You’ve heard it a thousand times: Cooking at home is better for you than takeout.
However, actually making time to chop, sauté, and clean up can feel next to impossible with your schedule. With so many events and meetings going on, making dinner every night just isn’t always feasible… until now.
Enter your slow cooker. With this genius time-saving device, you can have dinner — and lunch — covered all week. No excuses!
Slow cookers can help you save money by making cooking from scratch easy — and maybe even replacing your favorite grab-and-go meal like roasted chicken or curry. You’ll eat better and actually know which ingredients you’re eating, too.
Let’s be serious: The hardest part of using a slow cooker is smelling your delicious dinner all day and having to wait to dig in!
Meat that melts in your mouth, juicy vegetables, rich sauce — yes, this dish came out of a slow cooker.
This winter dish is the beef stew of your childhood. It’s luscious and hearty without making you feel weighed down. Serve it alone or on top of mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.
Since this beef bourguignon cooks for 8 to 10 hours, you might want to prep your ingredients the night before so you’re all set to start cooking in the morning.
Get the recipe from The Recipe Critic!
Salmon is well-known for its healthy fats that can help improve cholesterol levels, but a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving also has these nutrients:
- vitamin B-6
- vitamin B-12
- vitamin D
25 gramsof protein, depending on the variety used
Cooking salmon doesn’t have to complicated or stressful. This recipe ensures tender, perfectly cooked salmon every time. Even better, you can cook a couple of fillets for two, or make enough for your next dinner party.
Choose your own cooking liquid and add sliced aromatic veggies, such as onions or fennel, to create a new dish every time.
Get the recipe from The Kitchn!
Thanks to the sweet potatoes and chickpeas, this vegetarian chili is filling and protein packed.
Adobo sauce, chili powder, and cumin add heat without you having to worry about chopping up a pepper or burning a hole in your stomach. Serve with Greek yogurt for extra protein and to ease the heat, or add avocado for the same creamy feel with added healthy fats.
Forget to toss all of your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning? No problem! Pop it into an Instant Pot instead to have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Get the recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron!
Enjoy a little bowl of fall with this hearty vegan soup. Butternut squash, white beans, and kale combine for a comforting soup with Tuscan influences. The full recipe serves eight, or you can freeze your leftovers for an easy last-minute meal.
Wild rice adds a chewy texture and staying power thanks to its protein and fiber. While you can cook this recipe low and slow for about 6 hours, if you crank up the heat it’s ready in 3.5 hours on high.
Get the recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen!
Slow cookers aren’t just for weeknight dinners. This coconut quinoa curry makes a nutrient-dense lunch that won’t leave you bored or stuck with a #saddesklunch. Make the recipe ahead on Sunday and pack it up for the rest of the week.
Between the quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli, and chickpeas, you won’t go hungry. Turmeric and ginger give this curry its telltale hue and add anti-inflammatory properties.
Get the recipe from Simply Quinoa!
Need another reason to add quinoa to your diet? The nutritious seeds also form a complete protein, which means they contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs.
This colorful chili from also uses lean ground turkey and black beans, providing 28 grams of protein per serving. Beer and traditional chili spices give this dish a unique flavor that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Get the recipe from Well Plated!
This thick, creamy soup doesn’t have a splash of cream or dairy. Instead, the slowly cooked potatoes thicken the broth.
Cooked for 8 to 12 hours, you can make this recipe at breakfast and forget about it for the rest of the day.
Toss the chicken in with the rest of the soup ingredients or add leftover chicken once the potatoes are cooked through.
Get the recipe from A Spicy Perspective!
This classic French stew is made by cooking chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms in a wine sauce. Carrots and bell pepper are added to this version to provide color and a nutrient boost.
Save the leftover wine — you only use 3/4 of a cup — to accompany your stress-free dinner.
Get the recipe from Diethood!
This “butter” chicken doesn’t actually have butter or cream. Instead, nonfat Greek yogurt gives it that creamy texture without all the saturated fats.
It only takes 10 minutes to prep this dish. Afterward, toss it in the slow cooker and let the spices do their magic for 6 hours. You don’t even need to defrost the chicken first.
Who needs takeout when you have this butter chicken waiting for you at home?
Get the recipe from The Kitchen Paper!
Lentils have been a staple in many kitchens around the world for centuries, and for good reason! They’re one of the most affordable sources of protein with
This recipe uses lentils, chicken, cauliflower, and spinach to create a flavorful and healthy curry.
A single cup of cooked lentils also has almost 100 percent of
Get the recipe from An Oregon Cottage!
The only thing you have to prep for this dish is the sweet potatoes and the boneless, skinless chicken breasts — and many stores have those prepped and ready to go, if needed.
Simply add all of your ingredients, including a cup of quinoa (unseasoned or with a seasoning packet), canned tomatoes, and a chili seasoning mix, and turn on the slow cooker.
Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron!
Forget roasting or barbecuing — a 6-quart slow cooker can easily cook a whole chicken. No butchering or worrying about burning necessary.
With this recipe, you’ll cook the vegetables right in with the chicken so your whole meal is ready at once. A mouthwatering garlic balsamic sauce flavors this gluten-free, low carb, and paleo-friendly dish.
Fair warning: Your chicken will be so tender it’ll start to fall off the bone as you take it out of the pot.
Get the recipe from Real Food Whole Life!
Homemade lemon pepper butter and a sweet honey sauce create this tasty glazed chicken.
The sauce is made with lemon juice, honey, orange juice, and a touch of salt. That’s it. You’d never guess that this whole chicken was cooked in a slow cooker — or that it had so few ingredients.
Serve alongside rice and veggies for a hearty meal, or cook up the whole chicken and use it in dishes throughout the week.
Get the recipe from Diethood!
The real beauty of slow cooker recipes is that you can get it all going and forget about it for a while. It makes it easy to free up your evenings while still enjoying a home-cooked meal.
For some slow cooker recipes, you can even prep the ingredients beforehand, freeze in a gallon freezer bag, and then toss them from the bag into the slow cooker straight from the freezer.
You can make modern, delicious meals that are packed with nutrients without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Mandy Ferreira is a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s passionate about health, fitness, and sustainable living. She’s currently obsessed with running, Olympic lifting, and yoga, but she also swims, cycles, and does just about everything else she can. You can keep up with her on her blog and on Twitter.