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Using a crock pot for pickling

Is it possible to use a crock pot for pickling? I read somewhere about
the acid eating up some ceramic finishes, so does anyone recommend any
specific brand? Or is there a name for the glaze I should be looking
for when I go to buy one? Pickling pots are so darn expensive. Thanks,

We use a crock pot very successfully…it does wear the ceramic
finish on the outside (which you can mitigate by wiping the outside of
the pot regularly) …but we replace it only every decade or so. I
recommend a thrift store for your purchase…


Don’t try what I did and use a slow cooker unless you can find one
with a glass bowl! The acid ate throgh the glaze and it became
porous, killing the cooker. I now use a single electric cooking hob
with a pyrex bowl.


I’ve been using a crock pot for pickling as long as I’ve been a
metalsmith (over five years), and everyone I know uses one. I’ve
recently moved and was just setting up my pickle yesterday. I noticed
that the shine (glaze) was gone from the inside of the pot, no doubt
eaten away by the acid. But who needs a shiny surface inside their
pickle pot? At any rate, crock pots are so cheap, you could buy one
every year for quite a few years before you approach the cost of a
"real" pickle pot of any size, plus you have a greater range of sizes
to choose from. And no one needs a new one every year (I’m on my
second one, but only because I got tired of looking at the rusted
avocado green outside of my first one, which was ~20 years old.)

Having said all this, I almost bought a real (unused) pickle pot on
eBay for about $50. I decided at the end of the auction not to do it
(it was a very small pot and a discontinued model), but it’s a
possible way to get a new one for less than full retail if you decide
a crock pot won’t do.

Good luck!
Sharon Bailey

It is possible to use a crock pot for pickle but, some of them get
eaten up pretty quickly. The best suggestion for pickle I have seen on
this forum was a large glass beaker with a fish tank heater in it. I
will try this the next time my crock pot dies. I had a letter from my
cousin in NYC this AM. Sometimes to me the pain is too much. I get
lost in my work and my mind is taken away. The commercialism of this
horrible event is starting to stink. My prayers for all of us.
Sam, Tucson

Hello Sand, Re: the use of crock pots for pickling. There was a good
thread not long ago with many folks offering their experiences and
suggestions for alternatives. Do check the Orchid archives. For 7-8
years, I used a crock pot purchased at a yard sale for a few dollars.
(BTW, I did not seal the seam around the top with silicone.) It
worked well; then one day it would not heat. Being the curious sort,
I finally took the ceramic pot out of the metal sleeve. Microscopic
cracks had allowed the pickle to seep out and corrode the heating
elements/wires. But hey, that was a long time to use the pot. After
a posting by J Morley on the topic, I replaced it with a heavy
ceramic coffee mug on its own heater base. (One of those gifts from
the office I never used.) To reduce evaporation, I got a 4" watch
class from the chem lab for a cover. Again, it works well, and heats
up quickly. The only disadvantage I can see after a year’s use, is
the capacity is limited to smaller items. That’s not a problem for
me at this time. Next, I think I’ll try a recycled coffee maker base
with glass coffee pot. Hope this helps, Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506

G’day Sand.

I purchased a second hand crock pot about 2 years ago at a junk store
( Pawn Shop). I made sure that the glaze of the inner pot was not
chipped and fairly thick. Over the last two years it has been on for
most of that time on the low setting.

On the low setting it takes about 3 hours to get up to working
Temperature (70 deg C), on the high setting it takes about 1 hour to
get to about (90 deg C). The size of the Crock Pot is about 4 litres.
( I pickle lots of Castings in one hit ).

If you do purchase one make sure that the pot is a glazed ceramic
with either a ceramic or Glass lid. IN use make sure the pot has
virtually full capacity of liquid as you will burn the unit out with
a low liquid level, So try and find a small 2 Litre pot.

I have only used Sparex in the pot so I cannot tell you if it works
with other solutions, I use a ceramic basket inside the pot where I
place the items into, I do not use Stainless Steel tweezers or hooks
in the solution to pick out the castings.

But as the pot only cost me $10.00 it was worth the experiment, and I
am very pleased with the results, I am actually now looking for a
second smaller unit.

Good Luck.

Michael W Kohlleppel.
Art Tech Castings Australia.

Hello Sand,

Why doing difficult with expensive pickling pots. Use an old coffee
making machine The one with the paper filters on top. very cheap even
new ones can be very cheap. Just dump the filter part and use the
rest. The one I have is already in use for 5 years. It was bought new
!! for 30 Guilders, (12 dollar). You have than glass jar with a lid.
Also the heating plate is useful. and it takes approximately 5 minutes
to heat up to 70 degrees Celsius when I turn the switch. Put next to
this pickling pot a jar with a solution with washing soda to
neutralise after pickling.

I hope this would help.
Martin Niemeijer

For the past fifteen years I"ve been using a ten dollar crock pot
put out by Rival. It’s been perfect for pickle, and it hasn’t lost
its glaze…but I have a sneaking suspicion it may have outlasted
the company that manufactured it.

That crock has the same kind of hard, shiny brown glaze that’s on
some of the cheese crocks you see around. If they are no longer
available, you could probably pick one up at a garage sale or a local
auction. Just remember to check the thing carefully for cracks or
breaks in the glaze. Dee

    Is it possible to use a crock pot for pickling? I read
somewhere about the acid eating up some ceramic finishes, so does
anyone recommend any specific brand? Or is there a name for the
glaze I should be looking for when I go to buy one? Pickling pots
are so darn expensive. Thanks, Sand 

Hi Sand Yes to your question, put plain water in the crock pot, then
put the pickling solution in a pickling jar (Ball) then put the ball
jar with the pickle in it into the crock pot with the water in it
…then the water in the crock pot will heat up transfering the heat
to the ball jar that has the pickle solution in it…sort of like
heating a baby bottle up…like in the “old days” Susan Chastian

All-- In all this talk about whether and how to use a crock pot for
pickle, there is one trick that hasn’t been mentioned. Maybe it is
just too obvious…but in case it isn’t–

Find a fairly sturdy plastic storage-type container that fits
comfortably in your crock pot. Drill holes all over it (as small as
you have patience for, especially if you pickle tiny things). Use it
like a fry-basket for french fries. Saves a lot of fishing around
with tongs. Ours has a piece of non-ferrous wire as a handle (like a
bucket), but the handles wear out pretty quickly, especially copper.


There is another solution, if I may add. A coffee mug warmer works
very well. The temperature is just right. It’s cheaper than most
crock pots and usually accommodates wide glass jars. (I use a used
pickled herring jar) It’s clear glass and wide size and ability to
allow me to ‘fish’ out the jewelry items without standing up and
looking through the top suits me well. Mine have lasted 14 years with


I use a coffee mug warmer for keeping liver of sulfur solution warm,
also. I have a tiny covered pyrex dish that fits the warmer, but an
old canning jar with glass lid would also work really well – the lid
would help keep the warmth in and, if you’re using it for pickle,
reduce evaporation. The Salvation Army Thrift Shop is my best source
for these things.

Here’s a link to the SA National website:

Click on Finder. When you get the map of the US, click on Find. You
can find a thrift shop near you.

Goodwill Industries is also a good source for used goods. They also
have a website where you can find stores near you:

But if you live near Maynard, Mass., you can visit the Maynard Thrift
Shop, owned by my friend Sara, and a source for many unusual and
useful things!

Christine in unseasonably warm and pleasant Littleton, Massachusetts.

Noel, Itried using a plastic insert in my pickle. It was a
container such as comes with Sherbet or something similar but it
started to melt believe it or not and I never have my crock pot on
high. Perhaps it was not thick enough plastic??? GRACE

I always used the plastic cups from large fountain drinks at a
Convenience store (i.e. 7-11) for my pickler. They melt at a far
higher temperature than the expensive baskets made for commercial
pickle pots. (they all melt when the water is gone :wink:

John Christensen, G.G.

Try using a plastic tea ball…the kind used to make tea from loose
leaves and sold at every kitchen shop. They’re made to go into
boiling water, so even hours in a crock pot will not phase them.
They’re made to lock closed, so even the tiniest of parts will not
escape. They cost about $3.00. They also work great in the
ultrasonic to clean diamonds or rings with tiny stones that like to
fall out…

Doug Zaruba

I always have the unfortunate habit of leaving the pickle pot on
(it’s a purpose made one from Allcast) - this melts the basket. I’ve
done it twice. I no longer have a basket. I don’t deserve on because I
am a forgetful twit! I have to scrabble about with tongs. I swear a

If anyone has a solution to the melting pickle pot plastic insert
problem I would be very obliged…

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Tony, One way to solve the problem of leaving the pot on too long is
to plug it into a timer which can be bought for several dollars. Set
the timer for a short period of time and it off before damage can be

I don’t use a crock pot for pickling. I have a regular pickle pot.
I do use plastic storage container, similar to tuperware, with holes
drilled to allow the solution to enter. Bought it in a grocery
store. Before I used the timer, I used to forget and leave the pot
on until most the solution had boiled away. The plastic container
never melted.

good luck lee

I always have the unfortunate habit of leaving the pickle pot on
(it's a purpose made one from Allcast) - this melts the basket. I've
done it twice. I no longer have a basket. I don't deserve on because I
am a forgetful twit! I have to scrabble about with tongs. I swear a

There are two things that will help with this problem. First, keep a
cover on the pot to slow down evaporation. Second, plug your pot into
a timed switch. The kind used for turning on and off lights at preset
intervals. You can set it to turn your pickle pot on in the morning
and off in the evening. You should be able to get one at your favorite
hardware store.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry

In regard to the “melting pickle pot plastic insert” … years ago, I
went to the grocery store and bought a quart-sized plastic container
of cole slaw. I ended up throwing away most of the contents (how much
cole slaw ca n one person eat, anyway) since it was the container that
I cared about. Thi s plastic is quite thick and slightly flexible; it
took forever to poke holes in it because it’s so tough.

I have been using this container in my pickle pot (a crock pot with
just on e temperature AD on or off) for at least five years and it’s
never melted. I’ m afraid I too am enough of a twit (hi, Tony :slight_smile: to
have left the pot on overnight once or twice but the plastic has never
melted. It’s possible that my crock pot operates at a lower
temperature than some of yours, of course, but it may just be that
this kind of plastic is superior. Try it i f you can find it.