50 Healthy Slow-Cooker Dinner Ideas

The ultimate convenience cooking tool can transform any piece of protein into a delectable and healthy dinner

Soups, stews, and chilis are slow cooker classics that you can make healthy.

Slow-cookers are beloved for their versatility. We’ve published slow-cooker recipes for everything from queso dip to lasagna to pork chops to banana bread.

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But slow-cookers go beyond indulgent, rich, and cheesy dishes. The low-and-slow method of cooking allows you to develop rich, deep flavors without using tons of oil, salt, or sugary sauces. Slow-cookers are therefore the perfect tool for to make no-fuss, healthy dinners — even those involving big hunks of meat.

Currently, meat is perceived by dietitians and nutritionists as something that should be consumed in moderation — but a lot of the perceived problem with meat has to do not with the protein itself, but with the manner in which it is prepared and served. A bacon-cheeseburger served up on a white-bread bun with a side order of French fries might not be a choice for every day, but slow-cooker Cuban braised beef seasoned only with Caribbean spices and served over brown rice alongside some sautéed bitter greens is not only healthy, but more refined and interesting.

Slow-cookers can also transform the humble chicken thigh into a chicken verde, chicken tikka masala, or chicken tortilla soup — dishes that are not only convenient and delicious, but also let you side-step the deep fryer. Here are 50 healthy dinners you can make in your slow-cooker.


Michael Serrur and Holly Van Hare contributed to this roundup.