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I'm making chicken chili. Or trying to... This morning I turned on my crockpot to high for about 40 minutes. I then drove to work and replugged it, about an hour after unplugging it. After cooking it for 5 more hours, should it be safe?

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  • Please see our food safety info under cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info, it describes when food left unheated is safe to eat and when it is not, and ends with links to our most important questions and answers on the topic.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:56

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It likely depends on if the food came up to 140°F (60°F) while you were still at home, and how much it cooled off during the trip.

Basically, your time in the 'danger zone' is cumulative, so it's the sum of:

  1. Time to heat up to above 140°F (60°C)
  2. Time from when it cooled down to below 140°F 'til it go back up to 140°F

So, if it never got up to 140°F, then it likely spent 2 hours in the 'danger zone'. (40min + 1 hour + time to get up to 140°F), which some people consider to be right at the edge of acceptable.

... but if it got up to 140°F in the first 20 minutes, and it was well-insulated so didn't drop below 140°F until 30 min into the trip, and it came back up to temp 10 min after plugging it back in, you'd have had (20min + (1hr - 30min) + (10min) = 1hr ... which is well within recommended times.

These also assume that you didn't take a long time to get the chicken home from the store and/or leave it on the counter for 30 min while you were putting away other groceries.

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