Easy slow cooker recipes that won't heat up your kitchen

When the summer sun is blazing, the mere idea of ​​turning on the oven – even for the most wonderful dish – is revolting. Sure, you mig...


When the summer sun is blazing, the mere idea of ​​turning on the oven – even for the most wonderful dish – is revolting. Sure, you might have air conditioning, but why heat the kitchen if it’s not necessary? (You came inside to escape the stickiness and sweat!) You could cleverly put together a salad or put together a meal without cooking – and we have so many beautiful ones here and here – but ultimately, you’re going to want a hot meal. Enter the slow cooker.

The recipes below are the simplest type of slow cooker recipe, the fix and forget type. There’s no pre-searing or sautéing, and very little prep. Just throw the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it simmer while you head to the beach or to work, or just curl up with a good book in front of the air conditioner. A few hours later, dinner is ready.

Ali Slagle offers the perfect summer comfort meal with this dish of spicy meatballs simmered with cherry tomatoes and lime. Prepared Kofte style, the minced meat is combined with fresh herbs, turmeric and yogurt, which helps bind the meat together and gives it a nice flavor. Feel free to use lamb, beef, turkey, or a combination. (One reader used an alternative meat with happy results.) Serve over a pile of buttered orzo and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

This chicken stew in a bowl from Sarah DiGregorio is great over rice or other grains, but you can also turn it into enchiladas or nachos. It comes with just boneless chicken thighs, a pot of salsa verde, garlic, and some pantry spices. Add fresh or frozen corn and a can of drained black or white beans to stretch it out even more.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Salsa Verde

Ali Slagle provides a simple template for the perfect pot of beans: skip the soaking (unless you’re using kidney beans, in which case soak them first); use herbs, spices and vegetables to season beans and cooking liquid to taste; and salt before and after cooking. Cooking time varies depending on the age and type of bean, so start checking for doneness after six hours.

This recipe from Sarah DiGregorio lets you enjoy barbecue chicken sandwiches without having to go near a hot grill. You’ll notice that you don’t need to add any liquid to the pan, but don’t let that stress you out: the chicken will release lots of flavorful juices as it cooks.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Honey Chicken Hot Sandwiches

Shrimp isn’t usually considered slow cooker material, but gosh, this recipe is so good. Inspired by eggs in purgatory, a dish from southern Italy in which the eggs simmer in a spicy tomato sauce with capers, the prawns have fallen into the sauce in the last minutes of cooking. Use fresh or frozen shrimp, but thaw them first.

Recipe: Slow cooker prawns in purgatory

This easy vegan stew from Sarah DiGregorio is inspired by romesco, the Spanish sauce made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. You don’t need broth for this recipe, just the thick liquid from canned chickpeas. Don’t skip the smoked almonds, which add a much-needed and delicious crunch.

The complexity of this Sarah DiGregorio chicken taco filling belies the simplicity of preparing it in the best possible way. Canned chipotles and honey are the magic ingredients; they caramelize and melt into a shiny, nuanced sauce. Start with a chipotle — or even half if you have kids or don’t like spicy food — and go from there.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chipotle Honey Chicken Tacos

“Amazingly delicious, possibly the best Crock-Pot dish I’ve ever made,” wrote one reader. Almost like deconstructed lasagna, spicy chicken and tomato stew mingles with herbed ricotta in this hearty dish from Sarah DiGregorio. If you think you have leftovers, do not mix the pasta with the ragù in the slow cooker to avoid gummy and overcooked noodles.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Herbed Ricotta

You won’t see many creamy soup recipes made in a slow cooker because you can’t simmer them without the top and reduce the liquid. But, for this vegetarian mushroom soup, Sarah DiGregorio has found a nifty trick: use a roux, a mixture of flour and butter, heat it in the microwave (or on the stovetop), then whisk it in the broth in slow motion. to cook.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

If you’re lucky enough to have a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this year (or just overbought them at the farmer’s market), this easy compote from Sarah DiGregorio will put them to good use. Just pile two pounds into the jar and combine with olive oil, garlic, honey, balsamic vinegar, a handful of fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Let them simmer over low heat for six hours. Place the compote on ricotta or avocado toast, slip it into a sandwich or toss it with pasta, then use the oil and juices in salad dressings.

This extremely simple pulled pork was adapted from a popular recipe found on Pinterest that called for nothing but pork shoulder, BBQ sauce and, wait for it, Dr Pepper. We were more than a little dubious, but after a few tweaks and additions, we landed on a version that’s almost as simple as the original, but with layers of nice flavors.

Recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

The secret to this clever dish from Sarah DiGregorio is to use a combination of casing-free turkey sausage and ground beef, then form oversized meatballs that fit in the slow cooker in a single layer, so that they do not dry out during the long cooking time. Leftover meatballs make a wonderful sandwich filling.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Like a spoon bun crossed with cornbread, this tender and spicy corn pudding from Sarah DiGregorio goes great with grilled meats or vegetables, or under a dollop of leftover chili. Feel free to use fresh or frozen corn, and adjust the spice level by adding more or less jalapeño to taste.

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