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 chilis. 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 flavor to favorite dishes. These 52 recipes include sides, main dishes, drinks, and desserts for all types of cooks and diets.
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 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. 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 cabbage for a ton of flavor and fiber alongside meat entrees. The braising liquid is flexible; cooks can use what's 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. Making 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.
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.