Since the first mass-produced model, the Electric Bean Pot, hit the market in 1952 (20 years after Irving Naxon first patented his device), slow cookers have been the saving grace of both busy urbanites and suburban parents. In 1972 the appliance was rebranded as the Crock-Pot and became more popular than ever!
Slow cookers give users the most precious gift in cooking — time. Whether a brand-name Crock-Pot or some other kind, slow cookers use moist heat to cook the contents placed inside the appliance. The low temperatures make it safe to leave on while you run errands, go to work, or sleep soundly, effectively making mealtime a mostly labor-free, hands-off task. Still, utilizing your slow cooker to its full potential requires some know-how.
If you are interested in a hassle-free way to make homemade meals, even on the busiest nights of the week, from breakfast dishes that cook while you sleep to simple dinner ideas that won’t require you to babysit a host of pots on the stove, look no further read on to discover our 50 essential slow cooker recipes!
Wake up to a warm nutritious breakfast; this simple slow cooker oatmeal using classic apple-spice flavors can be made in your slow cooker while you sleep.
Particularly useful when cooking for a crowd that may be arriving for a mid-morning brunch, this recipe is the perfect blend of classic morning fare and flavorful midday treat. The spices, cheeses, and even the vegetables are all easily customizable to your personal preferences. — Lauren Gordon
Let this breakfast casserole cook overnight, and wake up to a warm breakfast complete with sausage, eggs, and hash browns.
You could slow down and eat at home or pack up a bowl of this multi-grain porridge to take to work with you. With a slow cooker, it can happen. — Shelby Kinnaird
Who doesn’t love a delicious Buffalo chicken dip at a party? It’s creamy, delicious, a little spicy, and extremely flavorful. But when it is loaded with a few different types of cheese, this dip can get pretty fattening, pretty quickly. We’ve lightened up this recipe for you so you can thoroughly enjoy this essential party food without the guilt. — Lauren Gordon
These slow cooker chicken wings are easy and so delicious, and you only need seven ingredients to make them!
These sliders are a wonderful appetizer that everyone will love. The delicate pork is coated with a delicious barbecue sauce; you won't believe it’s homemade and budget friendly. No fancy ingredients are used here; all it takes is some time.
Slowly braise the chicken until tender along with the taco seasoning and pinto beans. Then top off with fresh cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and salsa before serving.
Green chile peppers and pepper jack cheese give this classic spinach and artichoke dip a much-needed spicy kick. Serve with homemade tortilla chips for an extra special twist.
This healthy, flavorful soup is loaded with tons of fresh, nutritious ingredients like spinach, carrots, celery, and onion and simmers in a slow cooker while you're away at work so it tastes like it cooked all day — because it did.
Easy Home Meals
You can use frozen store-bought meatballs, as the recipe suggests, or try your hand at making your own for this simple and delicious soup bursting with classic Italian flavor.
Borscht, a traditional Eastern European soup, is usually made with beets, but this Chinese version (also known as Luo Song Tang) is made instead with cabbage and tomatoes. Make sure to add the cabbage no more than 30 minutes before serving so it doesn’t become mushy!
Sweet and Spicy Monkey
Serve with chips and salsa and top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced avocados, jalapeños, or tomatoes. And if you're feeling really motivated, whip up some cornbread to serve on the side.
If you need something warm and comforting, look no further than this classic American comfort food that has everything you need in a single bowlful.
Daniel J. van Ackere/ America's Test Kitchen
Transform humble chicken drumsticks into tender, boldly spiced bites of heaven. With habanero chile, ginger, allspice and more, these drumsticks will not disappoint.
This chicken takes no time at all to prep — just 10 minutes — so it’s the perfect thing to make when you need to figure out what’s for dinner in a hurry. Paired with some steamed rice or a simple side salad, this makes for an easy and complete meal for any day of the week.
This mild and fragrant chicken tikka masala is full of flavor from toasted spices and plenty of aromatics like garlic, fresh ginger, jalapeños and more.
Rather than serve this tender chicken, marinated in almond butter, cumin, coriander, and ginger, with couscous, here the chicken is accompanied by finely diced cauliflower studded with dried cherries for sweetness and tossed with fresh herbs, like cilantro and basil.
If you are looking for a decent gluten-free meatball, this is the recipe for you! Made with coconut flour instead of the standard all-purpose kind, these meatballs are delicious served over gluten-free pasta, zoodles or whatever you fancy!
This traditional recipe for pork and apples uses pork spare ribs that are slowly cooked until they fall off the bone. Then, a side of sauerkraut complements the sweetness from the apples.
These pork chops are easy and hearty for those colder days of the year, when you need something sustaining and delicious.
Forget about using flour to thicken a stew! This recipe goes grain-free and instead purees some of the vegetables before adding them back into the stew for a silky gravy that everyone can enjoy.
For a group breakfast or brunch, this easy slow cooker egg casserole will ensure that no one needs to be stuck in the kitchen and there will be plenty of food for all!
This hearty casserole is a favorite in Ireland, where it was whipped up during the coldest of winters. As its name suggests, it was originally made with lamb or mutton, but these days you may be more familiar with the beef version. For a healthier version, try using ground chicken. — Lauren Gordon
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
This untraditional lasagna recipe swaps customary Italian flavors for classic Mexican ones, using queso blanco instead of mozzarella and topping it off with fresh avocado, cilantro, and sour cream.
This casserole may take some time to make, but it's definitely worth it. The chicken and beans are both soft and full of flavor.
Cheesy, delicious, and totally worth the wait, this slow cooker meal will have you “mmm-ing” after each bite. Add in bits of bacon or any of your other favorite breakfast meats and your simple side can be transformed into a hearty regular dish.
Vegetarians and meat eaters like will love this hearty and delicious stew. With curry powder, green lentils, ginger, cayenne and more, this stew is bursting with flavor!
Osso buco is traditional Italian stew made with veal shanks and is wonderful served with some creamy polenta. This recipe turns to the slow cooker to get things done effortlessly and can be made with beef instead of veal if you prefer.
Throw everything together in your slow cooker and let it go low and slow for a simple, yet satisfying stew that is comforting and delicious.
Here’s a simple Mexican-inspired stew that uses chorizo as the main protein source. Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream for a simply delicious dinner.
This hearty minestrone stew calls for garden vegetable soup (such as Progresso Vegetable Classics), turkey Italian sausage, and gluten-free macaroni. It’s easy to customize with any vegetables, legumes, or herbs you happen to have on hand.
For a fabulous vegetarian breakfast look no further than these tasty huevos rancheros — a winning combination of cheese, green chiles, a splash of cream and , of course, some fried eggs!
Mac and cheese is the homiest, most delicious comfort food you can treat yourself to. Now imagine being able to come home to freshly baked, always delicious mac and cheese that comes straight from a slow cooker? You’ll be in heaven, we promise!
Here’s a great vegetarian lasagna recipe made with a mushroom-spinach tomato sauce layered with uncooked lasagna noodles and cheese in a slow cooker. Easy, vegetarian and delicious!
These artichokes are cleaned and trimmed, and then stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Finally, they’re slowly cooked until tender.
This recipe uses protein-rich lentils cooked slowly with flavorful curry leaf, turmeric, and mustard seed to develop a rich curry flavor. The potatoes and pinto beans make this dish hearty enough for a filling main course.
Use your slow cooker to make warm cakes, sweet breads, and more. Your slow cooker will save you time and free up oven space for the main course.
Taste of Home
This traditional desert from New Orleans has everything you could possibly want in a dessert — caramel, walnuts, banana and rum. Could it get better? Yes, it could, because this version is made in a slow cooker!
This simple banana bread makes a perfect and delicious use of your overripe bananas. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and caramel sauce for a decadent dessert.
Don’t stress over dessert. Simply combine the ingredients and let your slow cooker do all the work while you are tending to more important kitchen tasks.
Who knew you could make creme brulee in a slow cooker?! Now’s your chance to impress guests with these delicious treats.
Who wouldn’t love a slice of this creamy, autumnal pumpkin swirl cheesecake? If you need a delicious dessert, this one is easy-peasy to make and everyone will love it.
What better way to keep warm drinks warm during a party or cold winter day than in your slow cooker? Try our version of hot buttered rum or perhaps a hot toddy!
Hot toddies are the perfect antidote to a cold day, so nothing could be more welcoming than greeting guests with a slow cooker full of hot toddies for them to enjoy. This recipe will completely chase any and all cold weather blues away; party because of the enticing aroma and partly because of the alcohol.
Whether you are milling (and mulling) around a farmers market, or enjoying a quiet evening at home by the fire, mulled wine warms your soul in a way chilled wine just can’t. This recipe, which has a little kick of brandy in it, is perfect for a wine-drinker that loves a little bit of sweet aroma and flavor in their wine bouquet. Just set the slow cooker up and enjoy!
What better way is there to warm up on a cold winter day than with a hot cup of sweet and salty hot chocolate? Just top with marshmallows, and everyone will be begging for a cup and if you’re feeling really indulgent, pair your sweet drink with one of these deliciously decadent chocolate recipes!
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