12 Volt Slow Cooker For Truck Drivers To Eat Healthier

The 12 volt slow cooker that is a “must have” cooking accessory for truck drivers is this one by RoadPro.

I have been using this slow cooker (crock pot) for several years and I absolutely love it.

It’s been one of the cooking accessories that I use most often, along with this 12 volt stove/lunch box which is also made by RoadPro.

It’s great being able to setup the slow cooker in the morning and by the time I’m done driving I have a warm, healthy meal waiting for me.

For me it’s like being home. It’s the closest I can get to my wife’s cooking without her actually cooking it.

My wife is great, she will often prep everything for me so that all I have to do is dump it all into the slow cooker, turn it on, and wait a few hours (while I’m driving) until it is ready to eat.

Right now I’m driving regionally in the Midwest so I have been able to get home every weekend. While I’m home I pickup the prepared meals (in plastic zip bags) and put them in my cooler until I’m ready to eat them.

Like I said, so far the RoadPro slow cooker has worked really well for me.

In this article I’m going to tell you about the pros and cons I have encountered so far.

Hopefully, you will learn a thing or two so that you know what to expect when you get yours.

The Pros Of The RoadPro 12 Volt Slow Cooker

You’ll notice that there are more pros than there are cons. That’s because this little slow cooker has been better than I thought it would.

1. It’s A Money Saver

Saving money is a huge reason why you should get yourself a slow cooker too.

It saves me money because I don’t have to eat crappy truck stops or restaurants where their food is unhealthy and way overpriced.

My wife prepares the meals ahead of time for me while I’m on the road and then I pick them up when I’m home for the weekend.

I throw them into my 12 volt cooler and I’m good to go for the next 4-5 days. Right now I’m driving regionally so this setup is working out great for me.

It does make my wife do a little for extra preparing but in the end it’s well worth it because of the money I don’t have to spend on garbage food at truck stops.

2. It’s Small

Size matters. This slow cooker is small enough to not take up a lot of space but big enough to cook a meal for 1-2 people. It’s perfect for truck drivers that don’t have a lot of disposable space in their trucks.

Keep the original box that it comes it so that you can store it inside when not using it.

3. Ceramic Insert Makes It Easy to Clean

The ceramic insert makes it so easy to clean but there are 2 options that you have.

Option 1: (This is what I do) First I pour out whatever is left over into a plastic bag to throw away later or to reheat for lunch the following day.

Then I get some paper towels and wipe down the ceramic insert with a mix of vinegar and water I keep in a spray bottle.

After you have wiped everything down just let it dry and put it back in storage for the next time.

The ceramic insert is also removable so that you can completely clean it before using it or wash it in a sink with soap and water.

By the way, if you don’t have access to running water then wiping down cooking accessories and utensils can be done with a spray of vinegar and water. It works great and keeps everything nice and clean without the obnoxious fumes.

Option 2 Plastic Liner: If you don’t want to worry about wiping anything down then you can get these slow cooker inserts instead. All you do is put one in the slow cooker and then add the food.

When you are all finished you just lift out the liner and throw it away.

I don’t use the liners because I’m still hesitant about having my food cooking in plastic even though they are BPA free.

4. Long Cord

You will appreciate that it has a 5 foot cord with it. It’s just enough to plug it in and place it right behind a passenger seat of a truck while you are driving.

If the cord length is not enough all you have to do is get a 12 ft. extension cord like this one so that you can place the slow cooked just about anywhere in your cab.

5. Eat Healthier And Stay In Shape

I don’t use the slow cooker every single day, I use it probably 2-3 days per week. On the days that I do use it i know that I am eating food that is healthier for me than anything I would find at a truck stop or restaurant.

I’m able to maintain a healthy weight and just feel better knowing that I get to eat something that my wife cooked for me. She is able to control the amount of fat, salt, and cholesterol, and vegetables I consume.

6. Only Draws 8 Amps

This slow cooker only draws 8 amps of energy (Source: RoadPro) which means its okay to use with your standard 12 volt outlet.

Most outlets are rated for 15-20 amps. If you are unsure then check with someone that does maintenance and repairs on your fleet.

For more safety tips take a look at the bottom of this article.

7. Good For Morale

It is such a good feeling after a long day driving to have a nice, home cooked meal ready to eat. It will boost your morale and put a positive finish to just about any bad day.

Another bonus is you don’t have to leave your truck to enjoy it!

Cons Of The 12 Volt RoadPro Slow Cooker

As much as I like (and I like it a lot) there are a few things that I did find a little annoying.

1. Lid Holder Is Garbage

In order to keep the lid on the slow cooker it comes with what is essentially a big rubber band. Well, it didn’t last very long. After 5 uses the rubber band lid holder broke. It snapped.

I ended up using a small bungee cord now to hold the lid down while the truck is moving. It works great at holding the lid down tightly and preventing spills. You should throw away the cheap rubber band it comes with and get a small bungee cord to use instead.

Another tip to prevent spills: Keep the styrofoam insert that comes with the slow cooker so you can put it in it while you are driving.

This will prevent it from spilling by keeping it in place. Something else I have done is to place it in a small plastic bin or cardboard box after placing it in the styrofoam insert. This way if there are any spills (there usually aren’t any) they are easy to clean and won’t stain anything.

2. No On/Off Switch

Not that you would expect a 12 volt appliance to have a switch but make sure you unplug it after using it so it doesn’t draw from your battery.

3. The Lid Is Loud When Driving

What I mean is that the lid doesn’t have any rubber on the bottom of it to prevent it from bouncing around a little while the truck is moving. If you don’t bungee down the lid this can get annoying.

My RoadPro 12 volt slow cooker has been a great cooking accessory. Using it has allowed me bring some of the food comforts from home onto the road.

Is It Safe To Leave A Slow Cooker Unattended?

For the most part they are considered safe to leave unattended.

Should you do it though? No, don’t leave it unattended in your truck unless its only for a few minutes.

Anytime you have an electric appliance unattended there is a risk that something could go wrong.

The last think you need is an electrical fire in your truck and you aren’t there to put it out.

Feel free to plug it in while you are driving but don’t leave it unattended while you catch an Uber ride into town to check out a movie.

Is It Safe To Use A Slow Cooker While The Truck Is Moving?

Of course! That’s one of the reasons truck drivers use them! They are easy to plug in while you are driving and after a few hours hours you have yourself a nice meal.

You do need to stabilize it while it is driving so that you don’t have any spills. I use bungee cords to hold the lid down which works really well.

You can also keep the styrofoam insert that comes with it in the box to put it in while you are driving.

This will prevent it from moving around and spilling. I also sometimes put it in a small cardboard box or plastic bin just to be extra sure it doesn’t spill over.

Another option is to put the slow cooker in a milk crate and then wrap it with some towels so that it doesn’t melt the crate.

Some of you might need an cigarette outlet extension cord so that you can tuck away the slow cooker behind you while you drive. If you do need one here is what they look like. This 12 volt extension cord gives you 12ft. of cable so that you can put any of your 12 volt appliances anywhere you want inside your truck.

They are not expensive either, usually less than $10.00 on Amazon.

Slow Cooker Recipes For Truck Drivers

Once you get your slow cooker you are going to need some ideas of what to make in it. There are 3 ways that I get slow cooker recipe ideas. Keep in mind that any slow cooker recipe will work, it doesn’t have to be specific to 12 volt slow cookers.

The first one is to use YouTube. YouTube is packed with slow cooker recipes.

The only problem with slow cooker recipes is that there are a lot of recipes that you need to do quite a bit of prep work for. If you are driving OTR you won’t have the time or space to do everything that is needed to make some of the meals.

Keep it simple. When searching YouTube make sure to include the work “easy” into your search. For example, search “easy slow cooker recipes”. I usually am able to find recipes that don’t require much prep time at all.

Here is one of the videos that I have used:

The second way to get slow cooker recipes is from books: Amazon has some amazing books that have slow cooker recipes. Here is the book my wife uses all the time to get some recipe ides for me.

This book is great for beginners. If you are worried about recipes that are too complicated then this is the book for you. I like that it has recipes that are realistic, meals that you could easily prep and cook in a semi truck.

The book is separated into the following sections which makes it easier to find an idea when you have no idea what to cook in your slow cooker.
-Breakfast and Brunch
-Soups and Stews
-Vegetarian and Vegan
-Pork and Poultry
-Beef and Lamb
-Grains and Pasta
-Quick and Easy Sides

The third place to go for slow cooker recipes are cooking websites: Do a search for “easy slow cooker recipes” and you should find plenty to choose from.

This site is one that my wife and I use fairly often to get some good ideas for meals that are not too difficult to make.

Slow Cooker For Truck Driver Tips

Driving a truck and using a slow cooker does have it’s challenges and there is a learning curve until you feel completely confident that you know what you are doing.

These are some tips/advice that will help you get the most out of your slow cooker.

1. You Can Overcook Foods

12 volt slow cookers will not turn off automatically when the food is cooked. If you don’t manualy turn it off (unplug it) it will keep cooking. I have had some foods overcook because I simply forgot to unplug it.

Honestly, once you start cooking with your slow cooker you’ll be able to figure out how long certain foods need so that they are perfectly cooked.

Some trial and error will occur but don’t get frustrated. Over time you will become more comfortable using it.

2. Prevent Spills

Don’t just place your slow cooker on the floor of your truck without anything underneath and around it.

The first thing you need to do in order to prevent spills is to use a bungee cord (I use 2 of them) to hold down the lid.

The cheap rubber band bungee that comes with the RoadPro slow cooker is garbage and won’t last you very long.

Next, while the slow cooker is cooking you need to place it in something that will prevent it from spilling while you are driving your truck. Put a towel in a plastic bin and set the slow cooker inside or wrap the slow cooker with towels and place it in a milk crate.

Another option is to keep the styrofoam insert that comes in the box when you buy the slow cooker and put in that while you are driving. This will also prevent it from tipping over and spilling.

3. Use Liners To Reduce Clean Up Time

If you are worried about cleaning up the slow cooker after using it you should use slow cooker liners like these.

They are great to use because when you are finished eating and need to clean up what is left behind in the slow cooker you just lift the plastic liner out and throw it away.

4. What A Slow Cooker Cannot Do

Don’t expect the slow cooker to bake and broil foods. Also, they aren’t intended to boil eggs or pasta.

The slow cooker also can’t heat up foods quickly like a microwave can. It’s a slow cooker, not a fast cooker.

5. Prep As Much As You Can Ahead Of Time

When/if you are able to get home for a few days you should do as much prep work as possible. Cut up vegetables that you are going to need and place them in small bags that are labeled.

Put meat portions in small bags as well so that you are ready to cook when on the road. You can do the same for sauces too. Just take what you need and put in the slow cooker and start cookin!

Doing all the prep work is going to make it so much easier for you on the road, you won’t have to worry about doing that stuff in your truck.

If you have a 12 volt cooler or a freezer then you can store the bags in there until you need them.

6. Thawing Meats

If you know what you are going to cook you can take it out of the freezer and let it thaw a little before putting it in the slow cooker. Letting the ingredients thaw a little makes it easier to get it out of the bag and into the slow cooker.

I find this especially true for meats and sauces. If you don’t thaw it out a little its going to be a wrestling match trying to get the sauce out of the plastic bag.

7. Leftovers

Don’t throw everything away! Refreeze it and then you can have it the following day for lunch.