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Are you a die-hard slow cooker fan? A crockpot appreciator? A person who wishes she put her slow cooker to more regular use? However, you slow-cook-roll, hopefully these recipes will make you happy. You’ll find braises, soups, stews, dips, roasts, meatballs, and sides. Whether you’re looking for dinner to be ready when you walk in the door, or you need a way to cook an extra dish for a gathering without using the stove, the slow cooker can be your best friend.

If your slow cooker is in a hard-to-reach place, make it more accessible. The easier it is to pull out your crockpot, the more often you will put it to use, and the more slow-cooked soups, stews, braises, roasts, and so on will fill your table with dinnertime happiness.

Fall Apart Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Lamb in a slow cooker.

One of my fondest cooking-for-a-crowd memories (and coincidentally, one of my sons’ more embarrassing ones) was when I decided to lug my slow cooker full of Red Lentil, Fennel, and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup to a football game for the end-of-season game-side potluck on a particularly chilly day and became very popular. My boys loved the soup — they just weren’t too crazy about being the children of “that slow cooker mom.” But, when a number of their friends happily dug right in and were generous with their praise, they grudgingly admitted that maybe it wasn’t such a ridiculous idea after all.

18 Slow Cooker Recipes to Set and Forget: Choose from fall-apart pork, creamy mashed potatoes, hearty chilis, shredded chicken, and more!

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Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker

  • Make sure your slow cooker model has an automatic timer that switches to “warming” mode when the cooking time is up. You don’t want it to turn off, nor do you want it to keep cooking the food past the intended cooking time.
  • Be generous with the seasonings. Flavors don’t concentrate as much when cooking with a crockpot, so you’ll want to make sure you add enough salt, pepper, spices, and herbs to come through.
  • Taste before serving. Unlike other types of cooking, it’s hardest to taste as you go, so you’ll want to check before you dish it up to make sure it has the right level of seasoning.
  • Add some fresh ingredients at the end. Some fresh herbs, or perhaps a bit of acidity in the form of vinegar or citrus juice, are best added at the end so they keep their clean, fresh, bright flavors.
  • Continue to cook with the top off if you want to thicken up your dish. Almost no evaporation takes place when cooking with a crockpot. That means that your food could become a bit more watery than you want. If you continue to cook it with the lid off for a bit at the end, the liquid will have a chance to reduce.
  • Skip low-fat ingredients. Dairy can be tricky in the slow cooker, to begin with. Using dairy that is less than full-fat can cause sauces to curdle or separate. Stick with full-fat, but use dairy judiciously.
  • Adjust the temperature if needed. Most dishes can be cooked on either high or low in a slow cooker; the time is just different. The general rule of thumb is that foods that will take 8 hours on low will cook to tender in 4 hours on high. So, a 2:1 ratio for the low setting to the high setting. I usually prefer cooking things longer at the lower temperature for lower, slower cooking. But it’s nice to know there is flexibility, so you can make decisions based on the time you have.

18 Great Slow Cooker Recipes to Set And Forget

White, handled bowl of Barbecue Beer Beef Stew.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beer Beef Stew

Few things make my family happier than a dish involving slowly cooked meat. And in a slow cooker, I don’t even have to think about minding it, so yeah, this is a keeper. Also, let’s just say the words “beef,” “barbecue,” and “beer” in the same sentence don’t make Gary sad.

Slow Cooker Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

Easy Slow Cooker Hot Pimento Cheese Dip

The best mashup of a decadent creamy hot dip and pimento cheese. Think of this for parties and game day get-togethers. If you're having a casual gathering, you can leave it warming and serve it right out of the slow cooker.

Red Lentil, Fennel and Chicken Slow Cooker Soup / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Slow Cooker Red Lentil, Fennel, and Chicken Soup

This is one of those winter soups that feels more like a stew. It's so hearty and satisfying, and leftovers freeze really well. Bring it to a tailgating party!

Barbacoa beef in a white dish.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

You can pile this tender, succulent meat into a taco, roll it into enchiladas or burritos, or use it to make quesadillas. It also can be turned into a terrific chili.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork on serving platter.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork Loin

You'll be super happy with how tender a pork loin can get in the slow cooker. It gets to a fall-apart texture, ready to be piled on some mashed potatoes or maybe grits. The barbecue sauce adds loads of flavor.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes made in the crockpot are SO easy and stay warm for hours. No potato boiling needed! And on busy holidays where your oven and stovetop might all be in use, it's so great to be able to make a boatload of mashed potatoes in your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

This crockpot chili features chicken thighs, which stay truly moist and tender in the slow cooker. The addition of pureed chipotles in adobo sauce gives this chili a lovely smoky heat.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

A perfect classic meatball recipe, adapted for the slow cooker, so you can set it and forget it.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Amazingly, this beefy comfort food dinner takes only 15 minutes of hands-on time, and then you can go do whatever you need to for hours! It's inexpensive, comforting, flavorful, and tender. Leftovers can be shredded for anything from enchiladas to soup.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Simple Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

If you're in the market for a super juicy turkey breast, this is a great way to go!

4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Maple-Dijon Brussels Sprouts

Slow Cooker Maple-Dijon Brussels Sprouts

Another great recipe to think of for holiday meals when the stove and oven are in high demand. This 4-ingredient recipe has a lot of flavor, thanks to the maple syrup and mustard.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs piled high in a red baking dish.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

We love our Buffalo wings, but certainly can't justify them as a balanced meal on the regular. These tender little meatballs have all of that great buffalo flavor but feel much more virtuous!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Once you make this traditional Irish meal in a slow cooker, you may never go back! The meat comes out perfectly tender but sliceable, and the vegetables have great texture, too.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

A very classic chili, that cooks itself in the crockpot while you go about your day. Great for game day parties. Also think about serving some of this chili as part of a nacho bar!

Slow Cooker Fall-Apart Braised Pork with Cabbage and Apples

Slow Cooker Fall-Apart Braised Pork with Cabbage and Apples

This is such a great dinner on one of those first few chilly nights of autumn. Remember it after you go apple picking! It's also pretty darn easy on the wallet.

Barbeque Pulled Lamb sandwich on a red and white plate.

Fall Apart Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Lamb

If you like pulled pork and you like lamb, then this is the best of both worlds.

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

For making the most tender chicken for shredding, the slow cooker is terrific. Set-it-and-forget-it, resulting in super moist, soft chicken every time.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef Tip Steaks

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef Tip Steaks

Rich steak tips are slowly cooked until they become perfectly tender, and glazed with a beautiful teriyaki glaze. A great balance of of salty and sweet.

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