There's a reason why slow cooker recipes are wildly popular. We want convenience, and we want—and need—it now. The slow cooker delivers just that, working hard for us while we're hard at work, welcoming us home to a fragrant dinner that's just waiting to be enjoyed. This simple appliance works miracles with tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, coaxing out incredible flavor and turning out meltingly tender results. Through its low, slow cooking, it melds and marries flavors; it brings ingredients together in delicious harmony. And it offers up a few surprises: appetizers, sides, and drinks that simmer to perfection—hands-free.
Gruyère Bacon Dip
Gruyère cheese—a firm cheese with hints of caramel, hazelnut, and brown butter—is produced in Switzerland and is well-known for its role in fondue. In this dip, its rich flavor pairs with the umami of Worcestershire and a spicy bite from dry mustard to make a complexly flavored dip that can handle robust chips, roasted or blanched vegetables, or sliced and toasted baguette. Cream cheese gives the dip a smooth texture while the bacon adds saltiness and a touch of smoky flavor. This dip is pretty versatile, too: spread it on the bun with turkey or veggie burgers; hollow out cherry tomatoes and stuff them with the dip for a quick and impressive appetizer; or spread it on two hearty pieces of bread, layer on some slices of smoked ham, and cook on both sides until the bread is toasted for a next-level grilled cheese sandwich.