28 Slow Cooker Recipes You'll Want to Make All Year Long

From meaty classics to hearty soups, these recipes allow you to set it and forget it.

slow cooker root ropa vieja
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

There's nothing like the slow cooker for preparing comfort food. The steady, even heat of this appliance 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 tool 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 recipes. They include everything from classics like pot roast and corned beef and cabbage to dinner party-worthy chicken dishes, fish stews, vegetarian entrées, and even dessert.

01 of 28

Slow-Cooker Lamb with Olives and Potatoes

lamb olives potatoes
Romulo Yanes

Meats like lamb shanks that need low and slow heat are perfect for the slow cooker. This delicious dinner will be ready in under five hours (or seven hours if you choose low!). Zesty lemon juice, bright shallots, rosemary, and crisp pinot grigio enhance the complex flavor of the dish.

02 of 28

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.

03 of 28

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.

04 of 28

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 French 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.

05 of 28

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.

06 of 28

Slow-Cooked Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

tex mex beans
Stephen Kent Johnson

Jarred salsa plus chopped chipotles in adobo 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.

07 of 28

Slow-Cooker Ribollita

slow cooker ribollita
Stephen Kent Johnson

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.

08 of 28

Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Buns

slow cooker cinnamon buns
Stephen Kent Johnson

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.

09 of 28

Slow-Cooker Indian-Style Fish Curry

slow cooker indian style fish curry
Stephen Kent Johnson

In this fish curry—which is so different from many slow cooker recipes—the protein is only added for the last 20 minutes of cooking. It's the rich coconut-milk sauce, flavored with an array of spices, that needs time to cook.

10 of 28

Slow-Cooker Marmalade-and-Vinegar Pork

Anna Williams

Swap your go-to pulled pork recipe for this iteration with sweet-and-sour sauce. It cooks on low for eight 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.

11 of 28

Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

slow cooker root ropa vieja
Stephen Kent Johnson

We make 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.

12 of 28

Garlic Chicken with Barley

Christina Holmes

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

13 of 28

Slow-Cooker Root-Vegetable Confit

slow cooker root vegetable confit
Stephen Kent Johnson

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 five hours on low. Serve with homemade pistachio pesto.

14 of 28

Slow-Cooker Persian Lamb Stew

slow cooker persian lamb stew
Stephen Kent Johnson

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.

15 of 28

Slow-Cooker Sicilian-Style Beef Stew

Beef stew with olives and mashed potatoes
Lennart Weibull

Beef chuck is an economical cut of meat and becomes tender and delicious when cooked with orange zest, rosemary, and luscious green olives in this hearty stew. It's delicious served over mashed potatoes or polenta.

16 of 28

Slow-Cooker Vietnamese-Style Baby Back Ribs

Lennart Weibull

Spareribs cook with shallots, fish sauce, and honey for seven hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls off the bone. A colorful, crisp slaw made with carrots, cabbage, lime juice, and mint is the perfect accompaniment.

17 of 28

Slow-Cooker White-Bean Soup

Lennart Weibull

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

18 of 28

Slow-Cooker Cilantro-Chutney Chicken

Lennart Weibull

Set it and forget it—then enjoy this garlicky, gingery, and fragrant stew three hours later. It starts with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and ends with a lively topping of chutney made with cilantro, roasted peanuts, and lime juice. It's a company-worthy slow-cooker dish.

19 of 28

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

spicy buffalo chicken sandwich
Stephen Kent Johnson

Use your favorite hot sauce to flavor this slow-cooker take on a sports-bar favorite. Whether you pile the pulled chicken into a bun or on top of a salad, it's a delicious, spicy bite.

20 of 28

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. Serve this hearty entrée with applesauce, sour cream, and a shower of fresh herbs.

21 of 28

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.

22 of 28

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.

23 of 28

Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Tacos


Cook chicken thighs low and slow with garlic, salsa, chipotle chiles in adobo, and chili powder for a succulent, flavor-packed taco filling.

24 of 28

Slow-Cooker Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Romulo Yanes

This dish, which is sure to become a family favorite, starts by combining a cut-up whole chicken with onion, thyme, and white wine. Serve it over couscous to sop up the delicious sauce.

25 of 28

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—the slow cooker does the job just fine.

26 of 28

Red Beans with Rice

red beans and rice

Cook your red kidney beans for this favorite New Orleans dish in the slow cooker. This hands-off cooking method means you can skip the usual soaking the beans need. They're flavored with thyme, the classic seasoning, plus bacon, celery, and green bell pepper. You will need to cook some white rice, too.

27 of 28

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.

28 of 28

Loaded Slow-Cooker Baked Potatoes

Romulo Yanes

Baked potatoes in the slow cooker? Yes, please! Yogurt and vegetable broth lend lushness and tang to the potatoes as they cook. A topping of sautéed mushrooms and broccoli adds heft.

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