Our 12 Easiest Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes (Ever)

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

By now, you already know we’re huge fans of slow cooker dinners here at Kitchn. That’s because when it comes to weeknight meals that are almost entirely hands-off, it’s hard to beat the slow cooker. Still, as any Crock Pot owner knows, not all “easy” slow cooker recipes are created equal. Some require lengthy prep, while others need a lot of hand-holding during the cooking process — meaning neither are actually as simple as they might appear.

That’s where our slow cooker recipe picks below can save the day. All deliver on their promise: These recipes are legitimately easy, require minimal prep and cleanup, and result in a delicious meal. They’ve all earned repeat spots in our dinner rotations — and we think they deserve a place in yours, too.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Pulled Buffalo Chicken

The chicken cooks low and slow in the spicy sauce — which means the meat is packed with flavor by the time it’s done. Pile it onto sliders, into hoagies or lettuce wraps, or enjoy on its own.

Get the recipe: Pulled Buffalo Chicken

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Trader Joe’s Veggie Burrito Bowl

One of our favorite things at Trader Joe’s is Cowboy Caviar — a salsa of corn, black beans, tomatoes, and adobo sauce. Stretch it into a full (and fool-proof) meal by combining it with brown rice and frozen vegetables.

Get the recipe: Trader Joe’s Veggie Burrito Bowl

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

3. Italian Chicken, Veggies, and Potatoes

This balanced dinner — chicken breasts on a bed of baby potatoes, peppers, and spinach — only needs to cook on ‘high’ for two hours. It also keeps well, so it’s perfect for meal prep.

Get the recipe: Italian Chicken, Veggies, and Potatoes

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Korean BBQ-Style Beef Tacos

Taco night just got much easier. Combine your favorite hot sauce + your favorite barbecue sauce, toss in some flank steak — then pile everything into tortillas with any toppings you’d like. (We recommend these quick-pickled cucumbers!)

Get the recipe: Korean BBQ-Style Beef Tacos

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Creamy Tuscan Ravioli Soup

The slow cooker warms the creamy tomato soup, then fresh spinach and mini ravioli are dropped in closer to serving — so they won’t overcook.

Get the recipe: Creamy Tuscan Ravioli Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Weeknight Chicken Posole

This posole — with chicken thighs, hominy, poblano peppers, and plenty of spices — cooks for a full six to eight hours, making it an ideal option if you need something that can cook all day while you’re at work.

Get the recipe: Weeknight Chicken Posole

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Baked Ziti

Slow cooker pasta can sometimes turn out overcooked or soggy — but that won’t happen here. We’ve worked out the right ratio of cooking liquid to pasta, to ensure everything turns out just right.

Get the recipe: Baked Ziti

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Crock Pot Pork Roast

Due to its size, pork loin roast can easily overcook in the oven. That’s why we much prefer the slow cooker when making it. The low, slow heat — plus the bed of aromatics and apples the pork rests on — gives you a perfectly juicy end result every time.

Get the recipe: Crock Pot Pork Roast

Credit: Photos: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Design: Kitchn

9. Streamlined Chicken Chili

You only need six ingredients to make this chili — and it’s a true toss-and-go dinner. Pre-Crock Pot prep time clocks in at less than 10 minutes.

Get the recipe: Streamlined Chicken Chili

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Creamiest Mac ‘n’ Cheese

There’s never a wrong time for mac ‘n’ cheese. This ultra-comforting version is boosted with a bit of cream cheese and a spoonful of Dijon to cut the richness. It’s one that we reach for often.

Get the recipe: Creamiest Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Chicken Tikka Masala

When it comes to slow cooker dinners, it truly doesn’t get easier than this. Three steps: Add chicken, cover with tikka masala sauce, and cook. (Then serve it with fresh naan, rice, or greens!)

Get the recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

Credit: Joe Lingeman

12. Protein-Packed Sausage and Lentil Stew

Between the chicken sausage, the fiber-rich lentils, and three cups of fresh baby kale, this throw-and-go dinner can be assembled quickly, and the end result is super- satisfying. 

Get the recipe: Protein-Packed Sausage and Lentil Stew