5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dump Dinners Are Everything We Want Right Now
A dump dinner (or drop dinner, if you prefer) is pretty much what it sounds like: It’s a recipe, often made in the slow cooker, though sometimes in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, where everything — meats, veggies, and all — is dumped into the pot with zero fuss and practically zero prep. Compared to slow cooker recipes that require you to brown items in a pan before adding them in, these set-it-and-forget-it meals are far simpler. You can even prep these meals ahead by putting all the ingredients into a zip-top bag, and storing them in the fridge or freezer. So, all you have to do the day of is dump the bag and wait.
Dump dinners are the easiest slow cooker dinners we know, and to make things even easier, these 15 weeknight MVPs call for just five ingredients or less. You’ll find everything from a hearty baked ziti to saucy shredded chicken and comforting sausage and peppers, and more. Oh, and fair warning: We didn’t include salt, pepper, and olive oil in our ingredient counts since these are cooking staples that are almost always on hand.
1. Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken
This big-batch recipe gives you the option of using boneless chicken breast, thighs, or a combo of the two. Regardless of what you choose, the result is guaranteed to be saucy and delicious.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken
2. Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken (in Under an Hour)
These sandwiches start with rotisserie chicken and use the slow cooker to warm it with a simple Buffalo sauce. That means few ingredients and minimal prep for a comforting, easy, low-effort meal that’s ready in just an hour.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken (in Under an Hour)
3. Cheesy Spinach Slow Cooker Tortellini
If you have a few packs of tortellini, a jar of sauce, a bag of shredded cheese, and a clamshell of greens, then you have dinner. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have spent less than five minutes in the kitchen, and practical zero dirty dishes.
Get the recipe: Cheesy Spinach Slow Cooker Tortellini
4. Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken
After a couple hours, these slowly cooked chicken breasts are packed with bright, smoky flavor. Pile the chicken into tortillas, use it to top off a burrito bow, bulk up a salad, or simply eat as is.
Get the recipe: Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken
5. Pizza Chickpeas
You’ll never regret giving chickpeas the pizza treatment! If you have it handy, I recommend topping you’re meal off with grated mozzarella, Parm, or Pecorino. The recipe calls for a jar of marinara, but you could easily swap in crushed or diced canned tomatoes and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.
Get the recipe: Pizza Chickpeas
6. Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
This recipe is proof that you really can make perfectly cooked pasta in the slow cooker. Just dump everything in (including the uncooked pasta), let it cook for several hours, and come back to delicious ziti that rivals the baked version.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
7. Slow Cooker Salsa Pulled Chicken
It only takes two ingredients — salsa and chicken — to make this recipe, so you can focus on the true star of the show: the toppings. Fresh cilantro, diced avocado, and shredded lettuce would all make delicious additions to this flavorful pulled chicken.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Salsa Pulled Chicken
8. Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
This vibrant pesto chicken is one of those dishes that will please even the pickiest of eaters. Feel free to add cherry tomatoes during the last hour of cooking, which will add a pop of flavor and make the chicken a bit saucy — perfect for serving over cooked pasta or rice.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
9. Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
Pork shoulder, root beer, and barbecue sauce is all it takes to make this flavorful pulled pork. Serve it on a plate with your favorite sides (like crunchy slaw, and sweet bread and butter pickles) or put it on toasted buns and use the sides as toppings for a perfect build-your-own sandwich situation.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
10. Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Meatballs
This recipe transforms a bag of frozen meatballs into a flavorful dinner. Feel free to use any meatball variety you like. Beef, turkey — even vegetarian varieties work well. Serve it over rice.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Meatballs
11. Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Spicy Mediterranean Chicken
This recipe uses Trader Joe’s Zhoug sauce to give the chicken a bright herby flavor without having to put in a ton of work. It’s made with cilantro, jalapeño, cardamom, and a slew of other flavorful ingredients and lends this dish a complex flavor. If unavailable, you can use your favorite store-bought pesto instead — although the flavor will be slightly different.
Get the recipe: Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Spicy Mediterranean Chicken
12. Slow Cooker Korean BBQ-Style Beef Tacos
This recipe uses Korean chili paste (called gochujang) to give the beef a warm sweet and spicy flavor. You can find it in the international section of most well-stocked grocery stores, and it’s easily ordered online. And if you’re worried about what to do with the rest, here are some other ways to use it.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Korean BBQ-Style Beef Tacos
13. Slow Cooker Sausages with Peppers and Onions
Peppers, onions, and sausage are the perfect weeknight dinner trio. Load them into soft rolls, slather them with mustard, and serve with a cold beer for a festive dinner that takes just five ingredients to pull off.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Sausages with Peppers and Onions
14. Crispy, Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
These tender chicken thighs are seasoned in a simple blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder making them the perfect thing to pair with just about anything. Serve them with a simple salad, steamed veggies, or cooked rice for a hearty weeknight dinner.
Get the recipe: Crispy, Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
15. Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
The MVP of this recipe is the Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce. It gives the chicken a ton of flavor without having to put in a ton of effort. Serve it over cooked rice, warm pita, or all by itself.
Get the recipe: Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala