Slow Cooker Weeknight Dinner Recipes
Slow Cooker Chicken Mole Tacos
This beautifully complex dish is traditionally a labor of love, with a long list of ingredients that need to be toasted, ground, and slow simmered with frequent stirring. We’ve streamlined the dish and made it almost entirely hands off by using a blender to bring the components together and a slow cooker to do the simmering. The recipe yields about 2 cups additional mole sauce; use this for enchiladas, as a topper for pork chops, or as a phenomenal stir-in for chili.
Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork Roast
The slow cooker makes fall our new favorite season for barbecue. This pork shoulder simmers in a vinegar- and ketchup-laced liquid until tender and juicy. Top with pickled red onions. Pile the pork onto game-day sandwiches or baked sweet potatoes.
Pork Chile Verde
If you're not a morning person and struggle to wake up early enough to do all the prep, then make a recipe that gets better with age, such as chili or brisket. Cook it overnight while you sleep. In the morning, cool it slightly, get it in the fridge, and reheat it later for dinner. We keep prep to a minimum, but if you have more time, brown the meat for deeper flavor.
Sweet Potato-and-Red Lentil Curry
This fragrant, Indian-style stew hits all the right notes with aromatic garam masala, fresh ginger, and concentrated red curry paste. The coconut milk mellows and loosens the potato and lentil mixture just enough so that it can be spooned over rice.
Slow Cooker Thai Beef Curry
Think the flavors of slow cooker meals are always too bland? It's true that the long, slow cooking period mellows flavors. But bold spices in bold amounts will hold their own over time.
Here, we start with big flavor from a large amount of curry paste and fish sauce, and we finish with fresh touches of cilantro and lime juice that perk up the taste of the whole dish. Serve over a bed of brown rice or brown rice noodles to catch all the sauce.
Slow Cooker Santa Fe Meatloaf
Not only is this slow cooker meatloaf seriously convenient (it cooks while you work, play with your kids, run errands, or whatever), it’s also seriously delicious. Oven-baked meatloaf can turn dry, but the moisture-sealing magic of the slow cooker makes this one melt in your mouth. The jalapeño is optional here, but make sure to add it if you want a kick of heat. Serve this meatloaf with a simple wedge salad topped with a homemade avocado ranch dressing.
Chicken Thighs With Harissa Vegetables
Home cooks often complain that their slow cooker meals always end up as soup, and they wonder where all the liquid comes from. Anything you put in the slow cooker will release liquid as it cooks, and there's no way for that liquid to evaporate. If you're not careful, you will indeed end up with soup. Sometimes, it's best to add no liquid to the cooker.
Here, we toss onion wedges, baby potatoes, and large carrot chunks with oil and harissa (look for it with the hot sauces or in the global foods section). We then arrange seared chicken thighs on top and cook the mixture with no liquid added. Over the long cooking period, the chicken releases juices that baste the veggies underneath and create just enough sauce.
Brisket with Melted and Pickled Onions
Trust us—some food fares better with even, gentle, long, low heat. Brisket is a prime example. It'll take you about three to four hours of oven or stovetop braising to get it tender, so why not go longer, lower, and unattended in the slow cooker for meat that's even more tender with less fuss?
Minimal seasonings combine with beef and onions so that the flavor focus is squarely on the brisket; a bright, pickled onion garnish balances all that beefiness.
Acorn Squash With Sage-Cranberry Rice Stuffing
Hack the cooker so that you can make smaller amounts with great results. For a stew or braise, use smaller amounts, place into 8- or 10-ounce ramekins, and set those down in the cooker to slowly simmer to perfection while you’re at work. With this recipe, you’re basically treating the slow cooker like a small steam oven.
Lamb, Barley, and Apricot Tagine
Choose ingredients wisely, understanding that some—delicate vegetables and many lean, boneless cuts of meat and poultry—are not meant to cook long in a slow cooker.
Whole-grain hulled barley works perfectly here, with a pleasantly chewy texture after eight hours. Pearled barley, however, would not fare so well, bloating to a mushy, unappealing texture. Also, strategize: Add last any delicate ingredients or ones that you want to make a textural impact. Herbs go in at the end here to stay pungent, as well as raisins, which retain some chew.