5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dump Dinners Are Everything We Want Right Now

updated Nov 15, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dump Dinners

1 / 13
Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken
Slow cooker BBQ shredded chicken is an easy weeknight dinner that can be made with chicken breasts, thighs, or a combo of the two.
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2 / 13
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken (in Under an Hour)
Saucy slow cooker buffalo chicken is an easy, low-effort recipe to feed a crowd that comes together with just a few ingredients.
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3 / 13
Cheesy Spinach Slow Cooker Tortellini
With just five minutes of prep, this cheesy slow cooker tortellini delivers a satisfying dinner with a dose of veggies in one hour.
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4 / 13
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
Slow cooker baked ziti is just like the traditional casserole with tender noodles swimming in marinara & mixed with a double dose of gooey, melted cheese.
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5 / 13
Slow Cooker Salsa Pulled Chicken
Our best recipe for shortcut salsa chicken in the slow cooker.
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6 / 13
Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
Homemade pesto mixed with hearty chunks of chicken in the slow cooker, ready for a week's worth of salads, wraps, and grain bowls.
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7 / 13
3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
This three-ingredient slow cooker root beer pulled pork will totally convince you to give this Southern combination a try.
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8 / 13
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.

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9 / 13
Trader Joe's Slow Cooker Spicy Mediterranean Chicken
An easy slow cooker chicken recipe using just a handful of Trader Joe's ingredients.
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10 / 13
Slow Cooker Beef Tacos
These 3-ingredient slow cooker tacos are the easiest way to bring restaurant-style bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) to your dinner table.
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11 / 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.

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12 / 13
Crispy, Juicy Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker
Slow-cooking chicken thighs without any cooking liquid on low heat, crisps the chicken’s skin while slowly braising the thighs until juicy and tender.
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13 / 13
Trader Joe's Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
An easy recipe for slow cooker chicken tikka masala using three common Trader Joe's ingredients.
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