Our Top 10 Favorite Sauces for Instant Slow Cooker Dinners

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Slow cookers can be miracle workers, but they do need a little help. And our favorite slow cooker helpers come in the form of store-bought, ready-to-dump sauces. Have a good sauce on hand and all you have to do is add it to the slow cooker with some chicken (or pork, or whatever!) and you’ll have dinner ready and waiting for you when you need it.

It really is that simple. To prove it, we came up with almost a dozen two-ingredient slow cooker dinners that are made with just a main ingredient and a sauce. Be sure to check that out (See: 2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dinners With Grocery Store Sauces) and browse through this list of our 10 favorite slow cooker sauces.

(Image credit: Jet)

1. Rao’s Homemade All Natural Pizza Sauce, $6 for 13 ounces at Jet

Think pizza sauce is just for pizza? It’s not! Put it in your slow cooker with some chickpeas and you have you have a hearty stew-like dish that you can eat on its own or atop some super-crusty bread. (Also, try this sauce with any type of bean, or even chicken.) Rao’s makes our all-time favorite pasta sauce, so it’s no surprise we have such strong feelings for this zesty pizza sauce.

(Image credit: Jet)

2. Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, $5 for 18 ounces at Jet

Two of the best things to pair with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker? Chicken and, more surprisingly, lentils! We like Stubb’s because it’s ketchup-y yet sweet yet vinegar-y. Alternatively, we also strongly recommend Trader Joe’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce.

(Image credit: Jet)

3. San-J Thai Peanut Glazing and Dipping Sauce, $4.50 for 10 ounces at Jet

We’ve found that the best use for this stuff is to put it in a slow cooker with a bunch of cubed tofu or chicken. It’s the closest we’ve found to the peanut sauce from our go-to takeout place and helps us make dinner at a fraction of the cost.

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Yai’s Thai Coconut Curry Sauce, $7.50 for 16 ounces

This blend of yellow curry paste, creamy coconut milk, turmeric, and Thai spices goes great with slow cooker pork, veggies, rice, and more.

(Image credit: Walmart)

5. Ken’s Honey Mustard Dressing, $2.50 for 16 ounces at Walmart

If you’re looking for something zingy and surprising, this is the bottle you need in your life. (It’ll also make you nostalgic for chicken nuggets!) We love it with pork chops, but have also enjoyed it with chicken.

(Image credit: Jet)

6. Pace Chunky Salsa, $6 for 64 ounces at Jet

Combine salsa and chicken in the slow cooker and you end up with the perfect stuffing for tacos or burritos. Don’t just go with any salsa, though — go with Pace’s Chunky Salsa for a dish that’s flavorful and tastes like you spent at least an hour tinkering with.

(Image credit: Jet)

7. Maya Kaimal Madras Curry Indian Simmer Sauce, $6 for 12.5 ounces at Jet

We’re a little obsessed with the flavor packed into this jarred simmer sauce from Maya Kaimal. (So obsessed, it made our list of the 100 essential groceries that we published earlier this year!) Try this jar or the Tikka Masala — all you have to do is add the chicken.

(Image credit: Amazon)

The sauce pouches from Frontera Grill (by celebrity chef Rick Bayless!) are so great, we put two of them on this list. If you’re gonna buy enchilada sauce, this is the stuff to get. It’s a blend of roasted tomatillos, green chiles, garlic, and cilantro with a flavor that’s bold, fresh, and just as good as homemade.

(Image credit: Target)

9. Soy Vay Marinade & Sauce Veri Veri Teriyaki, $4 for 21 ounces at Target

Chicken with teriyaki sauce is nothing new, but this version will blow your mind. The sauce is made with high-quality ingredients and has no preservatives. And it has a depth of flavor that is just unrivaled by any other teriyaki sauce we’ve tried.

(Image credit: Jet)

10. Frontera Grill Red Chile Beef Barbacoa Sauce, $3.50 for eight ounces at Jet

The second Frontera Grill pouch on this list, this barbacoa sauce features roasted tomatoes and red chili flavors that’ll elevate any roast or brisket to restaurant-level quality.

What sauces help you make instant slow cooker dinners? Share them in the comments below!