Food Safety Issues/Crock pot warming


I need to know if I make beef stew in crock pot, how long can I leave it on warm setting safely? We are expecting a power outage tomorrow so need to make it ahead with limited means of reheating so would like to keep in pot and if power outage wrap in blankets to retain heat.

Hi Jean,

As long as the beef stew is being held above 135 degrees F you can keep it until the cows come home!

You need to take the temperature of the stew on the warm setting and if it is holding above 135 then, as I said above, you can safely hold it a very long time.  The issue becomes quality of the stew as food held above 135 dry out, become overcooked, etc.  But it's safe.

If the power goes out and you wrap it in blankets, you can safely keep the food for 4 hours, even if the temperature goes below 135 degrees F.  However, YOU MUST THROW THE STEW AWAY, and you can not reheat it after 4 hours.

Good luck and here's hoping you don't lose power.

Merry Christmas.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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