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The 20 Best Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Welcome to slow cooker heaven. I hope you brought your appetite because these recipes are out of this world good.

 

The slow cooker is the healthy dieter’s best friend. Toss a handful of ingredients in, flip the switch, go on with your life, and, a few hours later, you have a delicious pot of food.

As you’ll see, there’s no limit to the variety of meals you can make. This list has everything from risotto to sloppy Joes, pork chops to applesauce. And, thanks to the one-pot slow cooker, you can make all of them with less effort.

With a slow cooker, you can take the entire cooking process slow. Get your groceries one day, prep the veggies the next, assemble it all in the morning, and you’ll be eating calorie-conscious, made-from-scratch meals for the rest of the week.

Enjoy!

Ginger Beer BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Serves 6

Nobody’s arguing that ribs aren’t amazing when smoked low and slow, but that’s an elaborate process to go through to satisfy the carnivorous need to chomp juicy meat off the bone.

To satisfy that craving in a convenient way, you don’t have to go to a chain restaurant. Instead set the slow cooker to high for five hours, and step away. And while the ginger beer tastes great with the fresh orange, you can also use a premium beer from the six-pack in your fridge.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

502

Calories

40 g

Protein

39 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 rack (about 2 lb.) baby back ribs, cut in two pieces

2 cups barbecue sauce

1 bottle ginger beer

Montreal steak seasoning

1 orange, sliced with peel on

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Chicken Quinoa Crockpot Chili

Serves 8

There are endless ways to make chicken breast, but if you feel out of place in the kitchen, you can always turn to your slow cooker.

It takes hardly any work to dump in a bunch of ingredients and make an amazing stew like chili. This one has lots of meat, peppers, and beans – as you’d expect in a classic chicken chili. There’s an unexpected ingredient too, a cup of quinoa for added nutrition.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

654

Calories

45 g

Protein

101 g

Carbs

9 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 cans (16 oz. each) black beans

3 cups chicken broth

1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Small white onion, diced

1–2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

2 large chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

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Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket

Serves 8

If you’re craving barbecue but it’s rainy or cold outside, you can turn to this recipe for slow cooker brisket.

Any seasoning will work, but if you love French onion, it’s possible to make your own at home. Combine 1/2 cup dried onion with one teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, sea salt, and turmeric. Then measure out half a teaspoon of celery salt and of freshly ground black pepper. Shake it up in a spice jar to combine.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

590

Calories

73 g

Protein

33 g

Carbs

16 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 lb. beef brisket

Spicy brown mustard to taste

1 package (1/4 cup) French onion soup mix

1 cup water

1 cup barbecue sauce

8 hamburger buns

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Slow Cooker Applesauce

Serves 12

This homemade applesauce has no sugar added, which makes it a healthy snack for all ages. But that’s not all.

It can be used for other recipes, like pancakes, muffins, and cookies. It can even be used to make gummy fruit snacks from scratch. It only takes a couple extra ingredients: a sweetener plus a thickener like agar or pectin.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

69

Calories

1 g

Protein

18 g

Carbs

1 g

Fat

Ingredients

7 large apples

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

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Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal

Serves 4

Forget about having instant oatmeal in the morning.

Let the oats really soak up the flavor overnight, and you’ll have a delicious slow cooker breakfast on the counter for you. It’ll be hard for wait for it to cool because this bowlful of hot cereal is not only steamy but fragrant. The oatmeal is naturally sweetened with ripe bananas, and it has hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

299

Calories

13 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

8 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 cup steel-cut oats

1 ripe banana, mashed

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups skim milk (or almond milk)

2 cups water

2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

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Slow Cooker Meaty Spaghetti Sauce

Serves 24

With this recipe, you can have enough pasta sauce to feed a family of four for a week.

Of course, you might want a little more variety in your meal plan than that. Luckily this meat sauce freezes really well. So unless you’re feeding a small army, you can pack the rest away to enjoy on a night when you can’t muster more energy than it takes to boil water.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

132

Calories

11 g

Protein

7 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. turkey sausage

1 medium onion, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes

2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste

2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

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Bacon Barbecue Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Serves 6

Since the Crock Pot is covered while the meatloaf cooks, there’s no way for it to dry out. As the moisture rises, the water collects on the lid and drips back onto the top of the meat. The result is a succulent and – thanks to the bacon – downright awesome dinner that will have you rethinking meatloaf.

This isn’t the ketchup-smothered slices of your childhood.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

882

Calories

66 g

Protein

46 g

Carbs

47 g

Fat

Ingredients

3 large eggs

1 cup diced white onion

1/3 cup + 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided

1/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

25 saltine crackers

2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

16 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

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Smothered Pork Chops

Serves 6

If you think pork chops are tough and unpalatable, give them another chance with zero effort.

As long as you pick up quality meat, slow cooker pork chops can turn out better than what you can order in restaurants. Toss them in there with coconut milk, butter, and broth, and the chops will melt in your mouth.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

562

Calories

48 g

Protein

6 g

Carbs

35 g

Fat

Ingredients

6 thick-cut boneless pork chops (about 6 oz. each)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1/3 cup arrowroot flour

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 can (15 oz.) full-fat coconut milk

2 cups chicken broth

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Serves 4

If you’re having a party at home, the slow cooker should be your go-to method for making appetizers.

These meatballs are easy to assemble, and to serve, you only have to stick them with a toothpick. They’re so good you’ll find yourself craving them on a regular weeknight when you need a protein-packed first course for dinner.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

285

Calories

36 g

Protein

3 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. ground chicken

1/3 cup almond meal

1 large egg

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

3/4 cup buffalo sauce

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Whole Wheat Spinach Lasagna

Serves 8

If you get home from work in the evening, you’re already too hungry to wait for dinner to cook for an hour or more. So why not assemble it in the morning and skip the wait?

Slow cooker lasagna allows you to enjoy one of your favorite home-cooked meals with a lot less fuss. You don’t even have to worry about hunting down no-bake noodles or pre-cooking the flat sheets of lasagna.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

513

Calories

34 g

Protein

49 g

Carbs

20 g

Fat

Ingredients

14 oz. uncooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

15 oz. ricotta cheese

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes

1 Tbsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped

4 oz. (1 cup) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 jars (28 oz. each) marinara sauce

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Serves 6

The ultimate Sunday supper can be made with hardly any effort, which takes the chore out of not just meal prep but finding a way to gather family and friends around the table.

This is a classic meat and potatoes dish that everyone (except vegetarians) can call comfort food. Yet it’s as healthy as it is hearty; thanks to the slow cooker, this pot roast requires no oil or butter to become succulent.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

714

Calories

80 g

Protein

52 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 large red onions

3 lb. chuck roast (or a cut with nice marbling)

2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

8 carrots, sliced into 1/2”-thick coins

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Salsa Verde Carnitas

Serves 8

Slow cooker carnitas are an awesome way to make your protein ahead of time, but mix it up throughout the week.

The Southwestern spiced pulled pork can be used to make tacos or burritos if you’re in a hurry. Or, you can use carnitas to make enchiladas or tamales if you have more time. Mexican-spiced pork is also great for breakfast served with scrambled eggs, skillet potatoes, and diced avocado.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

360

Calories

57 g

Protein

5 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lean boneless pork roast (about 5 lb.), fat removed

1 tsp. seasoned salt

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, minced

2 cups salsa verde (homemade or store-bought)

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Mexican Cabbage Soup

Serves 8

Borscht is the most popular cabbage soup, but since it’s a hearty vegetable, cabbage shows up in many cultural dishes.

This Mexican soup is nothing like the Russian variety except for the base ingredient.  Aside from that, it’s packed with bell peppers, spicy stewed tomatoes, and chili powder. Top with tortilla strips and your favorite taco toppings.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

108

Calories

7 g

Protein

20 g

Carbs

2 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 head cabbage

2 bell peppers

2 cans (15 oz. each) Mexican stewed tomatoes with jalapenos

2 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder

5 cups vegetable broth

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 bay leaf

1/2 Tbsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

1 Tbsp. liquid smoke

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Red Pepper Brown Rice Risotto

Serves 6

This slow cooker risotto requires no stirring. Wait, what? Yes, you can have notoriously tricky risotto at home without standing at the stove for 20 minutes.

You will have to stir right before serving, but by then the red pepper risotto will be thick and creamy. And once you try this, you’ll want to make all kinds of no-fuss risotto, like mushroom, sausage, and pumpkin.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

206

Calories

7 g

Protein

29 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 red bell peppers, diced into chunks

3/4 cup finely diced red onion

2 Tbsp. butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup brown rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

1 cup water

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 oz. (about 1/3 cup) Parmesan, freshly grated

Splash of red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Pizza Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

Ditch the can of Manwich, and make these slow cooker sloppy joes instead.

They’re everything you love about the messy, savory, hot sandwiches – plus the flavor of pizza. The meaty mix uses equal parts ground beef and pork, and the sauce has tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire, and Italian seasoning. Finish with your favorite pizza toppings: mozzarella, pepperoni, and more.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

548

Calories

42 g

Protein

29 g

Carbs

28 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 lb. ground pork sausage

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups marinara

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

16 slices pepperoni

8 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced

8 hamburger buns, toasted

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Pulled Jackfruit Vegan Jambalaya

Serves 6

Using tropical jackfruit is a creative way to make a meatless vegan stew that’s rich and filling.

This slow cooker jambalaya uses a base of brown rice and vegetable stock. Then jackfruit, cauliflower, and celery make up the “meat” of the jambalaya. The unusual superfood adds a little sweetness, as well as vitamin C and antioxidants.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

240

Calories

6 g

Protein

54 g

Carbs

2 g

Fat

Ingredients

7 oz. brown rice, rinsed

4 1/4 cups vegetable stock

1 can (20 oz.) jackfruit, drained

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

3 celery sticks, chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato puree

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp. dried parsley

2 tsp. dried basil

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. chili flakes

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Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Cherries

Serves 6

When pork is done right (not dried out), it’s not only juicy but slightly sweet. That’s why it pairs well with the natural sugars in fruit.

It’s recommended to use tart cherries for this; don’t go overboard and overpower the meaty goodness with syrup. The pork shoulder will stay plenty tender thanks to a cup of apple juice.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

581

Calories

41 g

Protein

14 g

Carbs

41 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

3 lb. pork shoulder roast

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup all-natural apple juice

1 onion, sliced

4 oz. (2 cups) dried cherries

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew

Serves 6

This stew is simple in that it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, but the flavors will knock your socks off.

The complexity comes from one addition called ras el hanout, which means “top of the shop.” The North African blend can contain a variety of spices, such as nutmeg, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and paprika.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

528

Calories

35 g

Protein

52 g

Carbs

20 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lb. bone-in stewing lamb

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp. ras el hanout spice blend

1–2 tsp. pure honey

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas

5 oz. vegetable stock

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Mushroom Leek Chicken Casserole

Serves 8

It’s easy to make a one-pot meal in the oven, but it can be even easier to assemble the ingredients in a Crock Pot. This slow cooker casserole doesn’t even require layering as with a lasagna.

Cook the chicken, sauté the onions and garlic, and stir the rest together. Then leave to set for just a couple hours on high. The result looks like Thanksgiving stuffing – and that’s no accident with mushrooms, chicken thighs, chopped herbs, and bread crumbs.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

501

Calories

36 g

Protein

41 g

Carbs

21 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 lb. (about 3) leeks, washed and sliced

8 oz. mushrooms, halved

1/2 small onion, diced

2 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

14 oz. bread crumbs (or country-style stuffing mix)

2 oz.  (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/2 cup fresh chopped herb blend

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Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne

Serves 8

To make the most of lean ground beef, cook it all day in tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and onions to make a hearty chili con carne.

With over a half pound of meat per person, this has an immense amount of protein. And for a little more heat, along with the green chiles there’s chorizo. Select either medium or hot smoked pork sausage to adjust the spiciness.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

800

Calories

90 g

Protein

61 g

Carbs

21 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 lb. lean ground beef

4 oz. chorizo sausage

2 lbs. carrots

1/2 bunch celery

1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans

1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes

2 medium yellow onions

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp. green chilies

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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