Slow Cooker Beef-and-Barley Stew
Something wonderful happens over the long simmer in the slow cooker: The barley cooks to tender-chewy perfection, the beef becomes meltingly tender, and the liquid thickens to a beautiful gravy. Brown the meat, toss it and everything else in the slow cooker, and let the magic happen. Go with hulled, whole-grain barley here, and skip quick-cooking pearl barley; the latter isn't whole grain, and it will cook to mush over the long simmering time. If you can't find hulled barley, you can try wheat berries, whole-grain farro, rye berries, or Kamut instead. This soup is great for freezing, as it thaws and reheats beautifully.
Smoky Ham and Split Pea Soup
Potatoes contribute starchiness and silky thickness, while sweet carrots and salty ham balance out the peas' light, earthy flavor. Leftovers fare well in the freezer, so say hello to your new favorite make-ahead soup. Garnish with parsley and additional pepper, if desired.
Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup
The slow cooker gently coaxes out delicious flavors from simple, hearty ingredients. This soup is perfect for ushering in fall: It's hearty enough for the beginning of soup season, yet brothy and veggie-packed so that it doesn't feel too heavy. Pair it with a slaw or kale side salad and crusty whole-grain bread for a light, satisfying dinner. This recipe is ideal for a weekend, when you can check on the slow cooker after just a few hours; though you won't be able to leave the soup unattended all day, this still offers the benefit of hands-free, fuss-free cooking. Either baby red, Yukon Gold, or fingerling potatoes will work well here, as they'll maintain their shape nicely during cooking.
Caribbean Black Bean Soup
A little of this spicy soup goes a long way, so it's best when served as an appetizer soup. If you want to decrease the heat, seed the jalapeños.
Fresh Corn and Potato Soup With Sautéed Shrimp
Sweet fresh corn and butter-sautéed shrimp pair up deliciously in this seasonal soup. After tasting the delicious results of "milking" a fresh corn cob, you'll never shuck and chuck again. We fully tap the flavor of in-season corn with this kernel-to-cob cooking method, infusing our summer soup with a wealth of rich, sweet flavor.
Creamy White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks
Creamy, starchy, and filling, this hearty, rustic soup is the epitome of comfort. And convenient: Beans go in dry—no need to soak.
Slow Cooker Ramen Bowls
Any ramen lover will tell you—it's all about the broth. We build layers of rich umami flavor with the help of mushroom stems, fresh ginger, kombu (a type of edible kelp), sesame oil, and, of course, low and slow heat.
This classic soup gets a double hit of cheese—stirred into the soup and sprinkled over the top.
Slow Cooker Beef-and-Sweet Potato Chili
Robust chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper are tamed and balanced by sweet potatoes. Leaving the peels on the sweet potatoes has three benefits: Prep is faster, you add more fiber, and the potatoes hold their shape better after the 7-hour simmer. Besides, the peels get so tender that you barely notice they’re there. If you’d like to change things up, try parsnips in place of the sweet potatoes; they have a similar sweetness and earthier flavor and won’t fall apart after cooking for an extended time. You don’t need to fully cook the ground beef before it goes into the slow cooker; just cook it enough to “set” the shape of the crumbles.
Pinto Bean Chili with Corn and Winter Squash
The spiciness of this light yet satisfying chili is complemented by the subtle sweetness of corn and winter squash. Queso fresco is a crumbly, slightly salty Mexican cheese that's available in many large supermarkets. If you can't find it, substitute crumbled feta or farmer cheese. For a heartier chili, add one cup thawed frozen meatless crumbles. For a vegan version, use shredded soy cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
Slow Cooker Chicken Congee
Congee is a homey, simple rice porridge, a classic comfort food in China. Cooking just a little bit of rice in a lot of water allows all the starch to escape and become creamy, much like a risotto. The slow cooker does all the work here, breaking down the rice with fragrant ginger and star anise and poaching the chicken until silky. A bit of chili oil is the vibrant kick this dish needs. You can also use Sriracha or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Cilantro or baby spinach leaves can work in place of the watercress.
Black Bean Soup
Cumin and fiery serrano chile infuse this simple soup as it cooks, and a dollop of sour cream provides a refreshing foil for the spicy flavors. For less heat, seed the chile first or use a milder pepper, such as jalapeño. You can also omit the chile altogether, if you prefer.
Slow Cooker Cioppino
Our rich and brothy seafood stew keeps prep time to a minimum while maxing out savory flavor.
Easy Brunswick Stew
The secret is in the name of this recipe—it's so easy to make! Just combine all of the ingredients, set your slow cooker for 8 hours, and serve this stew with your favorite side of bread.
Slow Cooker Chicken Posole
Think of posole as chili’s brothier, lighter cousin, a Mexican version of chicken soup. Posole is also another name for the hominy, or rehydrated dried corn, that goes in the dish. Starchy, slightly chewy hominy will hold up during the long simmer while the onion and poblano pepper release their flavor into the stock and become tender. Rather than add the tomatillo at the beginning, we stir it in just before serving for a bright, bracing contrast to the stew. Tomatillos have a firm texture similar to unripe or green tomatoes that is also welcome here. If you can’t find tortilla strips, you can use lightly crushed corn tortilla chips.
You'll love the aroma of cumin, oregano, and gently braised pork that will fill your home as the stew cooks.
Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup
The hands-free wonder of a slow cooker is unmatched. Just toss in a few fresh ingredients in the morning and return to a rich soup with luscious beans and meltingly tender meat at night.
Beef Daube Provençal
This classic French braised beef, red wine, and vegetable stew is simple and delicious. This recipe ran in a Thanksgiving weekend package. The stew was perfect for that Wednesday night before Thanksgiving when you have guests arriving, but still need to focus on prepping food for the next day. This perfectly balanced dish found its way into our regular rotation.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Get the chili started in the morning and keep warm in the slow cooker while you're out. Calling for a mixture of beans and hominy, this recipe boasts bold, rich flavor, something that can often be dulled in a slow cooker. Whirring some of the beans in a food processor thickens the soup, lending a heartier texture to the dish. We suggest serving the soup with green onions, cheese, cilantro, peppers, and plain yogurt, a great substitute for sour cream. Serve with Cheesy Jalapeno-Sour Cream Corn Muffins (next slide).
Add this tasty chili dish to your winter month meal plans. It’s loaded with fiery flavors and served hot off the slow cooker. Serve over couscous with lime wedges and sprinkle with cilantro.
Spicy Chicken Stew
Salsa and chili powder add spice to this chicken stew, but probably not too much for timid tasters or kids. If you want to kick up the heat, use a hot salsa and a dash of hot sauce or ground red pepper.
Feijoada (pronounced fay-ZWAH-da) is a delicious stew of pork and black beans that's traditionally served over rice with fresh orange slices. In Brazil, this dish is often served on special occasions, but preparing it in a slow cooker makes it possible to serve this rich dish on the busiest weeknights.
Smoked Sausage Cassoulet
This hearty soup is exploding with flavors. Meat lovers will crave this bacon-packed and sausage-enriched delight. For a thicker consistency, let the cassoulet stand 30 minutes before serving.
Curried Lentil-Tomato Soup
If it’s buried under bacon, then you know it’s got to be good. This is a yummy comfort food perfect for the winter months and appropriate for all members of your family
Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew
A nutty dark beer adds richness and depth to the stew. Be careful not to choose a beer that's super-hoppy; it will taste too bitter. To get 2 pounds of trimmed meat, you'll probably need to purchase a 2 1/2-pound roast.
Tuscan Chicken Soup
This recipe uses many common pantry and refrigerator staples. All you have to pick up at the supermarket is fresh spinach and chicken thighs.
Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili
This soup has a mild chile flavor. If you want more heat, increase the amount of chili powder and don't seed the jalapeños.
Chicken Stew with Green Olives
Give this stew a little crunch by lightly sprinkling almonds on top. The consistencies of the ingredients will mesh nicely with the flavors.
Smoky Slow-Cooked Chili
This hearty slow cooker pork chili with pinto beans gets its smoky flavor from the combination of chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomatillos, and Mexican-style hot tomato sauce.
Provençal Beef Stew
Chuck roast, a tough cut of meat, grows tender in the slow cooker. Serve this rustic stew with crusty bread and red wine—perhaps a Côtes du Rhône or Chateauneuf-du-Pâpe from southern France. If you don't want to use wine in the recipe, you can substitute 1/4 cup of additional beef broth.
Coconut-Red Curry Squash Soup
Butternut's creamy texture makes this soup silky smooth. You can also use kabocha squash (a winter squash also known as Japanese pumpkin); it has a deep, rich flavor and is a bit sweeter than butternut. Omit the sugar if using kabocha. For extra flavor contrast, sprinkle with additional black pepper.
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
The slow cooker completely eliminates the stirring part of caramelizing onions; it all goes happily unattended. Freeze the bag of soup in a bowl rather than laying it flat, so it will fit in the saucepan when it's time to thaw.
To Freeze: Cool soup completely. Ladle into a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Place bag in a medium bowl; freeze.
To Thaw: Place zip-top bag in a large saucepan filled with water; heat 30 minutes over medium heat until thawed.
To Reheat: Pour soup into saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into ramekins, top with bread and cheese, and broil.