Slow cooker liners are gaining popularity with busy cooks. That's because they considerably reduce the clean-up required after slow-cooking or eliminate cleaning altogether. This is definitely a timesaver for the home cook. These are very affordable and you'll find a good variety of brands available. Most, however, are for larger crock-pots and slow-cookers, in the 4- to 6-quart capacities. Try a pack, you won't go back to slow-cooking without them.
The concept of a disposable liner inside a Crock-Pot® or slow cooker sounds like a busy cook's wish item, but I did wonder how well one can take the slow cooker's heat and whether these liners work as intended and really cut down on cleanup.
- Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liners
- Package includes 4 Liners 13" x 21"
- BPA-free and approved by the FDA for use in a slow cooker
- Not to be used in other electric cookers or as oven cooking bags - Reynolds does make Oven cooking bags
- Designed for use with 3 to 6.5 Qt slow cooker or Crock-pot®
- Provides easy cleanup with no soaking or scrubbing of slow cooker required after use
- Not intended as food storage bag
- Carries a Kosher symbol
- Does not change recipe times or slow cooker performance
- Learn more from the manufacturer
How the Slow Cooker Liners Performed
Though I recognized the Reynolds® brand and have used several of their products before including their oven cooking bags, this one sounded almost too good (and easy) to be true. So I approached this test with a little skepticism. But anything that promises to make it easier to clean a slow cooker is definitely worth a try.
My biggest concerns included whether these were BPA-free, which they are but unfortunately doesn't say so on the package; how well the bags would fit in my various slow cookers and if they could take the heat for extended cooking periods.
Use is as simple as can be. Place the liner in your slow cooker and fold it over the rim to the outside of the cooker, add recipe ingredients and apply the lid. Cook as usual - the liners affect neither temperature, performance or anything else. That's pretty easy. They fit well in my largest slow cooker - a 5 Qt oval-shaped, with ample room left over.
In my 2.5 Qt, I could have used these liners, but there's just too much liner which seems like a waste, so I decided to keep them for the large 5 Qt which is cumbersome and heavy to wash. Reynold's recommended sizing of 3 - 6.5 Qt seems to be an appropriate range.
I checked often through the day and especially when my slow cooker was on high but did not detect any hot plastic, so it takes the heat surprisingly well and doesn't stick or shrivel against the hot metal sides of the cooker. There are lots to drape over the rim of the slow cooker so no fear of it sliding down inside during cooking. The lid should remain on at all times, the same as when you slow cook without a liner.
When it came to food removal, I was able to gather the liner edges and slide/pour a stew right into a serving bowl. For other meal items such as a pot roast or pasta sauce, I simply scooped the food out as usual and then discarded the liner when empty. Easy as pie.
On one occasion, it did leave some whitish residue pattern where the liner folded onto itself in the bottom of the slow cooker and that required a quick rinse to remove. That's still much simpler and quicker than having to presoak or scrub the slow cooker ceramic insert. These liners also seem to remove the dread that comes with cooking something you know will evidently result in a longer and messier cleanup.
The Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners do a great job of eliminating clean-up or drastically reducing it, depending on how messy you get when it comes to serving and dripping food down the sides of the slow cooker, or if some residue is encountered like I had on one occasion and the slow cooker needed a quick rinse. Cleanup could not be simpler and that's a good time-saver for the busy cook. Reynolds - how about making liners for smaller slow cookers too, for the 1-3 Qt range.
Being BPA-free alleviated my fears when it comes to plastic liner use. Just a reminder that these Slow Cooker Liners are designed to only be used with a slow cooker and not in any other cooking appliance, or as oven cooking bags. As for cost, I'd love to see more than four liners in a box, but that still works out to about $1 a liner if you can buy them for around $3-4/box. A good deal if you consider your time valuable.
I would definitely keep using these liners in my large slow cooker and recommend them to anyone who wants to cut down on time in the kitchen, especially with cleanup. Tip: Keep the liner package stored in your slow cooker so you don't forget you have them when it's time to slow cook.
About the Company
Reynolds® is a popular household brand that is part of Reynolds Consumer Products. A leader in its field, Reynolds makes several food-related products including oven cooking bags, muffin/cupcake liners, parchment paper, foil and food wrap. They also have lots of recipes on their site, as well as handy cooking/baking tips you might want to check out