Chicken and veggies in a slow cooker photographed from above.

50 delicious slow cooker recipes that will warm you up

Written by:
December 7, 2018

50 delicious slow cooker recipes that will warm you up

In this fast-paced, increasingly digital age, finding time to cook a good meal can be difficult. It's even tougher for families: In 2017, both parents worked in 62% of married couples with children. Even when only one parent works or in households without children, finding time between work and school, extracurriculars, and maintaining a social life to spend a few hours in front of the oven can seem impossible. That helps explain why the Centers for Disease Control found that 37% of U.S. adults ate fast food on any given day between 2013 and 2016.

Ironically, going slow can actually be a healthier, more convenient way to get a meal on the table. Slow cookers (sometimes called Crock-Pots due to the popularity of the brand) use a low heat to do exactly what the name suggests: cook things slowly. Often, slow cooker meals just require you to throw the ingredients in the pot and leave them to cook on the counter while you go about the rest of your day. Then, you get to return to a warm meal sitting on the counter.

To find the best meals to make in your slow cooker, Stacker combed the wide world of cooking blogs and websites to find 50 recipes showcasing the diverse range of amazing meals slow cookers can help you get on the table.

Whether you're planning a holiday party or making a meal for one, these recipes will help you forget the freezing temperature outside.

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Honey buffalo meatballs

Source: The Recipe Critic

These meatballs with "more of a gameday flair" add a splash of flavor to your family's next tailgate. They simmer in a sauce that can be as spicy or sweet as you want, meaning you always win—even if your favorite team doesn't.

Coconut quinoa curry

Source: Simply Quinoa

Curry is notoriously difficult to get right, but this quinoa curry is simple and flavorful. The recipe calls for adding the quinoa directly into the dish, resulting in a healthy meal that's "thick, hearty and simply delicious."


Pumpkin streusel coffee cake

Source: Amy's Healthy Baking

Anyone looking for something seasonal to satisfy their morning sweet-tooth will love this tall, moist coffee cake. Pair it with your morning coffee, or pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy.

Moroccan chickpea and turkey stew

Source: Skinnytaste

This stew warms you up as much from its red pepper flakes as the few hours it simmers in the slow cooker. Eat a bowl and stick the rest in the freezer to enjoy again later: It's totally freezer-friendly and naturally gluten-free.

Sticky caramel pumpkin cake

Source: Platter Talk

This caramel-topped pumpkin cake is made with only a few ingredients, making it an incredibly easy, straightforward, and delicious cap to a holiday meal. Best part—you can make it without ever turning on the oven.

Vegan crockpot quinoa black bean chili

Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

Even though this chili is cooked with quinoa and black beans, it has a strikingly "meaty" flavor omnivores and vegans alike will enjoy. The best part is it only takes 10 minutes to prep, leaving plenty of time for playing in the snow or curling up on the couch with a good book during a snow storm.

Lemon cake

Source: Spicy Southern Kitchen

This treat, mixed with poppy seeds and topped with a lemon glaze, is a spongy, moist bright spot during months where it otherwise gets dark before 6 p.m.

Vegetarian lasagna soup

Source: FoodieCrush

This recipe cleverly replaces the ground beef found in most lasagna recipes with an assortment of vegetables for a healthier twist on a well-loved classic. Once topped with a dollop of three kinds of cheese and herbs, the traditional flavor shines through.

Mango salsa chicken with coconut rice

Source: Cooking Classy

This chicken dish's "Baja Mexico/tropical island food" flavors allow you to pretend you're on a tropical island, even if you're snowed in instead.

Death by chocolate dump cake

Source: Cutefetti

Chocolate lovers will be obsessed with this rich, gooey cake that requires little more than throwing a few ingredients into the slow cooker and walking away.

Honey garlic chicken

Source: Chef Savvy

This recipe marries the sweetness of honey and the distinct taste of garlic with traditional Asian sauces, bringing Asian-style flavors from your favorite takeout menu into your own kitchen.


Carrot cake

Source: Today's Creative Life

Autumn and winter are the seasons of root vegetables. That means this moist, delicious carrot cake offers a dish both delicious and seasonal. Top it with a cream cheese frosting or glaze for the ultimate classic flavor.

Veggie crockpot lasagna

Source: Pinch of Yum

This recipe lets you slowly cook lasagna's classic layers of noodles, sauce, cheese, and vegetables while putting on layers of sweaters, scarves, and coats to play in the snow. It can be made with a vegetable of your choice, letting you tailor it to the tastebuds of whomever you're serving.


Autumn chicken apple cider chili

Source: Foxes Love Lemons

Apple cider isn't found in most chili recipes. But in this meal, it combines with herbs like sage and thyme to take the traditional chicken chili to a whole new level.


Giant chocolate chip cookie

Source: BakingQueen74

It can be hard to imagine making cookies in a slow cooker, but this decadent, inch-thick dessert is proof that you can use the kitchen appliance for just about anything. Topped with ice cream, hot fudge, or caramel, you'll want to eat the whole thing yourself.

Pineapple coconut spoon cake

Source: The Magical Slow Cooker

The combination of canned pineapple and shaved coconut with pineapple glaze will have anyone who eats it dreaming of beach vacations. That is, if they're not already distracted by the dish's sweet, tropical flavor.


Source: A Spicy Perspective

This recipe will let you skip the lines at the Cheesecake Factory and forego a water bath setup in your oven. As the recipe notes, slow cooker lids collect moisture, leaving you with "an ultra moist and silky" dessert that you don't have to worry about as you wait to dig in.

Creamy wild rice soup with butter roasted mushrooms

Source: Half Baked Harvest

Chicken noodle soup is a winter staple, but anyone looking to change up their usual routine should try this recipe, which takes a creamy rice soup and tops it with crispy mushrooms for a more complex texture and flavor.


Source: Creme de la Crumb

Another example of using a slow cooker to make a kitchen staple even easier, this recipe replaces standing by your oven for an hour with simply adding a few pieces of aluminum foil to your crockpot. The result is the perfect brownie, crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center.


Hot fudge chocolate cake

Source: Averie Cooks

Pouring boiling water on this simple batter and letting it simmer away creates a light-but-decadent dessert with a hot fudge surprise waiting on the bottom. It doesn't include eggs or butter, either, meaning it's vegan-friendly, as well.

Chicken alfredo sandwiches

Source: The Cookie Rookie

This recipe renders a classic Italian-inspired dinner portable and results in a huge amount of tasty, shredded chicken alfredo complete with sundried tomatoes, basil, and parmesan that you can pile high on your favorite bun.


Thai peanut pork

Source: Domestic Superhero

At the end of a long day, this recipe will be waiting for you on the counter. The pork is perfectly tender after cooking for eight hours, and has a perfect mix of spicy and sweet due to the red pepper flakes and peanut butter that make up the sauce smothering the whole dish.


Lemon garlic chicken and veggies

Source: NeighborFood

This light, citrus-infused chicken dish makes enough food to feed a whole family. It also doesn't require much preparation, leaving you free to spend time with those around your table instead.


Peach cobbler

Source: Pumpkin 'N Spice

The warm peaches mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg in this cobbler offer a refreshing change of pace for anyone who needs a break from all things pumpkin after Halloween jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pie.


Baked ziti

Source: Kristine's Kitchen

This ziti is the "perfect winter comfort food." The dish will keep you warm and full while still being incredibly healthy: It's made with whole wheat pasta and ground turkey.


Sweet potato lentils

Source: Pinch of Yum

This dish is perfect for anyone who loves Indian food or just a thick, hearty stew or dal. It has a subtle sweetness from coconut milk and spiced sweet potatoes, and pairs great with naan bread—if you don't eat it directly from the pot first.


Pumpkin chili

Source: The Recipe Critic

Another fall take on chili, this recipe is packed with spices that will perk you up during long, cold winter days. Like most chilis, it freezes and reheats well so you can look forward to having another bowl long after you put your slow cooker away.


Skinny cinnamon rolls

Source: Amy's Healthy Baking

These healthy cinnamon rolls don't sacrifice any flavor by eschewing refined flour and sugar, and they don't require nearly as much effort to get the same fluffy, sweet breakfast pastries.

Root beer pulled pork

Source: Spicy Southern Kitchen

A can of root beer takes a barbecue pork sandwich to the next level in this recipe, infusing into the meat for an additional kick of flavor.


Bread pudding

Source: Platter Talk

Figgy pudding might be all over classic Christmas carols, but your guests are sure to demand this recipe as the new standard after trying it. Made with a loaf of bread and some spices, this old-school dessert is simple, filling, and tasty.

Cranberry pork with cinnamon and brown sugar

Source: Cutefetti

Whether cranberries are a staple at your holiday meals or not, this recipe is a great, new way to use them at your next gathering. The bitter cranberries and sweet, woodiness of the cinnamon and brown sugar create a meal with balanced, complex flavors presented in a unique way.


Source: Skinnytaste

Slow cooker applesauce only requires peeled apples, cinnamon, and maybe a dash of sugar to create something yummy and versatile; it can be used in other recipes, or taken to school or work for a quick snack.

Thai chicken soup

Source: FoodieCrush

Winter marks the beginning of cold and flu season, and a hearty bowl of chicken soup is a great way to help clear up those sniffles. If you aren't a fan of the traditional chicken noodle variety or are looking to try something new, this Thai soup offers a twist, using peanut butter, lime, and curry to add Asian-inspired flavors to the meal.


Chicken fajitas

Source: Cooking Classy

If it's too snowy to drive to your favorite Mexican restaurant, try this simplified recipe, which gets rid of some of the prep work (like marinating your meat) without sacrificing any of the flavors.


Warm spiced apple cider

Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

This spiced apple cider recipe is incredibly customizable, allowing you to choose what kind of apples to use, as well as finding your perfect ratio of sweetness to spice; it can also be freezed to enjoy even after the snow melts.

Mexican stuffed peppers

Source: Chef Savvy

These peppers make eating your vegetables fun and flavorful, packed full of rice or quinoa leftover from a different meal and topped with enchilada sauce, and hot sauce for anyone looking for an extra kick.


Sweet and sour island beef

Source: Today's Creative Life

This dish is essentially just beef, rice, and a mix of vegetables covered in a tangy sauce. But its simplicity means it also has a lot of flexibility. The vegetables can be swapped according to the taste of whomever's at the table, leaving you with "a whole new meal" that everyone will love no matter what.

Overnight carrot cake oatmeal

Source: Foxes Love Lemons

There's no need to sacrifice a warm, filling breakfast in order to give yourself enough time to navigate icy roads so you can make it to work on time. This oatmeal, which tastes like "carrot cake for breakfast," just needs to be put together the night before and allowed to slow cook until morning.

Yellow split pea dal

Source: BakingQueen74

This traditional Indian dish is made from split chickpeas, which soak up a lot of the flavorful spices like turmeric and red chilis for which Indian cuisine is famous. It pairs well with naan and rice.


Mint hot chocolate

Source: The Magical Slow Cooker

Slow cooker hot chocolate is perfect for your next snow day. Just throw everything into your slow cooker—including the mint and vanilla that give this recipe its unique twist—and it'll be hot and ready when you come back inside from making a snowman.

Deep-dish pizza

Source: A Spicy Perspective

This might seem unnecessary if you have an oven at home. But if you've ever forgotten a pizza in the oven, you'll appreciate how difficult it is to make anything other than a perfect, pillowy crust when you use the slow cooker. Make it Chicago style, or change the topping to something more suited to your taste.

Hearty chicken soup

Source: Half Baked Harvest

This traditional chicken soup will fill your home with the smell of stewing herbs and vegetables before you curl up under a blanket and slurp down a bowl or two.

Loaded tater tot breakfast casserole

Source: Creme de la Crumb

This casserole packs all the best parts into breakfast: potatoes, eggs, cheese, and bacon or sausage. It's a quick and easy breakfast to wake up to on Christmas morning, or any day when you want a full meal without the hassle of all those pots and pans.


Peanut butter cup swirl cake

Source: Averie Cooks

This "messy but fabulous" cake includes both peanut butter cups and a peanut butter glaze, as well as two helpings of hot fudge mixed in. If Reese's Cups are your favorite candy, this cake might very well be your next obsession.

Mashed potatoes with garlic butter

Source: The Cookie Rookie

Anyone looking to make this family-favorite side dish without worry should keep this slow cooker mashed potato recipe close at hand. With minimal prep, you'll end up with creamy mashed potatoes that have soaked up that delicious garlicky flavor.

Chicken tortilla soup

Source: Domestic Superhero

If no other chicken soup has struck your fancy so far, try this Mexican-inspired tortilla soup, full with a spicy heat that makes it a great comfort food during the winter, as well as substitutions that can make it a bit healthier without sacrificing any flavor.



Steak chili

Source: NeighborFood

This tomato-based chili is a traditional take on the dish, with beans and plenty of spices mixed with the tender, slow-cooked steak. It's filling and makes enough that you'll be eating it for days and sharing it with the neighbors, too.

Ham, cheese, and veggie frittata

Source: Kristine's Kitchen

Inspired by the flavors of a Denver omelet, these egg-based breakfasts can be customized to your breakfast preferences or any guests you might have over for brunch during the holidays, and leftovers refrigerate well for the busy days after.

Cranberry spice tea

Source: Pumpkin 'N Spice

This recipe's trick of infusing black tea with cranberry juice, cloves, and other spices creates a "fruity flavor" and an aroma that warms the whole house before anyone gets the chance to take the first sip.


Three alarm vegetarian quinoa chili

Source: Simply Quinoa

Despite the name, this three-alarm chili doesn't require any safety warnings. It has just enough spice to warm you up, and maybe help clear up a stuffy nose or two.

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