Who wants to sweat in front of the steamy stove (or even the grill?!) when the sun’s beating us down? We’re already slow-cooking outside — on the beach, poolside, and when we scramble for the shady spots while strolling around town. Whipping out your slow cooker during the dog days of summer might seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out.
You don’t have to be within 10 feet of your Crock-Pot while it’s cooking, unlike your stovetop and all those other cooking implements. Toss the ingredients inside the pot, cover, press go, and then proceed to drape yourself across a lounge chair in the shade with a cool glass of iced tea or sangria. See? Slow cookers are so summery. Check out Guide’s Best Slow Cookers of 2017. Our Chowhound team test kitchen concocted these slow cooker recipes so you don’t have to break a sweat, while cooking at least:
Have a vegetarian in the family or just want to do without meat for dinner? Make these Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers to serve as a meatless main. They are stuffed with flavors like salty feta and herby scallions. Get our Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Pepper recipe.
Skip heating up that grill and cook this BBQ brisket while you sleep overnight. This smoky brisket is covered in an addictive sweet-savory sauce and served best between a bun. Get our Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe.
This is a summer dish you may not have even realized you need. This spicy chicken chile verde is packed with flavor from the garlic, onions, peppers, and tomatillos. Serve with a side of rice or black beans. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde recipe.
This is perfect for a summer party. Cooking the pork for an extended period of time results in juicy and tender meal. This also freezers beautifully if you end up with leftovers. Get our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe.
If you have grilling foods on the mind, then baked beans have to make an appearance. These beans are slow-cooked in a spicy molasses sauce for a sweet and spicy kick. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe.
If traditional baked beans aren’t your thing, try out the pinto. These beans are full of heat and will make the perfect side to your barbecue menu. Get our Slow Cooker Ranch-Style Pinto Beans recipe.
Speaking of sides, try these greens. No Southern-style barbecue is complete without a helping of flavorful greens. Get our Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe.
8. Spicy Relish
Tired of ketchup and mustard? Keep your hot dogs interesting with this relish. Similar to salsa, this spicy relish works great on hot dogs, burgers, and even tacos. Get our Spicy Relish recipe.
Peaches’ peak season is during the hottest parts of summer, so use your slow cooker to whip up this peach dessert. By using the slow cooker, you avoid turning on your oven and heating up your kitchen. Don’t forget the ice cream when serving this! Get our Slow Cooker Peach Crumble recipe.
The recipe for this pudding is just what you need to whip up a dessert with minimal effort. A great part about this recipe is that you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. Get our Slow Cooker Rice Pudding recipe.
If you prefer desserts with chocolate, then try out this cake recipe. We were just as shocked when we found out we could make delicious cake in the slow cooker! Avoid turning the oven on during the warm months with this simple Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake recipe.