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When you’re already exhausted, a crock-pot can be a new mom’s best friend. Simply throw the ingredients in, hit the on/off button, and let your slow cooker do all the work. You can easily vary these recipes to change up your menu and they’re so simple that you can put them together first thing in the morning and forget about them until dinnertime. Help your crock-pot help you and try out these 12 easy slow cooker recipes as fast as you can.
1. Slow Cooker Adobo
A classic Filipino dish, adobo chicken is a vinegary sauce with fresh ginger, soy, garlic, onions, and a tiny bit of sugar for sweetness. This is a great recipe to make with brown or white rice and its reheats well for more than one meal. Get our Slow Cooker Adobo recipe.
2. Easy Slow Cooker Chili
This recipe is an excellent pick for an overnight slow cooker and can be served with rice or even spaghetti (if you’re looking to make it Cincinnati-style). The mix of spices and a garnish of cheddar cheese, scallions, and some sour cream make it a comforting weeknight pick. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Chili recipe.
3. Slow Cooker Burmese Style Chicken and Noodles
This recipe for simple Burmese comfort food takes a long time but once you’ve gotten it started there’s very little active prep involved. Strong flavors like ginger, garlic, paprika, cayenne, lime, and coconut milk meld together and it only gets better every day you let this sit in the fridge. Get our Slow Cooker Burmese Style Chicken and Noodles recipe.
4. Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Mix this together and pop it in the slow cooker for a delightful breakfast that’s as nutritious as it is easy to make. Add in dried fruit, chopped nuts, or even chocolate chips if you’re feeling decadent. Get a Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal recipe.
5. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas
A crock-pot masterpiece, these pulled pork enchilades include 10 whole dried New Mexico chiles, 6 whole dried arbol chiles, cumin, oregano, and a whole cup of cilantro that packs a big punch. Get our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas recipe.
6. Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
A meal that lasts for days, this take on spaghetti Bolognese is rich and boasts pancetta, ground beef, and dried porcini mushrooms for an incredible mix of umami flavors. Get our Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese recipe.
7. Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake
Dessert in a slow cooker? It’s unusual but a great way to save time in the kitchen. Serve by scooping out a big serving (it’s not quite a clear-cut slice) and topping it with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. Get our Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake recipe.
8. Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
Quinoa, feta, scallions, and white beans are mixed together and packed into red bell peppers and set inside the slow cooker. Turn on and cook for about four hours and watch to make sure the bottom of the peppers doesn’t get scorched. Get our Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers recipe.
9. Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
Soup is a particularly simple dish to make in the slow cooker – simply add in the vegetables, season with cumin and maple syrup, and let the crock-pot do all the work. Garnish with roasted chickpeas. Get our Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup recipe.
10. Slow Cooker Beef Goulash
Served with egg noodles or eaten alone as a stew, this beef goulash is a hearty meal and heavily seasoned with paprika, caraway, and ground coriander. Make a large batch and keep some in the freezer for the next night you need a quick dinner. Get our Slow Cooker Beef Goulash recipe.
11. Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
Simple and comforting, this chicken soup can be made even more easily with the use of a good rotisserie chicken that you pick up from the grocery store. Use egg noodles, traditional white rice, or even wild rice to add texture to the broth. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Soup recipe.
12. Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Sunday brunch is back with this easy make-ahead casserole. Start the night before and then pour the mixture into the slow cooker when you’re ready to serve in the morning. You can vary the types of cheeses to change the flavor and then serve with a simple salad for a satisfying meal. Get our Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Casserole recipe.
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.