Updated on 09.30.14

Five Essential Crock Pot Recipes

Trent Hamm

It is said that blogging is a conversation between bloggers and their readers, and hopefully it is never more evident than it is with this post. A few weeks ago, a cadre of my readers basically demanded that I post a listing of my ten favorite crock pot recipes as a solution to saving money by cooking at home and also saving time in the evening for a busy family. I spent about half an hour flipping through my recipes and selected ten of my favorite recipes. However, actually typing them up and translating my weird little notes is taking a substantial amount of time, so I’ve decided to post the first five now and the next five at a later date.

Hopefully, at least a few of these will spark your imagination (and taste buds) as well. Please note that many of these recipes will make a substantial quantity of food – we tend to eat a crock pot meal for two or three days and occasionally freeze leftovers as well. Also note that I tried to go with recipes that were savory and a bit unusual, but fairly simple.

One big tip! If you’re going to leave these on for more than eight hours, add an extra half a cup of water before you go. The biggest danger for cooking things in a crock pot longer than that is having the food dry out.

Without further ado…

1. Beef Burgundy

2 slices bacon – cooked and chopped
2 pounds sirloin tips cut into small cubes (one inch or so)
1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 beef boullion cube, crushed
1 cup red wine (Burgundy if you have it)

2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons water
4 ounces fresh mushrooms (optional)

Chop up the bacon and sirloin tips and cook them in a skillet for several minutes along with the garlic clove (make it two cloves if you like garlic flavor). While the meat is cooking, put everything else together except for the mushrooms, corn starch, and water in the crock pot and stir it. Dump in the entire contents of the skillet, stir the mixture, and set it on low. Leave for work. Come home, mix together the corn starch and water, pour that in, add the mushrooms, and kick it up to high for 15 final minutes. Serve.

2. Chicken Stew

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups potatoes, cubed
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 small can (6 ounce) tomato paste

1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons corn starch

Throw in everything but the corn starch and the water, stir it, and leave it on low for eight or ten hours. Come home, mix the water and the corn starch, dump it in, turn it on high for thirty minutes, and serve. Easy as pie.

3. (Like) Lasagna

1 box of pasta (rotini, ziti, something like that that looks like fun)
2 big jars pasta sauce (28 oz. each)
1 medium can diced tomatoes
3 eggs
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes

Cook the pasta according to directions (about five minutes). Cook the meats together and drain. Mix the pasta and olive oil and put the pasta on the bottom of the crock pot. Mix the meat, one cup of each of the cheeses, and one of the eggs and put that on top of the pasta. Mix the remaining ingredients and put that on the very top. Cover the crock pot, turn it on low, and come home to some faux lasagna.

4. Corn Stuffed Pork Chops

6 pork chops (see note below)
2 tablespoons green pepper, minced
2 ears sweet corn, cut from cob (or 1 can of corn)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 cup soft bread crumbs (you can tear bread into tiny pieces for this)
1 tablespoon minced onion (from the spice aisle)

When you go to the butcher to get the pork chops, tell the butcher you plan to stuff the chops and have him/her cut a large pouch in each one so you can stuff them. Mix everything else, stuff the chops with the mixture, close the slits with toothpicks, then sit them on a metal rack in the crock pot. Dump in three tablespoons of water, set it on low, and walk away.

5. Bratwursts, Sauerkraut, and Potatoes

(incidentally, my favorite recipe of all)

6 to 8 large bratwursts, boiled
2 bags (16 ounces each) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained (I make my own ‘kraut, but very few people do)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed (highly optional)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
6 to 8 medium red potatoes, peeled and quartered
32 ounces beer (I like using Guinness or Rogue Dead Guy Ale)

Put everything in the crock pot. Turn it on low. Walk away for at least eight hours.

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  1. Anne says:

    Now how about some vegetarian recipes? ;)

  2. Aimee says:

    We eat low-carb at our home (my husband is diabetic). I’ve had good luck adapting most slow-cooker recipes for our consumption, mostly by removing the potatoes and adding other lower-carb veggies, such as onions, celery, small carrots, etc. Our recent favoriate has been corned beef and cabbage (with the aforementioned onions, etc.) I put the corned beef in before work with some water, and add the veggies when I get home. Sooo good!

  3. kyle says:

    Thanks for these. My crockpot is just a wee 1.5qt one, and I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a bigger size for a while.

    The only problem I really have with most crockpot recipes is that they’re largely meat based, and I try and keep my meat intake to a minimun.

  4. David says:

    We make this one all the time and it takes like 5 minutes to prepare and 3 hours to cook on high. It is amazing! Also, we sometimes add cut up chicken to replace the beans if we feel like eating meat. Enjoy!

    2 cans (15 ounces each) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 small chicken breasts, cut up)
    1 package (16 oz) frozen bell pepper stirfry mixture
    1 cup frozen corn kernels
    1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
    3 tablespoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Combine beans (or chicken), pepper mixture, corn, tomatoes, chili powder, 1.5 teaspoons cumin in slow cooker, mix well
    Cover, cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5
    When done, stir in olive oil and remaining .5 teaspoon of cumin. Serve.

    Absolutely easy and fantastic.

  5. katy says:

    This may very well be in my head – but everything I seem to make in the crock pot comes out with an odd sweet taste. Anyone else ever noticed this?

  6. Austin says:

    No crock pot recipe list is complete without pot roast!
    1 lb of potatoes washed and cubed
    1 bag of peeled baby carrots
    1 large onion cut to desired size
    Beef pot roast (boneless and sized to fit in you crock pot)
    1 can of Progresso or Swanson French Onion Soup.
    1 tsp of seasoning salt.

    Dump in vegetables, place beef on top, then pour over French Onion Soup and dust all with seasoning salt.
    Cook on low for about 8 hours (covered) You should be able to break up beef with a spoon…

    Add: minced garlic, or Brussels sprouts, or soy beans.
    Try making it without potatoes and leave the lid off for the last hour. Then serve it on hoagie rolls as a sandwich.

    For reduced fat, let can of soup sit for a few hours and dip off the oil layer on top. To reduce fat even more, cook as recipe, then let cool to room temp and dip off solidified fat.

  7. Rich says:

    I was one of those who egged you on to post this, so a thank you is in order. Thanks Trent. Good luck with the book proposal.

  8. junger says:

    Being Jewish, my wife and I love to make cholent in our crock pot. If you’ve never had it before, you’re missing out!

  9. DaveN says:

    “I make my own ‘kraut, but very few people do”

    That’s the sign of an Alton Brown fan! :)

  10. Derek says:

    PLEASE post your recipe for making sauerkraut.

  11. robina says:

    Here’s another great crockpot recipe for some queso (chilli cheese dip). I’ve used this often at parties/potlucks/etc, and it always seems to go over well. Plus, it’s very easy to make. You can also mess with the amount of each ingredient slightly for preference (i.e. if you want it more or less cheesy), and it will still come out fine.

    -1 small can of Hormel Chilli without beans (about 15 ounces)
    -For every 1 lb of Velveeta Cheese

    Crock-Pot or other slow cooker

    1. Cut up cheese into small squares. The smaller they are, the faster it will melt.

    2. Put the chilli and cheese into the bowl of the Crock Pot, layering and mixing as you go.

    3. Place the cooker on low heat (if available).

    4. Allow the cooker to melt the cheese and warm the Queso for 1-1.5 hrs, stirring often to prevent burning.

    5. Once the Queso if fully melted and dip-worthy, you can keep the cooker plugged in for a little while; however I recommend unplugging it once the dip becomes thin.

  12. Kyra says:

    Thank you so much for these recipes! I adore my slow-cooker but have gotten tired of the same old same old – thanks for helping me spice up the menu!

  13. Joel says:

    Great stuff here. My favorite thing about slow-cooking is the smell when you come home from a long day! I’m starting to realize my need to use my slow-cooker more again. This post is an awesome starting point for me.

    Chili is another favorite of mine. Very simple, and it can last for a handful of meals. Put it over rice or pasta or add it to whatever else.

  14. Claire says:

    Tex Mex Chicken
    1 pkg boneless skinless chicken thighs
    2 cans original Rotel tomatoes + 1 can water
    1 pkg taco seasoning mix

    place thighs in crockpot, add taco seasoning, tomatoes and water cook on low 6-8 hours, add 1 can of corn and 1 can of black beans if desired.
    Great as a stew (with added water) or as taco or burrito meat.

  15. Amy says:

    Great recipes!

    Here is one very easy one for chicken tacos.

    Dump 4-6 frozen or thawed chicken breasts in a large crockpot. Dump one jar of salsa on top, and one packet of taco seasoning. Stir it into the salsa, and cook for 6-8 hours on low! Viola! Shred with a fork when done, and you have super easy – and fast – chicken tacos!! Top with your favorite taco toppings.

  16. Charlotte Wilson says:


    Thank you so much for these recipes! Now how do you make your own sauerkraut? Is this a family kraut recipe?

    Charlotte Wilson

  17. jeff smith says:

    We tried the Chicken Stew tonight. EXCELLENT! Everyone loved it. I didn’t use the herbs listed and added my own favorites, but it was a wonderful meal. Thank you for a new family favorite.

  18. Jared says:


    For the Bratwurst recipe, it says “6 to 8 large bratwursts, boiled” do you really boil the brats prior to putting them in the crockpot?

  19. michael bash says:

    One can only marvel that a reformed over-spender now gives financial advice (very good and much appreciated) AND cooking advice, i.e. where did that come from? 10 years ago the boy didn’t know how to boil water. It’s like Tom Cruise beimg asked for his opinion on the situation in Afghanistan. Heavens, the man speaks English with difficulty! Therefore, celebrity = judgment, education and intelligence. Lord save us.

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