the best slow cooker recipes

There are so many dishes from desserts to dinner and soups to sides that you can cook in a crock pot.

We’ve collected all of the BEST slow cooker recipes in one spot to help you with all your crock pot recipe needs.

I think we can all agree that the BEST reason to have them is so you can toss the ingredients in and forget about it. This is especially helpful when I know my day is going to be busy and I can still have a hot meal to serve my family. 

Another great reason to bust out your crock pot is when you are planning to cook up a storm and need to utilize every mode of cooking possible. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner – I’m talking to you!  


Here are some great crock pot points. Be sure that you always refer to your own user manual for information specific to your own brand or cooker. 

PREHEATING: Did you know you can Preheat your slow cooker just like you would an oven? Since the cooker takes a “hot minute” in getting warm, that extra time is just a nice little jump start. Simply turn iron when you start prepping your ingredients. Remove the lid and add everything at once.   

BROWNING THE MEAT: Many recipes call for you to brown your meat before adding it to the crock pot. This is not a vital step for it to cook thoroughly. However, it does add a nice layer of flavor so it is worth the few extra minutes. Don’t forget to scrape all the flavorful juices and flakes out of the pan and add it to the crock pot. 

COOKING ON HIGH or LOW: Neither cook the dish better than the other. The only consideration you need is how much time you have. High temperature is about 280°F. Low temperature setting is about 170°F. One hour of the HIGH setting is equal to about 2 hours on LOW. 

KEEP IT COVERED: Every time you take a peek at the dish it takes 20 minutes for the pot to get back to the right temperature. So unless there is a specific reason you need to remove the lid then keep it on and let the crockpot keep on cookin’.  

EASY CLEAN UP: Line your pot with a cooking bag. No scrubbing needed. Simply remove the bag and toss it. You can also spray the pot with cooking spray before adding your ingredients. This will help keep food from baking on and save you some elbow grease scrubbing it off. 

Top Slow COoker Dinners

Slow Cooking Certain Ingredients

Fattier, less expensive cuts of meat do the best. The extra fat breaks down and leaves the meat juicy and tender. The more expensive leaner cuts of meat can be used, but are often a bit dried out in comparison to their fattier counterpart.

FROZEN MEAT: Using frozen meat is not recommended. The frozen cuts will cause the crock pot to take much longer at getting to the correct cooking temperature. During the delayed time food-borne illness can begin to form. Thaw your meat in the fridge overnight. You can also quickly thaw the meat using cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed enough to cook. Do not let meat thaw on the counter for the same reason we don’t cook it in the crockpot. 

DAIRY: sour cream, milk, cheeses, heavy whipping cream etc… can curdle if cooked for too long. Add those during the last 30-40 minutes of the cook time.

FRESH HERBS: Fresh herbs are another ingredient that you want to wait to add until the end of the cook time. 

VEGETABLES Cut vegetables about the same size and place them at the bottom of the pot. That way they have enough liquid to cook in and cook at the same rate. Add delicate vegetables like peas and zucchini toward the end of the cook time. 

LIQUID: Since most foods often produce their own liquid juices, you do not need to add very much extra liquid to the pot. If you find that your dish is overly watery, then remove the lid and set the temperature to high heat. The extra liquid will evaporate out of the pot. Keep in mind it may take up to 2 hours depending on how much you wish to have evaporated. When it looks right, place the lid back on and adjust the temperature gage if needed. 

Reader Favorite Crockpot Soups

For more soups

crock pot Soup Tips

Keep these tips in mind when making soups in the slow cooker:

  • Cut all the ingredient the same size. For example the chucks of meat and pieces of potatoes should be similar in size.
  • If you have time: brown the meat and firmer veggies before adding them to the pot. This will help bring out a more rich flavor from the ingredients.
  • Don’t overfill the pot.
  • Thaw food, especially meats, before cooking.
  • Most all soups can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the freezer. Remember to leave out the “add at the end” ingredients when making a freezer meal. Thaw the soup overnight in the fridge and throw it in the crock pot.

Top Crock Pot Recipes

All Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker