Is your slow cooker making a clicking noise, and it has you worried?

I’m sorry to hear that! Appliances are supposed to make our lives easier, not be a source of concern whenever we use them.

I know that having this happen is no fun. Especially when you’re trying to prepare a nice home-cooked meal after a long day at work.

But don’t worry, you want answers and came to the right place to get them. Below, you’ll find a small list including 5 simple reasons why this happens and what you can do about it.

When your slow cooker is making a clicking/popping sound, it might be due to the heating element cycling, the appliance’s materials expanding, or the pressure valve working normally. If none of those factors are behind the situation, then you might also want to add more water or check on your gasket.

Keep reading to cook in silence!

#1 The Heating Element Is Cycling

Let’s start off by discussing one of the most common sources of concern for slow cooker users.

Depending on how familiar you are with how these appliances work, you might know that there’s a component within them called a heating element. In a nutshell, its job is to transform electrical energy into heat that you can use for cooking.

A slow cooker's heating element
There’s a good chance that the clicking noise is nothing but the heating element cycling

When your appliance reaches the desired temperature, this component shuts off automatically and then turns itself back on when the heat starts to drop. This process ensures that your food is always cooking at regular temperatures and prevents overheating.

So, if your slow cooker is making a clicking noise, there’s a good chance that it’s just the heating element cycling, and there’s nothing to worry about.

#2 The Materials Are Expanding

Assuming that the sound you’re hearing is not associated with the heating element, you might also want to consider the concept of thermal expansion.

As you may know, when a material’s temperature starts to increase, the atoms and molecules that make it up also move a lot faster. This, combined with other factors, causes expansion.

A slow cooker
Your appliance’s materials might be clicking due to temperature changes

If your slow cooker is making a clicking noise while it heats up, there’s a very good chance that it’s just the materials within it expanding. And the same thing can happen once you’re done using it, as cooling down also affects atoms and molecules, causing your appliance to contract slightly.

Provided that the clicking noise stops once the cooker has reached the desired temperature, you’re likely in the clear.

#3 The Pressure Valve Is Working Normally

Yet another normal reason why your slow cooker is making a clicking sound, is a pressure valve that’s working correctly.

Now, I’d be remiss not to mention that this will only happen to some people, as not all appliances are created equal. Most slow cookers rely on heat rather than pressure to prepare your favorite meals; however, there are some Instant Pot models that have a slow cooker mode built into them.

If you’re the proud owner of one of these units, chances are there’s a pressure valve somewhere that’s responsible for the noise. Hearing the valve release steam now and then is actually a good thing, as it reduces the pressure inside the pot, preventing all sorts of dangerous situations.

A slow cooker's pressure valve
Using the slow cooker mode on an Instant Pot could explain the clicking noises

Granted, the sound pressure valves make is more of a whistle than a click, but it’s not impossible to hear them both while cooking.

#4 Add More Water

Next, let’s make sure you’re using the right amount of water while cooking.

I know this might sound strange, but your slow cooker needs a specific amount of liquid to cook your meals evenly and exactly how you like them.

In fact, there’s even a “Max” line within the pot that indicates the safe filling limit. Going over it will always mean trouble, and might even leave you stranded with over or undercooked dishes.

And to make matters worse, this could also be the reason your slow cooker is making a clicking sound, as insufficient water also causes overheating.

Solution: The best way to keep this from happening is by reading your recipes properly and following them to a tee. In most cases, there will be clear instructions regarding the amount of water/broth you should add to get the best results.

#5 Something’s Wrong With the Gasket

Lastly, let’s cover an actual problem that requires your attention.

If you’ve ever looked closely and the lids on your slow cooker and other pots, you might have noticed a rubber ring running along their circumference. This is called a gasket and is widely used in all sorts of home appliances.

Basically, it creates a seal between a pot’s lid and the container, which allows for faster cooking, heat preservation, and leak prevention. In an ideal scenario, the part does its job, and there’s nothing more to it; however, sometimes, it might be damaged or placed improperly, causing what resembles a clicking sound every time steam escapes the pot.

A slow cooker's gasket
Your appliance’s gasket might be damaged

Solution: To address this, the first thing you want to do is diagnose the gasket. This is essential, as determining what the source of the problem is will dictate your next course of action.

If the part is only placed improperly, all you have to do is make sure it’s sitting tight along the circumference of the lid. But if there’s any damage, you’ll have to replace it.

There are many options out there for spare slow cooker gaskets and many of them go for as low as $11 at online marketplaces. So, if you find yourself in the need of a replacement, you won’t have to break the bank to get things back to normal.

Conclusion

That about sums it up.

When your slow cooker is making a clicking noise, a pleasant culinary experience can quickly turn into a frustrating mess.

However, I hope this piece has helped you see that, more often than not, simple actions, like adding more water to the pot, or checking that your gasket is in good condition, should do the trick.

Thank you very much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article piqued your interest and answered your most burning questions, please consider checking out our other wonderful resources below.

On our site, you can find all sorts of solutions for daily appliance problems, such as a slow cooker that’s burning your food, or a patio heater that won’t stay lit.

Have a great week!