52 Recipes to Keep Your Slow Cooker Bubbling All Year Long
The slow cooker, or Crock-Pot, is too often relegated to the back of a kitchen cabinet for most of the year, making a brief appearance for a few winter stews and chilies. Get the most out of this wonder device by using it every week for recipes that suit every season. Turn tough cuts of meat tender, create inexpensive homemade versions of restaurant and takeout meals, and add deep layers of flavor to favorite dishes. These 52 recipes include sides, main dishes, drinks, and desserts for all types of cooks and diets.
A slow-cooker recipe from The Kitchn makes mashed potatoes a very convenient dish to prepare. This side dish can be made plain and simple or with extras like scallions or roasted garlic. The slow cooker keeps the potatoes warm without drying them out, so you can make them ahead of time.
Especially handy in the winter, this warming soup takes just a few minutes of active preparation; a slow cooker does the rest. A basic recipe from the blog Add a Pinch is ripe for customizing by adding or substituting your favorite vegetables and legumes. Vegetarians, or those trying to eat less meat, can omit the optional ground beef for a lighter vegan soup.
Making cornbread in a slow cooker takes all the guesswork out of the baking process. A Betty Crocker recipe is well-suited for beginner cooks. It's guaranteed to come out the same time after time, with no risk of burning the bottom. The recipe works equally well with additions like green chilies, scallions, or a handful of cheese.
This hearty vegan soup is more like a stew, thickened with barley and mushrooms. It's a warming meal in cold weather and freezes well. The process couldn't be simpler with a recipe from the blog Hummusapien: It takes less than 10 minutes to combine the ingredients in a slow cooker before letting them simmer into a rich one-pot meal.
This slow-cooked chowder develops layers of flavor as the slow cooker does all the work for you. Vegetarians can use vegetable stock instead of chicken in a recipe from the blog Damn Delicious, and even water would work, as spices and cream add loads of flavor and richness. This elegant soup works in any season using frozen corn, though fresh corn is a nice touch in the summer.
A recipe for this savory side dish from the blog Divine Health From the Inside Out results in tender but not mushy cabbage. It provides a ton of flavor and fiber alongside meat entrees. The braising liquid is flexible; cooks can use what they have on hand. Bacon drippings are one option that cuts down on food waste for maximum savings.
Wings are a crowd-pleasing dish for a weeknight meal or a party. Cooking them in a slow cooker eliminates the need to fry or bake in extra oil. A recipe from the blog Good Dinner Mom takes the extra step of broiling them once cooked through, to add a crisp texture and caramelize the sauce for depth of flavor.
Creamy chicken Alfredo is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal and a staple for many family celebrations. Avoid any chance of burning the delicate cream sauce by using a no-fuss slow-cooker recipe from the blog No. 2 Pencil that cooks everything, even the pasta, in the same pot for easy clean up.
Anyone who has burned or undercooked a chicken will rejoice to discover they can cook a perfect whole chicken in a slow cooker. With a recipe from The Kitchn, it's as easy as placing a seasoned chicken in the pot and pressing a button. The skin can be crisped with a few minutes under the broiler at the end.
A straightforward brisket recipe from The Kitchn is best made ahead of time so the flavors meld and deepen further as the meat rests. You could skip the initial browning process, but searing the meat does add a layer of flavor that would be noticeably missed. The extra step is worth the effort.
For St. Patrick's Day, or whenever you crave a hearty old-country meal, a slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage recipe from Food Network Kitchens strikes a balance between tender and zesty. Cooking the cabbage at the end helps it retain some bite, rather than turning into mush.
Cooking biryani using the stovetop and oven is a difficult game of getting the timing and liquid ratios just right to end up with fluffy rice rather than undercooked or mushy grains. A recipe from the blog A Marmie Life takes the guesswork out of the process by finishing the rice in the pot with the other ingredients.
A creamy and spicy curry recipe from the blog Serendipity and Spice turns inexpensive fish like tilapia and pollock into flavorful meals. As with any soup, stew, or sauce, using homemade broth will cut down on overall costs, so consider buying a whole fish and using the head, tail, and bones to make your own.
The best part of a recipe for poached pears from a Cooking Light cookbook is that after prepping the poaching liquid and pears, you can just walk away from the pot as it cooks. Moscato d'Asti is an inexpensive sweet wine that works well if you don't already have an old bottle to use up.