Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (2024)

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (1)

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When summer rolls in with the force of the Sahara, the last thing many of us want to do is cook—especially if you don't have a good air conditioner or cooling fan. Similarly, your Crock-Pot may not be the first thing that comes to mind for summer eats ... but you're here because you know better. A slow cooker can actually whip up tons of warm-weather recipes like spicy tacos and lemony salmon. (And if you are in the mood for something like a stew or otherwise hot meal, the set-it-and-forget-it nature of a Crock-Pot means you don't have to hangout around a stuffy kitchen.) To get you started, we've rounded up 20 of our favorite healthy Crock-Pot meals to make this time of year. Voilà!

1

Sesame-Garlic Chicken

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (3)

This is a healthy take on a classic Chinese dish. Over the course of five hours, the chicken marinates and stews in a sesame-soy sauce while absorbing the spices of sliced ginger and garlic. The broccoli and the rice do not cook in the same pot; however, so toward the end of the chicken's cook time, you're going to have to prepare that to complete the dish. But if you steam the veggies and pop the rice in your rice cooker, this shouldn't take much more effort.

Get the recipe from Good Housekeeping »

2

Chipotle Beef Tacos with Pico de Gallo

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (4)

You're going to want to save this one for your next Taco Tuesday. The beef chuck becomes tender as it is slowly cooked in tomato sauce, adobo, and chipotle. And when it's ready to eat, you can make the pico de gallo in minutes.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

3

Slow Cooker Salmon

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (5)

Yes, it's true: You can make some slammin' salmon in your slow cooker. This recipe calls for you to cook the fish in a tad bit of lemon and broth for some zest. But feel free to switch it up. White wine and melted butter also make great alternatives. Serve your salmon up with a salad and you've got yourself a meal.

Get the recipe from Delish »

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4

Caribbean Chicken Thighs

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You don't have to travel far to get a little island flavor in your kitchen. This meal has the perfect combo of sweet, spicy, and tangy to keep your taste buds intrigued. Just pop in your chicken with the sweet potatoes, broth and seasoning and let it cook for about 4 hours on high (8 hours on low). Then top with your mango-avocado mixture and voilà!

Get the recipe from Good Housekeeping »

5

Mujadara

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (7)

Mujadara is a Moroccan dish made up of lentils, rice and flavorful spices. It's an extremely affordable vegan comfort meal. Top with caramelized onions for zest and—on the side—slice up some fresh seasonal veggies to cool the palate.

Get the recipe from Feasting at Home »

6

Zesty Pork and Slaw Sandwiches

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If you're in the mood for some North Carolina-style BBQ, these juicy pork sandwiches will satisfy those tastebuds. The secret is in the sauce: a mix of cider vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper, and salt. Chop up some cabbage and jalapeño for your slaw and you've got a refreshing, yet delightfully spicy topping.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

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7

Chicken Cacciatore

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Watch yourself get fancy with the slow cooker as you master this mouth-watering Italian cuisine. The prep time takes about 10 minutes, and when the chicken is just about done cooking in the tomatoes and spices, all you have to do is cook the linguine.

Get the recipe from Delish »

8

Smokey Shredded Beef Burritos

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (10)

No, you can't smoke meat in a slow cooker, but you can give your beef a smoky flavor by seasoning it with chipotle chiles and adobo. According to this recipe, you can also toss beans into the crockpot as the beef gets tender. But feel free to prep and cook whatever ingredients you like to have in your burritos.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

9

Teriyaki Chicken

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For a gluten-free, paleo-friendly, Japanese-inspired classic, you might want to try what Eating Bird Food has cooked up. The sauce calls for tamari, honey, olive oil, chili paste, and ketchup. For the latter ingredient you want to make sure you haven a brand that does not use high fructose corn syrup. Serve with rice and cook your favorite veggie to go on the side.

Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food »

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10

Mushroom Stroganoff

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (12)

For a vegetarian recipe with a rich flavor profile that only takes 30 minutes to cook, you're going to want to give this one a go. The creaminess comes from the sour cream you stir in at the end, however, you can sub in vegan sour cream if you want it to be 100% plant-based.

Get the recipe from Feasting at Home »

11

Turkey Chili

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (13)

If you don't feel like eating beef, pork, or chicken, turkey is a great lean meat option. Ground turkey specifically tastes amazing in chili. For this dish, you do have to cook the meat in the skillet for two minutes before popping it into the Instant Pot. This recipe makes a whopping eight servings.

Get the recipe from Delish »

12

Honey Mustard Pork with Spinach Rice

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Honey mustard and thyme make a delectable combo, particularly when they are used to flavor tender pork. You may need a food processor for this recipe if you don't want to grate the apple and onion by hand (those are used to make the sauce even tastier). With the processor total prep and cook time is about two hours and 45 minutes.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

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13

Crock-Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

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For once, you're not going to have to sweat over a hot pot of boiling water to make this popular comfort food. Most of the prep goes into making the meatballs (which you can skip if you want to go meatless). This recipe makes about six servings so depending on how big your household is, so you may have some tasty leftovers for a couple of days.

Get the recipe from Delish »

14

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (16)

We know St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean you can't have yourself some corned beef in the middle of July. The good news about cooking beef brisket in a Crock-Pot instead of on the stove is that you don't have to keep checking it every 30 minutes to add more water. Just sit back and relax, add the cabbage in towards the end, and you've got an Irish favorite.

Get the recipe from Delish »

15

Thai-Style Pork with Rice Noodles

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (17)

Thai-take out fans: You can rest your wallet and save some cash with this recipe. It may even be a healthier option if you make sure to grab the peanut butter without extra sugar and use coconut milk that doesn't have any harmful additives.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

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16

Ratatouille

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If you're on a budget, you can make this meal for less than $10 and serve six people. Or if you have a bunch of extra summer veggies (like zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers) lying around, you might not have to spend a cent. If you're craving something meatier, add meatballs. Cooking up your favorite grain could also make it a fuller dish.

Get the recipe from Frugal Nutrition »

17

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Shells

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This one's for all the cheese-lovers out there. These stuffed shells combine cottage, mozzarella, parmesan and/or Romano cheeses. And compared to most slow cooker cook times, it doesn't take that long either: around 2 hours. In that time, you can watch an episode of Pose and chop up a nice side salad.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

18

Coconut Curry Chicken and Chickpeas

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This recipe combines spicy and sweet in the most delightful way. This is thanks to the blend of cayenne pepper, curry, and coconut milk. One tip: If you buy coconut milk in a can, try to get a brand that doesn't use preservatives.

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

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19

Curried Butternut Squash Stew

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This is an excellent dish that can easily be made vegan (just skip the yogurt topping or find a vegan alternative). Over the course of about five hours, the squash, split peas and tomatoes stew together in coconut milk, curry, turmeric, cardamom, and ginger. To finish, can also make a lemon-scallion sauce to drizzle on top. Don't forget to serve with rice!

Get the recipe from Woman's Day »

20

Slow Cooker Vegan Quinoa Chili

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (22)

This hearty and filling dish is super easy to make. Thanks to the beans and quinoa, it's packed with protein and fiber. And it doesn't back down on flavor. It recommends you add in onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper, but you can also add in your favorite herbs and spices as well.

Get the recipe from Simple Vegan »

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (23)

Adele Jackson-Gibson

Senior Editor

Adele Jackson-Gibson is a certified fitness coach, model, and writer. She earned her master's in Journalism from NYU, her bachelor's in Literature from Yale University, and has since written for various sports, fitness, beauty, and culture outlets.

Use Your Slow Cooker to Make These 20 Delicious, Healthy Summer Recipes (2024)

FAQs

Is a slow cooker good for the summer? ›

It Makes Classic Summer Foods

The slow cooker is known for making tender meat, which is why we love to make pulled pork in it all summer long. We recommend our root beer pulled pork sandwiches. There are also plenty of summery side dish options, like smoky baked beans and cheesy creamed corn.

Are slow cookers a healthy way to cook? ›

The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrink less. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods.

Who is the crockpot lady in Dayton Ohio? ›

Eva Wells can make anything in a crock pot. Affectionately known as “The Crock Pot Lady,” Wells teaches crock pot cooking to people living in food deserts and under financial constraints.

What foods should be slow-cooked? ›

The Best Foods to Cook in Your Slow Cooker
  • Long-Cooking Cuts of Meat. Tough cuts of meat that turn out meltingly tender when cooked low and slow are made for this appliance. ...
  • Whole Chicken & Chicken Thighs. ...
  • Soups, Stews & Chilis. ...
  • Dips.
Jan 6, 2020

What are the disadvantages of a slow cooker? ›

For example, you have to know what exact ingredients are going to be used and pre-prepare them properly. You also have to defrost meats well so that they cook completely. Finally, you may have to stick to specific recipes and cooking times (there aren't many chances for improv when it comes to slow cooking).

Is it OK to leave a slow cooker on overnight? ›

Yes, it's safe to leave a slow cooker on when you leave the house. The purpose of a slow cooker is to allow you to cook while you aren't home. Slow cookers simmer food slowly, killing bacteria and raising meat to the perfect internal temperature.

What cannot be cooked in a slow cooker? ›

10 Foods You Should Never Make in a Slow Cooker
  1. Raw Meat.
  2. Seafood.
  3. Pasta.
  4. Rice.
  5. Delicate Vegetables.
  6. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.
  7. Dairy.
  8. Wine and Other Liquor.
Jan 19, 2024

Which is better a crockpot or slow cooker? ›

If you're planning to cook your meals mostly when you're not home or overnight, then sticking to a Crockpot might be a better choice, since the heat distribution is more even and there is no need to stir at all.

What is the best meat to slow cook? ›

Choose the right cut: Chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulders and lamb shanks (think fatty and tougher meats) become meltingly tender with the moist, low heat of a slow cooker. Leaner cuts like pork tenderloin tend to dry out. Likewise, dark meat chicken — thighs, drumsticks, etc.

Who is Violet Cooks? ›

Welcome to Violet Cooks. I'm a healthy food content creator in San Francisco. I've always had a passion for food and cooking. During quarantine, I started cooking more and more out of dorm kitchen in college at Vassar and that's when I started Violet Cooks.

Who is the Southern Lady Cook? ›

We are Leigh Walkup and Anne Walkup or as most people call us “the twins”. We spend most of our time in the kitchen, thanks to our heritage and amazing mother, Judy Yeager, who started this website in 2008.

Can you put raw meat in a slow cooker? ›

Can you put meat straight into a slow cooker? Meat can be added directly unseared and not browned. However, browning meat and caramelising the beef is a great way to add depth of flavour and improve the visual appearance of the final dish.

What foods go bad slowly? ›

Check out some of the longest-lasting fruits and vegetables to add to your shopping list and how to store them to maximize their longevity.
  • Apples. Fresh apples don't turn very quickly and can actually keep for almost four weeks without any special preparation. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Pomegranates. ...
  • Potatoes. ...
  • Lemons and Limes. ...
  • Carrots.
Jun 2, 2020

Can I put frozen chicken in the crockpot? ›

It is best to thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. Frozen pieces will take longer to reach a safe internal temperature and could possibly result in foodborne illness. Frozen or partially frozen foods can also cool everything else in the slow cooker.

Do slow cookers make the house hot? ›

Slow cookers (and pressure cookers) won't warm up your kitchen allowing you to still enjoy that home-cooked meal. It's hot enough outside so let's keep it as cool as possible inside. Slow cookers will help you save money both inside and outside the home.

Will a slow cooker cook on keep warm? ›

The 'Warm' setting is NOT for cooking! The 'Warm' setting is ONLY for keeping already-cooked food at the perfect serving temperature until mealtime. To prevent food from dipping into temperatures that aren't food-safe, you shouldn't use the 'Warm' setting for more than 4 hours.

Do slow cookers get hot on the outside? ›

I've had a number of slow cookers in the past and all seem to be roughly the same in this regard: The outside of the unit is red hot to the touch when they're on. The crock pot inside the unit can actually move around. It has maybe 0.5cm of clearance on all sides from the heating enclosure.

When should I use a slow cooker? ›

A slow cooker is an electric appliance that simmers food at a low temperature over a long period of time. Because of this low-and-slow method, slow cookers are great for breaking down and tenderizing large pieces of meat like pot roasts or beef stews.

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