12 Easy Recipes You Can Make in a Slow Cooker

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Temps are dropping, days are shortening, and I’m getting hungry for everything pumpkin and chili – pretty sure it’s all just a scheme of the universe to get us to bust out our slow cookers.

So today let’s dust off the crockpots slash slow cookers slash whatever you want to call them and get them to magically make us something delicious (and easy, always always easy) for dinner. Magic + delicious + easy: this is how we roll around here.

Let’s just address this right off the bat – there is absolutely a certain amount of food-fancy-ism in the cooking world related use of the slow cooker. Like, there are people in the world who are above it. 😭 I know, right? Does the slow cooker have a certain dowdy Midwestern vibe to it? Maybe a little bit. Maybe a lot. But does it make incredible meals that basically cook themselves? I repeat: INCREDIBLE MEALS THAT COOK THEMSELVES? Psh. I guess some people are too vain to appreciate this life-changing, time-saving magic, so we’ll just leave them be.

Where my Normals With Day Jobs Who Love Time-Saving Meals at? This post was written for us. *disclaimer: I say us but, actually, technically, I’m not a Normal With A Day Job anymore I KNOW but I used to be one and I understand the struggle – can I be grandfathered into the group?* We, as a group of Normals, are going to be moving forward today with confidence, knowing that use of the slow cooker is one of the best ways to get an easy meal on the table AND surprise! one that actually tastes really good because that food, whatever it is, has been simmering into flavorful perfection all day long.

Let’s talk slow cookers (or as we call them here in Minnesota – “crockpots”) for a quick minute.

I have this slow cooker which is a round Crock-Pot. To be honest, I have no idea what model or size it is (4 quart, maybe?) because I just registered for it when we got married without paying any attention to any of that. This was the closest thing I could find on Amazon. I have been using it for the last six years. It works beautifully.

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

If I were to do it again and/or if I were to currently recommend a slow cooker to you, I would say CHOOSE THIS ONE:

The Crock-Pot 6 Quart Cook and Carry Slow Cooker!

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

This is the #1 best selling slow cooker on Amazon and it has a 4.3-star rating from 1,800 reviews. My sister has this one and she loves it. We used it for the pictures in this post.

I am not going to say much more about the slow cookers themselves because I don’t have a strong brand loyalty or model preference here – I just really want you to enjoy these recipes made in a slow cooker – ANY slow cooker. So if you don’t have a slow cooker already or if yours is falling apart (for example, recently I went over to my best friend’s house and watched her pry the lid of the very hot slow cooker off with five million hot pads because the handles on the lid were broken – NONE OF THAT NOW), then please, by all means, find a way to get a functioning slow cooker in your kitchen ASAP.

Also just a thought: slow cookers make great gifts! Although maybe pause first – there’s that one rule about not buying appliances as gifts, right? So maybe if you’re not sure if it’s offensive, just hold off. But if you’ve never really understood those rules anyway (like, why? I don’t get it, says the food blogger who LOVES appliances), and/or if it’s your sister or your cousin or ME and you know she’s been dying for a new slow cooker, then totally cool for you to bring the slow cooker joy to your people.

Tis the season for slow cooking!


1: Creole Chicken and Sausage

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: The chicken shreds so easily right in the crockpot, and the long cooking time allows all the flavors to blend together into a really delicious flavor combo. My sister helped me test some of these recipes, and she (and her family) listed this one as their FAVORITE of all ten.

2: Braised Beef Ragu

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: At the risk of sounding Midwestern-slow-cooker-dowdy, this is a classic “dump it in and forget it” recipe. You should sear the exterior of the meat first for best results, but if it’s Monday morning and you’re on the way out the door – no. Not happening. This is a forgiving recipe that can work either way. It’s really convenient and yummy with polenta or mashed potatoes or pasta (click picture or title for the full recipe including the polenta)!

3: Skinny Veggie Lasagna

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: It’s really quick to layer all the ingredients together, and then you can leave it all day until dinner. Easiest recipe on the list, for sure! (and a personal favorite of mine thanks to all those veggies and DA CHZZZ.)

4: Carnitas

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: This is a go-to for me when we are entertaining because I can leave it cooking all day and then just pop it in the oven at the end for browning, right when our friends walk in the door. Also: because of the slow, long cooking time, the meat gets really tender and flavorful, and it’s really easy to shred right in the crockpot once it’s cooked.

5: Whole Roasted Chicken

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: Maybe I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but it’s easy! Also, the chicken becomes really moist and tender from all the liquids staying in the crockpot. To get a crispy skin at the end, you just need to put the chicken under the broiler for a little bit.

Side note from Kristin who tested the recipe: “Making the chicken like this creates a broth right in the crockpot. I kept the vegetables, the broth, and some of the meat as a base for chicken noodle soup! All I will have to add in is the noodles!”

6: Granola

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: It’s a good alternative option to making granola in the oven, especially if you don’t have access to an oven or you simply don’t want to use the oven and heat up the kitchen (I’m looking at you, California). It will yield a different (but still delicious) type of granola – one with less clusters and a softer texture.

7: Texas Chili Con Carne

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: This chili recipe is perfect for the crockpot because the meat gets so tender and flavorful over the long cooking time. My friend Ang introduced us to this recipe and it’s been a favorite in our little friend circle ever since – it’s a great have-people-over-and-put-chili-on-anything kind of meal.

8: Easiest Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: This recipe = less hands-on time, and using the hand mixer saves lots of time and energy in the mashing process. It’s not the same technically perfect fluffiness as ricing the potatoes one at a time and mashing them by hand, but this is how we have it every year at Thanksgiving with Bjork’s family and it’s really darn good.

9: Peach Cobbler

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: This is a really easy recipe that yields delicious results! The peaches get a little caramelization from the crockpot (!!), and the topping is perfect. Talk about great for when you have guests for dinner – you can do it all ahead of time, but then still serve a nice warm cobbler when dinnertime rolls around.

10: Red Lentil Curry

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: First of all, because red lentil curry is meatless and AMAZING. Secondly, lentils are so perfect for the crockpot because they get a great texture and they soak up all the flavors of the other ingredients during the long cooking time. Plus – easy!

11: Chicken Wild Rice Soup

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: Let me start by saying this one doesn’t look like much, but it is EVERYTHING. The non-slow-cooker version of this soup is what we make at Christmastime, and the slow cooker version is for busy weeknights all throughout the winter. The chicken gets really tender and is super easy to shred (saves time from boiling chicken and then chopping it), the wild rice can cook at its own super slow pace, and you add in the creamy roux to make it all luscious and velvety at the end.

12: Pot Roast

12 SUPER easy recipes you can make in a slow cooker, from veggie lasagna to an entire roasted chicken to pot roast! SO YUM! | pinchofyum.com

Why it’s great for the slow cooker: The meat stays tender and flavorful, and the broth created in the crockpot can be used to make a delicious homemade gravy. GRAVY!!!


And that’s a wrap!

In terms of getting yourself set for these recipes, I highly recommend THE #1 BEST SELLING SLOW COOKER on Amazon – it’s that Cook and Carry one with over 1,800 reviews.

If you have other favorite slow cooker recipe ideas, please leave them in the comments because we’re a champion slow cooking team together and every recipe counts!

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links for the slow cookers that we use.


Also:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

99 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mindi

    Thanks for the great recipe ideas. I’ll have to try some of those. I don’t know what you mean by “dust off the slow cooker” as mine gets used 1-2 times a week year round! 🙂 I probably use mine more in the summer than the winter as it doesn’t heat up the house as the stove or oven might.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    joan

    I have my mom’s, made in 1987! I use it soooo often. Even for making a baked potato or reheating leftovers. With mine the “pot” sits on the heating element. I think years ago they (whoever they are 🙂 called it a slow cooker because of that?

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Marian

    I think the universe is telling me to use my slow cooker, as I was bemoaning yesterday the lack of cooking ability due to a kitchen renovation. Thanks!!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I can’t wait to try ALL OF THESE! I love the variety you showcased here…would have never thought to make soup or dessert in the slow cooker. You are genius.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yesss, so happy to see this roundup! We recently got a slow cooker so I’ve been looking for good recipes that I can make in it. Definitely going to be making that beef ragu pronto!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love this list. My crockpot is currently at home tenderizing a pork roast as we speak. I’m a huge crockpot fan. And 1 vessel to watch at the end? Golden. A few of these could even be pre-prepped and thrown in the frezer for when you just don’t have prep time. EASY EASY EASY is the golden word for weeknight dinners. Thank you for collecting these in one post.

    xoxo
    Katie
    https://www.newyorkersapparel.com/

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am just recently learning to love crockpot cooking. As a food blogger, I don’t want to spend time in the kitchen cooking dinner after I have already been cooking recipes for the blog for most of the day (I’m sure you can relate, Lindsay). Gotta love the irony in that ha! This post gives me some great recipe ideas for quick and easy meals that cook themselves. I can’t wait to try them! Thanks Lindsay. 🙂

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thanks for the great post Lindsay!

    And I’m with you on getting cooking appliances/equipment as gifts – personally I love it! I have two slow cookers with bbq pulled pork cooking in one for dinner right now, as I wait for my kids in the car rider line at school…love that crockpot peace of mind!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These look yummy! I’m a huge crockpot fan, but just to throw something out there – I have this 3 piece set so you can make breakfast, dinner and dessert all at once!

    https://www.crock-pot.com/hook-up-connectable-entertaining-system/crock-pot-hook-up-connectable-entertaining-system-3-piece-set-metallic-charcoal/SCCPMDKIT-CH.html?gclid=CMzQw5bi5cgCFQaOaQodyH8JzA&amp%3Bkwid=productads-plaid%5E76248164530-sku%5ESCCPMDKIT%40ADL4CH-adType%5EPLA-device%5Ec-adid%5E55532499130

    And here’s my fav crockpot recipe
    Slow Cooker – Corn Potato Chowder
    2 cups chicken broth
    5 potatoes – cubed
    1 carrot – diced
    1 bag of frozen roasted corn (I get it at Trader Joe’s)
    1 package polish sausage – sliced
    1 bunch of kale, sliced small (can use frozen)
    1 (32oz) container Creamy Corn & Roasted Pepper Soup (also Trader Joe’s)
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp dried oregano
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    ½ tsp onion powder
    ½ – 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
    Salt & pepper, to taste
    Place all ingredients in the crock pot, stir & cook on low for 8-10 hours

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    liz

    Love this, and know that all of these will be a part of our winter.
    (Does the Crockpot Lid of Shame belong to Ang? Because I have one just like it, and I had to stop and think if you’ve seen the award-winning effort I put into removing my crockpot lid or not.)

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My Crockpot is my best friend during the fall and winter. I’ve actually got something going in mine as we speak!

    For the Creole Chicken & Sausage, what’s everyone favorite brand of creole seasoning? That’s already on meal plan for next week!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I think most brands are pretty similar (I honestly don’t remember which one I used!). Otherwise, you could always make your own blend: combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme, and granulated garlic. Stir to combine. Enjoy! 🙂

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Can’t get enough of my slow cooker/crockpot!!! Mostly because I am that California person who is sweating all year long (jealous of your Minnesota beauty!) Thanks for the granola/Cali shout out 🙂 Never thought of doing granola in my trusty crock, will definitely give it a go!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    nancyabc

    Crock pot recipes don’t come with the size pot you need but they come in different sizes.
    So can you use a 4 quart one with these recipes??

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Good question. For most of these recipes, a 4 quart pot would work fine. For a couple of them, my 6 quart pot was really full, so I think 4 quart would be too small. A bigger pot is needed for the whole roasted chicken, the mashed potatoes, and the pot roast.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh my gosh the most perfect post! Now I’m dying for that Creole chicken and sausage! Going on the meal plan, ASAP.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hahaha! (Raises hand in response to “Where my Normals With Day Jobs Who Love Time-Saving Meals at?”) I was just telling my husband the other day that it’s crockpot season. Perfect timing on your end with sharing this list of recipes! 🙂

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Ok Ok I’ll admit that I WAS one of those slow cooker / crockpot snobs in the past. I have since seen the error of my ways however, and I now slow cook ALL OF THE THINGS with wild abandon! Can’t wait to try some of these, especially that chicken with wild rice soup – though I’ll probably sub in cauliflower for the rice! YUM!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love how you stole your sister’s crockpot for these photos! (Stole? I meant borrowed!) Is it the same sister that we met at the Tasty Food Photography Workshop?? Because she is super sweet and I could totally see her lending you her crockpot. 🙂 And ohhh my gosh, granola in the crockpot?? That is beyond BRILLIANT!! I definitely need to try that!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Nice! I have only just gotten into using a slow cooker. It’s a great way to avoid stopping to buy takeout on the way home from work: if I know I have a hot meal waiting for me at home, then I’m not tempted to eat anywhere else! Thanks for these recipes.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jil B.

    Roast Chicken…. Beef Pot ROAST… and WILD RICE CHICKEN SOUP!!! .. oh my…. <3 Mmmmm… thinking that the Lentil Curry over jasmine rice will be tomorrows dinner…
    Thank you so much for the toasty meal planning for me the next few weeks. 🙂 It's chilly here in Montana. Break out the Smart Wool and Sorels.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for this post! We are a hockey family (x2!), and I’m always looking for new crockpot ideas that will be ready when we FINALLY get home from hockey at night. 🙂 Great stuff!