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I am wondering if you are supposed to put water in all slow cookers? I saw my roommate put water underneath the ceramic insert and would like to know if that is the proper procedure? I have never owned a new one and my ceramic inserts tend to break often, would like to know if that is why?

I always make sure there is liquid in the cooking portion of the crock, so I'm at least doing that right. But would you have any insights into why the ceramic inserts break on me so often. I keep them clean and store them in the cupboard(no 'off-label usage), but they keep on breaking....am I just getting my hands on cheap cookers? or is there a trick or something that will help extend the life I get out of them?

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    I've never seen a slow cooker that needed water added, in fact most manuals would warn you against it, however it may depend on the brand. What's the brand and model?
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 8:04
  • The brand is a Bella- the model number is 1320-F. So you are saying that generally slow cookers do not require water in this manner? I'm sorry I am rather inexperienced with slow cookers. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:39
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    Ive never seen one that does @NavajoDreamchild
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 22:04

2 Answers 2

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No, you should not add water outside the ceramic pot. It is not required for proper cooking, and while the slow cooker I’ve seen all have that area watertight, doing so may cause water to splash onto the control knob.

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  • I'm not sure they're really watertight, even if protected against the odd accidental splash. Not just the manual but the outer container warns against putting water outside the cooking pot in mine (and, as I recall, my previous 2 as well)
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:31
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Ceramic can crack if it gets a sudden temperature shock. So if you’re using it to store a prepped food in the fridge, and put it straight into the metal exterior of the slow cooker, the sudden heating may crack it, although you may not notice at the time. It’s a good idea to let it come to room temperature first. I wouldn’t put really boiling hot liquid into it either, as in a casserole you’ve just brought to the boil on top of the stove. Likewise, running cold water directly into a very hot ceramic insert could crack it, too.

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  • Slow cookers don’t get hot enough to cause significant thermal stress in ceramic.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:26
  • @Sneftel I agree in normal use. You can use a grill to brown topping in some models, with care, and of course that's more thermal stress. I'm not sure if it's possible to abuse it and cause cracking (by preheating the outer empty, which you're not supposed to do)
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:34

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