Is your slow cooker not boiling or simmering, and it’s ruining your meal plans?

You’re not alone! Every day, many people all over the world find themselves in the same situation, with no clue as to how they can get their appliances working.

They say a watched pot never boils, but there are limits to everything. If you’ve been waiting patiently in a different room only to find that your slow cooker is unchanged after a while, something has to be done.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find 5 useful tips and fixes you can implement during your cooking sessions to get things back on track.

When your slow cooker is not boiling or simmering, it might be due to human error, such as overfilling or constant checking. And if none of those possibilities apply to you, there’s also a chance that your appliance is not heating up due to a bad power cord, a blown fuse, or a broken switch.

Keep reading to prepare Michelin star dishes!

Troubleshooting A Slow Cooker That Won’t Boil or Simmer

#0 It’s Not Meant To Boil!

Before we dive into solutions here, I just want to preface all of this is with a quick disclaimer.

When people first start using a Slow Cooker, they’re often confused at just how ‘slow’ it is! A slow cooker is designed to be left alone for up to 8 hours at a time, which means that it doesn’t ever really get that hot.

What this means is that your slow cooker isn’t meant to boil food. At most, it will create a light simmer, but boiling liquid isn’t the main purpose.

So if you’re reading this after wondering why your slow cooker stew isn’t boiling and evaporating, the answer may simple be that the slow cooker is fine – it’s just not as powerful as you’re used to.

If your slow cooker has left you with a lot of liquid at the end of it’s cooking time, you often just need to strain the liquid into a pan and boil it on high heat. This will quickly thicken the sauce, and you can the re-add to the slow cooker to finish the cooking process.

With that said, let’s get onto the fixes for a slow cooker that isn’t simmering as much as it should be.

#1 You’re Overfilling the Pot

Let’s start off by taking a look at one of the most common mistakes while cooking any kind of meal.

In an ideal world, preparing food should be a relaxing experience. But when you’re fighting against the clock or simply want to be done as soon as possible, filling your slow cooker to the brim might seem a good idea. After all, it’s the best way to save time, right?

Well… not quite. In fact, you might end up spending more time in the kitchen.

An overfilled slow cooker pot
Portion control is key to ensuring proper boiling or simmering

Slow cookers are carefully designed to process certain amounts of food, either liquid or solid. Typically, there will be a “Max” line inside the appliance’s pot that indicates the filling limit.

Going over it is the best way to ensure that your food will either cook improperly or not cook at all. Not to mention that it can cause excess strain on the unit and decrease its lifespan significantly.

So, if your slow cooker is not boiling or simmering, you might want to go easy on the portions you put in it.

Solution: Provided you’re in desperate need of faster cooking and are trying to prepare a sauce or something similar, you can always try pouring it into a separate pot to let the mixture thicken a little. This is a process known as “reduction”, and it not only concentrates the flavor of what you’re preparing but also decreases its total volume.

Once you’re comfortable enough with the batch size, you can carefully return your food to the slow cooker while watching out for the “Max” filling line.

I understand this is not the ideal scenario, but hey! Cooking is all about experimenting and overcoming obstacles.

#2 You’re Checking Too Often

The next reason why your slow cooker might not be boiling or simmering is another human error – impatience.

Just as we covered in the previous point, sometimes we need things done quickly out of necessity. Maybe you’re hosting a get-together with old friends or are simply having the family over and the clock is ticking.

In cases like these, it’s not uncommon to keep looking at the stove hoping for whatever you’re preparing to be done as soon as possible. But what if I told you that checking on your food too often could be causing your current situation?

You see, when it comes to using a slow cooker (or any other cooking appliance, for that matter), the laws of thermodynamics are key. Every time you lift the unit’s lid to check on your food, you’re allowing the accumulated heat inside it to escape, which makes the whole process take a lot longer.

Solution: Patience is key when it comes to cooking. Just because you’re constantly looking at your food, doesn’t mean it will cook any faster! My advice would be to trust the process, follow your recipe, and maybe have a nice cup of tea while you wait.

#3 Your Power Cord is Broken

Next, let’s talk about one of the most important links in your appliance’s power supply chain.

Believe it or not, a damaged power cord could be the reason your slow cooker is not boiling or simmering. I know the cable looks sturdy and durable, and it is – but it’s not indestructible.

Everyday use will not damage it, so if you hardly ever move your appliance and always keep an eye on every component, you’re probably good. But if you’re in the habit of storing it improperly or keeping it bent against the wall at sharp, weird angles, this might be cause for concern.

Various power cords
If you suspect your power cord is damaged, please stop using your slow cooker immediately

Depending on the extent of the damage this might be more or less serious. If your power cord is completely broken, it would explain why you’re in this situation, as no electricity is passing from the wall outlet to the appliance. However, if the damage is only partial, it could lead to short circuits, electrical overloads, and overheating.

Solution: The best way to tell whether you have a bad power cord is by testing your appliance with a different cable.

In the event that you don’t have a spare to do this, ask your friends and family to see if you can borrow one from them. Just make sure it meets the same voltage and amperage requirements as your previous one. You can find this information by Google searching your make and model’s cable.

Provided no one can lend you a replacement, try going to an online marketplace and looking for the cable model you need. They rarely ever go over the $10 mark.

Once you have a new cable for testing, try carefully unplugging your slow cooker, letting it cool down, and taking it to another room in your home. Once you’re far from the outlet you normally use, try plugging the unit back into the wall and see if it boils and simmers.

If so, then problem solved. Throw away the old power cord and stick to the new one from now on.

#4 Your Thermal Fuse Is Blown

Having covered all possible human errors and external culprits, let’s move on to how some of your appliance’s internal components, such as a thermal fuse, could be contributing to this issue.

Now, what exactly is that?

In a nutshell, a thermal fuse is a little component inside your appliance that senses and regulates its temperature to ensure that your food cooks evenly, while also protecting it from overheating.

In most cases, the fuse works normally, and you’re able to cook delicious meals within a short period. But sometimes, a power surge, misuse of the appliance, or excessive strain can cause it to blow. This is not a bad thing, in fact, it’s what the part is supposed to do to protect your slow cooker from further damage; however, it also means that the unit won’t heat up.

A thermal fuse
It might be worth taking the time to check on your thermal fuse

Solution: If you suspect your thermal fuse to be blown, the best way to tell is by opening up your appliance and testing continuity with a multimeter. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Carefully disconnect your slow cooker from the wall outlet, and let it cool down completely.
  2. Remove any food or liquids inside the pot and turn the appliance upside down.
  3. Undo the screws holding the bottom cover plate in place.
  4. Remove the cover plate to expose the unit’s wiring and internal components.
  5. Locate the fuse (if you don’t know what it looks like, please check the image above for reference).
  6. Inspect the component for damage. You can use a multimeter to test the continuity between all the parts within the appliance. If there is none, your fuse is likely blown.
  7. Look at the part number of the blown fuse or do some Google searching to find the right replacement. If you’re lucky, your nearest hardware store might have what you need.
  8. Solder the new fuse onto the slow cooker and test for continuity again.

If your old fuse was the reason your slow cooker was not boiling or simmering, this should take care of everything.

Note: Please wait before reassembling your appliance, as you’ll need to check on another internal component in the section below.

#5 You Have a Broken Switch

Lastly, let’s make sure your appliance’s switch is in working condition.

Depending on the slow cooker model you own, there might be one or more front-facing dial switches to set the desired temperature or cooking time.

Provided that your unit does have it/them, there’s a chance that it’s not boiling or simmering due to a malfunction on the components. This can happen for various reasons, from a power surge to overheating, excessive strain, or regular wear and tear if the cooker is old enough.

A slow cooker with a frontal temperature switch
Many factors can damage your dial switches

As you can imagine, a faulty switch means trouble, as it can trick you into thinking that you’ve dialed certain settings, only to find out too late that you, in fact, didn’t. This can result not only in a lack of heat but also in an excess of it.

Solution: If you followed the instructions from the previous point, your unit’s components should already be exposed. All you have to do now is find the switch controls located directly behind the external dials and test them for continuity with a multimeter.

Provided you see that there’s none, the switch is most likely done for and needs replacing. You can find a new one either by Google searching your appliance’s make and model or by looking for a part number on the switch itself.

Conclusion

That about covers it!

Having your slow cooker not boil or simmer can be very frustrating and ruin your plans of enjoying a nice home-cooked meal with your family.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you see, addressing the most common causes behind this is very easy and quick. More often than not, all you need to do is be patient, watch your cooking portions, and maybe replace a component or two.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article piqued your interest and was helpful, please check out our other incredible resources below to keep the learning going. There’s all sorts of solutions for everyday appliance problems on our site.

Have a great week!