22 Slow-Cooker Side Dishes That Complete Any Meal
Move over entrées and say hello to these slow-cooker side dishes. These side dishes are perfect if you're looking for a healthy and delicious accompaniment to your meal, but don't want to spend active time making it. Just add your ingredients and let your slow-cooker do the work. Recipes like Slow-Cooker Cheesy Potatoes and Slow-Cooker Brussels Sprouts with Lemon are flavorful, nutritious and make the most of your slow-cooker.
Slow-Cooker Cheesy Potatoes
What's not to love about this easy dump-and-go slow cooker recipe? It has potatoes and ooey-gooey cheese, all combined with a can of condensed cream of chicken soup! Whip up this kid-friendly side dish anytime you have a crowd to feed.
Slow-Cooked Sweet and Sour Cabbage
The combination of cloves, cabbage and cider vinegar gives this slow-cooker cabbage recipe its sweet-and-sour flavor. Don't skip the apples-the hit of natural sweetness is worth the time it takes to core and chop them.
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 Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This simple slow-cooker mashed potatoes recipe skips tedious peeling and boiling and helps save precious stovetop space by letting the slow cooker do the work. It's a great timesaving set-it-and-forget-it side dish recipe to round out any hearty meal. Buttermilk makes the mashed potatoes creamy while garlic and shallots add flavor.
Creamy Wild Rice Pilaf
This recipe takes rice pilaf to the next level. It's full of creamy, melt-in-your melt flavor.
Slow-Cooked Baked Beans with Bacon
It's easy to purchase baked beans in a can, but making your own in the slow cooker results in a rich and deliciously flavored side dish that you'll feel better about serving to guests.
Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Thanks to fresh green beans, an easy homemade cream sauce and crispy onion topping, this green bean casserole recipe is healthier and more delicious than traditional recipes that use canned soup, beans and onions. Plus, the slow cooker saves you time cooking at the stove. Make sure to use fresh green beans, as frozen green beans will become mushy.
Cheesy Sweet Peppers and Corn
If you like cheese, you'll love this vegetable side dish. Sweet peppers--both red and green--and sweet yellow corn are slow-cooked, topped with a creamy, blue cheese sauce and sprinkled with shredded cheddar. It's decadently delicious!
Slow-Cooker Braised Collard Greens with Pepperoncini
Collard greens have large, dark green leaves that are dense with vitamins, calcium and fiber. The briny pepperoncini and salty pancetta add enough brightness to this dish to balance the collards' vegetal flavor. These slow-cooker collard greens pair perfectly with braised meat or barbecue.
Slow "Roasted" Tomatoes
There's nothing more delicious than tomatoes roasted with tart balsamic vinegar and fragrant herbs. Before serving, remove the tomatoes from the slow cooker and be sure to allow a full ten minutes for the cheesy breadcrumb topping to soak into each savory tomato half.
Barley is an excellent source of fiber, and in this slow-cooker recipe it's paired with nutrient-dense spinach and butternut squash. Topped with shredded Parmesan cheese, this side dish will be happy sharing a plate with whatever else you're serving.
Caramelized Onions and Potatoes
Sweetened with brown sugar and slow cooked, these Caramelized Onions and Potatoes make a perfect flavorful side dish.
Slow-Cooker Herb-Infused Wheat Berry Pilaf
Olive oil infused with parsley, thyme and rosemary coats the wheat berries, keeping them moist and chewy and imparting an aromatic flavor. You can make the oil and keep it tightly sealed in the pantry as you would regular olive oil. Drizzle the oil over salads or other grains to amp up their flavor.
Slow-Cooker Umami Mushrooms
In addition to being a great stand-alone side, these slow-cooker mushrooms are also excellent tossed in a salad or stir-fry. Be sure to buy whole cremini mushrooms so they will retain their texture and not turn mushy during the long cook time. If you don't want to wait for the mushroom mixture to concentrate during the 1 hour and 30 minutes of cooking it uncovered, then cook it, uncovered, just long enough for the mushrooms to brown. Then drain the liquid and bring it to a boil in a saucepan. Once the liquid has thickened, stir in the mushrooms and vinegar and sprinkle with the scallions.
This side dish is a cinch -- place the ingredients in your slow cooker and forget about them until dinnertime.
Slow-Cooker Buttered Maple Sweet Potato Mash
You truly can just dump the recipe ingredients and leave it until the cook time is up. The finishing touch of toasted pecans adds the right amount of crunch to these slow-cooker mashed sweet potatoes.
White Beans with Dried Tomatoes
Creamy white beans are cooked in vegetable broth and absorb the flavors of garlic, dried tomatoes and shaved Asiago cheese. For a complementary crunch, partner this side dish with toasted, buttered baguette slices.
Slow-Cooker Braised Potatoes and Green Cabbage
Everyone will love this new spin on the classic cabbage-and-potatoes combo. The addition of fennel adds earthy and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.
Slow-Cooker Brown Rice Pilaf with Cherries & Hazelnuts
Get creative and try many variations of this slow-cooker pilaf recipe. Sub dried cranberries, blueberries or apricots for the cherries--or use them all. Just be sure to use a dried fruit. You can also swap the hazelnuts for pecans, if desired.
Roasted Veggie-Stuffed Potatoes
These slow-cooker roasted potatoes are bursting with colorful vegetables, mild pine nuts, and tangy feta cheese. Serve as a side with steak, or add some beans and make it a vegetarian main dish.
Slow-Cooker Maple-Walnut Carrots
The hint of maple syrup and brandy elevates these slow-cooker carrots, transforming them into a holiday-worthy side dish. You can easily double this to feed a crowd. We use stem-on rainbow carrots for their beauty, but regular carrots work just as well.
Slow-Cooker Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes
The curry mixture coats the potatoes and cauliflower, imparting a bold, hot flavor while the dollop of sour cream on top acts as a cooling agent. Double the serving size, and this dish becomes a hearty meatless main. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free curry powder. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.