There's a good chance that your slow cooker is gathering dust at the back of some cabinet or shelf at this moment. If that's the case, it's time to dig it out and get it cleaned up. Summer is actually one of the best times to use your slow cooker because you can make a range of meals without having to turn on your oven or stove, which means your kitchen will stay cool and your family won't suffer from salad fatigue.
So next time you're prepping for taco Tuesday, need a way to make a batch of baked potatoes without heating up the house, or want to use up those berries — reach for the slow cooker first. And don't forget to check out our guide for the best tip and tricks to help you do it well.
We love to make this dish for summer dinner parties. There's no reason your guests need to know that you made it in a slow cooker. Let them think you've perfected the ultimate summer chicken recipe, and that you have a great air conditioner.
Enchiladas were practically made to be cooked in a slow cooker. The recipe calls for a black bean filling, but these enchiladas are infinitely adaptable.
This makes the perfect summer stew, thanks to the abundance of summer produce. Use the best tomatoes, eggplant, and onions you can find. You'll be able to taste the difference.
Make the chicken for these tacos a couple of hours in advance or the night before, then all you'll have to do is assemble the tacos once dinnertime rolls around.
Baked potatoes can be a pain in the summer — unless, of course, you make them in the slow cooker. They can cook during the day while you're at work and be ready for a quick weeknight meal when everyone gets home. Plus the toppings are endless.
Need to feed a crowd? This slow-cooker barbacoa recipe is the perfect solution. You can use it in tacos or enchiladas, pile it on nachos, or turn it into a shredded beef sandwich. Plus, depending on the size of your slow cooker, you can double the recipe.
Hosting a big group of friends and family for brunch? You can serve eggs Benedict or Florentine, thanks to this trick for making poached eggs in the slow cooker. It's easy and impressive.
Shredded chicken breast is one of those ingredients that's always handy to have in your fridge. And the easiest way to make it is in the slow cooker. This is a recipe to master.
One of the most intimidating vegetables, artichokes seem a bit more manageable when you use the slow cooker. Plus, the aroma of them cooking is a wonderful thing to come home to.
Save time in the morning by making your breakfast for the week ahead of time. A big batch of oatmeal makes Monday morning a lot easier.
You might think fish is too delicate for the slow cooker, but that's not the case for salmon. It's an incredibly easy way to poach the fresh filets. Dinner will pretty much be ready when you walk in the door.
Take those summer sundaes to the next level by turning your favorite berries and stone fruits into a rich, syrupy sauce. You can also pour the fruit compotes over pancakes or French toast for a seriously impressive breakfast.
There are some situations where only queso will do, and when that happens the slow cooker is your best friend. Don't skimp on the chips either.
If your bread-baking routine goes on hiatus during the summer, try this method instead. Baking your boule in the slow cooker is a great way to get crusty bread without having to turn on the oven.
If you ended up with some apples that weren't quite at their peak, turn them into deliciously smooth applesauce with your slow cooker. It's one of our favorite tricks to prevent food waste.
Make your burgers and brats even better with homemade condiments. These five simple sauces are mostly hands-off but incredibly impressive.
Take your slow-cooker shredded chicken to the next level by adding some BBQ sauce. We promise that there won't be any leftovers.
Granola is one of our favorite summer breakfasts, but we don't love having to bake it for upwards of an hour in the oven. This simple recipe is easy and has the perfect level of crunch.
Summertime calls for some seriously messy meals. That's what eating outside is for, right? Make these turkey sloppy Joes in the slow cooker and wait for the rave reviews (in the form of messy faces) to start rolling in. There's an easy tip to make them Paleo, too!
Dessert in the slow cooker? Yes, it's possible — and delicious. This recipe takes four hours in the slow cooker, but can also be stored in the fridge for up to five days and eaten cold or at room temperature.
For those rare summer colds, this curried stew is the perfect remedy. Plus, there are so many great veggies available at the market that this recipe can have lots of seasonal variations.
Want to really wow your guests at your next cookout? Try making your own tomato ketchup in the slow cooker. You can adjust the seasonings to your liking and come up with a signature condiment.
This custardy, sweet-savory side dish is the perfect way to use some of that farm-stand corn when it is in season. Just keep in mind that the recipe is best eaten right after it's made.
Short of pulling off some really great BBQ, making a succulent and tender pile of pulled pork at home is best down with the aid of the slow cooker. The slow, braising environment renders the meat incredibly tender and you're left with a enough leftovers to turn pulled pork into a meal for a few days. Tacos, omelets, mac and cheese — the sky's the limit.