When it comes to the typical Halloween-themed menu, most of the details come down to candy. But since this is a holiday marked by the changing of seasons—where temperatures cool and the leaves begin to turn colors in many parts of the country—it’s also an opportunity to re-introduce more savory options into your repertoire. Guests at a Halloween dinner party will gravitate toward rich dishes like chili and hearty soups, and casual nights at home will feel even cozier with desserts like apple crisp and a warm batch of dulce de leche brownies. And, they can all be made in a Crock-Pot.
Throw in the ingredients, and wait for these 12 delicious recipes to come together in this trusty (and often underused) kitchen staple. These recipes deliver maximum satisfaction with minimal effort and may just be the highlight of your Halloween season.
Keep scrolling for more of our favorite Halloween Crock-Pot ideas.
Crock-Pot Chex Mix With Honey Mustard
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Chex Mix With Honey Mustard
Why We Love It: This simple recipe from Food Faith Fitness' Taylor Kiser is the type of snack you'd want to have on-hand before a night of watching scary movies. It features pretzels, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cheerios, and peanuts that have been layered with honey, mustard, and sea salt. Need we say more?
Pro Tip: "You must put a kitchen towel under the lid, across the top of the slow cooker," Kiser says. "This absorbs any condensation that would lead to—gasp—soggy Chex mix."
The Recipe: Asian-Inspired Crock-Pot Meatballs
Why We Love It: When you're throwing a Halloween party, it can be tough to come up with meals that can serve a crowd. That's why we're fans of this meatball recipe from Krista Rollins of Joyful Healthy Eats, which includes rice wine vinegar, ground ginger, and raspberry jam.
Pro Tip: "The sauce totally makes this dish: It's sweet, salty, and a little spicy," Krista admits. "You'll be trying to get as much sauce as you can on those meatballs!"
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Why We Love It: Pickled Plum's Caroline Phelps offers an easy split pea soup recipe inspired by one her mother used to make. This is so rich in flavor that it would be the perfect appetizer to just about any main dish.
Pro Tip: Make in a slow cooker on its high setting for four to five hours; or simmer on a stovetop for three hours, stirring occasionally.
Crock-Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Why We Love It: Pair Pinch of Yum's comforting chicken and wild rice soup with crunchy toast when the weather gets crisp. Place mirepoix (chopped onions, carrots, celery) in a slow cooker along with chicken breast, wild rice, chicken broth, milk. Cook on low setting for seven to eight hours.
Pro Tip: Don't forget the poultry seasoning! "Even though it's only a teaspoon, do not omit this because it adds a lot of the flavor," Lindsay from Pinch of Yum writes.
If you don't have the proper meat seasoning, thyme and sage work well as an alternative.
Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Stuffing
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Stuffing
Why We Love It: Sweet Potato Soul's vegan stuffing recipe features porcini mushroom powder to amplify this side dish's depth. In a slow cooker, combine butternut squash, apple, baby Bella mushrooms, vegan sausage, herbs (thyme, parsley, sage), dried cranberries, vegetable stock, and porcini powder. Cook initially on low for 30 minutes, then on high for two hours.
Pro Tip: "Allow the stuffing to cool and firm a bit before serving," Jenné Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soul advises.
Slow Cooker 3 Bean Chili
The Recipe: Slow Cooker 3 Bean Chili
Why We Love It: Desirée of I Can You Can Vegan's chili recipe is hearty, filling, and a nutritious go-to if you're on a budget, too. Pinto, kidney, and black beans simmer overnight in the slow cooker on low with vegetable broth, jalapeños, tomatoes, peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika, and corn. We'd have this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we could.
Pro Tip: As an alternative, cook on the slow cooker's high setting for four hours or in an Instant Pot for 30 minutes if you're crunched for time.
Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese
Why We Love It: This hearty option from Half Baked Harvest is the type of meal you’d want to eat before a night of trick-or-treating. Its lean ground beef and mixture of diced sweet onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, and oregano are layered over golden forkfuls of spaghetti squash. It’s filling, but you’ll still be able to eat a few pieces of candy, too.
Pro Tip: “The crock-pot cooks the spaghetti squash perfectly,” recipe creator Tieghan Gerard says. “I let mine slow cook for about six hours, and it was perfect. Not mushy (which I was worried it would be) but tender and buttery and so good!”
Crock-Pot Paleo Chili
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Paleo Chili
Why We Love It: When the weather cools and the night comes faster, a steaming bowl of chili makes the changing season feel cozy rather than creepy. Natalie Mortimer of The Modern Proper mixes ground beef and chuck roast as a base and then adds minced garlic, chopped mushrooms, green chilis, and avocado for more flavor. Don’t forget to add cilantro and jalapeños, too.
Pro Tip: “Brown all sides of the meat by working in small batches and then setting aside,“ Mortimer explains. “This step can be omitted, but we feel it contributes to the wonderful texture of the meat.”
Slow Cooker Turkey Mushroom Bolognese
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Mushroom Bolognese
Why We Love It: Feasting at Home's Bolognese recipe calls for meaty mushrooms and ground turkey. Add a splash of soy (or fish sauce) for flavor, plus tomato paste, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, herbs, and seasonings like chili flakes, oregano, ground nutmeg, fennel seeds, bay leaf. Traditional Bolognese typically calls for either beef or pork (or both together), but we'll take a slightly healthier alternative any day.
Pro Tip: Cook on the lowest setting for six hours or medium for three.
Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
Why We Love It: Fall is the season for all things apple, including enjoying them in the form of a crisp. Kate Kordsmeier at Root + Revel's recipe features sliced apples covered in ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, which is then topped with nuts, oats, and coconut sugar. Yes, it's as decadent as it sounds.
Pro Tip: "You want the topping to be crumbly and well-mixed, but not too fine," Kordsmeier warns. This recipe is also gluten-free. And, to make the crumble paleo-friendly, "swap the oats for flax or chia seeds."
Dulce de Leche Brownies
The Recipe: Dulce de Leche Brownies
Why We Love It: Hummingbird High's brownies, inspired by Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker, are best "around 30 minutes out of the oven when both the brownie and the dulce de leche are still a little bit on the soft and gooey side."
Pro Tip: Store extra dulce de leche in the fridge for up to three weeks. Be sure to use unsweetened chocolate to balance out the dulce de leche's sweetness, Hummingbird High's Michelle Lopez advises.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
Why We Love It: What’s better on a cool fall night than a warm mug of hot chocolate? Perhaps this metabolism-boosting recipe for it from Stephanie Gerber at Hello Glow, which can be made in a slow cooker. Unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, coconut cream, and coconut sugar are just a few of the ingredients in every cup.
Pro Tip: “Coconut cream is high in saturated fat, which makes it excellent at curbing hunger and boosting metabolism,” Gerber notes.