It’s no secret that fall is the time of year when cooking becomes more of a welcome endeavor. Once summer’s temperatures have subsided and ovens are no longer contributing to our personal heat waves, we’re ready to return to our kitchens to whip up hearty recipes that match the cozy surroundings. That said, many of us aren’t entirely open to spending hours toiling over ingredients. After all, there are changing leaves to see, apples to pick, and pumpkin patches to roam through instead.
To find a happy medium between cooking and exploring, it’s time to make a crockpot your kitchen’s key appliance. With a few minutes of prep time—and often just one pot to clean when all is said and done—the slow cooker can help you create fall flavors without much of a commitment. We found 20 fall crockpot recipes that are perfect for the upcoming season, including a vegetable-filled chili and a mushroom-topped mac and cheese, so that your time in the kitchen doesn’t have to take away from the season’s many activities.
Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff Soup
What to Fall For: Tiffany Azure Edwards at Creme de la Crumb serves up this tummy-warming stroganoff recipe, which is a great option for those cool nights by a fire. Thanks to a base of beef broth and ingredients like egg noodles, mushrooms, and stew meat, this soup will fill you up fast.
What to Keep in Mind: “Any short noodle works great," she says. "Egg noodles are really common with traditional stroganoff and taste great in this soup. My favorite, though, is cellentani. You could also use penne, rotini, or macaroni elbows.”
Easy Homemade Crockpot Vegetable Soup
What to Fall For: If you’re looking for a light fall dinner, this vegetable soup from Taylor Kiser at Food Faith Fitness is it. Its chicken broth base is loaded with bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, and celery alongside herbs and spices for a meal that’s healthy but filling.
What to Keep in Mind: “Cook on ‘high’ until the vegetables are fork-tender—this took three hours in my slow cooker,” Kiser notes. “It could take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on how hot your slow cooker runs.”
Instant Pot Honey Teriyaki Chicken
What to Fall For: It takes all of 10 minutes to prep this recipe from Creme de la Crumb, which features skinless chicken breasts that have been flavored with soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ground ginger. The chicken is shredded and served with a topping of green onions on a bed of rice.
What to Keep in Mind: “My favorite tip for amping up this recipe is adding more crushed red pepper flakes—it adds a little extra kick of heat without overpowering the sweet and savory tones of the dish,” Azure Edwards says.
Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
What to Fall For: There is just nothing more soothing and therapeutic than eating a hot bowl of soup on a cold day. It forces you to slow down as you sip each spoonful and feel every bite sink warmly into the pit of your stomach. This hearty soup recipe from Joy Bauer of Joyful Healthy Eats is no exception. Featuring tender chicken breast with carrots, mushrooms, onions, and celery flavored with rosemary and thyme, it's thick, creamy, and delicious with a crunchy slice of bread.
What to Keep in Mind: When melting the butter in a pan, Joy advises, "let the butter melt and start to bubble, whisking the entire time to ensure it doesn’t burn."
Instant Pot Thai Sweet Potatoes With Peanut Drizzle
What to Fall For: Sweet potatoes are an autumn staple, and this recipe from A Couple Cooks makes them the star ingredient with a twist. They’re topped with a Thai slaw of red cabbage, bell peppers, and chopped cilantro, and a peanut drizzle finishes things off.
What to Keep in Mind: “For this Thai sweet potatoes recipe, you can make the Thai slaw and peanut drizzle in the time it takes to cook the sweet potatoes,” Sonja Overhiser notes. “The slaw and peanut sauce are a loose inspiration from the flavors of Thai food: cilantro, lime, soy, a touch of sweet (maple syrup), green onion, and peanut.”
Crockpot Paleo Chili
What to Fall For: When the weather begins to cool, this crockpot chili by Natalie Mortimer from The Modern Proper will warm you up with its mix of chuck roast and ground beef, bell peppers, and green chilis, and avocado and cilantro. Don’t be surprised if you eat it two days in a row.
What to Keep in Mind: “Generously season the chuck roast pieces with salt and pepper,” Natalie says. “Brown all sides of the meat working in small batches and then set aside.”
Crockpot Parmesan White Bean Chicken Soup with Roasted Squash
What to Fall For: When you’re craving easy, warm, comfort food that's also healthy, Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest recommends this creamy chicken soup. The base features shallots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme with slow cooked chicken, white beans, kale, and parmesan cheese. Serve with pasta and herbed parmesan roasted delicata squash. Simply delicious.
What to Keep in Mind: Tieghan recommends, "I love incorporating parmesan rinds into my recipes because they add so much flavor to any sauce or soup. Simmering the rind in the soup allows it to slowly break down and infuse the soup with parmesan flavor."
Healthy Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
What to Fall For: Opt for this chicken cacciatore recipe from Creme de la Crumb if you have guests coming over for dinner on a weeknight. It has skinless chicken breasts tossed with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and capers over spaghetti, which is served with freshly ground pepper, thyme, and parmesan. It’s an impressive reveal that’s simple to make behind the scenes.
What to Keep in Mind: “Even the pasta is made right there in the slow cooker—no need to boil separately,” Azure Edwards says. “So this is truly a one-pot meal.”
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Short Rib Tacos
What to Fall For: These barbacoa short rib tacos by Joy Bauer of Joyful Healthy Eats are melt-in-your-mouth good. The tender, juicy ribs are seared with balsamic vinegar, dried apricots, garlic cloves, and red onion. The smell it will fill your house with is just heavenly. Serve them on corn or flour tortillas, jicama taco shells, or sweet potatoes.
What to Keep in Mind: Joy shares, "We love to top ours with fresh cilantro, diced onion and avocado. You want the meat to shine so topping them simply is key!"
Slow-Cooker Mexican Beef Stew
What to Fall For: When you’re craving Mexican flavors for dinner, this beef stew from Melanie Makes will fit the bill. Its namesake ingredient is mixed with potatoes, corn, garlic, onions, and fire-roasted tomatoes, making for a flavorful dish that you can scoop up with tortilla chips.
What to Keep in Mind: “I topped my bowl with slices of fresh jalapeño, sour cream, pico de gallo, and my favorite yellow corn tortilla chips,” she explains.
Slow-Cooker Mushroom Mac and Cheese
What to Fall For: When isn’t macaroni and cheese delicious? The Modern Proper makes it even harder to resist with this clever option. Mortimer includes cremini mushrooms in a mix of grated gruyère and sharp cheddar and then tops it all with chives and flat-leaf parsley.
What to Keep in Mind: “In order to infuse the mac and cheese with the nutty, earthy flavor we all love so much about mushrooms, we’ve flipped the caps, filled them with butter and placed them along the top of the dish in the last hour of cooking,” she writes.
Crockpot Cuban Ropa Vieja
What to Fall For: This Cuban shredded beef recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats is so good, you'll want to make it year-round. Tender shredded beef cooked in a tomato-based sauce with vegetables is essential to the national dish. The secret to locking in all the flavor is searing the beef before braising it. Serve with rice, beans, and plantains or fried yuca to add a touch of sweetness to the dish.
What to Keep in Mind: Joy recommends, "The best cut of meat to use for this Cuban Shredded Beef is typically flank steak. It’s a cut that holds up well to braising and shreds well. However, you can also use Beef Chuck Roast or Skirt Steak."
Slow-Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
What to Fall For: Classic spaghetti and meatballs are an instant hit no matter what time of year, but they’re especially helpful during those fall nights that feel particularly long. Creme de la Crumb whips up this recipe with meatballs made from ground beef, panko, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder, and she tosses them with spaghetti noodles and a rich marinara sauce. It’s so good you won’t mind having dinner earlier than usual.
What to Keep in Mind: “Truly set it and forget it; even the noodles are cooked right in the crockpot,” she notes. “The key is to pop them into the sauce about 15 to 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat—with your slow cooker set to ‘high’—and they’ll be perfectly tender.”
Slow-Cooker Whole30 Paleo Korean Beef Stew
What to Fall For: For something with a little more depth, Food Faith Fitness serves up this Korean beef stew, which has lean stew beef mixed with sesame and avocado oil, carrots, apple juice, and garlic in a beef broth. The stew is garnished with kimchi, pickled cucumber, bean sprouts, and sliced green onion for a colorful spoonful.
What to Keep in Mind: “You need to use some kind of starch to absorb the juices—we’re using tapioca starch, but you could also use cornstarch,” Kiser explains. “Coating the beef in a little bit of starch prevents it from losing its juices while it cooks, making the stew thinner.”
Crockpot Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup
What to Fall For: This recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron can help you say goodbye to the last glimpses of summer since its bright shades of cilantro, sour cream, and lime may make you nostalgic for that season. But because it also includes the heartiness of fire-roasted green chilis, chicken, and black beans, it fits right into your Autumn lunch routine, too.
What to Keep in Mind: “Our favorite cheese with this soup is pepper jack—it is delicious!” she writes.
Crockpot Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese
What to Fall For: Half Baked Harvest has come up with perhaps the easiest recipe for cooking up the perfect bowl of pasta. Tender and savory Italian sausage or beef bolognese sauce is poured over a light and healthy spaghetti squash pasta. Tieghan says, "You literally just add everything to the crockpot, slow cook all day, and come home to an amazing dinner – DONE. No boiling water, no turning on the oven, none of that. Just slice open the squash (which will be soft and the easiest thing to cut through), remove the seeds and scrape the squash out into a bowl. Then top with sauce and burrata (parmesan too if desired) and EAT."
What to Keep in Mind: "If the sauce is soupy, crank the heat up to high and let it cook for 30 minutes or until thickened. If the sauce is thick add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water," advises Tieghan.
Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Beef Stew
What to Fall For: If you’d rather have Mediterranean flavors in your beef stew, Melanie Makes covers that hankering, too. This time she stirs onions, black olives, tomato sauce, garlic, and dried rosemary into a balsamic vinegar broth for an equally satisfying dinner.
What to Keep in Mind: “Each bowl of this rich and hearty stew is then sprinkled with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan, which helps to brighten the flavors and really up the flavor ante,” she says.
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
What to Fall For: A hearty Beef Bourguignon is one of the most classic comfort food dishes that's perfect for cooler days. This dish consists of a beef stew braised in red wine and beef stock. Joyful Healthy Eats recommends using Top Sirloin purchased whole so you can determine the size you want. Cooked with bacon, onions, garlic, carrots, and fresh thyme, that first bite will be nothing short of sublime. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or parmesan spaghetti squash.
What to Keep in Mind: Joy says, "I usually use a Pinot Noir because it is a little more fruity, but have also use a Cabernet Sauvignon as well. The wine is going to add a nice rich flavor to your meat, which is what Beef Bourguignon is famous for! The key is selecting a bottle of wine is using one that you’d drink as well."
Asian Crockpot Lettuce Wraps
What to Fall For: Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness shares this slow cooker recipe that's almost too good to be true – healthy, low carb, quick, easy, and flavorful! Taylor describes these Asian chicken lettuce wraps as "tender, juicy chicken with pops of spicy sriracha and this peanut butter (or almond!) creaminess that just won’t quit." The veggie-packed dish also features cauliflower, bell peppers, water chestnuts, and fresh ginger.
What to Keep in Mind: Taylor shares, "I like to use either butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce to make these slow cooker Asian chicken lettuce wraps. Butter lettuce is MUCH easier to fill and fold, but Iceberg adds a nice pop of crisp-ness."
Crockpot Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes
What to Fall For: Is any list of fall recipes even compete without a solid mashed potatoes dish on it? Half Baked Harvest takes crockpot cooking to a whole new level and does not disappoint with this extra cheesy version. It combines a winning trifecta of cheddar, Parmesan, and Gruyere. Bring this dish to a dinner party, and we guarantee you'll be invited back again.
What to Keep in Mind: Tieghan says, "When making mashed potatoes, I like to use whole milk. "