You Just Got A Slow Cooker—Here Are The Recipes You Should Make First
So, you just got a slow cooker and you're ready to prep some recipes and then, "set it and forget it". Slow cookers make meal prep easy and clean up a breeze, while simmering low and slow all day for impressive flavor. From appetizers to desserts, the possibilities for what you can make in your new slow cooker are endless. We pulled together some of our favorite easy slow-cooker recipes, like the Slow-Cooker Mushroom Soup with Sherry and Slow-Cooker BBQ Brisket Sliders, to help you become a slow-cooker pro.
Slow-Cooker White Bean, Spinach & Sausage Stew
Reach for this recipe on a chilly morning when you know you'll want a steaming bowl of slow-cooker sausage stew for supper. To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten-free sausage.
Slow-Cooker Mushroom Soup with Sherry
Treat dinner guests to this premeal soup loaded with earthy, umami flavor from the mushrooms and soy sauce. Puréeing only some of the slow-cooker mushroom soup gives the dish complex texture and eye appeal. Garnish with additional black pepper and chopped fresh thyme, if desired.
Mediterranean Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
This slow-cooker chicken noodle soup fits nicely into the Mediterranean diet thanks to plenty of vegetables, lean chicken breast and whole-wheat pasta. Pair it with a salad and toasted whole-grain bread for an easy, healthy dinner.
Slow-Cooker Southwest Quinoa Bowls
This taco-bowl--style recipe will be a hit with both adults and children. The 10-minute sit time allows the cheese to melt into the quinoa, making this dish super decadent. If you cannot find Cheddar-Jack cheese, use Monterey Jack or sharp Cheddar. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges and additional cheese, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
Brussels sprouts are a versatile accompaniment for so many entrées. Here, the burst of lemon juice and the addition of pine nuts and pecorino Romano keep the flavor profile interesting. Furthermore, broiling the sprouts after slow-cooking caramelizes them and gives them crispness.
Slow-Cooker Barbecue Brisket Sliders
Serve these slow-cooker brisket sliders when company's coming--perhaps to watch the big game--for an easy, crowd-pleasing dish. The crisp, tangy coleslaw is the perfect pairing for the tender, rich brisket. Serve with chips, crudités and cold beer to round out the meal.
Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Quinoa with Arugula
Chock-full of quinoa, chickpeas and vegetables, this salad is a meal in itself. The roasted red peppers, lemon, olives and feta add familiar Mediterranean flavor. If you want to provide a meat option, serve with grilled chicken.
Slow-Cooker Carrot-Leek Bisque
Creamy and delicate slow-cooker carrot soup is a welcome appetizer. The addition of millet--a whole grain similar to quinoa--adds body to the soup as well as protein and fiber. Garnish with additional black pepper, if desired.
Start your day with hearty, slightly spicy shakshuka full of Southwestern flavor. To avoid one large egg blob on top, be sure to make wells in the sauce using a spoon. It's important to use corn tortillas and not flour tortillas if you're going gluten free. Lightly toast the tortillas, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable & Tofu Thai Stew
Cauliflower and tofu are ideal ingredients for this soup. The cauliflower soaks up the cooking liquid, and the tofu keeps the dish light, allowing the bold flavors in the liquid--predominantly the curry paste and lemongrass--to take center stage in this slow-cooker tofu stew.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Marsala
This slow-cooker chicken Marsala recipe gets its full flavor from plenty of mushrooms and fragrant shallots. Whole-wheat pasta soaks up the rich sauce. Round it out with a simple green salad for a comforting healthy dinner.
Slow-Cooker Easy Jerk Pork Shoulder
The name of this recipe says it all: It's an easy, mostly hands-off jerk pork dish that comes together in a snap. The cayenne provides a little heat, but mostly the slow-cooker pork shoulder gets its flavor from the cinnamon and allspice. The bright salsa-pineapple topping cools the dish off and gives it a pretty, dinner-party-worthy appearance. Serve the meat alone, or pile it on buns for sandwiches or shredded atop nachos. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Lentil, Carrot & Potato Soup
Puréeing some of the lentil-vegetable mixture, and then combining it with the remaining vegetables and lentils gives the soup a texture that satisfies those who love a creamy soup and those who prefer it chunky. Serve this slow-cooker lentil soup with crackers.
Slow-Cooker Honey-Lime Pork Nachos
Serve these slow-cooker nachos at your next party--they'll vanish! Tossing the cubed pork back into the slow cooker with the honey, lime and garlic gives it extra-tangy sweetness. For the prettiest appearance, use whole cilantro leaves instead of chopped.
Crock-Pot Lemon Chicken with Tomatoes & Kalamata Olives
Let your slow cooker do the bulk of the work and end up with a meal that fulfills all your Mediterranean-food cravings. The mix of onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives, oregano and parsley adds pleasing acidity to the browned chicken, while toasted pine nuts lend interest to the orzo.
Slow-Cooker Herb & Mushroom Braised Beef
With its comforting flavors contributed by savory meat, mushrooms, onions, carrots and fresh herbs, this slow-cooker braised beef is a wonderful supper on cold-weather days. Consider freezing it into portions for busy weeknight meals. You could also shred the meat and serve it on sandwiches.
Slow-Cooker Turkey & Kale Minestrone Soup
Adjust the heat level in the dish by choosing either hot or mild Italian sausage. You can add red pepper, too, to make it extra hot. Serve this slow-cooker minestrone with crusty bread, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Pork Posole
Mexican pork posole is the perfect dish to serve to a crowd. It's hearty, comforting and full of well-loved ingredients. Mashing some of the beans and hominy thickens the slow-cooker posole and releases more of their earthy flavor. For a twist, substitute thinly sliced jalapeño chiles, finely shredded green cabbage and fresh thyme or cilantro leaves for the radishes, scallions, and oregano.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole with Cilantro Rice
Mole sauce is a Mexican condiment primarily composed of fruit, chile pepper, nuts and spices. In our rendition, these ingredients take the form of raisins and tomatoes; ancho chiles; smoked almonds; and cocoa, cumin and cinnamon. The rich mixture coats the browned chicken thighs in the slow cooker, and doubles as a topping on the final dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Cuban-Style Black Beans
These slow-cooker beans are super flavorful and tender. To save time, process the garlic cloves in a small food processor instead of mincing them by hand. You can also make this a day ahead and refrigerate overnight to give the flavors more time to mingle. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.
Slow-Cooker Potato Soup
This easy slow-cooker potato soup has all the good stuff you love on a potato--including bacon, cheese and scallions. Serve this loaded baked potato soup with a salad for an easy dinner--just 15 minutes of active prep time!--whenever you're in need of some serious comfort food. It would also be fun fare for a casual party. Serve it straight out of the slow cooker and set out bowls of toppings so everyone can assemble their own. You can easily make this soup vegetarian--just use vegetable broth and skip the bacon.
Slow-Cooker Creamy Butternut Squash-Apple Soup
The sweetness of the Granny Smith apple shines through the creaminess of the blended butternut squash, a combination that is sure to whet appetites. Don't be afraid to keep blending the soup-more air yields tastier, frothier soup. Garnish with additional fresh rosemary sprigs, if desired. To make this a vegan butternut squash soup, omit the heavy cream and use your favorite plant-based milk or yogurt instead.
Slow-Cooker Carne Picada Tacos with Avocado Salsa
Loosely translated as "minced meat," the traditional texture of carne picada ranges from finely chopped to ground. Here we start with brisket, which becomes nice and tender in the slow cooker, then shred and chop the meat before serving. The seasoning is flavorful but not too spicy. Blistered jalapeños added at the end will satisfy the heat-lovers in the family. Pile the brisket into warmed corn tortillas, with lettuce, the jalapeños, cheese and avocado salsa for a healthy dinner that'll wake up your taco night routine.
Slow-Cooker Sichuan Chicken with Scallions & Baby Bok Choy
Sichuan peppercorns give this brothy slow-cooker chicken dish a distinctive lemony, mouth-numbing flavor. Unrelated to peppercorns, they're the dried berries of the prickly ash tree. Look for them in specialty markets and online. If you've never had them before, try one first and add more or less to taste. Serve with sesame baby bok choy (which takes just a few minutes to prep) and Chinese noodles for an easy, healthy dinner that'll get you out of your same-old-chicken-dish rut.
Slow-Cooker Squash, Millet & Lentil Dal with Herbed Yogurt
This slow-cooker dal recipe has a range of pleasing textures: red lentils and millet break down as they cook, and the toor dal, which are split pigeon peas, stay toothsome. Look for all three ingredients at Indian markets or natural-foods stores. The crock pot does most of the work for this healthy vegetarian recipe, and a quick herbed yogurt added just before serving brightens up the flavors. Bonus: Both the dal and the yogurt can be made ahead and the leftovers are wonderful.