64 Slow Cooker Recipes That Will Make Your Life Easier

Getting dinner on the table can be a chore — especially when you're trying to time everything just right to make sure all of the food is ready at the same time. Yet if you have a slow cooker, life is so much easier.

Slow cookers can make a wide range of foods. In many cases, the results are better than if you made the recipe on the stovetop or in the oven. You can whip up sides like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, as well as sauces and proteins like cheese-stuffed meatballs. And let's not forget all of the delicious soups, from tortilla soup to white chicken chili. Using a slow cooker can give you more kitchen space when you're making a big meal without any sacrifice on flavor. Plus, there's the major upside that most slow cooker recipes are set-it-and-forget-it recipes that involve little prep work.

Regardless of how much time you have to get dinner ready, these easy and delicious slow cooker recipes will make your next meal a snap (and, importantly, have people coming back for seconds).

Slow cooker mashed potatoes

The joy of a warm bowl of mashed potatoes can be too easily ruined due to timing. But if you use a slow cooker, you can make sure that warm, perfectly-cooked potatoes are ready whenever you are. This slow cooker mashed potato recipe is easy to make and the number of dishes you dirty is minimal. Best of all, you can even make them a day ahead of time.

All you need ingredient-wise is unsalted butter, sour cream, and half and half, though you can add salt, pepper, chives, and garlic for more flavor. Then, of course, there's the namesake ingredient: potatoes. The recipe doesn't need too much added moisture, so Yukon gold and other yellow-flesh potatoes are the best option in this case rather than starchy Idaho (also called russet) potatoes or dense red-skinned potatoes. The potatoes stay tasty and warm in the slow cooker for up to four hours, or you can store them in the fridge for up to five days before warming them back up in your slow cooker on the low setting.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow cooker white chicken chili

Few foods can warm you up on a winter day like chili. This no-fuss white chicken chili recipe uses chicken, onion, garlic, corn, sour cream (or cream cheese), and Great Northern beans — a nutty type of white bean that holds up to slow cook times. The prep work for this recipe is kept to a minimum, but the payoff is large.

The main work (if you can call it that) for the chili is dicing the garlic and onions. From there, it's just a matter of adding the chicken breasts, chicken broth, and other ingredients straight into the slow cooker. If you'd rather use a different cut of chicken, feel free. Just opt for boneless and skinless pieces because they're much easier to shred.

Like other types of chilis, you can throw in pretty much whatever spices you like. Garlic salt and chili powder are good choices, but feel free to get creative. After shredding the chicken, top with something bright green like cilantro, green onions, green chilis, or jalapenos along with a dollop of sour cream and cheddar cheese for a pop of color and flavor. The hardest part is waiting for the chili to finish.

Recipe: White Chicken Chili

Slow cooker green bean casserole

Green bean casserole is a classic side dish, especially during family gatherings when turkey or ham is the star. The traditional recipe is easy enough to make, but you can make things even easier on yourself — and free up some oven space — by putting it in a slow cooker.

This slow cooker green bean casserole recipe is from Laura Sampson, of the blog Little House Big Alaska. The recipe uses frozen green beans, evaporated milk, salt, and crispy fried onions for the topping. You'll also need condensed cream of mushroom soup.

Unlike some slow cooker recipes that take little to no prep work, you'll have to put in a touch of elbow grease before turning on the heat. For example, you'll need to thoroughly whisk the cream of mushroom soup, evaporated milk, and salt to make sure the consistency comes out right.

There's one big caveat to this recipe: It doesn't have that same classic look as green bean casseroles cooked and served in a casserole dish. But you can always transfer it over for aesthetics if you don't mind washing another dish.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Slow cooker homemade marinara

This recipe is the perfect sauce for spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, baked ziti, and anything else you douse in marinara. Going the homemade route means you know exactly what's in the sauce. That means no extra additives or extra sugar. And when you use a slow cooker, you don't have to worry about doing a whole lot of extra work — this recipe only takes about five minutes of prep.

Marinara is best when highly customized to your taste. Still, you'll need some basics: garlic (canned works, though fresh garlic tastes better), onions, and tomatoes. Whatever is next is up to you, but some good options include garlic powder, sweet paprika, fennel seeds, bay leaves, basil, and, of course, salt and pepper.

The recipe takes around eight hours on low or four hours on high to cook. As soon as the timer rings, there's the option of serving the sauce chunky — meaning you have no extra steps — or using an immersion blender for a smooth and velvety sauce.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Homemade Marinara

Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

This slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe uses chicken and a few canned and packaged ingredients for a no-fuss lunch or dinner — or breakfast (it's just that good).

The actual "cooking" in the recipe is kept to a minimum. Spray some nonstick cooking spray into your slow cooker, lightly saute some onions (which is optional but makes sure the onions have a nice sweet flavor), and shred the chicken with two forks after it's done cooking. The only other ingredients are easy: pre-made chicken stock, canned corned, canned diced green chilis, canned salsa, and pre-mixed taco seasoning. And as with all helpful simple recipes, this one is easy to customize.

One thing to keep in mind is that you'll have to be near your slow cooker, as the chicken and seasoning is put in at one point and the rest of the ingredients are added two hours later (or four hours later on the low setting). Once it's done, a garnish of cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips is all you need.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow cooker mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Slow cookers are a reliable kitchen tool for those of us who recognize quality Italian (and Italian-American) recipes take time. Case in point: these mozzarella-stuffed meatballs.

This recipe uses a protein — turkey is one option, though ground beef or ground pork works as well — string cheese, breadcrumbs, and basic spices. It also calls to cook the meatballs in a tomato sauce (the marinara recipe above is a great option).

Though this cheese-filled recipe is a little more involved than your standard slow cooker recipe, it's not by any means difficult. Other than waiting for the slow cooker to work its magic, you only need to shape the meatballs with little bits of string cheese and optionally broil the meatballs beforehand to give them a slight crust. So while there's only around 30 minutes of prep time for this recipe (and an additional four hours of waiting), there is some stuffing and light cooking involved. Still, the sauce and the meatballs all cook together, making it easy to simply pour over your spaghetti and get to eating.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

Spicy slow cooker chili Colorado

In Texas, Tex-Mex recipes are as ubiquitous as the Texas flag, and this spicy chili Colorado (also known as "red chili") is no different.

Essentially, this recipe is a stew of beef in a thick and spicy sauce. Rather than the ground beef found in many types of chili, this recipe uses small cuts that are cooked in a sauce that puts rehydrated dried chilies front and center. Three dried chilies are at the heart of chili Colorado: New Mexico Chilies, ancho chilies, and chilies de arbol (a spicy pepper also known as bird's beak chili). These are pureed and combined with aromatics, spices, and beef broth for a satisfying sauce that slowly and steadily cooks into the beef.

It takes about three hours to finish this recipe. Once it's done, serve it alongside brown rice with some optional queso fresco, avocado, and tomato on top.

Recipe: Spicy Slow Cooker Chili Colorado

3-ingredient Crock Pot pork chops

Pork chops typically fall into the category of pan-fried or grilled. The main downside of those methods? It's far too easy to end up with dry pork chops. Using in a slow cooker results in chops that are just as good without having to worry about turning your piece of meat into the Sahara desert.

This three-ingredient slow cooker pork chop recipe leans on a simple cut of meat and some pre-mixed seasonings to create a dinner that's as delicious as it is easy. Bone-in pork chops are the best option, whether you opt for the inch-thick pork chops or the double-cut. From there, a basic seasoning (ranch seasoning is ideal, though a condensed soup like cream of mushroom works as well) and a gravy (store-bought chicken gravy is more than adequate) is all you need. The canned and pre-mixed additions keep the recipe simple, though there's always the option to add your own seasoning blend if you're feeling adventurous. Just cook for six to eight hours, and you have the easiest meal you could ask for.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Crock Pot Pork Chops

Slow cooker potato soup

Some recipes are all about the main event, but others are all about the interplay between the main ingredients and toppings. This slow cooker potato soup recipe is the latter.

Chef and food writer Laura Sampson created this hearty soup, which only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. It's the perfect recipe to start before work and enjoy by dinnertime. Plus, the ingredients more than easy to find at your average grocery store.

For the oh-so-important toppings, Sampson suggests picking your favorites of any (or all) of the following: onions, chives, sour cream, shredded cheese, leftover chopped vegetables, crispy bits of chopped meat, or croutons. This soup is a great hearty appetizer when served in small personal bowls, but it can also be turned into a main course by throwing it into a bread bowl with a side salad.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs

When it comes to spaghetti and meatballs, it's all about the sauce. Thankfully, it's not actually all that difficult to make the perfect homemade sauce (meatballs included) using a slow cooker.

This spaghetti and meatballs recipe from Laura Sampson only takes about 10 minutes of prep time, which really just includes chopping a couple of vegetables and dumping ingredients into the slow cooker. You'll need about eight hours of waiting for the sauce to finish. Best of all, it's incredibly hard to mess this recipe up. All you need are diced onions and peppers, minced garlic, various spices, a can of crushed tomato pureé, canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, and some water.

For the meatballs, homemade or frozen work. Or, you can swap in some Italian sausage or other meat or meat substitute. It's a little like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, but a lot tastier.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Pot roast, as its name implies, is a cut of meat that is very well suited to being cooked in a pot ... even more so if it happens to be a crock pot. While all you really need to do is toss the beef in the pot with some veggies and liquid, this recipe takes things up a notch or two by giving the beef a spice rub and searing it on the stovetop prior to slow cooking. Even the vegetables are browned in the pan first to deepen their flavor. It may be a bit more labor-intensive than your typical pot roast recipe, but it's tasty enough to be worthwhile.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

So many recipes for soups, stews, and other liquidy dishes call for stock, but truth be told, it's kind of a hassle to make. Who has all day to tend to a pot of simmering bones? It's far too easy to get distracted or bored and wander off, only to find that the liquid has all simmered away and the bones are scorched and stuck to the bottom. Try making stock from chicken (or any other kind of) bones in the slow cooker, instead. That way, you can simmer it all day long with no danger of the broth evaporating.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Crock Pot Bison Chili

While bison might sound like a somewhat exotic meat, it's actually becoming more common in today's supermarkets. Bison's popularity may be due in part to its flavor, as it tends to be richer than beef without the gaminess of venison. And since it has a lower fat content than beef, bison is also valued for its nutritional makeup. One drawback with bison is the fact that it tends to be pretty expensive, but it gets more affordable if you buy it ground. A good thing, too, since that will allow you to make this Wild West-inspired crock pot chili! It's just what they'd cook up in the chuckwagon ... if chuckwagons came equipped with slow cookers, that is.

Recipe: Crock Pot Bison Chili

Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Ratatouille! We're all familiar with the name of this dish, thanks to the animated movie about a cute little rodent chef (and a few human ones, as well). However, not everyone has tried the dish itself, and some people may not even know what's in ratatouille. Let us explain: Ratatouille is a type of vegetable stew where zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes may feature prominently. These vegetables are slow-cooked into a tasty mélange, then topped off with cheese to create a dish that appeals to rats and humans alike.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Simple Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

If you come from Eastern European stock, you may count cabbage rolls among your top comfort foods. Even if you don't have a beloved babushka who made this dish for you growing up, you'll undoubtedly enjoy it, especially if you're a fan of stuffed peppers and corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage rolls are made by taking what is basically a stuffed pepper-type filling (ground beef and rice) and wrapping it in a cabbage leaf, then simmering it in tomato sauce. And yes, using a slow cooker takes a lot of work out of the process while still allowing you to create a fairly authentic version of the dish.

Recipe: Simple Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll

Easy Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

While cooking a whole chicken in the oven should be a fairly easy process, the problem lies in knowing the precise moment when it's done. The white meat may be overcooked and dry by the time the dark meat is done, or the thighs end up too pink when the breast is at peak juiciness. Why not take the guesswork out of cooking your chicken by using the slow cooker, instead? Not only does the entire chicken come out perfectly cooked and tender, but you can even multi-task by slow-cooking a few veggies to round out the meal.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Fudge

Making fudge can be kind of a pain. Not only do you have to get the temperature just right, you must watch it like a hawk to make sure the sugar doesn't go all grainy. Not so with this slow cooker fudge recipe! The peanut butter, condensed milk, and melted white chocolate stay smooth and creamy when you melt them in the slow cooker, with no babysitting required apart from a stir every 10 minutes or so. Swirl in some chopped peanuts at the end if you prefer your peanut butter fudge to have a little crunch.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Fudge

Slow Cooker Portuguese Bean Soup

Portuguese cuisine may not be widely known in the U.S., and that's a real pity if this delicious bean soup is anything to go by. It's a hearty mixture of sliced chorizo, potatoes, pinto beans, and escarole, slow-simmered in broth and seasoned with cilantro and chili flakes. This soup makes for a meal in itself, but if you can't finish all six servings in one setting you can easily freeze any leftovers. Your slow cooker will come in handy once again to thaw and reheat that frozen soup.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Portuguese Bean Soup

Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts

Plain poached chicken breasts may not make for the most exciting meal, although they can be dressed up with spices and condiments to make them more flavorful. The thing about cooked chicken, however, is that it's a versatile ingredient to have on hand. Use it in sandwiches, salads, or soups or toss it with buttered pasta and parmesan to make a super-quick meal. If cooking up a few chicken breasts is part of your meal prep plan, you can simplify things by letting your slow cooker do most of the work.

Recipe: Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

Crock Pot Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is a pasta dish that, by definition, is baked, meaning you'll typically be using an oven. You can, however, prepare a very similar dish in the slow cooker. While your finished product won't technically be baked ziti, it'll still retain all of the important elements: the noodles, the marinara, and the gooey cheese. The best part? The pasta cooks right in the sauce, which means fewer dishes to be washed once you're done with dinner.

Recipe: Crock Pot Baked Ziti

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas in their classic form are a delicious Mexican dish, but one that can be kind of fussy to make, as you have to fill and roll each individual tortilla. To save some time and effort, you can instead make a kind of enchilada casserole by layering the tortillas with enchilada sauce, onions, beans, cooked shredded chicken, and cheese. Let your crock pot do the cooking, and you'll have a complete meal that requires just a few minutes' worth of work.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Scrambled Eggs

There are quite a few different ways to cook eggs: you can boil them, poach them, fry them, or scramble them. Did you know you could also fix eggs in your slow cooker? While you probably won't want to haul out this bulky appliance if you're just making scrambled eggs for one or two, the crock pot can be a great way to scramble a dozen at a time, should you be hosting a breakfast party or making a large batch of breakfast burritos to stash in the freezer.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Scrambled Eggs

Slow Cooker Mushroom Risotto

Cooking risotto on the stove top is a real labor of love. You must stand by the pan, stirring and adding liquid, for an hour or more. If you'd rather make risotto the lazy way, you can always use your slow cooker. In this recipe, the rice is cooked in chicken broth and flavored with sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and shallots before being finished off with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Our recipe developer also likes to top the dish with kale, but that's strictly optional.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mushroom Risotto

Slow Cooker Beef Tips and Noodles

Oh, beef. Why must you be so tasty and yet so darn expensive? One way to enjoy that delicious meaty flavor without busting your budget is to stretch out a small amount of meat with a cheap, filling staple, which is exactly what we're doing here in this recipe for beef tips with noodles. This isn't a true one-pot meal since you start off by browning the beef and then making a sauce on the stovetop, but after the initial effort you can let the crockpot take care of business for a few hours until it's time to go back to the stove to boil up the noodles.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Tips and Noodles

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

If you're planning a holiday meal for a very small crowd or perhaps a solo celebration, there's no need to forego a festive turkey dinner. Turkey breast is the best part of the bird, after all, and it comes in a fairly small package. You can also save yourself even more effort by cooking that turkey breast in the slow cooker. Set it and forget it, go watch a parade and some football, and in a couple of hours you'll have yourself some tasty turkey complete with pan gravy. Plus, if you're eating by yourself, you'll also have plenty of delicious leftovers for post-holiday snacking!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Easy Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Some foods combine beautifully, but tacos and soup might not seem like a culinary match made in heaven. Tacos, after all, tend to be crunchy, while soup? Not so much. Sure, taco soup might sound like a soggy mess, but this slow cooker creation is nothing of the kind. It's actually just a hearty, slightly spicy, vegetable soup made with taco-seasoned ground beef along with corn, tomatoes and beans. Add tortilla chips on the side for dipping, and you'll get that satisfying taco crunch with none of the mess.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Slow Cooker Chocolate Nut Clusters

Using a slow cooker to make candy is one of our favorite labor-saving kitchen hacks! No need for a candy thermometer or trying to figure out any of that "soft ball/hard crack" stuff with a glass of water when you use a crock pot to make these simple nut clusters. The chocolate and nuts melt together nice and slow, then you scoop out spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper and let them cool into clusters. This dandy candy is so much easier than pie!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chocolate Nut Clusters

Slow Cooker Al Pastor

Tacos al pastor are a dish with an interesting history. If you remember even a little of your high school Spanish, you may be aware that "al pastor" means shepherd-style, but these tacos are made with pork, not lamb. What gives? Was the term "swineherd style" seen as too off-putting? As it turns out, these tacos were adapted from a shawarma recipe brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Where the pineapple comes in, we're not quite sure, but we're all for it. In our recipe, the pork is slow-cooked in beer while chipotles in adobo lend some smoky heat.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Al Pastor

Slow Cooker Brats

If you're from Wisconsin and/or are a dedicated follower of the Green Bay Packers, you may feel that the best way to cook brats is on a tailgate grill, preferably in the middle of a snowstorm. If you're less hardcore, however, you may realize that there are other equally delicious ways to enjoy that meaty bratwurst goodness without the risk of frostbite. Simmering the brats in beer, for example — and there's no better way to make sure the sausages are well and truly infused with brews than to simmer them for hours in your slow cooker. If you invest in a car plug adapter, you can even take your trusty crock pot full o' beer brats along on your next tailgate!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Brats

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken

Cream cheese chicken, whoa! You had us right there at the title. Not only do you get a triple alliteration word score, but any dish with these two ingredients can't help but be doubly delicious. What makes it even better is that this is such a simple recipe, requiring just 5 ingredients. Besides the chicken and cream cheese, you need only pasta, a few cans of condensed cream-based soup, and some chicken broth. The chicken, broth, and soup simmer in the slow cooker until done, the cream cheese is stirred in at the end, and then all of this creamy, cheesy, chicken-y goodness is poured over cooked pasta to make for a super souped-up mac and cheese.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken

4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajitas

The cheaper the steak, the tougher it tends to be, but that's where slow cooking comes in. The longer your meat stays in the crock pot, the softer it gets, and the skirt steak used for these fajitas will be super-tender by the time it's done cooking. Wrap it up in warm flour tortillas along with the peppers and onions that have cooked alongside it in the pot. Throw on some salsa and maybe a sprinkling of grated cheese and you'll have yourself some fantastic fajitas for dinner!

Recipe: 4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice is one of those universally popular dishes. There are plenty of variations of this combo, ranging from a fairly bland chicken and rice soup to a tasty stir-fry. On the more flavor-packed end of the spectrum is where you'll find this Mexican-inspired slow cooker chicken and rice. Here, both ingredients are simmered in a taco-spiced tomato sauce along with black beans and corn. You can always add some diced chiles to the crock pot, though, if you want your chicken más caliente.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken and Rice

Juicy Slow Cooker Ribs

When we think of barbecued ribs, we generally picture them as being prepared on a grill or maybe slow-smoked over a pit. Both of these methods are rather labor-intensive, and require a fair amount of specialized equipment as well as a certain amount of prep work. If you don't have charcoal, tongs, or even a grill, and/or the weather isn't conducive to outdoor cooking, you can still enjoy that great barbecue taste with a lot less effort by cooking your ribs in a crock pot. Much like a smoker, the slow cooker allows the ribs to cook "low and slow," although it's a moist rather than a dry heat. That's no problem, though, since you'll just finish the ribs off with a few minutes under the broiler, then enjoy your indoor barbecue even on a rainy day.

Recipe: Juicy Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow Cooker Cochinita Pibil

If you've been looking for a good cochinita pibil recipe, you've obviously come to the right place. If you have no idea what cochinita pibil even is, though, you're going to wish you'd found out sooner! It's basically a Mexican version of pulled pork, but the pork gets a flavor boost from lemon, orange, and lime juice. Not only do these citrus fruits lend the dish a delicious tang, but their acidity also makes the meat incredibly tender. Making this dish in the slow cooker will allow the meat to marinate as it cooks for some effort-free multitasking.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Cochinita Pibil

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Sure, you can make overnight oats in the fridge, but in the morning, you'll have a cold, congealed mass that may not be the most exciting start to your day. Instead, why not let your oatmeal cook overnight in the crock pot? With this recipe, you'll be waking up to a warm, filling, and super-healthy dish of cinnamon-spiced cereal studded with apple chunks and raisins and sweetened with maple syrup. Now that's a breakfast of champions!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

Chicken tinga is a Mexican dish that may not be incredibly well-known in America, but its simplicity allows it to be a building block for classics like tacos and enchiladas. It's kind of like the spicy chicken version of pulled pork, and cooking it in the crock pot allows the meat to infuse with the flavors of the fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and other spices and seasonings used in this recipe. Serve it over rice or wrapped in a tortilla, or sandwich it inside a bread roll to make a chicken tinga torta.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga

Slow Cooker Pork Green Chili

Chile verde, or green chili, is a pork-based dish that is made with green chiles. (Chili with an "i" is the dish, chile with an "e" the ingredient.) Making it the traditional style where you roast and peel your own peppers can be time-consuming, but this slow cooker version makes things quick and easy by using canned green chiles and store-bought salsa verde as a shortcut. In no more time than it takes you to unwrap a pork roast, chop some garlic, and open a few cans and bottles, your work is finished and you can let the slow cooker take over. All you'll need to do is chop or shred the pork when it's done cooking, then your chile verde will be ready to enjoy.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Green Chili

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Pulled pork sandwiches are an American classic, but you know what's also a great choice? Swapping the pork for chicken, a meat that's lower in both fat and calories. This easy crock pot recipe is made with boneless chicken breasts (substitute thighs for a more budget-friendly version) simmered in a scratch-made barbecue sauce. No worries, it's super easy to make! All you need to do is stir together some ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce and season the mixture with paprika, onion powder, salt, brown sugar, and pepper. If you want a super-simple two-ingredient dish, though, you can swap out this mixture for a store-bought barbecue sauce instead.

Recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker Pork Steak

While some parts of the country may prefer their pork in the form of chops, roasts, ribs, or even charcuterie, the Midwest loves its pork steaks. Pork, after all, may be quite a bit cheaper than filet mignon or even sirloin, but it, too, can be sliced steak-fashion and pan-seared or grilled. One cooking method that pork steak lends itself to particularly well, though, is the crock pot, as all of the fat breaks down nicely and makes the meat tender and juicy. What's more, the juices released as the pork steaks cook can be turned into a tasty pan sauce that pairs well with potatoes.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Steak

Slow Cooker Duck Confit

Duck confit sounds like the kind of complicated gourmet dish you can only get in a fancy little French bistro. As it just so happens, it's not at all difficult to prepare at home. The hardest part is probably sourcing the duck legs! In addition to the meat, all you'll need are a few pantry staples: olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme (fresh if you have it on hand, but if not, dried will do nicely). Season the duck legs, cook them in the crock pot for a few hours, then finish them off in the oven to crisp up the skin. Très délicieux!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Duck Confit

Crock Pot Beef On Weck

What on earth is weck and why would you want to put your beef on it? If you're not from the up-and-coming foodie hotspot of Buffalo, New York, you may well be wondering, but we're here to set your minds at rest: Weck is a type of bread roll, and if you can't find it in your non-Buffalonian bakery, you can use kaiser rolls instead. Fill this splendid sandwich with beef that's been simmered with beer and onion soup mix in a crock pot until it reaches a state of fall-apart tenderness.

Recipe: Crock Pot Beef On Weck

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Lasagna is one of everyone's favorite pasta dishes –- after all, who can resist layers of noodles, sauce, and cheese? The poor cook stuck putting the darn thing together, that's who, as it takes a lot of work to prepare the traditional way. In this recipe, a few shortcuts will make things easier. For one thing, you can use store-bought marinara sauce. For another, there's no need to cook the lasagna noodles separately as they'll have plenty of time to soften up while the slow cooker does its work.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Honey and garlic might sound like a pretty weird flavor combo at first, and we doubt it will ever catch on as the kind of thing you might want to spread on your morning toast. Combine the two in a chicken dish, though, and they work together quite nicely. In this recipe, they are joined by soy sauce and chicken broth to make a tasty Asian-inspired sauce that does double duty: The chicken simmers in this mixture for several hours in the slow cooker, then the pan juices get thickened up with some cornstarch on the stovetop so they can serve as a delicious glaze.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Slow Cooker Seafood Chowder

Creamy clam chowder is one of the all-time soup classics, but this chowder takes things a step or two further by including a wide variety of seafood in addition to the clams: shrimp, mussels, calamari, crab, lobster, chunks of fish, or whatever you have on hand as long as you've got a nice mixture of different types. For simplicity's sake, you can even use a frozen seafood mixture. This soup also includes extra veggies, as the potatoes typically found in chowder get supplemented by corn and celery.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Seafood Chowder

Slow Cooker Beef Sinigang

If you're not familiar with beef sinigang, it's a dish you may want to try. This slow-simmered stew comes from the Philippines, and gets its name from the Tagalog word for "stewed dish." To make it, you'll need some Filipino sinigang seasoning, a tamarind-based condiment that should be available at Asian groceries. The stew also gets some flavoring from fish sauce, and is rounded out with cabbage, potatoes, and green beans. Serve it with a side of rice or noodles for a flavorful, filling meal.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Sinigang

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Meatballs

When we think of meatballs, we often picture Italian-style ones served with a side of spaghetti, or IKEA's Swedish specialty with its gravy, lingonberry sauce, and potatoes. While these types of meatballs are delicious, we do this dish a disservice by limiting it to only two varieties. Why not explore a new style of meatball, like these Tex-Mex ones? They're flavored with chiles and cheese and would go great with a side of tortillas, beans, and rice.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Meatballs

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is a dish with a name that brings up a few questions -– "cacciatore" is the Italian word for hunter, which makes us wonder if there was ever a time when Italy was overrun with wild chickens. This seems unlikely, so we're going to hazard a guess that a similar style of dish may have once been made with rabbits or quail or whatever else those eponymous hunters brought home. 

Nowadays, however, this chicken cacciatore recipe is perfect for bargain hunters. All you need to do is to find a good deal on chicken thighs and canned tomatoes, then throw them in the crock pot with some Italian seasonings. Serve this chicken dish up with a side of pasta and you'll have a delicious dinner on the cheap.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef may take its name from the home of Genghis Khan, but the dish itself may have been created by a Taiwanese restaurateur in the 1950s. Traditional it may not be, but it's still pretty darn tasty, and this slow cooker version is pretty easy to make. All you need to do to make it is to simmer a chunk of beef with carrots and onions in a broth flavored with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. Serve it over rice or noodles for a memorable meal with minimal effort.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Tender Slow Cooked Pork With Onion Soup Mix

Has anyone ever actually used dried onion soup mix to make onion soup? We're more likely to see it used to flavor dips and pot roasts. Here we're using this versatile mix for yet another non-soup application: to make a delightfully oniony version of pulled pork. Simply simmer the pork in chicken stock seasoned with soup mix, then shred it to bits once it's fork tender. Even the pan juices -– which are by now a pork-flavored onion soup of sorts –- won't go to waste, as they're thickened with flour and butter to make a tasty onion gravy.

Recipe: Tender Slow Cooked Pork With Onion Soup Mix

Super Easy Slow Cooker Baked Apples

Baked apples are kind of a plain-Jane dessert, but sometimes you need a break from over-the-top sugary confections and decadent delights. While these slow-cooked apples are technically not baked because no oven is involved, we're not ones to quibble over semantics when the fruit turns out so nice and tender. In this recipe, the apples are cored before cooking, which allows them to be filled with maple cinnamon-flavored oatmeal. Once they're done, you can keep things healthy by serving them topped with yogurt, or you could opt for a big old scoop of cinnamon or caramel ice cream for a more dessert-ier dessert.

Recipe: Super Easy Slow Cooker Baked Apples

Slow Cooker Smothered Steak

Smothering steak sounds so violent! Are you pushing a pillow over this innocent piece of meat? No, the "smothering" actually refers to a delicious sauce or gravy that blankets the cooked steak. While steaks aren't typically prepared in a slow cooker as many prefer a nicely-seared crust as well as a bit more "bite" in their beef, this appliance is great for making smothered steaks. This way, you can simmer the sirloin in the gravy so it can absorb the flavor while cooking to fork-tenderness.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Smothered Steak

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pies, strange as it may seem, weren't actually born in the grocery freezer section. Long before those little foil pans were ever a thing, your great-great-great (etc.) grandparents may have been making chicken pies out of tough old hens that stopped laying. These days, you can make a much simpler homemade version using your slow cooker for the chicken and veggie filling, although the top crust (here made from canned crescent dough) still needs to bake in the oven to achieve a pie-like consistency.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

While the most famous Swedish meatballs on the planet are undoubtedly the ones sold by IKEA, you can easily satisfy your craving for this dish without having to navigate your way through a maze of oddly-decorated rooms. The meatballs in this recipe do take some time to put together, but you'll get a break while the slow cooker does its thing before it's time to make the creamy, cranberry-flavored sauce. (Cranberries are pretty much an American version of the lingonberries IKEA serves with their meatballs.)

Recipe: Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Slow Cooker Seafood Paella

Paella is a multi-ingredient dish made with sausage, seafood, vegetables, and rice. It can be complicated and time-consuming to prepare, but only if you want it to be. If you'd rather spare yourself some effort, though, you can always employ your slow cooker. The rice, veggies, and sausage simmer slowly for a few hours, then the shrimps and scallops are added toward the end so they don't get overdone.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Seafood Paella

Slow Cooker Chunky Applesauce

If your only impression of applesauce comes from the store-bought kind, you may think of it as bland, overly-sweet, or even a mono-textured mush. You might be in for a pleasant surprise, though, should you ever try your hand at the homemade kind. Using a crockpot makes applesauce super-simple, but for an even easier version, you can skip the part of this recipe that says to peel the apples. Cooked apple skins are tasty, nutritious, and just add a little bit more fiber and texture to the dish.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chunky Applesauce

Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

If there was one thing neither Nostradamus nor Madame Cleo saw coming when they peered into their crystal balls to make predictions about the 21stcentury, it was the meteoric rise of macaroni and cheese. This school cafeteria staple inexplicably became trendy some time after the turn of the millennium, and now there are entire restaurants (and even ice cream flavors) devoted to the dish.

So what has mac and cheese's star turn taught us, besides that when it comes to food fads, anything can happen and probably will? Well, we now know that the stuff that comes in the blue box isn't the be-all and end-all of cheesy pasta. In fact, with very little extra effort, you can make restaurant-quality mac and cheese at home in your slow cooker that's so easy-cheesy, you may never go back to the boxed kind.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

How do you like your tacos –- soft and floppy street-style, or crunchy hard shell? Either way, this yummy slow-cooked chicken makes a perfect filling. You might not even have to top your tacos with salsa since the chicken and onions simmer for hours in some, soaking up all of that spicy, savory flavor alongside spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic, and cayenne. Once the chicken is done, simply add taco shells (soft, hard, or even flour tortillas) and your toppings of choice. Taco Tuesday -– or Wednesday, or any other day –- has never been tastier.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Easy Slow Cooker Ravioli Lasagna

Lasagna is a truly wonderful creation –- just ask Garfield (the cartoon cat, not the 19th-century POTUS) –- but it can be a pain in the patootie to put together. You know what isn't, though? This slow cooker version made with frozen ravioli. Just dump a few bags of these in the ol' crock pot along with some store-bought marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella. Okay, so you'll have to spend maybe a minute or two layering the ingredients, but after that, you can just let the slow cooker cook. Slowly. In 4 hours or so, your dinner will be done and all you'll need to do is scoop it onto your plate and dig in.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Ravioli Lasagna

Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

There are approximately a zillion and six ways to cook potatoes, but you know what makes potatoes au gratin stand out? The "gratin" part, which turns out to be a crust made of cheese! Cheese + potatoes is always a winning combo. This dish does require a certain amount of prep work as you'll need to slice the potatoes as thin as you can and make the cheese sauce on the stovetop. Once you've layered your potato slices in the slow cooker and topped them with sauce, though, they'll simmer to creamy perfection in a few hours with no further effort on your part besides maybe chopping some (optional) parsley.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

Slow Cooker Apple Cider

When autumn is in the air –- or even before the first hint of fall –- people start proclaiming that pumpkin spice latte season is here. Let's not forget about apple cider, though! This tarter, more refreshing beverage is another fall favorite, and one that's not only healthier than PSLs but a whole lot easier to make. The slow cooker is by far the best appliance for mulled cider, since not only does it allow the spices and seasonings to really permeate the apple juice, but it will keep the cider warm for hours if you plan on serving it to guests.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Cider

Simple Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken

Coconut curry cashew chicken is not only a very alliterative dish, it's also one that combines a few of our favorite flavors. This Southeast Asian-inspired recipe makes a fairly mild curry, although the chicken gets plenty of flavor from fresh ginger, tomato paste, and lime juice in addition to the ingredients named in the title. The addition of green beans and potatoes make this dish a meal in itself, although you can also serve it atop rice.

Recipe: Simple Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

If you're a true pitmaster, you may make your pulled pork out of a whole pig that you've smoked all day in a custom-built pit. If you're, well, just about anybody else, you may prefer the convenience of making it in a slow cooker instead. It's just so darn easy! In our recipe, pork loin goes into your crock pot with an envelope of onion soup mix and a few cups of beef broth and comes out a few hours later tender, delicious, and ready to shred. Plop your pulled pork on a bun and dress your sandwich up or down as you choose.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a dish where the name doesn't begin to tell the whole story. Yes, the recipe calls for butter and chicken, but it also includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and a bunch more spices. This not-so-simple Indian favorite isn't too difficult to make, though, at least once you've finished raiding your cabinets for all the ingredients. Put everything together in your crockpot, then let it cook low and slow for a few hours. Serve it over rice and/or with a side of naan bread for a meal that's just as good as (or maybe even better than) anything GrubHub could bring you, and without the ridiculous fees.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Red Beans And Rice

Red beans and rice sounds pretty plain, but the Creole dish by this name is anything but. In our recipe, beans are simmered in the slow cooker along with andouille sausage, onions, peppers, celery, and spices including chili powder, cayenne, paprika, and cumin. This is not a true one-pot dinner as the rice is cooked on the side, but once you put everything together, the meat, veggies, and carbs make the dish a complete meal.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Beans And Rice