Welcome to Slow Cooker Week! We’re sharing all our favorite Crock Pot recipes, tips, tricks, and advice this week—and including the Instant Pot, of course, since it slow cooks too. Here, see the best slow cooker sauces you can buy online for super easy and delicious Crock Pot (or Instant Pot) dinners.
Slow cookers can be a life saver, especially for time-starved home cooks who still want a delicious meal. However, many slow cooker meals involve a surprising amount of prep—like sautéing proteins, chopping vegetables, or mixing up complicated sauces and seasonings. Sometimes that’s fine; sometimes it seems like it negates the whole point. Enter: slow cooker sauces.
These little packages of flavor perfection can take a quick, easy meal (that’s truly quick and easy) and make it into something gourmet. And now, with more delicious options than ever before, it can be a snap to make something unique, and even healthy, too.
Here are some of the the best slow cooker sauces to buy—and of course, you can also use them in your Instant Pot.
For Mexican Meals:
If you’re craving Mexican for dinner and you’re short on time, Frontera Grill’s pouches are the way to go. With several options, including Green Chile Enchilada Sauce, Red Chile Enchilada Sauce, Garlicky Carnitas, Red Chile Barbacoa, and Chipotle Chicken Tinga slow cooker sauces, there is no way your meal won’t be savory and delicious. (This variety pack contains the carnitas, barbacoa, and tinga sauces, plus a mole skillet sauce there’s no reason you can’t use in the slow cooker too.) If you’re feeling more Tex-Mex, the company also has several chili starters.Buy Now
For Indian Flavors:
If you’re looking for Indian cuisine that is also regionally focused, Maya Kaimal has a range of sauces to meet almost every craving. Developed with spice layers ranging from mild to hot, the simmer and slow cooker sauces come with a two-year shelf life, so it’s easy to keep them in the pantry for a quick kick to a last minute meal, too. Flavors include Spicy Vindaloo (with a sour kick from vinegar and tamarind); creamy Vegan Coconut Korma; Madras Curry (with coriander and coconut milk); Butter Masala (for homemade butter chicken); tangy, ginger-infused Goan Coconut; Jalfrezi Curry (with garam masala, tomatoes, and sweet peppers); Kashmiri Curry (also known as rogan josh, and great with lamb); and two types of Tikka Masala—regular (which contains buttermilk) and a vegan version made with coconut cream.Buy Now
For Vegan Indian Vittles (That Are Also Keto-Friendly):
If Indian cuisine is what you’re craving but you need to avoid dairy and added sugar, look no further than Nummy Nibbles’ Malabar Indian Cooking Sauce. Vegan, vegetarian, and Whole30-compliant, the sauce can be used in the slow cooker to create flavorful Indian dishes that showcase a light, bright flavor profile. Made with tomato, black pepper, fennel, and coconut, it can be used to enhance veggies, tofu, or other types of proteins. The company also offers a Tikka Masala option and a Kolhapuri Sauce with tomato, coconut, and sesame.Buy Now
For Classic Flavors from the Crock-Pot:
Channel your inner Julia Child without lifting a cleaver: These ready-made sauces from Williams Sonoma boast flavor profiles of classic dishes like Cacciatore, Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignonne, and Osso Buco (try using the latter for a shortcut version of our Pressure Cooker Osso Buco recipe).Buy Now
For Whole30-Approved Global Cuisine:
Healthy and flavorful, the Mesa De Vida line of sauces are inspired by culinary hotspots around the world—and they’re Whole30-approved. The company has rolled out a Caribbean Sauce inspired by classic jerk flavors (but low in sodium); a Creole Sauce for shortcut gumbo and jambalaya; a North African Sauce that includes plums for natural sweetness; a Mediterranean Sauce with capers, olives, and basil; and a Smoky Latin Sauce that started it all. They can all be used in the slow cooker on everything from vegetables to proteins, and all are made with fresh ingredients without any added sugars, thickeners, or other additives. If you want to try them all, this variety pack contains one of each.Buy Now
For Crowd-Pleasing Family Favorites:
Soup isn’t the only thing that’s on. Campbell’s has developed an array of simple slow cooker sauces that will appeal to the whole family—picky kids included: Tavern-Style Pot Roast, Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork, Southern BBQ, Beef Stew, Buffalo Chicken, Hawaiian Pork, and Sweet Korean BBQ. Feel free to deviate from the suggested proteins.Buy Now
For Tomato Sauce:
Not just for your pasta pot, Rao’s sauces can transform any slow cooker meal into something delicious. The marinara sauce is beloved and can enhance an Italian pot roast, meatballs, slow cooker lasagna, or Crock-Pot cacciatore. But try the company’s other sauce flavors too, even the Pizza Sauce for an easy spin on chicken parmigiana in the slow cooker. Made with all-natural ingredients and slow roasted tomatoes, many of Rao’s sauces are also Whole30- and keto-approved.Buy Now
The BBQ Slider Cookin’ Sauce from Stubb’s is one that packs a flavorful punch. The molasses and brown sugar in the mix ensures a sweet and savory experience, and the thick sauce is great with pork, but also works with beef or chicken.
Equally good for using in your slow cooker are the company’s other barbecue sauces, from the Stubb’s Original Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce to the Sticky Sweet and Smokey Mesquite variations. Try them for a fuss-free version of slow cooker baked beans too.
For Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 Friendly BBQ
If you’re looking for a barbecue sauce that is keto-friendly, Noble Made’s Classic BBQ Cooking & Dipping Sauce is just the thing. Gluten-free, keto-, paleo-, and Whole30-approved, this has all the flavors of a traditional BBQ sauce without an ounce of added sugar. Dump it into your slow cooker with chicken, beef, pork, or even ribs.
And if you’re looking for a barbecue sauce with a bit of zing, Noble Made also has a Mustard BBQ Cooking & Dipping Sauce that echoes the flavor profile of Carolina barbecue, with bright turmeric and tangy apple cider tasting notes to amp up the mustard, and sweetness from pineapple juice and tomato paste. This one is best with chicken or pork.
For Crock-Pot Classics (When You Don’t Have Much Room in the Pantry):
The king of spices doesn’t rest on its laurels when it comes to slow cooking. They do have two ready-made sauces that come in pouches: Pot Roast Slow Cooker Sauce with caramelized onion and cracked pepper, and Hearty Beef Stew Sauce with herbs and onions. But for the most part, rather than jarred or bottled sauces that can take up precious pantry space, they offer seasoning packets designed to be mixed with liquid just before you pour them into your slow cooker (and sometimes just added alone). You’ll find familiar flavors like Hearty Beef Stew, Pot Roast, BBQ Pulled Pork, and Fiesta Chicken.Buy Now
Visit our Slow Cooker Week headquarters for everything else you need to know (and cook).
Header image courtesy of Maya Kaimal/Amazon