23 Slow-Cooker Recipes That You Can Turn to All Year Long

Beef stew with olives and mashed potatoes
Photo: Lennart Weibull

There's nothing like the slow cooker for preparing comfort food. The appliance's steady, even heat turns out succulent meat every time, tenderizing tougher cuts such as flank steak and beef chuck. It excels at making soup and chili, too—and it's the go-to appliance for home cooks looking to get a head start on dinner prep.

We love its set-it-and-forget-it dependability, which is why we're sharing our favorite slow cooker meals; they include everything from classics like pot roast and corned beef and cabbage to dinner party-worthy chicken dishes, fish stew, vegetarian entrées, and even dessert.

01 of 23

Classic Pot Roast for the Slow Cooker

classic slow cooker pot roast
Christina Holmes

Here's a tried-and-true slow cooker meal: All of the ingredients for this cozy pot roast—including the carrots and potatoes—cook together, which makes for easy clean-up and builds so much flavor.

02 of 23

Slow-Cooker Queso

Slow-Cooker Queso recipe
Con Poulos

The ultimate party starter, queso stays warm and creamy when made in a slow cooker. The combination of ooey-gooey American cheese and sharp pepper Jack is irresistible.

03 of 23

Slow-Cooker Chicken with 20 Cloves of Garlic

chicken with garlic
Stephen Kent Johnson

Yes, you can make this traditional French bistro dish in a slow cooker. Just halve the amount of garlic cloves from 40 to 20— otherwise, the flavor is too intense. We're not shy about having garlic breath, but you don't want the allium to be the only thing you taste!

04 of 23

Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

slow-cooker pulled pork
Christina Holmes

Don't just enjoy pulled pork on game day. It's a sweet, tangy main that's so satisfying any night of the week. Instead of using barbecue sauce, we make a marinade with crushed and whole tomatoes, chipotles in adobo, dried oregano, and dried bay leaves.

05 of 23

Slow-Cooker Persian Lamb Stew

This recipes uses two techniques to turn lamb shoulder into a juicy, succulent dinner. First, the meat is seared in a Dutch oven until golden brown, then transferred to a slow cooker to braise with mirepoix, garlic, thyme, white wine, orange juice, lime, and saffron.

06 of 23

Slow-Cooker Ribollita

Craving soup for dinner, but looking for something a little heartier? This Tuscan bread soup, which also happens to be vegetarian, should satisfy; leave off the Parmigiano-Reggiano and it's vegan, too.

07 of 23

Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Buns

If you're hosting a brunch and want to prep one of the main dishes in advance, this sweet recipe is for you. Individual rolls are arranged in a slow cooker, then "baked" until they are fluffy and moist.

08 of 23

Slow-Cooker Indian-Style Fish Curry

Plenty of spices, like coriander seeds, turmeric, ginger, garlic, tamarind paste, cumin, and fenugreek seeds (an Indian spice similar to clover), flavor this coconut milk-based curry.

09 of 23

Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

We're making this popular braise with flank steak, an inexpensive cut of meat that becomes super tender when cooked low and slow. Serve over white rice and top with plantain chips.

10 of 23

Garlic Chicken with Barley

Christina Holmes

A one-pot winner chicken dinner! The barley cooks along with the chicken pieces in the slow cooker.

11 of 23

Slow-Cooker Root-Vegetable Confit

Confit refers to any food cooked for a long time in fat (like oil) at low heat; here, we're cooking carrots, parsnips, beets, cipollini onions, and fennel in extra-virgin olive oil for 5 hours on low. Serve with homemade pistachio pesto.

12 of 23

Slow-Cooker Sicilian-Style Beef Stew

Beef stew with olives and mashed potatoes
Lennart Weibull

Beef chuck is an economical cut of meat that becomes so delicious when cooked with aromatic orange zest, rosemary, and luscious green olives in this hearty stew.

13 of 23

Slow-Cooker Vietnamese Baby Back Ribs

Lennart Weibull

It's all in the sauce! Spareribs cook with shallots, fish sauce, and honey for 7 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls off the bone. A colorful, crisp slaw made with carrots and cabbage is a stunning accompaniment.

14 of 23

Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup

Lennart Weibull

Loaded with great northern beans, leeks, butternut squash, and spinach, this dish is the answer when you need healthy comfort food. Make our big-batch soup on a weekend and enjoy it for lunch or dinner during the week.

15 of 23

Slow-Cooker Cilantro-Chutney Chicken

Lennart Weibull

Set it and forget it—then enjoy this garlicky, gingery, and fragrant stew 3 hours later. Topped with a lively chutney made with cilantro, roasted peanuts, and lime juice, it's a company-worthy slow-cooker dish.

16 of 23

Slow-Cooker Marmalade-and-Vinegar Pork

Anna Williams

Swap your go-to pulled pork recipe for this recipe with sweet-and-sour sauce that's just so good. It cooks on low for 8 hours, so you can make it in the morning before you leave for work or on a weekend—either way, it will be an extra special dinner.

17 of 23

Slow-Cooker Pork Chop

Bryan Gardner

Pork shoulder chops become wonderfully tender after a couple of hours in the slow cooker and spectacularly flavorful with the addition of bacon, cabbage, and onions. Serve this hearty entrée with applesauce, sour cream, and a shower fresh herbs.

18 of 23

Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

corned beef and cabbage

Lucky you: We have a recipe for corned beef and cabbage that takes only a fraction of the prep work and keeps all the traditional taste.

19 of 23

Slow-Cooker Beef Ragu

Slow-Cooker Beef Ragu

Slow cook a beef chuck roast with garlic, onion, and tomato paste and the result is a robust ragu with fewer ingredients than there are ways to serve it.

20 of 23

Slow-Cooker Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Romulo Yanes

Enjoy this dish that's sure to become a family favorite by combining a cut-up whole chicken with onion, thyme, and white wine. Serve over couscous so it can sop up the delicious sauce.

21 of 23

Slow-Cooker Triple-Chocolate Brownies


Talk about magic. You don't need to fire up your oven to make a batch of gooey, fudgy brownies because the slow cooker does the job just fine.

22 of 23

Slow-Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

tex mex beans
Stephen Kent Johnson

Jarred salsa plus chopped chipotles in abode sauce are fast shortcuts to prepping this hearty entrée. They impart plenty of deep smoky flavor to the boneless, skinless chicken thighs while they cook low and slow.

23 of 23

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

spicy buffalo chicken sandwich
Stephen Kent Johnson

Use your favorite hot sauce to flavor this slow-cooked, sports-bar favorite. Whether you pile the pulled chicken atop a bun or a salad, it's a delicious, spicy bite.

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