A lot of people swear by slow cooker liners so I decided to test them out myself. If you’re new to slow cooker liners too, let me explain exactly what they are and if I think they’re worth it.
What are slow cooker liners?
They’re plastic bags that you put into your slow cooker (AKA crockpot) before adding the food. One liner is used per meal and thrown away after the meal is eaten.
Why would I use slow cooker liners?
The biggest benefit is that they line your slow cooker so there is no mess left to clean up. When you’re done eating, you simply remove the bag and throw it away. There will be some moisture left in the slow cooker, but all you need to do is wipe it out – no soaking or scrubbing necessary!
Who should use slow cooker liners?
- Anyone with a medical condition that limits use of their hands
- Anyone who hates doing dishes
- Anyone who gives slow cooker freezer meals as gifts (I bought slow cooker liners for my grandparents to go with their 20 mini crockpot freezer meals and I’m going to start giving them to my pregnant friends when I make them freezer meals.)
Are liners BPA-free?
Many people avoid using plastic items with their food (like plastic Tupperware and slow cooker liners) because some plastics contain BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical that can seep into food and have negative health consequences. (You can read more info about BPA from the Mayo Clinic.)
There are many different brands of slow cooker liners, so I would read the box carefully before buying or research the brand online. Crock-Pot brand liners are BPA-free. So are Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners, which are the ones that I tested.
What size slow cooker do they fit?
It looks like most liners fit 3-7 quart oval and round slow cookers. My grandparents have a 2.5 quart slow cooker and I don’t think it’s too small for a liner. There will just be extra liner hanging outside the slow cooker.
Can you use liners with slow cooker freezer meals?
Readers have left comments on my blog saying that they assemble their slow cooker freezer meals in slow cooker liners and then place the liners in gallon-sized plastic freezer bags and place them in the freezer. (Most people say that they reuse the outer freezer bag after cooking the meal.) Now that I’ve used the liners myself I have no idea how this is done. I stack my freezer meals to save space in the freezer and can’t figure out how to properly seal the liner so that the meal doesn’t spill out. In my case, I would freeze the meal in a regular freezer bag and then dump it into the liner the day of cooking.
How much do they cost?
There are a bunch of different brands of slow cooker liners and the cost varies. My local grocery store had boxes of four Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners on sale for $1.99 each, which works out to about 50¢ per liner. This pack of 20 liners on Amazon costs $13.70, which works out to about 69¢ per liner. I saw some cheaper liners sold on Amazon, but they had bad reviews so I would be wary of those. (P.S. I’m not great at clipping coupons, but I saw a 55¢ off coupon in the most recent Red Plum ad. Doubled that would be $1.10 off a box!)
Where can you buy slow cooker liners?
A quick search online shows that they’re sold in a ton of different stores. (For example, Kohl’s, Target, eBay, Amazon, and Walmart.) You can find slow cooker liners at most grocery stores near the foil and plastic wrap. I’ve also heard of people finding them at The Dollar Store.
Are slow cooker liners really worth it???
A lot of people swear by slow cooker liners so I decided to test them out myself. My husband does the dishes after dinner so I thought he would be most excited about them. After trying a couple of them we decided that they were a cool invention but not something that we’ll use everyday. I make slow cooker meals A LOT (usually 5x a week), so the cost would add up and the idea of cooking our meals in plastic everyday wasn’t appealing to us. I’ll buy them when I see a great sale or have a coupon and use them for meals that tend to stick to the pan. I’ll definitely buy them for slow cooker freezer meals that I make as gifts.
Crockpot liners have changed the way I look at using my slow cooker. My husband and sons used to HATE helping with cleanup after a slow-cooked meal. The result? I had to do the scrubbing. Now, after letting the slow cooker cool slightly, we simply pull out the “gunk” and throw it away. Life is happier and the Crockpot is used more frequently!
You’re probably eating healthier too, Joni. Great job.
I use a crockpot about once a month. I used a crockpot liner for the first time cooking a small turkey. I thought it was heavenly to lift out the bag and have no mess! I will continue to use them. My husband does not do the dishes and I’m all about the no mess aspect of these bags!
I hear ya, Patty.
Anyone else get nervous heating up things in plastic? I’m not asking to sound “judgy,” but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about recently. Even though the liners are BPA free, I’m just not fully convinced I’m not putting more chemicals into my food by heating it up with a plastic liner. I wish I WERE convinced, it would be easier for sure!
I LOVE your recipes and cookbooks btw! They’ve been a game changer for me! 🙂
Thank you, Amy. 🙂
Yes. As someone who works for a major plastics manufacturer, I’m aware of the varying degrees of quality of plastic. Those plastics that are of a higher-quality are the ones least likely to leech anything into your food, but they’re also the most expensive to produce and therefore more expensive for consumers. For this reason, I’m weary of disposable/inexpensive plastic products for cooking/reheating food. Of course, these bags are BPA-free, so that’s good. I just worry about what else may be in them that might be harmful to us that we just don’t know about yet. Obviously, this isn’t research-based,… Read more »
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Trista. And I’m so glad you’re using my recipes. 🙂
But I would bet you use a microwave for your food though. Hmmmm..
I rarely use my microwave and if I do I always use glass.
I agree with you. I wouldn’t use these bags. I had breast cancer 5 years ago and I just wouldn’t risk it. I would rather soak and scrub the old fashioned way!
Thank you! We didn’t know DDT was a bad thing. We didn’t know running through the mosquito fog was a bad thing. What don’t we know now? Even knowing what we know now?
Running through the mosquito fog sounds like you must be from the South as I am (yeah, I did it a couple times!)! My mother swears it is amazing she managed to raise 4 relatively healthy kids (now in our late 50’s, early 60’s) with all the things we know now NOT to do! Seems like warnings get reversed all the time. Hard to know what is right any more.
Cleaning a crockpot really doesn’t take that much effort, as Trista says…and regardless of any health related issues concerning cooking with plastic, its bad for the environment. Keep plastic out of landfills- clean your crockpot?
Yes, I have also been thinking about this lately! I do enjoy the no mess clean up of the liners though. I am happy to find out that they are BPA free though!
I don’t trust cooking in plastic at all. Plastic is petroleum based. I think I would rather wash my crock pot– Notice that Kelly didn’t address the safety part of your question.
Exactly, and I agree! These days everyone wants the quick easy way out on everything. I personally have no interest in heating food in plastic like this. Take the time to clean the crockpot. Take the FEW minutes to clean it. What if you find out later, chemicals in products like this cause you and your family health issues. It’s not worth it. Health these days is being pushed aside for convenience. Sad.
I agree. On my father’s side of the family, they used inexpensive aluminum cookware. I don’t know if there’s a connection but my many of my dads brothers and sisters are developmentally disabled.
I’ve been playing it safe and replacing all my plastic Tupperware with healthier ceramic dishes.
Its amazing that bpa is legal. And it’s merely one chemical that’s known to be bad.
Plastics and hydrogenated food (also a form of plastic) imitate estrogen in our bodies. Whether were a male or female, do we want these chemicals with unknown effects in our bodies?!
That crock has lead in it and after a while of use and cleaning, the glaze wears down and lead will get in your food. I teceived a crick pot for xmas and the crock had raised spots in it where the crock was not made or cleaned right before glazing and the glaze chip off when I pushed on it with my fingernail. Company sent me a new crock and it was the same, so I just took the whole thing back. If I was aware of the liners I would have used them, but I never had one… Read more »
Actually, there’s no lead in crockpots: http://terminalverbosity.com/soapbox/environment/the-skinny-on-lead-in-crock-pots-it-may-surprise-you/
Heating food in plastic is a big concern for me, BPA-free or not. There’s a whole host of other chemicals in plastics that have not been proven to be safe.
There may be no lead in crockpots, but studies have shown that the glaze used in crockpots does and that the heat allows the lead to leach from the glaze into food. The crockpot companies know this, but say that the amount of lead released is “not harmful” according to FDA guidelines. Of course, you could cook in stainless steel, but that leaches nickel. Bottom line, there is something wrong with everything.
We’ve got a winner!!! I’ve seen this lead leaching bit about all clay glazing as well from over a decade ago, it’s been long know – even worse in the foreign made stuff (ALL Of it.) So don’t sweat the plastic!! I’d never use my crock pot if I had to clean the thing out after every meal, not to mention the extra storage containers I would dirty!
Check out “silicone kneading bag” which is safe for cooking to 450 degrees (the high setting on a crock pot is only 300). They are safer, and reusable so buy it once and done. This is a good size 51 oz. and you can put leftovers straight in fridge or freezer with the zip tie and not mess up another dish. To reheat the bag can go in the microwave. If you buy three for the crockpot, you can keep your foods separate while cooking ( eg meat, two sides). You can also marinate meat in the bag overnight before… Read more »
Do you use this Christy B? I haven’t had my slow cooker for very long but it is so heavy for me to lift and clean. And all the liners that can be bought online seem to come from the US which is very expensive to have posted to Australia. I haven’t been able to find any at our local rural supermarket. TIA Maz
Amy C and everyone- “BPA Free” has become a marketing slogan. It was only ever in polycarbonate plastic. So think hard, crystal clear plastic bottles. BPA was never in any other kind of food contact plastic- not Tupperware, not plastic food bags, not recyclable water bottles— nothing. Those types of plastics are either HDPE, polyethylene or PET. None of those plastics have BPA.
I think it is ridiculous to cook in plastic. Can’t wash a pot? What have we come too. I don’t believe plastic doesn’t get into the food. The planet will thank you to use less plastic.
Here’s a flipside to your comment. What if you take your Crock to a potluck where there is no sink or are, like me, using one in an RV and don’t want to use gallons of water to clean a crock pot? There are uses for these liners.
I’m a single mother who works construction. That means my hours are “can see to can’t see” basically 12-15 hr days. I use the liners because I can set up a weeks worth of meals in the liners in the freezer, pop them in the crock in the morning, and come home to a healthy meal with my daughters that evening. And yes those few minutes I could use scrubbing a dirty crock to use again tomorrow is put to better use spending time with my daughters.
I’ve never used one, and honestly don’t think I would. I’m cheap so the cost deters me, but more than that, the plastic! I think that some of the ‘legal’ plastics that are replacing BPA are actually WORSE for you than BPA… but because something is legal or approved by the FDA, doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to ban it in a few years! It just makes me super nervous.
exactly, the FDA is now just a front for corporations.
I bought some this week to use to take pots of soup to office, church and other functions. After reading all these comments I sure hope I’m not hurting my friends. I sure did enjoy the easy clean up. Crock pot pretty heavy for my arthritic hands to hold.
I use my slow cookers almost daily and the liners have definitely made my life easier! I buy these bags that can be used in the oven or slow cooker from Amazon. 50 for $20.85 works out to .417 each. Definitely worth it for me! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KERJ4Q?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
I use the crock-pot liners and put them inside 1 gallon freezer bags. The way that I do it is I have a casserole dish about the same bottom shape as my slow cooker. I place the bag in the casserole dish as if it were the crock, layer or dump my ingredients in and then I take the top of the liner and gather it together like a bread bag and use a twist tie. If the bag won’t hold its shape to be removed and placed in the freezer bag I leave it in the casserole dish over… Read more »
Interesting! Thanks for sharing, Carol.
EVERYTHING YOU USE FOR MAKING MEALS ECT. MAKE SURE THEY ARE BPA FREE. SUCH AS YOUR SLOW COOKER. DO I HAVE TO BUY AN EXPENSIVE SLOW COOKER FOR IT TO BE A GOOD SLOW COOKER. I HAVE FOUND ONLINE MANY WELL KNOWN MAKES OF SLOW COOKERS BPA FREE.WITH 10 STARS OUT OF 10 IN QUALITY . I AM GOING TO BUY GOOD BPA FREE POTS AND PANS. IF WE DO NOT LOOK AFTER OUR OWN HEALTH NO ONE ELSE WILL. I HAVE GONE ON TO JUICING. DO YOU HAVE ANY RECIPIE BOOKS ON SLOW COOKING. HAVE A HEALTHY LIFE AND… Read more »