So-Good Slow-Cooker Recipes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boneless pork shoulder, navy beans, hominy and salsa blend into a zesty slow-cooker dish. Serve with lime wedges, if you like.
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.
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."
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.
Ground beef turns this vegetable soup recipe into a satisfying meal. Top the slow-cooked main-dish soup with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
Burgundy Beef Stew
Either a good Pinot Noir or a Burgundy works well in this slow-cooked beef main-dish recipe.
Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs turn tender after cooking for 11 hours in your slow cooker.
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.
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.
A package of frozen veggies, canned mushrooms and canned soup shorten the prep work in this takeout-style recipe.
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.
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.
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.
Cappuccino Pot Roast
Peppery soy-ginger flavors lean turkey breast tenderloins. For a nutritious meal, serve with rice and a crisp cabbage slaw.
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.
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.
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.
Italian Vegetable Soup
Purchased pesto adds zip to this veggie-barley slow-cooked soup. Serve with a sandwich for a light meal.
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.
Cuban Pork Wraps
Slow-cooked pork shoulder roast turns to a tender shredded meat filling you tuck into flour tortillas for a festive meal.
Creamed Corn Casserole
Cream cheese adds extra creaminess to this corn side-dish recipe. Bake in the oven, or follow the slow cooker directions.
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.