Snapshot Cooking

These 5 Slow Cooker Dump Dinners All Make Themselves

updated Nov 21, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

If you’re not already familiar, dump dinners are just what they sound like — meals that require almost zero prep work (save for chopping a veggie or two), where the ingredients are dumped into the slow cooker and left to do their thing. These dinners are ridiculously easy to pull off and basically make themselves. Ready to get cooking?

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5 Snapshot Recipes for Slow Cooker Dump Dinners

  • The protein: Each dinner starts with a protein (we’ve included a mix of chicken, pork, and vegetarian) and makes enough to feed four to six people, depending on the recipe.
  • Slow cooker: All of these recipes are made using a six-quart slow cooker.

Our Favorite Slow Cooker for Easy Dinners (and Beyond!)

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Whisk together 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in the slow cooker until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 pounds total), 2 chopped bell peppers (red or green), and 1 large, chopped onion.

Cook on LOW for 2 to 3 hours or HIGH for 1 to 2 hours.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Vegetarian Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Generously coat the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1 cup uncooked quinoa, 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa, 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, 1 cup frozen corn, and 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or HIGH for 2 to 3 hours.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Place 1 pound halved baby red potatoes and 1 pound carrots (peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces) in the slow cooker. Generously season a 2- to 3-pound boneless pork loin with salt and pepper. Place on top of the vegetables.

Whisk together 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Pour over the pork loin.

Cook on LOW for about 5 hours or HIGH for about 3 hours.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Butternut Squash Curry

Add 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons red curry curry paste, 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger (peeled and minced), 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add a 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1 pound dried ziti, 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce, 1 (16-ounce) tub ricotta cheese, and 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese to the slow cooker and stir well to combine. Top with an additional 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours or HIGH for 1 to 2 hours.