Does your electric skillet/hotplate keep turning off? There might be something wrong with your power sources. Here’s why.

Electric skillets are the embodiment of practicality. They help us save space, and heat up our food much quicker than standard stovetops. What is there not to love?

I have lost count of how many times these little appliances have saved me time and effort. That being said, as wonderful as they are, perfection is a feature they lack, which means they might fail from time to time, either due to regular wear and tear or a broken component.

Whatever the case may be, there’s one thing for sure. You’re stuck with an electric skillet that is doing everything, except what it’s supposed to. What exactly can you do to get it working again?

All you need is a list of the most common reasons behind this malfunction and the simplest steps you can take to address them. Below you will find said compendium, which will help you get back to normal in no time.

Are you ready? Let’s get to work!

Fixing a Failing Electric Skillet

The first mistake I want to help you avoid making is tampering unnecessarily with your appliance. You might be tempted to try and look inside your unit to find the culprit among its internal components.


You’d be surprised at how many people every year spend copious amounts of money trying to find what’s wrong with their electric skillets/hotplates, only to find too late that the source of the problem, lied elsewhere.

Your electric skillet/hotplate might keep turning off due to:

  • Safety measures
  • A bad outlet
  • A damaged power cord
  • A broken switch
  • A faulty heating element
  • A fried circuit board

#1 Safety Measures

Depending on how old your unit is, chances are some safety measures have been built into it to protect it from overheating, or user-related damage.

These appliances were invented to make our lives more convenient, so it’s very easy to neglect them, and even accidentally leave them on. Over the years, manufacturers have considered these potentially dangerous actions, and implemented countermeasures into their products as a result.

If your electric skillet keeps turning off, it might just be the safety mechanism protecting you, and the appliance, from damage and fires.

Solution: Try operating your unit more consciously. If you constantly find yourself leaving your electric skillet on accidentally, a post-it note could help. I know it might sound ridiculous, but trust me. It’s worked wonders for me!

#2 A Bad Outlet

The next possible explanation as to why your electric skillet/hotplate might keep turning off, is a bad outlet.

More often than not, we tend to look at faults with the appliance itself, forgetting about the external factors altogether. This is a big mistake.

A faulty outlet could be intermittently supplying energy to your appliance. Provided that you suspect this to be the source of the problem, it is advised that you stop using your unit as soon as possible, as doing otherwise could fry your circuit board.

Solution: Try a different power outlet.

Carefully unplug your appliance, let it cool down, and take it to a different section of your house, preferably, as far removed as possible from the outlet you normally use.

Once you have done that, plug it back into a new outlet and see if that resolves the issue. If your electric skillet or hotplate is too big, and not easy to move, you can always try using a power cord extension to test the new power source.

Do you want a challenge? You can try using a multimeter to test your power outlet for continuity. This is completely optional, but strongly advised, as a faulty power outlet could be the first symptom of a larger failure within your home’s electrical layout.

It’s best to nip these kinds of things in the bud.

#3 Your Power Cord Is Damaged

Power Cord Replacement
Research your appliance’s make and model to find a replacement power cord

Ok, so your wall outlet turned out to be fine, what now? We ought to look at your power cord.

As sturdy and thick, as these might seem, in reality, there are many smaller cables running inside them, which can be very easily damaged. In fact, small bad practices, such as storing them improperly, keeping them tangled, or pressed against a wall in weird angles, are more than enough to do them in.

A completely broken cable won’t let your electric skillet/hotplate turn on, but if it’s only partially damaged, it could be supplying power intermittently.

It’s strongly advised that you refrain from using your appliance if you suspect the latter to be the issue, as it could eventually cause short-circuiting and kill the unit altogether.

Solution: In the off chance that you have a spare cable lying around that you can use for testing, go ahead, you’ll be able to save time and money. Just make sure that it meets the same amperage and voltage requirements as the broken one.

If you don’t have a spare, that’s okay too. You can do a quick Google search on your appliance’s make and model to find a replacement at any online marketplace for less than $30.

#4 The Activation Switch Is Broken*

meat in electric skillet
The activation switch is used to control the skillet’s temperature

Given that your power sources are alive and well, the next logical thing would be to look at the activation knob.

It may vary from model to model, but in most cases, your electric skillet/hotplate will have this, just like a regular stove top would. This little component allows you to not only turn your device on, but also control its temperature.

When it partially fails, you might be stuck with a unit that turns on briefly, only to shut off abruptly. This is frustrating, but very easily fixed. Read on.

Solution: For this you will have to go in. Please follow these steps:

  1. Carefully unplug your appliance and let it cool down
  2. Turn it upside down and locate the screws holding the outer panel in place
  3. Undo them with a screwdriver, and remove the plastic or metal panel
  4. Expose the unit’s guts
  5. Locate the switch behind the external dial knob, and gain comfortable access to it
  6. Test it for continuity with a multimeter, if you have one

While it varies from model to model, the process should be similar for all of them, and very straightforward in general. Provided that there is no continuity in the switch, you’ll have to replace it.

You can find a new one at any hardware store near you.

#5 Your Heating Element Is Failing

This is probably the most dangerous factor that could be contributing to the appearance of this issue.

In case you’re not familiar with what a heating element does, it’s fairly simple. This component is solely responsible for transforming the electrical power drawn from your outlet, into heat.

The heating element is always visible in your electric skillet/hotplate. It’s the big, red spiral beneath the stove top’s tempered glass.

When this part fails, it can go one of two ways. You can either be stuck with an appliance that does not generate heat, or one that generates too much, causing overheating.

The latter can cause permanent damage to your appliance, and would explain why your electric skillet/hotplate keeps turning off.

Solution: Follow the steps from the previous point to expose your appliance’s  internal components, and locate your heating element for continuity testing.

If you’re a visual person like me, there are tons of online videos you can check out, and follow along step by step.

#6 Your Circuit Board Is Fried

verification testing of electronic board
If there’s a constant power spike, it can fry your unit’s circuit board

This is the ultimate red flag of electric skillet/hotplate failure.

As you know, your unit’s circuit board is its heart and soul. Without this part, the appliance cannot function or process any of the inputs from the external knobs. Total failure of this component will turn your machine into an expensive doorstop.

This issue can manifest itself for a number of reasons. From overheating, to large power spikes. It’s really anyone’s guess. And while there are several countermeasures designed to prevent this from happening, it will always be an unfortunate possibility.

Solution: Depending on the status of your warranty, you can either send your appliance in to your manufacturer for repairs, or go shopping.

If you’re still under coverage, your manufacturer can probably take care of the repairs for free, but if you’re not, you’ll have to weigh the original cost of the appliance vs the cost of a new unit. 

Granted, the cost of getting your electric skillet/hotplate a new circuit board is not very high, but the cost of labor to have it installed and configured, can be.

As a rule of thumb, paying for a replacement equal to 50% or more of the cost of a new machine with similar features, is a bad investment.


To have your electric skillet/hotplate keep turning off unexpectedly, can be very frustrating. Especially if it’s your only cooking station.

But not all is lost. It might seem intimidating, but most of the repairs that will get your appliance working normally again are not very complicated or expensive to implement, so you should not shy away from them.

That being said, if you ever feel doubtful or unsafe during the process, please do not hesitate to call a professional.

Thank you for reading. If you found this article useful, why not check out our other incredible resources below?

Happy cooking!