I am so busy during the week working and running from place to place I barely have time to think about what to cook for dinner- more or less, what to cook that is healthy! I love having an immediate repository I can go to with the best recipes (hence this blog post!). One of my favorite ways to cook is with my crock pot. These 25 healthy crop pot recipes will get you through many many weeks and months and save you tons of time.
The Advantages of Cooking in a Slow Cooker
1. Fresh Healthy Ingredients
Depending on what you are adding (fresh or frozen), using a slow cooker allows for using fresh healthy ingredients super easy! All you need to do is cut them up and toss them into the crock pot. Many of the ingredients used in crockpot meals are healthy and affordable. If you are in a zone with less than fresh veggies during the winter months, then beans, frozen vegetables, and even homemade canned veggies can be added. You really can make delicious, healthy crock pot recipes easy.
2. One Step Prep
Slow cookers usually take just one-step preparation. Placing all the ingredients in the slow cooker saves time and cuts down on cleanup. The only exception would be easy to cook veggies or pasta added towards the end of the slow cooker cycle. (Still- this could not be any easier!) Plus no need to scrub multiple pots and pans!
3. Tender Meat
The longer, low temperature of the crock pot tenderizes all kind of meat. If you are on a budget, this is fantastic news because a less expensive cut of meat in a crock pot will tenderize and infuse with massive amounts of flavor to make any meat snob a fan.
4. Added Flavor
A crock pot usually cooks and simmers for anywhere from 4-8 hours. This means it gives the food and spices enough time to work together bringing out the most amazing flavoring. The smells that come from the crock pot always remind of my grandmas home and comfort food. ‘
5. Large Portions
Are a meal planner? You can make tons of weekly healthy meal prep recipes with the slow cooker. The only problem you might have will be to decide which meals to make! You can section out the meals for the week or even freeze them for use later in the month. Nothing better than having your lunches made for work or a prepped meal for a hungry teen after soccer practice.
6. Health Benefits
Cooking in a slow cooker means not having to fry foods, use excess oil or butter, or other unhealthy cooking habits. Usually water will ensure the meats and veggies, and even dairy ingredients won’t burn or scorch. Having a meal at home in the slow cooker also eliminates the temptation to pick up food on the way home. You can make healthy crock pot recipes all the time and never have to stress about whats going into the food your kids are eating.
7. Diversity of Food and Flavors
You can literally cook just about any meal, any cuisine and any recipe in the slow cooker. From breakfast porridge to desserts, chilis, soups, stews, chicken crock pot recipes, and so much more. There is nothing stopping you from making whatever you like. And I guarantee that the flavors will come out better when using a crockpot too!
8. Flexibile Timing
Crockpots offer the ease of flexibility as well. Depending on your day’s activities, you can start a meal in the morning or afternoon and cook on high or low and have a delicious homemade meal ready for you in the evening (or whenever really).
how to use a crock pot
Using a crock pot is like heaven for lazy people who still consider themselves foodies! The gist of using a crockpot just means you get to toss all your food into one giant pot and let it cook for 8 hours while you are out of the house, at work, or out running errands. Awesome right!?!
Most slow cookers have two or three settings. When using the low setting, food will cook in 8-10 hours. Using the high setting allows food to cook in 4-6 hours.
Slow cookers vary in size from 1 to 7 quarts. Smaller slow cookers are good for dips or sauces and larger cookers are great for large cuts of meats and family portions.
I use the Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Digital Programmable Slow Cooker. It is great for family servings or making lots of meal preps. The smaller slow cookers (about 3 qts) are good if you entertain a lot and make dips and appetizers.
Just a note: the info I am talking about in this article refers to a “crock pot” and slow cooker- not an instant pot, While an Instant pot can slow cook- it does not slow cook and is not totally a set it and forget it type in my opinion as its main goal is to cook food quickly using pressure.
Here are some Simple tips and safety rules to follow when using a slow cooker:
- Always thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator before cooking it in the slow cooker. Do not put frozen meat as is in the slow cooker as you risk the possibility of undercooked meat.
- For easy cleanup of your slow cooker, rub the inside of the stoneware with oil or nonstick cooking spray before using it. Slow cooker liners also make for easy cleanup.
- Fill the slow cooker no more than about two-thirds full. You want enough room for the food to cook evenly. Also do not put too little in your slow cooker or you will have to watch it a bit closer. Cooking too little or too much in the slow cooker can affect cooking time, quality and safety.
- Because large or uncut vegetables cook slower than meat and poultry, place the vegetables in the slow cooker at the bottom. Place the meat on top of the vegetables and top with liquid, such as broth, water or a sauce. These healthy crock pot recipes below will give you the best instructions to follow.
- Add liquid. You will want to add some type of liquid such as broth, water, soy sauce, or other suggested moisture ingredient in the recipe. If using a non-slow cooker recipe, reduce liquids by one-third to one-half.
- Keep the lid in place during cooking. Removing the lid reduces cooking time by about 15-20 minutes of cook time.
- Add grains such as pasta or rice at the end of the cooking process or they become become too wet and mushy.
- Add milk, cheese, sour cream and cream during the last 30 min to hour to prevent curdling.
- For soups, cut back on the liquid by one third if the standard soup recipe is supposed to simmer uncovered, and cut back by one fourth if the soup is simmered covered. Slow cooker water does not evaporate like like cooking on the stove.
- Softer vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, and squash may be added during the last 45 minutes of cooking time.
25 Healthy Crock Pot Recipes
With these 25 delicious Healthy Crock Pot Recipes, you can easily throw something together tonight and have an amazing homemade dish for you or your family. Once you have used your slow cooker a few times and tried a few recipes, I know you will hooked for good! Enjoy these awesome recipes and let us know some of your favorites.
1. Slow Cooker Crock Pot Beef With Cholula
If you are looking for the best versatile recipe then this recipe is perfect for taco Tuesday or any day of the wekk. If you are a huge fan of Cholula then you’ll realize that this delectable Mexican hot sauce can be matched with everything and anything.
Whether you realize that you don’t have enough time to cook or not, this is a super simple prep and go slow cooker beef recipe. It calls for chuck roast and some spices- turn it on and forget about it for at least 8 hours. To make the toppings you just need to grab some veggies and hot sauce. This recipe is just like having a personal chef at home. Check out the recipe with Tastyeverafter.com
2. Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
This Crock pot teriyaki chicken recipe does not need any precooking. This means you can put all your ingredients in the slow cooker and press the button. The good thing with teriyaki is that it’s packed with sweet and savory flavor but it isn’t too spicy thus making it perfect for both children and adults. With this recipe, you’ll definitely end up with some seriously flavorful cooked chicken and delicious sauce to spoon over your veggies and rice. Recipe at Sweet peas and Saffron.
3. Slow Cooker Brown Rice and Mexican Chicken Recipe
As a remake or re-cook of the Mexican classic dish, this is perhaps one of the best healthy crock recipes that you can throw together. The good thing is that as compared to other recipes, it’s quite simple and easy to put together. Once you are done you can serve dinner to your family while knowing that you are providing a balanced healthy meal without spending a lot of your energy. Grab the recipe from Sun Kissed Kitchen.
4. Crock Pot Pork Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos and Avocado Crema Recipe
This is perhaps the easiest pork carnitas that you’ll ever make and is truly the most tender amazing recipe. Since you don’t need much to prepare this and it calls for no oils, it’s a one of the healthiest meals to serve to crowd. You can make killer homemade tacos, eat it plain or create a few different meals. Find this awesome recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats.
5. Crock Pot Chicken Stew
This recipe is a true rustic chicken stew that’s filling, healthy and flavorful. With this recipe, you just need to chuck in everything inside the cooker and let it do all the work for you for. Since it uses everyday’s pantry ingredients its inexpensive and quick to prep for. It is not only wholesome but also great for sticking to your ribs. This is a yummy and very healthy crock pot recipe that is perfect for the winter season. Grab the recipe form Salt and lavender.
6. Slow Cooker Crock Pot Chipotle with Chicken Quesadillas
In this recipe the crock pot chicken is prepared in a mixture of barbecue sauce dried chipotle chilies, spices and chopped tomatoes. Once you are done you just need to remove the chicken and then shred it in batches before throwing it on tortilla. If you are a fan of weeknight dinner then it’s worth trying out! See it from The Cook Report.
7. Best Crock Pot Chili
If you are looking for the best crock pot chili that you can ever make then you need to try out this amazing recipe. Under 300 calories per serving, it has a surprise spice you would’ve never thought to add. This recipe is not only made in the crock pot but involves a combination of ingredients combined in a few twists to just add the fun element. Another recipe from Joyful healthy Eats.
8. Slow Cooker Crock Pot Noodle Soup and Turkey
Do you have some leftover turkey inside your house? If yes then you can try out this recipe. With this unique recipe you just need freshly grated turmeric and leftover turkey to make this simple yet nourishing recipe in a slow cooker. If you are obsessed with fresh turmeric root like I am, then you need to give this healthy crock pot recipe a try- its delicious and warming! From All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.
9. Crock Pot Chuck Roast
This is a very easy slow cooker pot roast. Since it’s made with roasted onions, carrots, and potatoes it’s so juicy and flavorful. The good thing is that it’s one of the easiest recipes to make. Once you return home from the day and dinner is cooked and the house smells incredible, you will be so thrilled you tried out this meal. From FlavorMosiac.com
10. Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili
If you are looking for a unique type of chili that has all the great flavors of a party without the guilt then this one has it all. It’s just slow-cooked chicken that’s mixed with white beans, creamy broth, and cream cheese. Since it’s a weight watcher recipe, it’s perfect for those who are watching their weights. Once its done cooking you’ll definitely enjoy the flavors. From Bites of Flavor.
11. Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Meatballs
If you are looking for the ultimate appetizer for the holidays then this recipe is worth trying out. It’s prepared with part crock pot recipes meatballs covered in a sweet cranberry sauce to make a meal that will definitely make your mouth water. Rest assured that your guests will love the twist that you put on the meatballs. Plus, they are so beautiful to look at. From Joyfuleats.com
12. Vegetarian Slow Cooker with Minestrone Soup
This unique vegetarian Italian soup recipe is a very easy one-pot meal that’s full of vegetables. It’s also a nourishing kid-friendly dinner that everyone will love. With this recipe you also have gluten free and vegan options that you can try out. From the yummymummykitchen.com
13. Slow Crock Pot Cooker Drip Beef Sandwiches
These sandwiches are not only tender juicy perfect super bowl meal ideas or perfect game day meals, but also one of the best choices for any day of the week. If you are looking for a game-changer then this recipe is the best one. It not only requires little effort but also produces totally scrumptious results. Get the recipe at From Valerias Kitchen.
14. Easy Slow Cooker Crock Pot Tomatillo Pork
With this slow cooker crock pot recipe, you just need to add pork meat inside the slow cooker and top it off with a large can of tomatillos, some spices, and chopped cilantro and then allow it to cook for 8 hours. The result; a yummy amazing protein for a number of dinner ideas! From Tasty Ever After.
15. Crock Pot Potato Chowder with Roasted Poblanos
What sets this soup apart is that it’s full of bold flavors, dairy-free, gluten-free and includes bacon! More so it has so many things going on. It’s creamy, comforting, smoky, spicy and bacon-y thus will basically blow your mind away. If you want to make it even better you can top it up with avocado. From Yep Recipes.com
16. Crock-Pot Slow Black Bean Soup
This is a gluten free soup with a smokey southwestern twist that’s topped with tangy Greek yogurt to give you the ultimate savory bite. Believe it or not, with this soup you’ll want to cozy up with your bowl of black bean soup every night. So next time you are looking for a quick meal that’s comforting and full of flavor and easy to put together, then give this one a chance. Check out recipe here.
17. Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
These pulled chicken sandwiches are full of flavor and only takes you five minutes to prepare. They, therefore, make the perfect meals for those busy days. As a matter of fact, you’ll also enjoy smelling the aroma while it’s cooking. From Haute and Healthy.
18. Slow cooker Apple Butter
Do you want to make delicious apple butter? If so then this recipe is super easy to make using your slow cooker and only a few ingredients. Once you blend everything together the result will be smooth and velvety sweet spread that you can use on your biscuits, morning toasts, pork chops and even your ice cream. It is sooooo amazing. Trust me- this is a fall favorite of ours! From Hip 2 Save
19. Easy 3 ingredient Sweet and Sour Chicken
This crock pot recipe involves using pre-cooked, frozen chicken to make things even better. Once you are done, you can serve it over rice or your favorite steamed vegetables. It’s one of the perfect healthy crock pot recipes with chicken. Get the recipe at Seeded at the Table.
20. Paleo Slow Cooker Meatball
This recipe is an easy, whole30 kid-friendly and paleo-friendly meatball dish made in marinara sauce that not only makes enough for a crowd but is also quite suitable for leftovers. Once cooking is complete you can serve it with sweet potatoes, veggie noodles or even eggs. This means they are just perfect with just about anything. Get the awesome. Recipe from Paleo Running Momma!
21. Crock Pot Turkey Spinach Stuffed Shells
If you are looking for a delicious cheesy meal that your family will love then you need to try out this amazing crock pot turkey stuff shells recipe. Not only does it make a lot of food that’s basically enough to feed an army of hungry kids but is also very easy to make. Once all the shells have been stuffed you just need to press the On button and viola 4 hours later you have delicious dinner that will be eaten up. Get the recipe here.
22. Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chili
Chili is definitely one of my more favorite things to cook in the slow cooker because the flavors are so spectacular and its so easy. This is one of our favorite vegetarian slow cooker chili recipes that you can make. The good thing about it is that it’s healthy and gluten-free. Apart from bursting with flavor it also contains the perfect amount of liquid. Get this recipe direct from A Side of Sweet.
23. Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Root Vegetables
If you are looking for a set it and forget it recipe then this is it. After simmering inside the spices, herbs, and vegetables the meat becomes fall-apart tender. The beauty of it all is that it’s versatile. If you have a large family to feed then it’s a great way prepare a big meal without any protest. From This is So Good Home.
24. Slow Cooker Crock Pot Asian Pork and Lettuce Cups
These lettuce cups are full of flavor and contain some spice hence the perfect meal when you are looking for a tasty dish without the carbs. On the keto diet- give this one a try. Since it’s not too complicated to make, it makes for a great weekday meal. Recipe from Bites of Flavor.
25. Crock Pot Chicken Chow Mein
Are you looking for that perfect chow main meal that you can comfortably make at home? This is the one. This recipe is not only delicious but also so easy to make. From served from Scratch.
There you have it, 25 healthy crock pot recipes that you can try at home and throughout the year. Use these recipes for meal prep, to feed a group of friends and family, or just to purposely have leftovers for tomorrow. We are such fans of slow cookers and adore our crock pots -especially during the colder fall and winter months. We like to call it crock pot season! Have a delicious week.