Southern Living

Don't spill the beans before you reach your destination.

When pressed for time or low on oven space, slow-cooking is a popular option for many cooks. Countertop cooking is the secret to making delicious sides and main dishes, especially during the holidays, without juggling bake times and wedging baking dishes around a 20-lb. turkey. Use your slow-cooker in the morning to fix-and-forget a hearty stew or roasted chicken, and have a savory and satisfying supper ready for you when you return home that afternoon. A slow-cooker is also handy when you want to prepare a hot dish, transport it to a party, and serve it from the same container. Whether you are taking a dish to grandmother’s house for the family holiday dinner, or taking a slow-cooker filled with hot soup down the street to the neighborhood potluck, you are faced with how to safely transport a hot slow-cooker without burns and spills. Follow these tips to safely travel with your slow cooked meals.

Secure the Lid

If you are in the market for a new slow-cooker, you may want to invest in a model that features a lock top, such as this Crock-Pot 6-Qt. Programmable Model.  Even if you don’t have a locking lid, this insulated carrying case helps prevent messy spills when transporting a slow-cooker filled with hot food. If you still love your older model without a locking lid, however, you can simply attach heavy-duty rubber bands around the handles and lid and then wrap the slow cooker in towels or newspaper. And you know the old adage about how duct tape fixes everything, right? Well, some Southerners even claim it is the best thing for securing a slow-cooker lid.

Use a Laundry Basket

This tip is handy for transporting slow-cookers or any type of covered hot food item. Grab a laundry basket and make a cushion on the bottom of it with two or three thick towels. Place the slow-cooker on top of the towels and add more towels around the sides and on top of the slow-cooker. This not only keeps the heat in, but also prevents the dish from sliding around. Place the basket on the floorboard or in the trunk of your car. If you don’t have a laundry basket to spare, a sturdy cardboard box will work just as well.

WATCH: The Secrets to Making the Best Slow-Cooker Soups

Slow-cooking is a popular option when it comes to time management and oven space. This holiday season, take a look at your menu and decide which dishes might be better prepared and served from a convenient slow-cooker.