But I wanted to come back and show a few more of my favorite crockpot recipes, because even though some have a little prep required, it can usually be done the night before or even prepped and stashed in the freezer for easy mornings and more delicious, home cooked dinners.
Tips for Making these Easy Crockpot Meals:
Prep what you can the day before. If there are a lot of vegetables to be shopped or meat to be cooked, this can often be done the day before. Sometimes, with many soups or stews, you can prep the entire meal in the slow cooker, then simply pop the insert in the fridge overnight. In the morning, all you have to do is pop it in and turn it on.
Crockpot recipes sometimes need a little oomph at the end of that long cook time — try adding freshness with some finely chopped fresh herbs or green onions to bright up the flavors. You can also use a little splash of something acidic (depending on the recipe of course!), a squeeze of lemon juice, a spoonful of ketchup, or splash of balsamic vinegar often does the trick.
Know your crockpot. All crockpots and slow cooker cook differently. I have had a few in my day (I have 3 that I use regularly!) and they all cook differently. Some are hotter, and some are cooler. The larger the slow cooker, the longer it will take to heat and cook, so that is also something to keep in mind.
My favorite crockpots and slow cookers!
Most often, I’m using a 2.5 quart casserole style crockpot that I love. It is wider and shallow, so you don’t have to stack everything up and it cooks more quickly. It is the perfect crockpot for someone cooking for 1-4 people and not doing large meals.
I also have a 4 quart crockpot that I use when I want to do a larger cut of meat, like a pot roast, or a big batch of soup. It’s everything I love about my 2.5 quart in a slightly bigger size.
I do have a 6 quart Hamilton Beach slow cooker that is great for cooking for a large group of people, but I do find it’s a little cooler and sometimes large chunks of meat have to be cut down into smaller pieces for it to cook by dinnertime.
Can I let my crockpot cook longer than the recipe says?
This is a tough one, and it really depends on the recipe and type of meal you’re making.
Some recipes can be left a little longer (we all know how valuable those long workday cook times can be!), but others are best if you stick to the recipe.
Things like chicken breasts and lean meats I prefer to cook for a short period of time (sometimes only 1.5-3 hours), so they stay juicy and are never overcooked.
Other recipes, like a larger piece of meat, a soup that does not have pasta added at the beginning (pasta cooks relatively quickly in the slow cooker), sauces and chilis can often be left longer and will be just as good.
If you have a crockpot that will automatically switch to keep warm when the cook time is up, and you can set the exact cook time (rather than select simply 8 or 10 hours), these are the best ones for making crockpot meals while you are out of the house.
Our favorite, tried and true crockpot meals:
These are the ones we come back to again and again!
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
This Slow Cooker Baked Ziti is actually made completely in the crockpot — even the pasta! It is so much easier than the traditional version but packs all of the same flavor!
This Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken Stew is bound to be your new favorite winter comfort food! It’s hearty, creamy, cheesy and loaded with vegetables! The crockpot makes it an easy weeknight meal.
These Crock Pot Chicken Thighs with Honey Balsamic glaze are sweet and sticky with just the right amount of tang and spice! A melt in your mouth tender, crockpot dump meal that the whole family will love!
This Crockpot Lasagna Soup recipe is full of flavor and can be made in the crockpot or Instant Pot! It's tomato based and made with Italian sausage, lasagna noodles, and lots of Italian herbs and cheeses.
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Honey Balsamic Glaze
This Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin is covered in an easy garlic herb rub and drizzled with a honey balsamic glaze! Everything cooks together in the crock pot with minimal effort and maximum flavour. It is moist, tender and perfect over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes!
A SUPER simple, flavorful meal with just a few ingredients! These Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Sandwiches are perfect for summer picnics, busy weeknights, or serve the chicken and sauce over pasta for a hearty meal! Gluten free and paleo options.
Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe + VIDEO
This Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Beef Stew is full of flavor and couldn’t be easier — just throw everything in and let it cook! Loaded with veggies and thick honey balsamic sauce. Step by step recipe video.
And a few easy Crockpot Desserts to round out your meal!
Crockpot Blackberry Cobbler
This Easy Crockpot Blackberry Cobbler recipe is a winner for sure! It comes together with just 10 minutes prep and cooks in the slow cooker, keeping your house cool and your oven free! Loaded with fresh blackberries and a crisp, cakey topping. Just begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!