If you love crockpot meals, we’ve got some great easy crock pot dinners and simple slow cooker meals for you to try.
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The slow cooker changed how America cooks, and although they came out with this wonderful electric kitchen appliance decades ago, these small appliances are still incredibly popular. What makes the slow cooker so exceptional is that it cooks meat slowly so it’s super tender. Also, dinner is ready when we get home.
Easy crockpot recipes can give you great meal solutions, whether it’s for a nice weekend dinner with guests or simple crockpot meals for busy weeknights with your family.
As a busy individual, you know that a well-prepared meal can make all the difference in your daily life. Crockpot meals are an excellent solution for those who want wholesome, satisfying dishes without the hassle of spending hours in the kitchen. In this article, we dive into the world of crockpot meals and provide you with valuable information about this convenient cooking method.
Crockpots, also known as slow cookers, are electrical appliances that allow food to cook slowly, typically over the course of several hours. This method of cooking preserves the flavors and nutrients of your ingredients, while also tenderizing meats, making them perfect for a variety of delicious meals. From hearty soups and stews to mouthwatering casseroles, there is a crockpot meal suited for every taste and occasion.
The benefits of crockpot meals extend beyond just their delicious taste. They can be an excellent time and energy saver, as the slow cooker does most of the work for you. Simply prepare the ingredients, set the timer, and let the appliance do its magic. This frees up your time to focus on other tasks or simply relax while your meal cooks to perfection. Additionally, the one-pot nature of these meals makes cleanup a breeze, making the overall experience even more enjoyable.
Whether you’re making slow cooker chicken cacciatore, white chicken chili, or slow cooker pork carnitas, you know you’re going to have a feast when you make slow cooker recipes.
But slow cooker meals aren’t just for entrees and side dishes such as mashed potatoes. You can even use your crockpot to make slow cooker recipes such as slow cooker apple crisp or slow cooker blackberry cobbler, and you can make breakfast dishes such as a slow cooker breakfast casserole.
Tips for the Best Easy Crockpot Meals
Crockpot dinner recipes have saved many family dinners, and slow cookers have been helping families get a healthy and filling dinner on the table for decades. To make slow cooker dinners even easier, follow these tips and best practices.
- Prep a day in advance. If you have lots of veggies that need to be chopped or meat that needs to be browned or cooked in advance (such as for chili), it makes it super easy if you do all of the prep work the day or night before. Here’s a tip: Prepare the entire meal the night before and have it ready in your slow cooker insert. Then, just stick the insert in the refrigerator. The next morning when you get up, you just need to pull the insert out and stick it in the slow cooker. Just don’t forget to plug your slow cooker in and turn it on before you leave.
- Add some freshness. Towards the end of the long slow cook time, it can help to add something extra, such as green onions or fresh herbs. The addition of these little gems can really brighten up the flavors of your slow cooker recipes. Other ideas include fresh lemon juice, ketchup, and balsamic vinegar. For creamy dishes, you can add half and half (or milk) or cream cheese.
- Get to know your slow cooker. Just like ovens, all slow cookers cook differently, and as they get older, they can take longer to cook your meals. One thing to keep in mind is that larger slow cookers take longer to heat food up and slow cook the meal.
Which Slow Cooker or Crockpot is Best for Easy Crock Pot Meals?
The short answer is that you should buy whichever slow cooker works for your family. Smaller slow cookers will cook more quickly, so a good rule of thumb is to go as small as is feasible to feed your crew. On the other hand, there are slow cookers as large as 10 quarts, so if you have a big family, you can go with that. It’s a good idea to have a couple of different sizes of slow cookers.
As far as brands go, just go with whichever style you like. Looking at reviews at online marketplaces like Amazon can help you make a solid decision about which slow cooker will work for you.
How Long Should You Cook Crockpot Meals?
Are you looking for quick crockpot meals? If so, be sure you get a slow cooker that has both a low and a high setting. For meats, the longer you cook them, the more tender they will be. Other slow cooker recipes, such as recipes containing pasta or rice, may need a shorter cooking time.
Keep in mind that meat will fall apart in the slow cooker. For a nice roast, this is a good thing, but if you want to keep your chicken breasts and other lean meats juicy, cooking them for too long isn’t the best practice.
Some slow cooker models have a keep warm setting that will allow you to automatically switch to keep warm when the cooking time is up. This can help ensure that you don’t overcook your slow cooker meals.
Are you ready to dive into the best crockpot meals and amazing crock pot recipes? Let’s check out these 35 incredible easy slow cooker recipes.
For a healthy dinner, you can’t beat this slow cooker chicken recipe that calls for honey, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest.
This is a complete one pot meal because it has veggies that include baby potatoes, green beans, and onion. You can add carrots, too.
Spices used are garlic, thyme, and rosemary.
Can you cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker? Yep! A whole chicken is one of the easiest slow cooker dinner recipes.
All you have to do is put your chicken in the slow cooker and season it with rosemary, thyme, paprika, and garlic. You can also add some veggies such as celery, potatoes, and carrots to the bottom of the crock pot to make it a full meal.
Beef and barley soup is always a comforting meal, and we love this soup recipe that allows you to make this delicious soup in the slow cooker.
This soup is loaded with delicious veggies, including potatoes, carrots, chopped onion, and garlic cloves.
The flavor in this soup comes from beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, bay leaves, and fresh thyme.
Who says family crockpot meals have to be boring? When you cook ribs in the slow cooker, it’s like bringing your favorite family BBQ inside.
The meat on these slow cooker ribs falls off the bones, and you can serve your BBQ ribs with coleslaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato, and other side dishes you make the day before.
When you cook baked ziti in your slow cooker, you have a cheesy and meaty meal that your family will gobble up!
For this baked ziti recipe, you need ground beef (you can also use ground Italian sausage or ground turkey).
Chopped onion and garlic add tons of seasoning, and you can use jarred tomato sauce and pasta sauce.
The three types of cheese used are parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese. It’s almost like slow cooker lasagna, but even easier.
It’s so easy to pull together this recipe for crock pot glazed pork chops. All you need is three simple ingredients: pork chops, a bottle of chili sauce, and grape jelly.
Serve your glazed pork chops with a baked potato, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato, or a green salad for a complete meal.
When it comes to a soup slow cooker recipe, an all-time favorite is creamy potato soup. Slow cooker potato soup is super easy to make, too.
We like Yukon gold potatoes for our potato soup, and your soup will be creamier if you peel the potatoes. Onion and bacon give this soup loads of flavor, and the cheddar cheese (or American cheese) makes it perfect.
Slow cooker BBQ chicken is an excellent meal in itself, but the leftovers are equally amazing.
If you’re fortunate enough to have some BBQ chicken left after dinner, freeze it up in individual servings. Alternatively, you can save two cups in a zippered freezer bag to pull out for sandwiches and even soup later.
Tomato and basil were born to be together, and this recipe for creamy tomato basil chicken is the perfect comfort food meal.
This recipe calls for tomato sauce, goat cheese, cottage cheese, garlic, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Use fresh basil for garnish and more flavor.
Garlic and parmesan cheese go so perfectly together, and when you pair these two ingredients with chicken, you’ve got a dreamy meal.
Other ingredients in this recipe are mushrooms, garlic powder, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chicken broth, butter, half and half (or milk), and baby spinach leaves.
Serve this garlic parmesan chicken over pasta, brown rice, or basmati rice.
We all love a delicious and hearty beef stew, but sometimes it’s nice to change the flavors a bit to get something unique.
This beef stew recipe has all of the usual wonderful ingredients like celery, carrots, onion, and potatoes. However, the flavors explode thanks to balsamic vinegar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce.
Are you looking for a slow cooker meal that’s a little bit different from the standard crock pot recipe? We have another pulled pork recipe on this list of crockpot recipes, but we couldn’t resist adding this one.
The use of balsamic vinegar in this recipe makes the pork fall apart and melt in your mouth.
When you’re looking for comfort food, you’ve come home with this chicken and noodles recipe.
Use chicken breasts to make this dish, and cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, butter to make this pasta dish super creamy.
Adding frozen mixed veggies adds tons of nutrition to this easy dish. Seasonings are garlic powder, black pepper, and poultry seasoning.
Who loves Olive Garden’s soups? We do!
There are tons of copycat Olive Garden soups out there, and one of our favorites is Zuppa Toscana.
To make this delicious soup, you need crispy bacon, Italian sausage, yellow onion, garlic, chicken broth (or chicken stock), potatoes, kale, and heavy cream (or fat-free half and half).
Be sure to add the heavy cream at the end of cooking time.
We love using the slow cooker to cook chicken breasts (or slow cooker turkey breast) because we can eat good food more than once from one cooking!
On the first day, you have tender juicy crockpot chicken breasts for your dinner. Simply serve your chicken with some rice and veggies and you’re all set.
Slow cooker chicken breasts also make an excellent crockpot freezer meal. You can freeze cooked chicken breasts in freezer bags and pull them out for future meals.
Who knew it was so easy to make delicious blackberry cobbler in the slow cooker?
For this crockpot recipe, you need fresh blackberries (you can also use frozen berries), butter, cornstarch, sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
This recipe can be modified to use other types of berries or fruit, including peaches.
When it comes to good crock pot meals, one recipe everyone seems to have is a recipe for pot roast.
A country cook loves comfort food, and nothing is more comforting than a slow cooker full of beef roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots.
It’s super easy to cook pulled pork in the slow cooker. Once you have your meat shredded, you can use the meat to make a pork sandwich, carnitas, tacos, and even soup.
For this recipe, you need cumin, onion, garlic cloves, fresh orange juice, paprika, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper.
In terms of flavor, these chicken thighs cooked in a slow cooker are one of the best crock pot recipes.
These chicken thighs are seasoned with honey, ketchup, onion powder, thyme, dried mustard, dried parsley, garlic, and soy sauce, and they’re delicious when served over rice or noodles.
20. Italian Beef
Italian beef is a remarkably versatile meal. You can serve this savory and tender beef over pasta or rice, but you can also use it for sandwiches.
The original Italian beef sandwich became hugely popular in Chicago, where chefs use the chuck roast to make this delicious meal.
Serve your Italian beef sandwiches with giardiniera, pepperoncini, and provolone cheese.
We have another cobbler recipe on our list of slow cooker recipes, but this one is so good it’s worth having a second.
This recipe for berry cobbler is made with raspberries and blueberries. The fresh lemon juice adds some nice zing, and the cinnamon gives it the perfect kick.
Serve this berry cobbler with ice cream or whipped cream.
Once you’ve cooked pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, you may never cook it any other way again.
To make this pork tenderloin recipe, you need balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, soy sauce, and black pepper.
You can serve this pork tenderloin in a taco, on a sandwich, or over rice.
Cheesy potatoes are pure comfort food, and they’re incredibly easy to make in the slow cooker.
Use shredded cheddar cheese to make this dish, and cream of chicken soup and sour cream help make it super creamy.
Want to make these cheesy potatoes the main dish? Stir in some diced ham, BBQ brisket, or shredded pulled pork.
If you love the taste of lasagna with ground beef as a main dish but don’t enjoy how long it takes to prepare lasagna, go for crock pot lasagna soup.
This lasagna soup recipe is loaded with veggies, including green bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, petit diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, onion, spinach, and garlic.
The secret to the best crockpot macaroni and cheese is to not overcook it. Another secret is to use real cheese.
For this recipe, you need American cheese, extra sharp cheddar cheese, evaporated milk, and whole milk.
You can also use Monterrey Jack cheese to make this comfort food. Be sure you use deli cheese or slices that say “cheese.” Avoid products that have the phrases “cheese food” or “cheese product” on the label. Just cheese.
Yes, you can make a cake in a slow cooker!
This recipe is for an apple pudding cake, and it’s absolutely perfect when you serve it with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
With a fresh tomato flavor and plenty of garlic bread, these Italian chicken sandwiches are to die for.
This chicken recipe calls for Italian dressing, tomato paste, sea salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, canned diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and provolone cheese. For the bread, you can use frozen garlic bread.
Sweet and sour meatballs are the perfect dish to serve whether you need a quick dinner or an appetizer.
The ingredients are ground beef (ground turkey or ground chicken also work), breadcrumbs, onion, sea salt, garlic powder, chili sauce, grape jelly, parsley, and black pepper.
If you’re looking for cheap crockpot meals, you can’t go wrong with a homemade version of Hamburger Helper.
To make this beloved comfort food dish healthier, choose whole ingredients, including whole-wheat pasta, fresh cheese, ground turkey instead of ground beef, and fresh veggies and seasonings.
Remember to add the pasta 15-30 minutes before you serve your homemade Hamburger Helper.
It’s common knowledge that chicken thighs are the juiciest part of a chicken, and we love cooking slow-cooked chicken thighs.
This chicken dinner is made with balsamic vinegar and honey, so it’s loaded with flavor.
Serve these chicken thighs over brown rice or basmati rice. A fresh green salad on the side completes that meal.
Slow cooker chili is one of the most beloved crockpot meal ideas. You can make this slow cooker chili with either ground beef or ground turkey.
Also, it makes it super easy that you can use canned beans to make this chili: black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
32. Crockpot Lasagna
When it comes to crockpot ideas, most people don’t automatically think about making slow cooker lasagna. However, it makes total sense to make lasagna in the slow cooker.
To make this lasagna, you don’t have to pre-cook the lasagna noodles.
Ingredients for this crock pot lasagna are ground beef, ground Italian sausage, onion, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, tomato sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.
When it comes to comfort food, few things are better than a pot of steaming and delicious chicken soup. However, this noodle soup is also a healthy crockpot recipe that you can cook and serve without the guilt of other creamy recipes.
You can use light cream or fat-free half and half to make this creamy chicken soup. Tons of flavor comes from roasted red peppers, garlic, oregano, basil, and shredded parmesan cheese.
We love having some shredded chicken in the freezer that we can pull out to make chicken and dumplings, chicken soup, white chicken chili, tacos, chicken pot pie, and more.
When you slow cook chicken breasts, you can easily shred the crock pot chicken when it’s done cooking. Then, freeze the crock pot chicken in individual serving amounts, eight-ounce bags, and more for quick and easy meals on busy weeknights.
A list of good crockpot meals would be incomplete without this recipe for corned beef and cabbage. We love serving corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day!
Crock pot beef is so tender that it falls apart when you cook it, and that’s perfect for this classic beef recipe.
For this recipe, you will add the veggies in stages. The potatoes and carrots are added to the slow cooker after the meat has cooked for three hours.
The cabbage is added during the final hour of cooking time.
Do you love dump-and-go simple crock pot recipes? Check out these six crockpot dinner ideas in the video below.
Our 40+ BEST Crockpot Meals (+Slow Cooker Whole Chicken)
- 1 whole chicken
- 8 onion wedges
- 6 cut-up celery ribs
- 1 small bag baby carrots
- 8 oz. quartered potatoes
- 5 smashed garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. each paprika rosemary, thyme
- 1/2 tsp. each black pepper and sea salt
- Add veggies to the bottom of the slow cooker, then the chicken and spices.
- Cook on high 4-5 hours.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.