You Don't Need to Be a Top Chef to Make These 10 Slow-Cooker Recipes

Updated 09/11/18

Crockpots and slow-cookers may be cliché wedding gifts, but that doesn’t mean they’re not some of the most useful items in your kitchen-gadget arsenal. Once you unleash the power of your slow cooker, you’ll be singing its praises to everyone you meet—trust. At its core, this must-have cooking electronic is one that will make your life incredibly easy. Just toss a few ingredients into the hot pot in the morning before work, and finish your day with a delicious meal that’s ready for devouring and a house that smells heavenly.

Easily throw-together dishes like savory barbacoa beef tacos, hearty chicken soup, and simple lemon chicken. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s a way to prepare it with ease in a slow-cooker. Simply prep your meal, set a timer, and wait. Before you know it, your home will be filled with heavenly smells as dinner practically cooks itself. Try your hand at one of these ridiculously easy slow-cooker recipes to see for yourself.

Chipotle Chicken Tamale Chili

Chicken Chili
Half Baked Harvest

Perfect for a chilly day, this slow-cooker chipotle chicken tamale chili is inspired by tamales and chicken tortilla soup. Ingredients like onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano come together in the slow cooker to perfectly season chicken as it cooks. Enchilada sauce gives the dish the classic taste while mango, lime, and cilantro top the finished product to give it a little something extra.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

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Mexican Quinoa

Mexican Quinoa
Chelsea's Messy Apron

For a fresh, healthy, and easy dish, whip up this Mexican quinoa. All you have to do is open a few cans and pour all the ingredients in a slow-cooker. Yep, it’s that easy. Think butternut squash, corn, black beans, quinoa, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, vegetable broth, and seasonings like garlic, jalapeño, and taco seasoning. After it’s cooked, top with shredded cheese, fresh lime, sour cream, and cilantro.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

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Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Barbacoa Beef Tacos
The Modern Proper

According to Natalie of The Modern Proper, this slow-cooker recipe is so easy that you can’t mess it up. “It will be good despite however poor a cook you believe yourself to be,” she writes. The barbacoa taco dish calls for chuck roast, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and a few other seasonings. Simply cook the beef for a few hours and shred it with forks before finishing it off. You can use the meat for tacos, quesadillas, nachos, taco salad, or whatever your stomach desires.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker $50 $26
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Beef Stew

Beef Stew
The Modern Proper

A classic slow-cooker meal, this beef stew calls for all the fixings. Think chuck roast, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, green beans, potatoes, and a touch of red wine. Besides browning the meat and some of the veggies on a skillet, the rest of the meal is prepared directly in the slow cooker.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

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Hearty Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup
Half Baked Harvest

Ditch the canned soup and try your hand at this homemade hearty chicken soup instead. It’s a healthy and satisfying dish made with yummy vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and leeks as well as tasty herbs and chicken. Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for a few hours before shredding the chicken and popping in back in the slow cooker to finish cooking. Top with more herbs and serve with a slice of thick bread.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker $49 $45
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Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken
Melanie Makes

A weeknight hero, this lemon chicken recipe couldn’t be easier to throw together in a slow cooker. The best part is it calls for just four ingredients: butter, chicken Italian salad dressing mix, and lemons. Add them all to the slow cooker and cook for a few hours; then serve with your favorite go-to side dish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

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Nordstrom at Home Marble, Wood, and Granite Round Board $59 $40
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Pulled Pork Gyro Bowls

Gyro Bowls
Melanie Makes

For a simple Greek-inspired slow-cooker recipe, give this pulled pork gyro bowl a try. While you cook herb-infused pulled pork in the slow cooker, whip up a quick tzatziki sauce (or buy one from the market) and prep arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, lemon, parsley, and pita bread to add to your finished bowls.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

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Canvas Home Oslo 5-Piece Flatware Place Setting $98
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Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Mushroom Mac and Cheese
The Modern Proper

Does any combination of flavors sound better than mushrooms, sharp cheddar, parmesan, and gruyere cheeses? This mushroom mac and cheese recipe brings them all together in a delicious (and crazy-easy to make) meal. Prepare pasta, cheese, butter, and milk in a slow cooker then top with mushrooms for the final hour of cooking. Sprinkle a bit of parsley on top to serve a gourmet meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker $26
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Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowls

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
Foodie Crush

These teriyaki chicken and vegetable rice bowls make for a delectable and healthy weeknight meal. Use stir-fry veggies like bell peppers, onion, peas, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and water chestnuts and serve with teriyaki chicken made in a slow cooker over a bed of rice.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

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Mango Chicken Curry

Mango Chicken Curry
Food Faith Fitness

Allow the slow cooker to do all the heavy lifting for this mango chicken curry dinner. Make a quick sauce with coconut milk, mango juice, ginger, and curry to pour over chicken in the slow cooker. Then, add tapioca starch and veggies to the mix. While that’s cooking, make a simple cauliflower rice to serve with this gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30-friendly meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

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This post was originally published on January 7, 2016, and has since been updated.

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