With short ingredient lists and little prep time, these slow-cooker dishes will be ready to eat as soon as you walk through the door.
The slow cooker – once a novelty kitchen gadget that collected dust on many a countertop – has now become an essential appliance for beginner cooks, seasoned chefs, party hosts, and anyone who wants to enjoy the flavor of delicious recipes without spending long hours in the kitchen. Throughout this selection of easy slow cooker recipes, you will find a variety of dishes you can prepare with little prep time and a lot less effort than with your standard approach to cooking. We thought it couldn’t be done, but our Test Kitchen pros not only developed a finger-licking, slow-cooker BBQ ribs recipe, they also came up with a slow cooker mac and cheese that is as good as Grandma’s. If you plan on a long day outside getting the yard ready for winter, spend a few minutes on prepping one of the slow-cooker soups or chilis. Then come in later and enjoy a steaming bowl of goodness, coupled with a warm piece of one of these fabulous homemade breads. On Sundays, simply set the slow cooker, leave for church, and come home to roast beef and vegetables. Round out the meal with one of these tasty and fresh harvest salads.
Uncle Jack's Mac-and-Cheese
Recipe: Uncle Jack's Mac-and-Cheese
Classic cafeteria-style goodness, this recipe yields enough to serve as a side for a crowd, or it could be dinner for a family of four. Recipe by Pam Rawlinson, North Augusta, South Carolina.
Easy BBQ Ribs
Recipe: Easy BBQ Ribs
Savory, tender, juicy, and slow-cooked to perfection, this recipe for Easy BBQ Ribs is our newest and best. Made with our homemade Rib Rub and Fancy Barbecue Sauce, this dish is finger-licking good.
Recipe: Beef-and-Bean Chili
This classic red chili has chunks of stew meat and ground beef along with tomatoes, red beans, and spices. Fire-roasted tomatoes add a note of smokiness to the mix. If you can't find fire-roasted, use plain tomatoes and add a pinch of smoked paprika.
Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
Recipe: Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
Start with a whole chicken, cut up, and simmer in a homemade barbecue sauce of ketchup, cola, cider vinegar, and a splash of bourbon for a Southern barbecue flavor. Enjoy this slow-cooked chicken by itself or as a sandwich piled with Pickled Peppers & Onions atop Sweet Potato Cornbread.
Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
You can also serve the delicious beef in slider buns with your favorite sandwich toppings for a heartier meal.
Four-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Freeze pot roasts and braised pork shoulders in their cooking liquid—it preserves the juicy flavor and tender texture while guarding against freezer burn. Portion cooled meat into zip-top freezer bags, add cooking liquid, and freeze up to 1 month.
Good Luck Greens and Peas with Ham
Texas-Style Barbecued Beef Brisket
5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
One pork shoulder roast, a few pantry ingredients, and eight hours on low effortlessly produces the most succulent and tender pork, just as if you waved a magic wand. The best part—you can save the leftover pork for two fast and hearty weeknight suppers.
Leftover Recipe 1: Pork Noodle Bowls
Leftover Recipe 2: Pulled Pork Nachos
Easy Brunswick Stew
Recipe: Easy Brunswick Stew
Cooking on low heat for a long time makes the meat extremely tender, so it shreds easily; high heat yields a less tender product.
Slow-Cooker Burgundy Beef Tips
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Burgundy Beef Tips
This recipe calls for baby portobellos, but your favorite sliced mushrooms will work just fine. Serve the beef tips over hot cooked egg noodles or rice tossed with parsley.
King Ranch Chicken
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
This slow-cooker chili recipe is as easy as it is delicious. Browning the meat before adding it to the slow cooker brings out the rich flavor of the dish.
Recipe: Chicken-and-Squash Casserole
Get all the satisfaction of a hearty casserole with none of the messy cleanup. Preparing it in a slow cooker will ensure an even more tender bite.
Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice
This delicious meal will be hot and ready when you get home from work. Use instant long-grain rice to put dinner on the table even faster.
French Dip Sandwiches
Recipe: French Dip Sandwiches
Serve these flavorful roast beef sandwiches with reserved broth for dipping.
Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pork
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pork
Serve this simple-to-fix recipe with buns and slaw, fill a quesadilla, or spoon over hot cooked cheese grits or toasted cornbread.