During cold Winter days and nights, comfort food can be the first place we turn. It warms from the inside out and makes the evenings seem less gloomy.
What’s even better than comfort food? Comfort food that can be made in a crock-pot of course! Walk in the door after a hard day’s work to a delicious slow-cooked meal, or simply get all your errands done while dinner is simmering away.
From soups and breads to hearty dinners and desserts, here are 36 of the best crock-pot recipes to make this Winter.
Soups & Sauces
Butternut Squash Soup – ready in three hours, this delicious lunch or light dinner is filled with healthy ingredients like squash, apple, carrots and jalapeños. Top with coconut cream and coconut bacon to really pack a flavor punch. Vegan and gluten-free.
Black Bean Soup – a hearty meal with minimal effort and just seven ingredients, this soup is healthy, protein-rich and tasty. Vegan and gluten-free.
Potato and Corn Chowder – this is probably the easiest chowder you’ll ever make. The recipe makes eight portions so there’s plenty left over for freezing. With potato, corn and cream, it’s a perfectly comforting Fall or Winter dish. It’s loaded with antioxidant-rich herbs too. Vegan option and gluten-free option.
Minestrone – onions, carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, beans, whole wheat pasta and herbs and spices mean this soup is bursting with goodness. It makes for an ideal lunch or, for dinner, serve with a baked potato or some crusty bread. Vegan option and gluten-free option.
Marinara Sauce – store-bought spaghetti sauces are filled with sugar, salt and other unnecessary ingredients. Making your own is far healthier – and with this slow cooker recipe you won’t have to babysit it over the stove. After eight hours you’re left with a sweet and flavorful sauce that beats all others, hands-down. Freeze and use throughout the festive season for meals in minutes. Vegan and gluten-free.
Snacks & Sides
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread – if you haven’t made bread in your crock-put, you’re missing out. It takes all the pain and fuss out of the process. This fresh, crusty, rosemary and olive oil infused bread is delicious – and pairs perfectly with soups, salads, pastas, hummus and just about anything else you can think of. Vegan.
Cornbread – in just two hours your home will be filled with the scent of freshly baked cornbread – the ideal side for chilies and spicy soups. Vegetarian.
Bourbon Maple Baked Beans – with ingredients like maple syrup, BBQ sauce, mustard, molasses, apple cider vinegar and bourbon, and a 16 hour cook-time, these tender beans are incredibly flavorsome – slightly sweet, with a little spice and tang. Perfect for those cold evenings by the fire. Vegan option and gluten-free option.
Spanish Rice – in this classic recipe, rice, vegetables and spices are slow cooked for three hours for a perfect side to your favorite Mediterranean or Mexican inspired dishes. It’s also great served with a salad for a tasty lunch. Vegan and gluten-free.
Cranberry Apple Stuffing – when you’re preparing big Christmas and Thanksgiving meals, the oven can get a little crowded which is why this recipe is ideal. Set your crock-pot in the corner and leave it to work its magic on whole-wheat bread, apples, cranberries, herbs and eggs for a light and flavor-packed festive stuffing. Vegetarian option.
Hearty & Filling Dishes
Mac and Cheese – a quintessential Winter comfort food, this easy mac and cheese is made as creamy as possible thanks to a two hour slow cooking time. Vegetarian and gluten-free option.
Turkey Meatballs – lightly spiced, tender turkey meatballs are a perfect midweek meal, especially when served with a salad and some garlic bread sticks or on top of freshly made spaghetti. They keep well in the refrigerator for a few days so make extra and you’ll be set for lunch the next day too.
Sloppy Joes – this American classic and children’s favorite couldn’t be easier to make. Just add all the ingredients to your trusty crock-pot and leave it work away for three to six hours. Gluten-free.
Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – cheesy quinoa and southwest spices are slow cooked in juicy bell peppers for a healthy, protein-packed and filling dish. Just add some sweet potato wedges and a salad or some steamed greens for a complete meal. Vegetarian, vegan option and gluten-free.
Chili Chicken Tacos – chicken thighs, garlic, salsa, chilies and chili powder are simmered gently for hours until the meat falls apart, leaving you with something that’s ideal for shredding. Top with avocado, sour cream, lime juice and leafy greens and serve in a taco shell. Gluten-free option.
Meat Free Quinoa and Lentil Tacos – these quinoa and lentil tacos are so hearty that even die-hard carnivores won’t miss the meat. With a little sweet potato (great for your eyes!), tamari, paprika, cayenne and cumin, it’s got all the texture and flavor you need. Serve in a taco shell or soft tortilla with a variety of your favorite toppings. Vegan and gluten-free.
Indonesian Chicken – a tasty and unique recipe made with coconut milk, ginger, paprika, cinnamon and coriander, this creamy dish looks rich but is actually really healthy and full of protein and ‘good’ fats. Serve it with a side of veggies and some brown rice, quinoa or pasta. Gluten-free.
BBQ Ribs – if you’re a rib lover, this recipe is for you. Smoky, sweet and tangy, a nine-hour cooking time ensures the meat is just falling off the bone. It’s high in calories and fat though so lighten it up with a side salad or some steamed vegetables and make it a weekend treat, rather than a weekday ‘go-to’ recipe! Gluten-free.
Beef Stew – another classic cozy meal, this stew is filled with mushrooms, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion and tomatoes, along with beef, meaning you’ll be full for hours after eating. It’s also guaranteed to warm from the inside out. Gluten-free option.
Hearty Vegetable Stew – this vegetarian take on beef stew is even more delicious than the original. With starchy root vegetables like yams, potatoes, turnips and carrots along with herbs and a touch of spice it’s just what you need on those gray, rainy days. Vegan and gluten-free.
Barley and Chickpea Risotto – this dish takes just two hours to cook so you don’t have to leave your crock-pot on all day. Carrots, onion, cauliflower, chickpeas, pearl barley, lemon juice and Parmesan all combine to serve up a comforting Winter meal. Vegetarian option and vegan option.
Chicken Tikka Masala – curry always benefits from a long, slow cooking to really let those spices infuse. You can just throw all the ingredients into the pot and set it to cook or, if you have a little more time, you can marinate the chicken and sauté the onions and garlic with the spices first. Either way it will set your taste buds tingling and satisfy even the most voracious appetite. Gluten-free.
Chana Masala – who doesn’t love this traditional spicy Indian curry? It’s made even better by slow cooking it until the chickpeas are tender and the spices well and truly mingled. Served with some Basmati rice and a garlic naan bread, it’s always a crowd pleaser. Vegan and gluten-free.
Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes – add onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, sweet potato, spices and – the most important ingredient in any good chili – a little bit of cocoa powder and you’ve got yourself a warming and comforting midweek meal with minimal effort. Vegan and gluten-free.
Jambalaya – a fuss-free version of this southern classic, this Jambalaya recipe is bursting with flavor – thanks to abundant spices, vegetables of all colors, chicken, sausage and shrimp. A definite weekend treat or easy dinner for entertaining. Gluten-free.
Butternut Squash and Kale Veggie Lasagna – a veggie friendly slow-cooker lasagna, this dish is just brimming with flavor. It’s also super healthy, containing ingredients like coconut oil, kale, squash, garlic and whole-wheat. It’s a little bit more effort to prepare than other crock-pot recipes but the results are worth it! Vegetarian.
Three Cheese Lasagna – it’s hard to believe you can whip up a lasagna in the crock-pot, but you can! Just brown the meat in a skillet, add the three cheeses and a couple of other ingredients before layering in the pot. In four hours, you’ll be left with one tasty, fuss-free lasagna dish.
Creamy Oatmeal – crock-pot meals aren’t just limited to lunches and dinners you know! Breakfast can be a simple-to-prepare affair as well. This is the perfect answer for those who don’t have time to prepare breakfast – just have one waiting for you when you rise. While this is a basic recipe, the variations you can make are endless – including cinnamon-raisin oatmeal, coconut and chocolate chip oatmeal or an apple pie oatmeal. Vegan and gluten-free.
French Toast Casserole – for a more indulgent weekend breakfast, try this French Toast Casserole recipe. It’s still pretty healthy at just 277 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving. Wake early, turn on the crock-pot then hit snooze on the alarm until this sticky, gooey delight is ready for you. Vegetarian.
Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread – monkey bread or cinnamon rolls? There’s no need to choose thanks to this recipe. It makes for a truly lazy breakfast – using cinnamon roll dough from a can and cooked in the crock-pot in around 90 minutes. Soft, doughy, sweet and lightly spiced, it’s definitely a breakfast to save for special occasions – like Christmas morning. Enjoy! Vegan option.
Puddings & Desserts
Cranberry Walnut Stuffed Apples – a perfect dessert for a chilly Winter’s eve, these lightly spiced apples are cooked with cranberries, walnuts and oats. Your leftovers won’t go to waste – they make an ideal breakfast the next morning, topped with some Greek yogurt or coconut cream. Vegan option and gluten-free.
Mississippi Mud Pudding – satisfy your chocolate cravings with this easy to make dessert. Simply mix your ingredients and add to the crock-pot. In two hours you’ll have a perfect mud cake oozing with chocolatey goodness. Top with a cream of your choice and some chopped hazelnuts and pretend you spent hours slaving over it! Vegan option.
Vanilla Rice Pudding – this rice pudding has an added sweetness thanks to vanilla bean and maple syrup. Top it with some berries or stewed fruit of your choice for a little extra flavor and texture. It’s warming and filling making it perfect for long Wintery nights indoors. Vegan and gluten-free.
Mulled Cider – Winter isn’t the same without some mulled cider. By making it in a crock-pot, you can go about your day before settling down to a perfectly spiced festive drink with no preparation. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and orange make this a tasty treat to remember. Vegan option and gluten-free.
Horchata Latte – this creamy Latin American drink combines rice, cinnamon, almond milk and coffee which are slow cooked for four hours before serving warm, sprinkled with cinnamon. The recipe makes 22 servings so it’s perfect when catering for a crowd. Vegan and gluten-free.
Spiced Green Tea – green tea, especially Matcha green tea, is loaded with antioxidants, boosts energy and memory and has a calming effect. Blend it with cinnamon, ginger, juice and fruit and allow the flavors to infuse in the crock-pot for a few hours. The result is a soothing, warming and detoxifying tonic. Vegan and gluten-free.