18 Family-Friendly Slow-Cooker Recipes to Make for Dinner


Prep, set, and relax. Eight hours later, one of these delicious slow-cooker dishes will be ready for you and your loved ones to enjoy.

01 of 18

There are days when you want to lose yourself in the kitchen, enjoying the process of working through a complex recipe or experimenting with different cooking techniques. And then there are those other types of days: When your calendar is packed is so packed you don't have hours (or even an hour) to spend in the kitchen, or else you simply want a satisfying supper that requires little hands-on work, let your slow-cooker handle dinner duties. These easy (and easy-to-clean-up) recipes prove that you can create flavor-packed, hearty meals with a little prep and the flip of a switch. From the Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Tacos pictured here to warm, cozy dishes like our classic slow-cooker pot roast, see how this freestanding cooking appliance aces at making dinner for the entire family.

To make the chili chicken tacos, combine boneless, skinless chicken thighs, garlic cloves, prepared tomato salsa, chopped canned chipotle chiles, and chili powder in a slow-cooker. Like most slow-cooker recipes, you can cook this dish for four hours on high heat or eight hours over low heat. Once the chicken is fork-tender and shreddable, stuff the filling into hard taco shells for a crunchy bite that everyone will love. Other family-friendly dinner recipes include two hearty soups guaranteed to keep you cozy on a cold night, such as this Italian-inspired Slow-Cooker Ribollita or our Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup. Both are vegetarian but packed with protein and plenty of flavor.

Make the most of this ever-popular appliance with these slow-cooker recipes.

02 of 18

Slow-Cooker Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic

chicken with garlic
Stephen Kent Johnson

Made in your slow-cooker, this easy take on the classic chicken dish uses whole chicken legs cooked with just garlic cloves, sliced lemons, and thyme sprigs. Serve the finished dish with crusty bread for the ultimate cozy dinner.

03 of 18

Slow-Cooker Persian Lamb Stew

slow cooker persian lamb stew
Stephen Kent Johnson

Lamb shoulder becomes fork-tender and irresistible when cooked in a slow-cooker along with a traditional blend of mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onion), dill, garlic, and thyme sprigs. Serve over quinoa and garnish with pomegranate seeds and pistachios.

04 of 18

Slow-Cooker Ribollita

slow cooker ribollita
Stephen Kent Johnson

Hearty Lacinato kale, zucchini, cranberry beans, and tomatoes are cooked together for hours to form an irresistible stew. It's delicious with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving, but feel free to leave it off for a vegan bowl.

05 of 18

Slow-Cooker Indian-Style Fish Curry

slow cooker indian style fish curry
Stephen Kent Johnson

The slow-cooker captures the aromatic, spicy notes of coriander, serrano chiles, tamarind paste, mild curry powder, and fenugreek seeds, infusing the fish—choose cod or halibut—with the signature curry flavor.

06 of 18

Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

slow cooker root ropa vieja
Stephen Kent Johnson

Economical flank steak breaks down and becomes super flavorful when cooked with red bell pepper, jalapeño peppers, diced tomatoes, and small Spanish olives in this slow-cooker version of the essential Cuban-inspired stew recipe.

07 of 18

Slow-Cooker Pork Chop

Bryan Gardner

Two kinds of pork—pork shoulder chops and thick-cut bacon—cook with thinly sliced red cabbage and onion. Ground allspice and thyme enhance the flavor, and applesauce and sour cream are the finishing touches.

08 of 18

Slow-Cooker Sicilian-Style Beef Stew

Lennart Weibull

Aromatic ingredients like fennel, orange zest, green olives, and rosemary transform beef chuck into a bright, flavorful dish that will transport your taste buds to the Italian countryside. It's delicious served over mashed potatoes or polenta.

09 of 18

Slow-Cooker Vietnamese Baby Back Ribs

Lennart Weibull

These Vietnamese-inspired ribs have an irresistible combination of fish sauce, honey, and shallots, which bring so much sticky-sweet flavor. Serve alongside a carrot and cabbage slaw with lime juice and mint leaves.

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Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup

Lennart Weibull

On a cold winter's night, there's nothing more satisfying than this vegetarian stew. It's packed with Great Northern beans, leeks, butternut squash, and spinach. Don't forget plenty of shredded Parmesan for serving.

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Slow-Cooker Cilantro-Chutney Chicken

Lennart Weibull

Who could resist these boneless, skinless chicken thighs that cook in a slow-cooker with thinly sliced garlic, sliced jalapeños, roasted peanuts, and four cups of packed cilantro leaves?

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Slow-Cooker Marmalade-and-Vinegar Pork

Anna Williams

The power couple behind this slow-cooker braise is orange marmalade and red-wine vinegar. They give the dish a tang that's the perfect complement to rich pork shoulder. Serve the stew over couscous with peppery watercress that adds a fresh, crisp contrast.

13 of 18

Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

slow-cooker pulled pork
Christina Holmes

Pulled pork is a barbecue staple, and meat-lovers everywhere will rejoice at this slow cooker take on the classic entrée. Boneless pork shoulder is cooked with chopped onion, crushed and whole canned tomatoes, chipotle in adobos, and oregano and bay leaves for earthiness.

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Classic Pot Roast for the Slow Cooker

classic slow cooker pot roast
Christina Holmes

Here's your Sunday supper. Our secret to tender pot roast is cooking the beef with plenty of flavorful ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, garlic cloves, tomato paste, and chicken broth.

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Slow-Cooker Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken


More seasoned than spicy, chicken legs become fall-off-the-bone tender when given the slow-cooker treatment. Cumin, cinnamon, and ginger lend a sophisticated sharpness to the chicken.

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Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

spicy buffalo chicken sandwich
Stephen Kent Johnson

Buffalo chicken doesn't just make an appearance as wings. Here, chicken thighs are tossed with finely chopped bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and molasses for sweet and spicy flavor.

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Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

tex mex beans
Stephen Kent Johnson

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are always tender and flavorful because of how fatty they are; when cooked in a slow-cooker, the result is even more spectacular. Here, they are cooked with pinto beans and salsa (choose how spicy you like it!) for a total Tex-Mex-inspired dinner.

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Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu

Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu

Plan ahead and make this hearty ragu a day or two in advance, as the flavors will become richer with time. Serve it spooned over thick egg noodles, polenta, or a hunk of crusty bread.

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