Here's Why You Should Never Toss This Common Ingredient Into a Slow Cooker

Steel your stomach and read this slow cooker food-safety warning.

Bacteria is a tricky thing, and it can show up at the most inopportune of times. Want to celebrate your birthday by blowing out candles on a cake? Wait! That's a major bacteria risk. And, what's that? You plan to shave a few minutes off your dinner prep by putting some frozen chicken directly into your slow cooker? Keep reading, speedy... 

According to the USDA, meat should always be thawed before it's tossed into a cooker. The thing is, frozen meat that goes directly into the heated appliance can — you guessed it — cause bacteria to multiply. The best thing to do is to throw the meat into the fridge and allow it to thaw out, then toss it into the cooker. 

There's one caveat, though. If you're one of the many home chefs who swears by an Instant Pot, here's some good news: The beloved tool is also a pressure cooker. And, a pressure cooker can heat up chicken so fast that the poultry won't get stuck in the bacteria-multiplying "danger zone," which happens at about 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So there's your food-safety lesson of the day! Now, go ahead and take that chicken out of the freezer. Tonight's pot pie will be so much better for it. 

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