So-Good Slow-Cooker Recipes | Midwest Living
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So-Good Slow-Cooker Recipes

These 35 recipes for slow-cooked chicken, beef, pork, soups and stews get your dinner off to an early start.
Beefy Chili Dogs recipe

Beefy Chili Dogs

The Coney Island Lunch Room in Grand Island, Nebraska, has served its all-American chili dog since 1933. In honor of this Cornhusker State edible institution, we cooked up Beefy Chili Dogs. Stewing the hot dogs in the seasoned meat mixture makes them extra juicy. Top them with cheese.

Beefy Chili Dogs recipe

Cheesy Potato Soup

Potato, bacon and cheese--all the flavors you love in a bowl of soup! The American cheese keeps the soup from curdling while it slow cooks. Mashing cooked potatoes a bit gives the soup some body, while the bacon adds a smoky-salty taste.

Cheesy Potato Soup

See a short how-to video on preparing this soup

Chocolate-Caramel Fondue

Just three ingredients go into this quick dessert: sweetened condensed milk, caramel ice cream topping and chocolate. Vary your dippers to match the mood of your party.

Chocolate-Caramel Fondue

Angel Chicken

Chicken and fresh mushrooms slow-cook in cream cheese, wine and soup. It's easy to put together but tastes like chicken in a complex cream sauce -- smooth with delicate seasoning.

Angel Chicken

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

Put in a slow cooker, short ribs give you a delicious, dressed-up dish with hardly any work. A hint of licorice from fennel accents the recipe.

Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer

A surprise ingredient, root beer, adds sweetness to this roast and its dark sauce. Try leftover pork in quesadillas or stir it into ramen noodles.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer

Southwestern Potato Sausage Chowder

Vary the heat of this easy chowder by choosing sweet or hot sausage and serrano or jalapeno pepper. Cumin adds subtle Southwest character.

Southwestern Potato Sausage Chowder

Swiss-Artichoke Dip

Artichoke hearts, dried tomatoes and sauce combine for a rich, creamy dip. Our recipe calls for processed Swiss cheese because it melts smoothly, but regular Swiss cheese will work fine, too. The dip will have a more stretchy, less creamy texture, but it tastes just as good.

Swiss-Artichoke Dip

Cranberry-Sauced Meatballs Appetizer

Shape and bake the chicken meatballs ahead of time, then pop them in your slow cooker with cranberry and barbecue sauces.

Cranberry-Sauced Meatballs Appetizer

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Mix a can of cream of chicken soup, mushrooms, veggies and rice mix for the soup base. Any boneless cooked chicken works in this recipe, but chicken thighs, with more moisture from fat, slow-cook the best.

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Hominy-Pork Stew

Boneless pork shoulder, navy beans, hominy and salsa blend into a zesty slow-cooker dish. Serve with lime wedges, if you like.

Hominy-Pork Stew

Slow Cooker Coq au Vin

We adapted a classic French recipe of chicken cooked in wine for this slow cooker specialty. Burgundy flavors the meaty chicken and forms the base of the gravy.

Slow Cooker Coq au Vin

Cranberry Pork Roast

Carolyn Sinclair of Grey Eagle, Minnesota, received this pork roast recipe from her son for her family cookbook. "When I serve it, I almost always have to give out the recipe," she says. "The tangy gravy is a good complement to pork."

Cranberry Pork Roast

Fireside Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Cranberry juice makes a surprise appearance in this slow cooker main dish. The juice adds a little sweetness to the winter veggie-packed soup.

Fireside Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

Slow-Cooked Minestrone

Ground beef turns this vegetable soup recipe into a satisfying meal. Top the slow-cooked main-dish soup with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

Slow-Cooked Minestrone

Slow Cooker French Chicken Stew

Save time with premade pasta sauce for this slow cooker recipe. Tender chicken, herbs and fresh vegetables blend for a crowd-pleasing dish.

Slow Cooker French Chicken Stew

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Combine spices with raisins and apricots to season this slow cooker chicken stew. Serve on couscous and topped with toasted pine nuts and fresh cilantro.

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Slow-Cooker German-Style Beef Roast

Red wine, chopped dill pickles and zesty mustard set this German-style recipe apart from other beef slow-cooker meals.

Slow Cooker German-Style Beef Roast

Aunt Bonnie's Taco Soup

This easy soup, full of beef and beans, is sure to become a top choice at your dinner table, as it is with Vicki Johnson of Hallsville, Missouri. We like to top it with a generous dollop of sour cream and serve with salsa and chips (left).

Debra Atkinson of Ames, Iowa, sent us another hearty slow-cooker soup recipe, Mexican Chicken Chowder. "When I first began to use my crockery cooker, I thought, 'Oh no, I AM my mother,'" she says. "Now, I couldn't get along without it!"

Aunt Bonnie's Taco Soup recipe

Mexican Chicken Chowder recipe

Burgundy Beef Stew

Either a good Pinot Noir or a Burgundy works well in this slow-cooked beef main-dish recipe.

Burgundy Beef Stew

Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs turn tender after cooking for 11 hours in your slow cooker.

Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Beefy Chili Dogs

The Coney Island Lunch Room in Grand Island, Nebraska, has served its all-American chili dog since 1933. In honor of this Cornhusker State edible institution, we cooked up Beefy Chili Dogs. Stewing the hot dogs in the seasoned meat mixture makes them extra juicy. Top them with cheese.

Beefy Chili Dogs recipe

Sausage Jambalaya

Combine sausage, sweet peppers, celery, canned kidney beans and fire-roasted canned tomatoes in your slow-cooker for a spicy main dish. Our recipe also gives an alternative using meatballs, cannellini beans, onions and diced tomatoes.

Sausage Jambalaya

Cashew Chicken

A package of frozen veggies, canned mushrooms and canned soup shorten the prep work in this takeout-style recipe.

Cashew Chicken

Buffalo Oven Stew

The Earl family makes buffalo their business at Siouxland Buffalo in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Buffalo meat, also called bison meat, tastes a lot like lean beef. The Earls recommend cooking the meat slowly over low heat. Their oven stew is a prime example.

Buffalo Oven Stew recipe

Slow-Cooked Chicken and Biscuits

Dress up packaged biscuit mix with cheddar cheese, then bake while a chicken-and-vegetable mixture simmers in your slow cooker. A small package of cream cheese adds a creamy finish to the chicken.

Slow-Cooked Chicken and Biscuits

Lemony Lamb Pitas

If you love gyros, give these easy sandwiches a try. Compared to chops, this slow-cooked roast is a budget-friendly way to cook lamb. 

Lemony Lamb Pitas

Cappuccino Pot Roast

A cup of strong coffee gives this beef chuck roast a punch of flavor. If you have a single-serving coffeemaker, this is the time to use it.

Cappuccino Pot Roast

Sesame Turkey

Peppery soy-ginger flavors lean turkey breast tenderloins. For a nutritious meal, serve with rice and a crisp cabbage slaw.

Sesame Turkey

Bean-and-Rice-Stuffed Peppers

With only five ingredients, these hearty stuffed peppers assemble in a snap. Team them with corn bread or whole wheat rolls, and dinner's done.

Bean-and-Rice-Stuffed Peppers

Chicken and White Bean Stew

Great Northern or cannellini beans blend with chicken and purchased Alfredo sauce in this easy-to-assemble meal. Serve with crusty bread and tossed salad.

Chicken and White Bean Stew

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili

What's the secret ingredient in this recipe? Chocolate syrup, which adds a rich taste to a blend of kidney beans, black beans and small white beans. Rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium.

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili

Italian Vegetable Soup

Purchased pesto adds zip to this veggie-barley slow-cooked soup. Serve with a sandwich for a light meal.

Italian Vegetable Soup

Curried Couscous with Vegetables

For a vegetarian main dish, simmer this mixture of grains, veggies, fruits and spices. Jalapeno peppers add savory-sweet flavor with a bit of zing, while almonds add crunch.

Curried Couscous with Vegetables

Cuban Pork Wraps

Slow-cooked pork shoulder roast turns to a tender shredded meat filling you tuck into flour tortillas for a festive meal.

Cuban Pork Wraps

Creamed Corn Casserole

Cream cheese adds extra creaminess to this corn side-dish recipe. Bake in the oven, or follow the slow cooker directions.

Creamed Corn Casserole

Download our free printable collection of 10 top slow-cooker recipes

Slow-cooker tips

BROWNING MEAT isn't necessary before adding to the slow cooker, unless you prefer the flavor and look of browned meat. The exception: Brown ground meat to prevent clumping and to drain fat.

A SLOW COOKER works most efficiently when it's half- to three-fourths full. That's because the heat comes from coils around the sides of the pot, rather than the bottom. When using a recipe, make sure it's sized for your cooker.

UNPLUG BEFORE CLEANING your slow cooker and never immerse the cooker or the cord in water. If there's a removable insert, you can wash it in the dishwasher. Or use disposable plastic slow-cooker liners for easy cleanup.

TO COOK A ROAST use a bigger slow cooker with 5- to 6-quart capacity, or cut meat to fit.

More slow cooker favorite recipes

Click below for more great slow cooker recipe ideas for main dishes, dessers, appetizers, soups and side dishes. 

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