15 Slow Cooker Recipes for New Cooks

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you’re getting your feet wet and learning your way around the kitchen right now, it’s time to break out that slow cooker stashed away in the far reaches of a cabinet or closet. This is one of the most helpful appliances any cook (but particularly new cooks) can have by their side.

A slow cooker opens up the world of hands-off cooking. It can deliver meals that save you during hectic weeks; help you recreate budget-friendly takeout favorites; and make big batches of things like soup, tender rice, and juicy shredded chicken. Here are 15 easy recipes to get you started.

The Slow Cooker Essentials

As you’ll soon discover, there are so many amazing things your slow cooker can do for you. One place where it totally excels is tackling the basics. Use it to make batches of homemade stock, caramelized onions, and meatballs, and you will feel like a total rockstar.

Slow-Cooker Minestrone (Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Soups, stews, and chilis are some of my favorite things to make in the slow cooker. These recipes require little work upfront and rely on the slow cooker to do all the heavy lifting.

Weeknight Favorites

This is the lineup to keep on repeat in your meal plan. Not only are these slow cooker dinners totally satisfying, but they’re also easy to pull off and can all be made in advance.