Looking for super simple recipes for the crockpot
August 17, 2011 4:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a crockpot, need to eat at home more, and am really short on time. Anyone have recipes I could use?

What I'm looking for is recipes where there is a very minimal amount of prep or where I can just throw all the ingredients together in the crockpot and come back to a meal at night.

Any ideas? Bonus points for vegetarian recipes.

posted by reenum to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 143 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you want classic crock pot recipes. Most of them involve a large, cheap, normally tough cut of meat (brisket, chuck roast, pork shoulder), plus a can of soup (cream of ___, usually) or a bottle of salad dressing or barbecue sauce. Sometimes a sliced onion or two. It doesn't get much easier.

Vegetarian is a little tougher because a lot of the time you don't generally want to cook vegetables for that long. They fall apart. Beans are solid; in the slow cooker you can start with dried just as easily as canned.

Any of the myriad "Super easy crock pot recipes!" cook books or websites will serve you well.
posted by supercres at 4:11 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't make a lot of vegetarian food, but I use my slow cooker all the time, so a few ideas...

1. Beans! You don't have to presoak them if you use a slow cooker. Dried beans, some chopped carrots/onions/potatoes, garlic and spices. I make this ALL THE TIME. It can be more like soup or more like just beans, depends on what you're going for.

2. Crockpot lasagna. Use the noodles that don't need to be cooked, just layer it all in and go.

3. Congee- 10 parts water, 1 part rice, any and all Asian-y vegetables and sauces/spices. It's like rice porridge. Good for breakfast too.

4. Chopped sweet potatoes, curry sauce (not a coconut-heavy one). When you get home, add canned or frozen peas before serving.

5. Assorted root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, whatever), onions, maybe apples, veg stock and wine. When you get home, puree it with a stick blender and add cream or cheese if you feel like it.


1. Chicken thighs covered in salsa. NOT chicken breasts, they're too lean. Add honey, raisins and cumin for a Moroccan-y flavor that tastes nothing like salsa.

2. Meatloaf! Slow cooked meatloaf is SO superior to baked. Moist and delicious.

3. Really, any hunk of pork or beef plus sauce and/or wine/beer is pretty foolproof.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:16 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

First of all, you should definitely check out Crockpot 365, which has a ton of great recipes.

The split pea soup recipe I got there turned out wonderfully, as did the creamy potato soup recipe. I know soup is not so much a summer thing, but it is awesome to be able to make your own hearty, filling soups that are a thousand times better than anything in a can.

I believe the blogger often suggests substitutions for vegetarians, etc.
posted by brina at 4:18 PM on August 17, 2011


(Caveat: not vegetarian)

My version is usually based on whatever kosher meat is available at the supermarket but if you don't have that constraint, you'll just need something like chuck steak and something smoky (some would say ham hock on a cholent is sacrilegious, but I've always wondered what it might be like). Also, I go overboard with the amount of meat -- you can get away with some kind of cubed meat plus smoked bones, the others are extras.

Anyway, long story short, here's my kosher, crock pot cholent:

4 oyster blade steaks, cut into chunks
2 top ribs (whole)
2 smoked veal cutlets chopped into pieces (you can substitute any other variety of smoked bone here -- it must be included though, it's crucial to the flavour)
4 frankfurts, chopped
1 sweet potato, skin on, chopped into large chunks
4 potatoes, skin on, chopped into large chunks
1 cup uncooked barley, rinsed (I sometimes substitute brown rice if my gluten-intolerant mother will be partaking)
6 whole peeled shallots
2 chicken stock cubes

-- Chuck everything in, add water up to about an inch and a half below the top of the stuff in the pot
-- Start it off on high for one hour and then back down to low for a period of 8-12 hours -- the longer the better

You can also add beans (uncooked I think -- there's enough water and cooking time to get them soft).

Reheat left overs in the oven -- it just gets better with age!
posted by prettypretty at 4:30 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

We made dal makhani in a crockpot this week and it was delicious. You do have to soak the dal before you cook, but that takes 2 seconds to throw it in some water and let it soak for 2 hours. I even put the drained beans in the fridge overnight and actually put everything in the crockpot in the morning, and it still turned out great. (we didn't bother with the tarka or finishing stuff, either).
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:42 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite crockpot recipe book of all time: Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook - Feasting with your Slow Cooker. I recommend getting the spiral bound edition because mine came apart at the seams I use it so much.
posted by sandyp at 4:55 PM on August 17, 2011

Crockpot Cassoulet works well because cassoulet is supposed to be cooked a long time anyway ... also this recipe is so delicious that if you make it for guests they will think you've been slaving over it for hours and hours when really it took you 15 minutes first thing in the morning. I made this for some friends of ours, and the husband just kept RAVING over it, so I finally passed the recipe to his wife while making her swear she wouldn't reveal how easy it was because I like how her husband thinks I'm an awesome cook. She literally laughed when she ready the recipe and said she'd never tell because she'd get like 10 things off the yardwork list for making it and it only takes 15 minutes of labor. Anyway:

Crockpot Cassoulet

3 medium carrots, cut into ½” pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine (drink the rest of it with dinner ... or several dinners if you're eating alone)
Garlic to taste
½ tsp. dried thyme
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
2 cans great northern beans, drained (15 oz. each)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, frozen
½ lb. smoked sausage, cut into slices (I use summer sausage)
Can of diced tomatoes (optional)

Combine carrot and onion in saucepan with water to cover (about ½ cup). Heat to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix paste, wine, garlic, thyme, and cloves in crockpot. Add diced tomatoes if desired (I drain them when it's really humid, leave the juice when it's dry out. Depends how saucy you like your cassoulet). Add beans.

Transfer carrots and onions (in their water; drain some off if you want it less saucy) to slow cooker. Stir everything together. Top with frozen chicken breasts and sausage.

Cook on low heat for 9-10 hours. After 8 hours, remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir.

*Can also be cooked for 6 hours on high.
*You can remove the chicken and cut/shred it at any point after it's cooked (around 3/4 of the way through cooking time), like even right before serving. So don't sweat the timing.
*You can use frozen onions, turning this into a pantry/freezer meal that only needs fresh carrots. You could probably use frozen carrots too, though I've never tried. The flavor's a bit different if you don't pre-cook the onions and carrots, not quite as good, but you can skip that step too if you want.
*This smells so delicious (especially the cloves!) that if you're home all day, by lunch you don't want to eat anything but cassoulet and it still has hours to go! That's the big downside.
*Adjust the liquids (water and tomato juice, in particular) for how wet you want your sauce. I make it wetter when it's very dry (winter) and drier when it's humid, to get the consistency I like.
*Reheats well for leftovers.
*You could easily adjust this for the many variant forms of cassoulet there are out there, although the chicken/duck/whatever breasts should probably be frozen for best cooking.
*It's really an enormously forgiving recipe, it's hard to screw up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:21 PM on August 17, 2011 [76 favorites]

I'll not offer an specific recipes, but note that the little booklets they sell in the check out line at the grocery are worth their weight in gold.

This, from a man who can quote Larousse from memory.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:01 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mac 'n Cheese (found via The Kitchn, which might also be a good resource for you in general.) See also these slow cooker vegetarian entries at Allrecipes.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:21 PM on August 17, 2011

Here's a good slow cooker chili recipe to play around with.
posted by aparrish at 7:54 PM on August 17, 2011

Apricot chicken:

Put an 8-pack of chicken thighs in the bottom of the crockpot.

In a bowl, mix the following:
- a jar of apricot preserves (I use 13 oz Bonne Maman)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp dried onion flakes
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Pour the mix onto the chicken. Low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
posted by bentley at 8:09 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I use my Crock Pot once a week.

Nth the lasagne recipe, a bottle of sauce with ribs, Pork Butt, Smoked Pork Butt in a Boston Boil (google) if you can find it, Pot Roast, Meat Stew. ETC!

I also make Crock Pot Chili.

The ratios are 1.5lbs good Ground Beef: 1 can 15. oz Red Beans: 1 medium Onion, diced: 4 Garlic Cloves, chopped: handful of Cilantro: 1 small Zuchini, diced: 1 can of Tomato Paste: 2 Pasilla Chilli Peppers ground or fine chopped: Cumin, Oregano, Paprika, Cayenne to taste. H2O.

Secret Ingredient: a small hunk of peeled Ginger you remove after cooking.

Super Secret Ingredient: small pinch of Saffron.

- Saute the onions, garlic, pasilla peppers, paprika, pinch of cayenne, and pinch of saffron. You want to toast the herbs and release the flavor of the garlic and onion. Two minutes on high heat in oil.

- Add the tom paste, saute a little to develop the flavor....

- Add a can of water, deglaze, add to the Crock Pot.

- Add in beef, small handful of cilantro, salt & pepper, beans, 3 to 4 tbls of oregano, more water if needed (it will be.)

Simmer on low all day.

Taste. Add more salt, cumin, oregano, or cayenne or oregano as needed. Add diced Zuchini just before serving, which cuts the meatiness without adding more bulk of beans. This is a high beef, low bean chili.

More fresh cilantro if desired.


I wanted to say about the Cassoulet Recipe... In the butcher section of most good markets they have Maple Leaf brand (or similar) vacuum packed Duck Legs. They are CHEAP.

Use duck instead of chicken in the Cassoulet.


posted by jbenben at 8:57 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Good stewing beef, turnips and or swede, carrots onions (garlic optional), a little bacon if you have it, black pepper. Put it all in together and cook for 8 - 10 hours.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:02 AM on August 18, 2011

Sorry, I missed the veggy in a hurry. Well, the root veg would be ok.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:04 AM on August 18, 2011

Best answer: Soon it will be Apple/Pear season and if you have access to a tree with excess fruit and a crockpot, do I have a simple solution for you to preserve the goodness.

Caveat: I do fully realize that not all apple varieties are suited for preserves - some are better for juice and some for eating. Do your own due diligence.

1. Put all the fruit in a big pot and put on low heat until it all turns to mush. This takes about a half hour. [Alton] Don't rush it since sugar burns! [/Alton]
2. Run the fruit through a food mill (you can find these at lots of second hand stores for cheap or at high end kitchen stores as well) to remove the seeds. This takes about 10 minutes and will work your forearms a bit.
3. Measure the results and poor into a crock pot. Add half as much sugar as fruit sauce and turn the crock pot onto low.
4. Over the next 24 hours, give it a stir every few hours. Soon the color will darken with the magic of carmelization.

We can the results to make awesome pear/apple butter. This is just as good on pork chops as it is bread.
posted by MinneapolisMike at 8:52 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I like the book The Healthy Slow-Cooker by Judith Finlayson (I've recommended it before). Everything I've made from that book has been great. I also like the Not Your Mother's slow-cooker recipe books, but if I could only pick one, I'd go with Finlayson.
posted by pupstocks at 12:05 PM on August 18, 2011

Simplest recipe for crockpot I know:
1 Whole chicken
Vegetables (Onions, carrots, celery are all good)
Cook for low on 8 hours/ high on 4 hours

- Will give you fall of the bone chicken.. that you can use for the rest of the week in it various forms plus it will give you broth that you can use for soups etc.

-marinate chicken along with spices the previous night in fridge so it soaks up the flavor.
-Instead of Vegetables , use salsa, bbq sauce, etc etc
posted by radsqd at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Didnt read the vegetarian bonus question, here we go then:

Google Lentil crockpot recipes: Dal, Chickpeas and any beans come out great.For example

Slow cooker lentils
Mung Dal
Chickpea Curry

Additional resources from Chowhound
posted by radsqd at 12:46 PM on August 18, 2011

Easiest slow cooker recipe ever. Get a roast, any kind you like. I buy massive top beef roasts from Sams but I have a big family and a big crock. Salt and pepper the roast, put in cooker. Pour a large jar of pepperoncini peppers over the top. Cook on low all day while you're at work. Come home to the smell of bliss. Serve any way you would serve beef roast: sandwiches, with veggies on the side, with a big salad, everyone loves it.

Bonus vegetarian recipe- two day chili
posted by toastedbeagle at 1:33 PM on August 18, 2011

Best answer: This is a cute blog with tasty, comfort-food crock pot recipes (although many of them aren't vegetarian).
posted by rubyshoes at 9:47 AM on August 21, 2011

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