31 Dump Dinner Recipes to Make Mealtime Impossibly Easy

updated Nov 15, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you’re unfamiliar with dump dinners, it’s about time to change that. They’re as simple to make as they sound: You just dump a handful of ingredients into a vessel and let it cook, mostly unattended, with a bare minimum of effort. Maybe there’s a tiny bit of chopping or sautéing, but it’s primarily a hands-off situation. Dump dinners are perfect for when you’re extra busy, feeling extra lazy, or both.

While dump dinners originated with the slow cooker, there are also Instant Pot and even oven or stovetop versions. Here’s every single one of our favorites.

Easy Dinner Recipes

1 / 31
Sausage and Lentil Soup

It’s inspired by sausage and white bean soup, but we gave it a Southern twist by adding a pack of Andouille chicken sausage. Best of all, there’s next to no prep work needed, meaning your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting to bring dinner to the table.

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2 / 31
Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef

Don’t wait a minute longer before making one of our easiest-ever drop dinners. You’ll thank me when the sweet and savory smell of this tangy balsamic beef wafts from the kitchen and greets you at the front door, providing the best kind of reminder — that dinner for the whole family is cooked and ready for eating.

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3 / 31
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole

Cook up a giant batch of posole in your slow cooker, and after an all-day simmer you’re in for a dinner packed with warm spices, rich flavors, and meaty shredded chicken. Just don’t forget the toppings. A squeeze of lime juice, crunchy radishes, fresh cilantro, and crumbled tortilla chips are the final touches that make this Mexican-inspired classic sing.

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4 / 31
Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry
This slow cooker coconut lentil curry is seasoned with garam masala & turmeric, laced with tomatoes, & finished with coconut milk for a touch of richness.
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5 / 31
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Give black bean soup time to simmer low and slow, deepening and building flavor with every minute, and you’ve got a delicious meal on your hands. That’s why the slow cooker is always my top choice for making this warm, smoky classic. Drop everything in the cooker in the morning and by the end of the day you’ve got a full-flavored broth loaded with soft, tender beans and all the spiced undertones you expect from black bean soup.

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6 / 31
Slow Cooker Sausages with Peppers and Onions

This recipe takes about just 10 minutes of prep in the morning. Slice up peppers and an onion, then mix in some whole-grain mustard and your favorite beer (don’t go too bitter though, so pass on the IPA). Nestle sausages on top — or go with bratwurst for more traditional flair, but Italian is also great — then walk away.

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7 / 31
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
This is a hearty slow cooker chicken stew with white beans, Southwest spices like cumin and coriander, and a few cans of fire-roasted green chilis.
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8 / 31
Slow-Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are a blank canvas. It’s a flexible recipe that lends itself to numerous customizations, all dependent on your tastes and preferences.

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9 / 31
Slow Cooker Ravioli Lasagna
Casual layers of tender pasta pockets filled with cheese, tangy tomato sauce, and mild mozzarella baked in the slow cooker.
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10 / 31
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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11 / 31
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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12 / 31
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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13 / 31
Crock-Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Mixed with bell pepper & onion and coated in a thick, glossy sauce, slow cooker sweet & sour chicken comes together with a handful of pantry ingredients.
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14 / 31
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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15 / 31
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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16 / 31
Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Chicken
Poached chicken breasts in a luxurious lemon broth with wisps of green spinach and forkfuls of tender, nutty artichokes.
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17 / 31
Best Instant Pot Spaghetti
How to make a luxurious, family-friendly spaghetti and meat sauce in your Instant Pot.
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18 / 31
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese requires just 5 ingredients and cooks up perfectly from start to finish in 20 minutes.
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19 / 31
Instant Pot Turkey Chili
Want a fast-cooking chili that tastes like it cooked all day on the stove? Whip out your pressure cooker for this veggie-packed turkey chili.
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20 / 31
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
This quick and easy Instant Pot pulled pork is ultra-tender and infused with the rich smoky, sweet flavors of BBQ sauce.
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21 / 31
Instant Pot Weeknight Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowls
Filled with chicken, rice, black beans, corn, and salsa, these burrito bowls come together quickly with an Instant Pot.
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22 / 31
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo is an shortcut dinner that tastes just like the creamy classic.
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23 / 31
Instant Pot "Baked" Ziti
This 20-minute pressure cooker pasta tastes just like baked ziti, but it's ready in half the time.
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24 / 31
5-Ingredient Creamy Tomato Baked Orzo
A one-pan, no-boil baked orzo casserole that requires just 5 ingredients.
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25 / 31
Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies
A one-pan dinner of roasted gnocchi and vegetables that doesn't even require you to boil the dumplings.
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26 / 31
Broccoli Pasta
A quick 5-ingredient pasta dinner filled with broccoli and cheese that's made in just one pot.
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27 / 31
A Last-Minute Ravioli Casserole
Frozen ravioli is baked in a lemon and white wine sauce and finished with peas.
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28 / 31
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

If you’re looking for a comforting one-pot meal that will please the whole family, look no further than this creamy chicken and rice stovetop casserole. Tender chicken, onions, and sweet peas cook together with long-grain rice in a creamy cheddar and thyme-scented sauce for a fast and hearty weeknight dinner.

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29 / 31
Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice
A recipe for a chicken thigh and tomato basil rice casserole that can feed a crowd this summer.
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30 / 31
Last Minute Spicy Coconut Wonton Soup
Simmer frozen dumplings in broth, coconut milk, and lime zest and dinner is done.
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31 / 31
Chicken & Tomato No-Boil Pasta Bake
A quick and easy one-pot casserole that uses dry pasta instead of boiled pasta and can be adapted to your diet and taste.
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