Slow Cookers with Delayed Start

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Waiting. Most of the time we hate it. Waiting for the bus to arrive, waiting for your wife to come home from a bachelor party, waiting for food to cook… 

Waiting is horrible. 

But when there is something waiting for you, well that’s a whole nother story. Right? 

Money waiting in your bank account, your loved ones waiting for you to come back from deployment, and of course hot food waiting for you to be enjoyed.

Waiting made right is awesome, as is any recipe made in a slow cooker. 

But even though that hot meal waiting for you is great, you should not delay its cooking. 

So short and sweet answer to the question: Are there any slow cookers with delayed start is:

There are no slow cookers with a delayed start. But you can ‘hack’ your way to delaying the beginning of the cooking process.

If you are interested in why there are no premade options and you are interested in some alternative options, keep reading.

Why not delay cooking in a slow cooker?

The reason might not be so obvious at first, but the main one is safety-related. 

To put it simply, by keeping the ingredients in the pot of a slow cooker for an extended period of time you are spoiling them. They are just rotting away and drying at the same time. 

Imagine it with me. 

You put all the good stuff into the pot, cover it with a lid, set up some super clever system that will turn the slow cooker on in five hours’ time, and leave to work or enjoying time with your family and friends. 

By the time it starts cooking it has almost completely dried up, it started rotting and flies are circling around it. This food is not safe for eating even if you cook it for 10+ hours. 

Don’t believe your hillbilly cousin who’s tellin’ ya: ,,It’s fine. Me, ma, and pa are eating these all the time’’. They might be hearty folk used to all kinds of strange things, you most likely are not. 

Always safety first. Not only for you but especially for your family. 

Actually, even the government has to say something clever about this, specifically FDA which recommends following the “2-hour rule” for meats and other perishable items. The warmer the room, however, the less time meat should be left out.

Ok, but are there any slow cookers with the delayed start settings?

As mentioned in the beginning there are none. Surprised? I was too. I thought we live in a country of free and bold, but it seems that even those brave amongst our manufacturers know that put the lives of people at risk is not a good strategy. 

So how do I keep my food warm when I come back from work or another activity, you might be asking.

Well, it is quite clever. 

Since most of us like to have our food warm even if we forget about it for a bit, and I am saying this from point of view of a guy who likes his meal to ‘settle’ over the night, there is a function built into most of the slow cookers these days, that will keep the food warm for some time after it is finished. 

As you might have guessed by now, the magical thing is called:

Keep warm function, as described in my article about slow cooker temperatures.

Yes, this baby will keep your food warm after it is done. 

So when you start your slow cooker in the morning, it will keep your creation warm until the time you arrive, put it on the plate and enjoy it. 

Alternatives to delaying the start of a slow cooker

If you insist on delaying the cooking, even after my and FDA’s warnings I can give you at least a few tips here. Maybe they will help in your dangerous endeavors.  

Tip #1 – Ask a friend or a family member

They like to eat right? Maybe they are not the best cooks in the world, but they can definitely follow clear and simple instructions on how to do this. 

Just prepare everything ahead, leave it in the refrigerator, and once the time comes remind them. Trust me, a reminder is a good thing in most things in life and when it comes to your lovely dinner, it is true twice. 

I believe that they will be more than happy to put everything in the pot, turn it on, set proper settings, and keep an eye on it from time to time. Especially if you promise them, that they can go for seconds 😀

Tip #2 – Use power outlet timer

I don’t like that I am saying this, but in the delaying game, is the power outlet timer a quick and easy solution. 

But and this is a big one, please keep in mind the degradation of ingredients that I have mentioned in the beginning. There is nothing funny about getting food poisoning if you can prevent it or skip it altogether. 

You can set it up by simply putting a power outlet timer into the power outlet, putting in the power cord from the slow cooker, power it on, set up a time when it should power on, and leave. 

For this to actually work you will have to have an older model of a slow cooker or one without protection or any settings. The one that just turns on when you turn it on. 

If you do this PLEASE, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD keep in mind the dangers of this. Not only that it can overheat, but it can and most likely will bubble over, burn, the fire can start not only from the slow cooker itself but from a power outlet or timer too. 

Just about everything can go horribly wrong super fast and I am not counting on the possibility of endangering the family members. 

Believe it or not, but there is no food that justifies bodily harm to anyone.  


I do hope that this article helped you in understanding the ins and outs of the slow cookers with a delayed start. 

Remember, whatever you do in a kitchen do it with safety in mind and a smile on your face.

Do you have any other clever way of delaying the start of your slow cooker? Do let me know in the comments below.

Until next time I wish you happy and easy cooking.

Vojta Vevera

Combining a love for cooking and using all kinds of technological gizmos helps Vojta to bring the experiences and excitement to all his articles. He is always doing his best to serve you with great information. Mixing over 15 years of cooking experience with his analytical mind and love for all technological things.

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