5 '14 at 21:47
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    I can't recommend it, as I've never used it, but the reviews are good. The safest to leave all day would be something like this insulated bag. – rfusca Mar 5 '14 at 21:49
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vinegar(white) about 3" deep in basin add teaspoon mild dish soap swish into bubbles place lid in rubber in solution let it soak for 2 hours.... No more smell. If that doesn't work I don't know.

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The whole purpose of the gasket and hinges is to make the crockpot portable to prevent spills. Wash the lid in the dishwasher. The lids of crockpots are all DW safe. No more problem.

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