*Plus 150+ Tried & True Slow Cooker Recipes!
Did you know that January is National Slow Cooker month? I LOVE my slow cooker, so that was reason enough for me to write a post all about my love for this amazing tool.
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There are sooooo many recipes out there for slow cookers. Simply do a search on Google or Pinterest, and you’ll find more recipes than your heart could ever dream of.
There’s also a lot you can do with slow cookers beyond just your typical entree options. You can do side dishes, desserts, breads, and more! The possibilities are abundant, and I have yet to try many of them.
Trying to put together a round-up of the “best” slow cooker recipes out there would be like trying to find a needle in the haystack … how on earth could you possibly wade through the enormous amount of wonderful recipes out there?
So I decided I would share 15 of my favorite things to make in the slow cooker. These are things I’ve made and loved or make on a regular basis to make my life easier. Unless otherwise noted, they are all things that I have personally made and enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well!
Benefits of a Slow Cooker
This is, by far, my favorite benefit of slow cookers. It is perfect for busy moms! You can put things in and set it in the morning, and enjoy a ready-made meal by the time you come home! (Just … don’t forget to actually turn it on. Been there, done that. Had to throw out the dinner.) Even if you’re home all day, the slow cooker allows you to go about your business while it does all the work. I love using it even on my days at home because I can get it ready in the morning, when I’m the most productive, and avoid the dinner-time scramble!
As I said before, it’s amazing the variety of things you can prepare with a slow cooker! Meats, soups, side dishes, desserts, bread, jams, even yogurt! If you had enough of them, you could prepare an entire meal using just your slow cookers.
Because it uses low temperature and contained heat, your slow cooker is MUCH more energy-efficient than your conventional oven. Who doesn’t love savings on their utility bill??
I love using the slow cooker in the summer because it doesn’t heat up the house! My husband works outside, so the last thing he wants to come home to in the summer is a hot house. Again, because of the low temps and contained heat, the slow cooker won’t make your whole kitchen hot like the stove or oven. This leads to a lower A/C bill AND a more comfortable home!
What do I do with my slow cooker? So many things! Here are 15 of my favorites:
15 of My Favorite Slow Cooker Dishes
**UPDATE: I have to admit, a lot of these I now make in my Instant Pot because, well, it’s amazing. But if you don’t have an Instant Pot, these are all the next best thing!
Pulled Pork – This is our favorite slow cooker pulled pork!
Applesauce — learn about the easiest way to make homemade applesauce.
Refried beans – There is just no comparison between homemade refried beans and the stuff in the can. This is the recipe I use.
Cheesy Potatoes – I love making cheesy potatoes in the slow cooker! It’s just so easy! I have to be honest – I couldn’t find my recipe, but this one from Six Sisters Stuff looks very similar.
Taco Soup – My mother-in-law recently introduced me to this super easy soup. This recipe isn’t the one she gave me, but it’s pretty darn close!
White chicken chili –
I have to share my story of how I started making white chili. See, my mother-in-law is an amaaaazing cook. So my husband grew up with her cooking. Yeah, kind of hard to compete with that! One of his favorite things that she made was her chili. In our early years of marriage, I was very insecure and sensitive about living up to his expectations, so I just flat out refused to make any of her “signature dishes” so they couldn’t be compared and fall short. Thus, instead of the typical tomato-based chili, I made white chicken chili! I did it to protect my feelings, but I actually really liked it! It was nice to do something different. (I finally relented and made the normal kind after five years … using her recipe 😉 )
I got my recipe from my Fix It & Forget It cookbook – one of my all-time favorite cookbooks!
Beef stroganoff – This is not your grandmother’s slave-over-the-stove beef stroganoff. It is sooooo easy! You can put everything in and walk away! This was one of the first dishes I made for company as a married woman. At that time I didn’t know beans about cooking, so that tells you how easy it is.
It’s another recipe from my Fix It & Forget It cookbook.
Ham & Potato Soup – I’m not a huge fan of tomato-based soups, and broth soups are just okay to me. But I love thick & creamy soups! (I know, they’re the least healthy of all the soups … but they’re just so good!) My favorite soup of all time is probably potato soup, and I love this recipe from Moms With Crockpots with the chunks of ham in it. (Note: Definitely spring for the good ham!)
Best ever green beans – Oh my. These beans from Her View From Home definitely live up to their name!
Mashed Potatoes – What could be easier than mashed potatoes in the slow cooker?? Pop in your potatoes, walk away, come back to mash them. So simple. There are lots of ways you can go with mashed potatoes, but here’s one recipe for garlic mashed potatoes from Closet Cooking.
(Need a good potato masher? I got mine from Pampered Chef, but here’s a very similar one!)
Overnight oatmeal – Who wouldn’t love to wake up to the smell of breakfast already made?? You can, thanks to your good ol’ slow cooker! Here is a de-LIC-ious recipe for overnight slow cooker apple pie oatmeal from Five Heart Home.
Santa Fe Soup – Another super yummy recipe from Fix It & Forget It. I made it for company once, and it was a big hit, so it went to my “favorites” file.
Dried Beans – Before I had my second baby last fall and had a bit more time & energy, I really got into cooking my own beans in the slow cooker. It’s really not at all hard, it just takes a bit of time and planning. It’s SO much cheaper than canned, it’s better for you, and it tastes better, too! I’m eager to get back into it soon! Here’s how you can cook beans in the slow cooker.
(Actually, I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, which is going to drastically cut down the amount of time required to cook my beans. So, sorry slow cooker – you’re about to be replaced there! **Update: Yes … it mostly definitely was!)
Dump Freezer Meals – Okay, so this isn’t a recipe per se, but it is one of my favorite things to do with my slow cooker. When I do freezer meal sessions, I love dump freezer meal recipes – the kind where you just dump everything in a bag and stick it in your freezer. No cooking, no assembly required. Then, just pull out the bag, dump the contents in your slow cooker, and away you go! They’re fast and easy.
If you want some ideas for some dump freezer meals I’ve done, check out my post about how to fill your freezer the fast, easy way!
Now that you have some new ideas of what to make in your slow cooker, what do you need for a truly fantastic slow cooker experience? Here are some of my favorite tools:
Tools for Awesome Slow Cooking
A Slow Cooker.
Um. Duh, you say. Well, not all slow cookers are made alike! You’re going to be doing a LOT of cooking in it, and you want one that’s going to work well for you.
I wanted to find a link to my favorite one that I own, but I couldn’t find it on Amazon. Bummer! But here is a very similar one from Crock-Pot, and it’s a #1 best seller on Amazon. I HIGHLY recommend a programmable one, and I love having a 7 quart sized cooker for those double batches or large roasts.
A Medium-Sized Cooker
I would also recommend having one that’s around 4-5 quarts. Ideally, your cooker should be at least half full for quality cooking, so bigger isn’t always better.
Double/Triple Slow Cooker
This is something I don’t have, but would like to have. It would be great to have a double or triple slow cooker so I can cook multiple things at once!
Um, these are a must. Seriously. They make cleaning up a breeze! And I don’t know about you, but I love anything that helps make cleaning up easier and quicker!
A great slow cooker cookbook
I’ve mentioned my Fix It & Forget It cookbook a lot in this post because I really do love it. There’s actually an entire line of them, so check out some of the other books they have to offer. There are some that are on my wish list. 🙂
I promised a bunch of slow cooker recipes for you, and here they are!
More Recipes & Resources
- 15 Slow Cooker Hacks You Probably Didn’t Know About | The Krazy Coupon Lady
- 15 Slow Cooker Dip Recipes for Parties | Slow Cooker Gourmet
- 45 Most Popular Crock Pot Recipes | The Country Cook
- 25+ Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes | No Biggie
- 45 Slow Cooker Recipes with 5 Ingredients Or Less | Cutefetti
- 33 Slow Cooker Breakfast Recipes | Totally the Bomb
Tell me – do you love your slow cooker, too? Declare your own love for this trusty appliance in the comments below! After you’ve tried a few of these recipes, share this post with your friends!
Here’s a pin for Pinterest so you can save it and share for later:
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