Essential Slow Cooker Recipes: 103 Fuss-Free Slow Cooker Meals Everyone Will Love

Essential Slow Cooker Recipes: 103 Fuss-Free Slow Cooker Meals Everyone Will Love

by Addie Gundry


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A slow cooker is the ideal partner in crime when it comes to tackling dishes that can be too time- and work-intensive for every day, like French onion soup or chicken cordon bleu. And in this cookbook, we’re going way beyond the expected soups and stews. Cutthroat Kitchen winner Addie Gundry offers up recipes for appetizers like BBQ Meatballs, breads like Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls, make-ahead breakfasts like Banana Pecan French Toast, and desserts like Pineapple Upside Down Cake, not to mention slow cooker twists on beloved recipes like Lasagna, Meatloaf, and Stuffed Peppers. Each recipe is paired with a finished-dish full-bleed color photo.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250123381
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Series: RecipeLion Series
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,217,065
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ADDIE GUNDRY received her masters in culinary arts at Auguste Escoffier in Avignon, France. She has worked for chefs including Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Martha Stewart on management, restaurant openings, brand development, editorial, marketing, and sales. In 2015, she won Cutthroat Kitchen on The Food Network. As the executive producer for RecipeLion, Addie creates culinary content for multiple web platforms and communities. She excels at making easy recipes elegant. Her books include Everyday Dinner Ideas, Family Favorite Casserole Recipes, and Festive Holiday Recipes.

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Appetizer Recipes

Guests are on their way, but you still have errands to run before everyone arrives. As you're bustling about trying to balance making phone calls with hanging up decorations, throwing together a last-minute appetizer shouldn't even be on your radar. Prep one or two of these easy recipes in the morning before things get crazy, and you'll have worry-free eats that are hot and ready just in time for company to arrive.

Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

Yield: Serves 8 to 10 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 2 hours

The classic combination of bacon and cheese makes this dip a cozy and filling crowd-pleaser for sporting events. Boasting the taste of a cheeseburger, but in party form, this dip reminds me of Saturdays in the fall with my husband and his friends. Keep napkins handy, because this one might get a bit messy.


4 lean bacon slices, plus extra for garnish

1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble.

3. In a large skillet, stir the ground beef over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until lightly browned — if the beef or turkey is not entirely cooked, don't worry. It will finish in the slow cooker. Drain well.

4. Return the meat to the hot skillet and stir in the cream cheese until melted. Add the cheddar cheese and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, sweet pickle relish, mustard, and ketchup and stir until combined.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared slow cooker, cover, and cook on Low for 2 hours. Turn off the slow cooker, uncover, and stir.

6. Serve in a bowl directly from the slow cooker, which will keep the mixture hot and dippable for up to 3 hours. Garnish with the bacon bits.

Bacon-Wrapped Smokies

Yield: 36 smokies | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 3 hours

Whether you call them a baconized version of Pigs in a Blanket or, my personal favorite, Bacon-Wrapped Smokies, there's no denying how addicting these are! It's the sweet-and-salty combination of maple syrup and bacon that really sells the dish. It also happens to be my go-to for a hearty brunch.


1 ¾ cups packed dark brown sugar

1. Sprinkle 1 cup of the brown sugar over the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.

2. Cut the bacon into thirds crosswise.

3. Wrap a strip of bacon around each of the cocktail links. It's easier to wrap if the bacon is cold.

4. Poke a 6-inch wooden skewer through 5 or 6 Bacon-Wrapped Smokies to hold the bacon in place. Repeat with the remaining smokies.

5. Place the smokies into the slow cooker over the brown sugar.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and cayenne. Drizzle the mixture over the smokies, then sprinkle the remaining ¾ cup of brown sugar over the top.

7. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or until the bacon is cooked, flipping the smokies over 3 or 4 times during cooking.

8. If you want the bacon to be crispy, remove the smokies from the slow cooker and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, then broil for about 5 minutes. Leave them on the skewers to serve or remove and stick individual toothpicks through each smokie for larger crowds.

Barbecue Meatballs

Yield: 48 meatballs | Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 5 hours

Have those toothpicks and fancy swords at the ready! These party-worthy meatballs are sure to get gobbled up before you know it. My favorite part about them is that I can make a batch for an appetizer one night and serve them on top of a heaping plate of spaghetti the next.



1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup whole milk

1. For the sauce: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer while adding the vinegar, brown sugar, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, and liquid smoke. Pour into a 6-quart slow cooker, cover, and cook on Low while mixing the meatballs.

2. For the meatballs: Combine the milk and egg in a medium bowl. Add the bread crumbs and soak for 5 minutes. Stir in the beef, onion soup mix, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix very well.

3. Use a tablespoon to portion the mixture, rolling between your palms to a golf ball size. As you make the balls, immediately drop them into the slow cooker with the sauce. When all the balls are formed, stir very gently, just enough to get the top pieces coated in sauce, then cover and cook on Low for 5 hours.

4. The meatballs and sauce can be made ahead, removed from the slow cooker, and cooled completely. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat them, return the meatballs and sauce to the slow cooker, cover, and reheat on High until warmed through. Garnish with scallions.

Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa

Yield: Serves 8 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 4 hours

Last Christmas my husband was given a kegerator system for our basement bar! It has become my go-to for beer-inspired recipes, and this is one of my new favorites. The beer helps tenderize and bring out the flavor of the meat, so you don't even need to add any extra spices. The sauerkraut adds a distinct tang to contrast with the brown sugar.


28 ounces kielbasa

1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. Slice the kielbasa into 3- to 3 ½-inch links and place in the slow cooker.

3. Cover the kielbasa with the sauerkraut.

4. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the sauerkraut, then pour the beer over all.

5. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours.

6. Serve as is or on buns.

Buffalo Wings

Yield: Serves 8 | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 2 hours on High, then 2 hours on Low

Football season isn't complete without homemade buffalo wings. Sticky, hot orange fingers are one of my favorite visions of winter. Messy hands, the ultimate sacrifice, are so worth it! And when served with ranch or blue cheese dressing to counter the spiciness, these are everything you need in a party snack.


2 (12-ounce) bottles hot pepper sauce
Ranch Dipping Sauce

½ cup sour cream

1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. In a large saucepan, combine 1 bottle of hot pepper sauce, ½ cup (1 stick) of the butter, the Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Place the chicken wings in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the wings.

4. Cook the wings on High for 2 hours. Reduce the heat to Low and cook for 2 hours more.

5. Just before the wings are done, preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining bottle of hot pepper sauce and ½ cup (1 stick) butter and simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

7. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the wings on the baking sheets and cook for 20 minutes, until crispy.

8. For the ranch dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic, dill, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Chill until ready to use.

9. Brush the wings with the remaining sauce and serve with the ranch dipping sauce.


You can substitute store-bought ranch dressing for the homemade ranch dipping sauce, if you wish.

Parmesan Ranch Oyster Crackers

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour

If you need a snack that's effortless to make, these crackers are versatile enough for any occasion. I remember making them with my grandfather when I was younger. Along with pickles, they were his signature snack that I can't make without thinking of my time in the kitchen with him. They look fancy enough to set out in a small serving bowl during a holiday party, but they're still fit for munching on on a Sunday night when you're lounging in your sweatpants.


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, ranch dressing mix, garlic, and dill.

3. Put the oyster crackers in a slow cooker and pour the butter mixture over the top. Stir to combine and coat the crackers. Cover and cook on Low, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove the crackers from the slow cooker and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the Parmesan and parsley on top and stir. Let cool completely. Pour into a bowl and serve.

Sweet-and-Savory Party Mix

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 3 hours

Everyone has their favorite ingredient in the party mix. Mine, of course, is the pretzel. Pretzels have always been one of my favorite foods, but you don't have to follow my lead. Party mixes are so much fun to customize to your taste. Replace the cashews with pecans. Add a little extra cinnamon. It's your party — make a mix you're sure to love!


8 cups various cereals (I used equal parts Corn, Rice, and Wheat Chex.)

1. Lightly spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. Put the cereal, pretzels, cashews, peanuts, and honey sesame sticks in the slow cooker.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and garlic until everything is well combined. Drizzle the sauce evenly over the top of the cereal mixture. Toss for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is evenly combined.

4. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours, stirring with a large spoon every 30 minutes. Spread the mixture out onto parchment paper in an even layer until it cools to room temperature. Serve, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

Queso Blanco

Yield: Serves 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Queso Blanco is a spicy, melty cheese dip, and it's always popular. In fact, this was a regular part of my diet while I was in high school. My girlfriends and I used to head over to a local restaurant and eat bottomless bowls of chips. Fast-forward to today and I do my best to re-create that delicious appetizer we induldged in so often. The recipe can easily be doubled, or even tripled, for a larger crowd.


1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Combine the mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, creamed corn, butter, green chiles, oregano, cumin, salt, and jalapeño in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.

2. Stir the mixture until smooth, then add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Replace the cover and cook on High for 15 minutes more. The mixture should be creamy and smooth. Taste and add hot sauce, if desired.

3. Keep the cheese dip in the slow cooker on the Warm setting until ready to serve.


To reheat, place in the microwave with about 1 teaspoon warm water. Heat for 30 seconds, stir, add more water if needed, and repeat. The mixture thickens significantly as it cools.

Honey Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Yield: Serves 8 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 4 to 5 hours

Buffalo chicken is an excellent appetizer when you have friends over, but it can be tricky to balance how spicy you ought to make a dish. The additional honey makes the spiciness much milder, so you don't have to worry about alienating anyone.


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 large or 4 small)

1. Place the chicken in one layer in a 6-quart slow cooker and sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours.

2. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred roughly with two forks.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, hot sauce, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ketchup.

4. Toss the chicken in the hot sauce mixture and keep warm.

5. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the sauce (after the chicken is removed). Simmer on high for 5 minutes, or until thickened to a syrup consistency.

6. Serve on rolls, with carrot and celery stalks alongside.

Shredded Chicken Nachos

Yield: Serves 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 6 hours on Low or 3 hours on High

Salsa is a kitchen lifesaver, not just a pairing for chips. I make sure to have it stocked in the pantry at all times because I use it so often when cooking dinner. It makes for a wonderfully flavorful topping to a simple meal. Pick out a salsa according to your spice preference and get ready to dig in.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Pour the salsa and tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with the diced onion.

3. Cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred the meat with two forks. Set aside.

4. Preheat the broiler. Layer the tortilla chips in a cast-iron dish. Top with the chicken, jalapeño, black olives, black beans, four-cheese blend, and bell pepper. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, top with the Oaxaca cheese, and serve.


Excerpted from "Essential Slow Cooker Recipes"
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Copyright © 2017 Prime Publishing, LLC.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents



Appetizer Recipes

Bacon Cheeseburger Dip

Bacon-Wrapped Smokies

Barbeque Meatballs

Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa

Buffalo Wings

Parmesan Ranch Oyster Crackers

Sweet and Savory Party Mix

Queso Blanco

Shredded Chicken Nachos

7-Layer Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip


Bread Recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Corn Bread

Easy Artisan Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Monkey Bread

Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

Dinner Rolls



Banana Pecan French Toast

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

Sausage & Hash Brown Casserole

Chocolate Chip French Toast

Cinnamon Rolls

Coffee Cake

Easy Quiche

Veggie Omelet

Potato Puff Breakfast Casserole


Classic Recipes

Beef Stroganoff

Chicken Parmesan


Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Corned Beef and Cabbage

4-Cheese Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

From-Scratch Italian Lasagna

Ritz Cracker Meatloaf

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pot Roast

Pulled Pork

Sweet Southern Ribs

Roasted Chicken

Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce

Stuffed Peppers

Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

Tuna Casserole


Dinner Recipes

Baked Ziti

French Dip Sandwiches

Sweet Pineapple Ham

Ham and Cheese Potatoes


Potato Puff Casserole

Caesar Chicken

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Philly Cheesesteaks

Pierogi Casserole with Sausage

Soba Noodles with Vegetables

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

General Tso’s Chicken

Mississippi Chicken

Orange Chicken

Ranch Bacon Chicken Dinner

French Onion Pork Chops

Slow Cooker Chicken Breast with Stuffing

6-Ingredient Sriracha Chicken

Beef and Broccoli

Chicken Fried Rice

Honey Mustard Chicken and Broccoli

Lemon Pepper Salmon

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Teriyaki Chicken


Side Dish Recipes

Au Gratin Potatoes

DIY Baked Potatoes

Buttery Corn on the Cob

Creamed Corn

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Country-Style Baked Beans

Mac ‘n’ Cheese


Soup and Stew Recipes

French Onion Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Budget-Friendly Chicken Stew

Hungarian Goulash

Potato Soup

Hearty Beef Stew

Taco Soup


Dessert Recipes

Dump Cake

Apple Dumplings

Apple Pecan Bread Pudding

Berry Crumble

Caramel Blondies

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Hot Fudge Brownies

Peach Cobbler

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Cake


About the Author

Customer Reviews