Cooking with your crockpot

I recieved the following email this past weekend and thought it would be the perfect time time of year to talk about crockpot cooking. The weather is cooling off, for most of us anyway, and having the aroma of dinner cooking in the house feels comforting somehow.

I do actually have a burning question for you. You have mentioned before how much you rely on your crock pot as a primary meal making resource and you have been discussing meals on your blog; so, I request that you share some of your go-to pot meals to include recipes please. I have recently rediscovered my crock pot, after leaving it in hibernation for seven years of marriage, and have made a rather tasty stew on several occasions, but I don’t have any more recipes for the darn thing and internet searches have brought up bupkis.

I sympathize with you. It seems that the majority of recipes I find use cream of something soup, and while I don’t mind using one of those recipes once in awhile, I certaily don’t want to make a weekly habit of it. One thing to remember about using a crockpot is that the liquid in the recipe will not cook away the way that it does on the stovetop.

I use my crockpot probably twice a week in the winter. Our hands down family favorite is chili. I think the children were initially won over to it by serving it with Tostitos.

Chili Recipe

2.5lbs of ground beef browned
one green pepper chopped
one onion chopped
a couple cloves of garlic, minced
4 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (sometimes I’ll substitute in a can of diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes. My kids prefer not to have chunks of tomatoes for some unknown reason.)
2 16 oz cans of red kidney beans
2 16 oz cans of cannellini beans
4tsp or so of chili powder (to taste)
1tsp of cayenne pepper

Put it all in the crockpot and cook it on low all day.

I serve it with a variety of Tostitos to scoop it out of your own personal bowl, like you would eat a dip.
You can also sprinkle some shredded cheese, sour cream, and gaucamole on the top if you desire and have that stuff on hand. I usually don’t.

This recipe feed my family with a bit left over. If no one askes to eat it for lunch in the next day or two I remake it into a pasta sauce. I dump the leftovers into my pot, on the stovetop, add two more cans of crushed tomatoes, some basil, and miced garlic and let it simmer for a hour or so. The I toss it with two pounds of pasta, I prefer rotini sice it seems to “grip” the sauce better.

I also make soups and stews. And I’ll use my breadmakers at the same time. I don’t think there is anything better than homemade soup served with fresh warm buttered bread.

Corn Chowder

this recipe courtesy of Fix It and Forget It Cookbook

12 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled
1 onion chopped
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
40 oz of frozen corn
2 cas of cream style corn
2Tbs of sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

saute the onion and potatoes in a pan until slightly golden before adding to crockpot

How can anything with bacon not be tasty? I served this as a side dish last year with Christmas dinner and it was well received.

Does anyone else have a good crockpot recipe that they would like to share? I love to hear about them. Put it in the comment section, maybe we can all add little more diversity to our meals.

38 Responses to “Cooking with your crockpot”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Gotta love the slow cooker! What a great post. My favorite thing isn’t really a meal, but a meal shortcut. I take 4 bone-in split chicken breasts, jam them in the cooker, cover, place on low for 4 hours (times will vary). I take them out and then cube/shread the chicken off the bone and put them into freezer bags. I usually get 3 good size bags of cubed chicken waiting in the freezer for a meal another day.

    I really enjoy the Fix it & Forget It Cookbook. Well worth the price.

  2. Kristi Says:

    What size crock do you use for your large family? I have a 3 quart crock that I need to retire (my children’s appetites are growing beyond it’s capacity). Just wondering if I should get the 5 quart or go for the gusto with the 6.5 qt one.

  3. Kristi Says:

    One of our favorites is pot roast. Just throw it in the crock with a package of dry onion soup mix, a cup of water, some garlic cloves and some large chunks of carrots. About 3 hrs before it is done, throw in some cubed potatoes or new potatoes.

  4. Deanna Says:

    I find recipes everywhere it seems. I use my crockpot a lot for cooking chicken or beef in a marinade to use in other recipes(for taco or enchilada meat) and as the recipe itself. Try looking under slow cooker recipes too. I have no access to any of my recipes right this second, but I would be glad to send some to you!
    Wait-I can give you a couple. Pork roast with onion soup mix and a can of cranberry sauce…really tasty. Chicken or pork with 1/4 cup each of soy sauce, oil, mustard(anykind), and OJ. Try for more. Not my site, but one I was able to look up.

  5. Diane Says:

    I don’t feed anyone but me, but love to make this (and the leftovers freeze well in individual containers). The recipe makes 6 1-cup servings…assuming the kids will eat barley.

    Italian Beef and Barley Soup

    1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    4 each carrot — cut into 1/4″ slices
    1 cup onion — chopped
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/3 cup pearl barley
    29 ounces beef broth
    1 can diced tomato (with Italian seasonings, or add 1 TBS italian seasoning)

    Heat oil in large pan. Brown ground beef over medium high heat. Drain/rinse well.

    Place carrots and onion in slow cooker; sprinkle with thyme, rosemary and pepper. Top with barley and meat. Pour broth and tomatoes with juice over meat.

    Cover; cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours.

    6 servings

  6. Murray Says:

    I have a good ol’ pot roast recipe from Miss Daisy’s in Franklin, TN. I make it in a crockpot, but you can make it in your oven too.
    Put a 3 lb. beef chuck roast in your crock-pot. Mix together one can of cream of mushroom soup (I know, I know…but this one is pretty darn good as it makes it’s own gravy to serve with mashed potatoes…and Miss Daisy is one of the best Southern cooks around!) Anyway, mix the condensed soup with an envelope of onion soup mix, 1 Tablespoon worcestershire, 1 Tablespoon steak sauce and 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley. Once mixed, pour over the roast and cook away. To make it in the oven, put the roast on a sheet of aluminum foil and pour the mixture over it. Seal the foil, put on a baking sheet and cook at 350 for 3 1/2 hours. Yum. Definite comfort food.

  7. rachel Says:

    ooh - I love the chowder one, it has no dairy in it! yay!

    I have a whole category for crockpot recipes on my recipe site. I use it all the time too. I have to cook every meal we eat, and it is only because of the crock pot that I stay (somewhat) sane.

  8. Gem Says:

    On your other blog, you asked for weekly menu-planning ideas. I use Menus4Moms. There is at least one weekly crockpot recipe; all the recipes are very down-to-earth and family. It includes menus for dinner Monday through Friday. Best of all — it’s free!

  9. T in HD Says:

    Is there anyone here who lives in Europe who knows where to find a decent-sized crockpot? I’ve been looking for one here in Germany for a year now and can find nothing. I even looked into getting one in the US while visiting and using a transformer for it over here but that didn’t work either. I am desperate to find one.

  10. The(un)perfectmother Says:

    T in HD,

    I know you can get them at the PX on the bases here… although I do not know if you can get on post to get one. I do believe that they come in the 220 variety for those people who live off post. Other than that… I havent seen to many crock pots around in Germany.

  11. T in HD Says:

    Can you get them in 220 in the PX? I looked in the PX while visiting the US (my father is retired military) but they only had 110. The problem is, I can’t get on post here in Germany because I am not military. It’s very frustrating because I live next to a military post. The only person I knew in the military moved back to the US a year and a half ago.

  12. Susanne Says:

    Sorry, no crockpots in Germany. Searching them on Amazon UK got eight results. You have to use a plug adapter, but that wouldn’t be a problem. As for the recipes I don’t know if it’s okay to point there, but there’s a “crock cooker menu mailer” on and there are free sample dinner receipts.

  13. Mary Says:

    DISCLAIMER IN CASE THIS COMES ACROSS WRONG: I don’t mean to criticize /at all/, because you manage to prepare food for your children, whereas I so far have only been able to reheat something for my (singular) child. So far be it from me to criticize!

    I am truly asking here - is it really worth it to make soup in the crock pot? Why is it better than Progresso? I understand it tastes a lot better, but honestly, that’s not enough for me.

    Also - Does it work to do the prep the night before? Doing all the work of cutting things up and stuff in the morning is NOT an option for me. I don’t even eat breakfast till I get to work.

    I hate cooking. :(

  14. Kara Says:

    yum…that corn chowder sounds yummy! I’m trying that tonight!

  15. T in HD Says:

    Mary–I don’t think it is about what is “better” only what people prefer. I prefer making meals from scratch but am short on time and, like some others, have more time for meal prep in the morning than in the evening. By evening, the kids are falling apart, I’m tired and the last thing I want to do is cook! I also like the fact that you can make all kinds of things in crockpots, not just soups. Yes, you can do the prep the night before. When I was growing up, my father did all the cooking, though he worked full time, so he would do the prep the night before. If you don’t mind canned or already-prepared foods, then I don’t see anything wrong with that. I find cooking from scratch a little cheaper and I like the taste better, so it is worth it to me.

    Susanne–I have looked on and and only found (a year ago) some miniature crockpots that would serve one person on Now I don’t even find these. I had not thought to look on Thank you for the idea. I would need one that ran on 220 though and I’m not sure if UK uses 220 or 110. In any case, I will look there. Übrigens, wo in Bayern wohnst Du? Wir sind neulich (vor einem Jahr) aus München nach BW gezogen.

  16. Milehimama Says:

    It is very worth it to make your own soup in crockpot. For one thing, it’s a lot cheaper - when I crock soup, it feeds 8 people with leftovers. I’d have to open 4-5 cans, at least, to do that.

    Also, you can avoid the sodium and MSG, which is very important to us. You can feed your children potatoes and carrots instead of “autolyzed yeast extract”. It is way healthier. Also, often companies put aritficial food dyes in too.
    I have some ‘healthy’ soup in my pantry for emergencies (can’t always make a pot of soup for lunch with a sick child) - the ingredients of the HEALTHY one include: (Campbell’s Healthy Request Vegetable Soup:)Modified food starch, High fructose corn syrup, yeast extract (another name for MSG), hydrolyzed wheat gluten, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.

    My soup contains: noodles, rice, barley or potatoes; chicken or stock from bones, onion, garlic powder, vergetables. I use canned tomatoes if I put them in. Spices that I choose depending on what kind of soup.

    I lived for 3 months with no stove or oven - just a crockpot and a microwave. You can make anything in a crockpot that you can make in an oven - even peach cobbler and applesauce!

    I like to put cubed pork or beef, a can of diced tomatoes, can of corn, can of black beans and make “Ropa Vieja” (season with onion, garlic, and cumin)

    Cut up potatoes or sweet potatoes. Put pork chops on top. Put some apricot jam on the pork chops. High for 4 hours or low for 8.

    Chicken breast, top with a can of diced tomatoes (undrained) , garlic powder and italian seasoning. Low 6-8 hours. For the last hour, put some provolone or mozzarella on it. Serve with noodles.
    You can make lasagna too, just get the ‘no boil’ noodles.

    Round steak (the cheap stuff.) Dump a can of tomatoes on it. Cook Low 6-8 hours. Serve over rice for swiss steak.

    I used to make roast chicken in it - put a whole chicken in. Make a ‘rack’ out of carrot or celery sticks so chicken doesn’t end up stewing in it’s own juices. Or put potatoes and carrots in the bottom, chicken on top. I don’t anymore because we are a 2 chicken family now. But I do make chick. broth with the leftovers and freeze it in quart bags and ice cube trays. We avoid fake-o chemicals and my son can’t have MSG, so I use that instead of the cubes, powders, or cans of broth (which are a total ripoff anyway!)

    My tip: Meat will cook fine, but brown any ground beef/turkey first. Otherwise it tastes “boiled” and weird.

    Oh, and my crockpot has a removable insert. You can put the whole meal together the night before and have it in the fridge, and pop it into the crockpot in the morning. My crock is 5 qt, I think - it’s oval and I can fit a whole chicken in it.

    Here’s some links to recipes too:

  17. Heather Says:

    I do the occasional cream of soup recipe-my personal favorite is chicken breasts, peeled and halved potatoes, with cream of chicken on top. Mostly I cook large portions of meat in mine-whole chicken, pork loin, turkey breast, roast beef. Add seasoning, potatoes, celery, onion, green beans and/or carrots, include a can of broth, and it comes out tender and juicy. Best of all, everything is there and done at the same time! I just vary the seasoning and type of potatoes/veggies depending on the meat or what sounds good that day (or, most likely, what in the produce drawer is about to go bad).

  18. Wendy Says:

    If you use your crockpot often then you have to get the crockpot liners. Cleaning it was the biggest turn off for me, then I remember the liners. Now, the pot doesnt have to soak overnight to get it clean.

  19. Kim Says:

    A friend recommended this to me. You put a pot roast in the crock pot and then cover it with BBQ sauce. You can add a sliced onion before tossing in the roast if you prefer too. Let that cook on low all day and by evening it’s falling apart. Leftovers make great sandwiches too!

  20. BaseballMama Says:

    I LOVE my crock pot. Seriously, I’m in love with it. I recently broke mine, but my sweet DH went out that evening and bought me a new one as an early birthday present. He probably knew that he wasn’t going to get fed if he didn’t replace it quick - hehe!

    My favorite recipe (which I just made last night) is Tamale Pie. The recipe calls for:
    1 egg
    1 c. milk
    1 lb ground meat (I have used beef or chicken)
    3/4 c. cornmeal
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp salt
    1 can Rotel (drained)
    1 can black beans (drained)
    1 can corn (drained)
    Shredded cheese

    Mix all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 3.5 hours. Just before serving sprinkle with cheese. I serve this with Tostitos and my family eats it like a dip.

    Another tip I have learned (but rarely remember to do) is to spray the bowl with cooking spray before adding ingredients. Clean up is oh so much easier when I remember to do this!

  21. Impromptu-Mom Says:

    Our absoulute favorite crock pot recipe comes from “Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” (which is definitely worth checking out at the library!).

    Chicken Stew with Pepper and Pineapple

    1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into small pieces
    4 medium carrots, cut into 1″ peices
    1/2 c chicken stock
    2 T finely chopped Gingerroot or 1 t ground Ginger
    1 T packed brown sugar
    2 T Soy Sauce
    1/2 t ground Allspice
    1/2 t red pepper sauce (eg. Tabasco)
    1 can(8oz) Pineapple Chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
    1 T cornstarch
    1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

    A) Mix everything except the pineapple, cornstarch and bell pepper in the slow-cooker.

    B) Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours

    C) Turn cooker to high. Mix reserved pineapple juice and cornstarch until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Wait 15 to thicken and then stir in pineapple and pepper.

    D) Serve over rice or noodles, or just eat from a bowl like a stew!

    Some notes:
    I always double or tripple this recipe. It makes a very small amount.
    Make sure your chicken mixture is bubbling hot before you add the cornstarch, or it will not thicken. Sometimes I turn it to high for the last hour of cooking to be sure that the temp is up.
    I often use whole, frozen chicken breasts (as that is what I usually have on hand) and cut it into small peices before adding the cornstarch mixture.

  22. jen Says:

    A great one I tried last week and even my kids enjoyed.

    Shredded Pork Sandwiches

    1-2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
    1 cup barbecue sauce
    1/2 cup apricot preserves (I’ve used orange marmalade too)
    1/3 cup chopped green peppers
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
    2 tsp brown sugar

    (if you feel the roast is big, double the amount of sauce…which I usually do anyway, it keeps it from tasting dried out)

    1. cut roast into quarters, place in sprayed (cooking spray) slow cooker
    2. combine barbecue sauce, perserves, peppers, onion, mustard and brown sugar, pour over roast
    3. cover, cook on low 6 to 8 hours or high 3 to 5 hours
    4. remove roast and shred pork, return to slow cooker, stir gently.
    5. cover, cook another 20 to 30 minute…until warm
    6. serve on rolls with onions rings or cole slaw on the side
    * you can also do this recipe with beef…aka.bbq beef sandwiches

  23. jen Says:

    PS: Forgot to mention for meal planning the best thing I did was sign up for . I liked having someone else tell me what I was eating for each night of the week and provide me with the shopping list including side dishes.

  24. Alice H Says:

    I like this recipe a lot: Paige’s Perfect Pork Chops. It *is* important to brown the pork chops while they’re frozen for this recipe. You can use chicken or vegetable broth instead of the boullion cube for this one, but be sure to up the amount of mustard you use accordingly. I usually add some of the bottled garlic to the mix too. The method can be used for cooking chicken or pork with whatever flavors you prefer.

    My husband loves the crockpot liners. (He has to do the cleanup.)

  25. Rebecca Says:

    Chris — how long do you cook the corn chowder? Sounds wonderful but I’m afraid to try it while guessing how long to cook it for fear of wrecking it (nothing worse than coming home, anticipating a great crock-pot meal, and finding your stuff either burned or just not good, the latter of which has happened a few times when I’ve tried new recipes).


    P.S. I don’t ever plan on being a mom, but I love your blogs and read them weekly!

  26. Mom on the Gulf Coast Says:

    Sorry it’s taken me a while to post this, I hope someone gets to benefit :-)

    Beef Stew

    1 packet of McCormick’s Crock Pot Classics (I think that’s what it’s called) Pot Roast or Beef Stew spice mix, either one is good
    5 cups assorted veggies, cubed
    1 to 2 lbs stew meat cubed into small bite-sized portions
    1 bay leaf

    I got the original recipe from the packet but I’ve modified as desired every time I make it. I now sear the meat with a light flour coating before adding it to the pot and I add a bay leaf each time because I like the taste of bay in my stew.

    Mix up the seasoning pack with the required amount of water (I think its 1 and a third cup H2O but check the pack, it should be of a sludgy consistency) and poor over the assorted ingredients in the pot, stir gently to coat everything and mix.

    Now here’s the important part, cover and cook on low for 8hrs or on high for 4hrs but DON’T TAKE THE LID OFF while cooking. The veggies will give off a considerable amount of water during the cooking process which the seasoning will thicken up nicely, taking the lid off allows a lot of the water vapor to escape and you loose that steamy heating goodness in the process.

    Serve with bread or nothing as a side, the stew should have everything you need in a meal in and of itself. I don’t add any additional salt as, of course, the packet came with some already but my husband adds to his so, salt to taste.


  27. chris Says:

    Wow, so many good recipes! Mmmmmm.

    Rachel, the link to your crock pot page is incorrect. So if anyone wants to check out her recipes here is the correct link:

  28. Jordana Says:

    I just got two new crockpot cookbooks, both of which had a lot of recipes that I have really enjoyed. I checked both books out from the library to preview them before buying and then had to buy them.

    One is The Gourmet Slow Cooker and the other is called Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.

  29. The(un)perfectmother Says:

    T in Heidelberg….

    Crud….. I can get you a Crockpot and I have a transformer that you can have… I am getting ready to move back to the States. No problem, really. I will look at the PX later today and see if they have dual voltage or 220 ones……

  30. rachel Says:

    thanks for fixing my link, chris! d’oh

    I made the corn chowder last night. YUM! I think next time we’ll go with 3 cans of creamed corn and 32 oz frozen corn, though. Of course I mucked with the spices a bit because I can’t help but muck with things.

    And we have food allergies/celiac disease, so we can’t eat most canned soups, so the crock pot gets us yummy dinners without much prep work. We are also on a budget, so cooking from scratch saves a ton of money.

  31. Andrea Q Says:

    Beef Stew

    Serves 6; Prep time: 15 minutes

    3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

    1/3 cup tomato paste

    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    Coarse salt and ground pepper

    1 pound medium onions (about 2), cut into 1-inch chunks

    1 pound (about 6) small white or red new potatoes, well scrubbed, halved if large

    1 pound carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

    6 garlic cloves, smashed

    2 bay leaves

    Note: To cook slowly, place beef in a 5-quart slow cooker. Distribute tomato paste, vinegar, and flour over beef; season generously with salt and pepper. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves. Cover slow cooker; cook on high until beef is fork-tender, about 5 hours (or cook on low heat 8 hours) Remove bay leaves and, if desired, season with salt and pepper before serving.

    From Everyday Food, Martha Stewart magazine

  32. mom8k Says:

    put a roast in crockpot-no need to brown first.
    chicken or pork would also be good.
    Cover with salsa–use your own instinct for quantity, I am usually working out of a Sam’s-sized jug.
    Cook for 10 or 12 hours, until meat falls apart.

    I usually serve this over brown rice, add green beans & applesauce & salad. Leftovers are great for sandwiches, and Mexican-type things.
    My favorite is to make a soup: Meat, sauce, leftover rice and beans, add a can or 2 of mexican corn & a can or 2 of black beans, maybe a little more water and anything else in the fridge that looks workable.
    Spice as desired.

    Another thing that sounds weird but really does work,
    chicken breasts in crock pot,
    clean out all the bottles and jars in the fridge (jams, jellies, salad dressings, soy sauce, mustard,ketsup, BBQ sauce, etc….altho I skip the ranch dressing)

    serve with rice, potatoes, or noodles,
    vegetable and applesauce and salad
    (see a trend here?)

  33. Kari Says:

    I have a great crockpot recipe - and it is sooooo simple! Just throw 8 chicken breasts (I use boneless, skinless), a pacakge of onion soup mix, some prepared italian dressing (it calls for 1/2 cup, but I usually use more), garlic powder and some water (about 1/2 cup or less). Just put it on low and it will be juicy and falling apart in about 8 hours. I use a wooden spoon to kind of shred the meat - yes you will be able to do this - it is so tender. Then we put it on buns and enjoy!

  34. Jen Says:

    I place sauerkraut, kielbasa, sliced or large cubes of white potatoes, baby carrots and some diced onion in the crockpot (in that order). I set it on low when I leave for work. I don’t rinse the sauerkraut but if you do - remember to put some water in.

    I serve with pumpernickle or rye bread.

    Makes the house smells delicious !

  35. Jen Says:

    Lotsa Bean Chili

    1 LB Ground Meat
    1 LB Bob Evans Regular Sausage (white tube)
    ½ LB Bacon – Diced
    2 Tsp Dry Mustard (I’ve used stadium or dijon mustard)
    1 Tsp Salt
    1 Tsp Black Pepper
    ½ Cup Sugar
    ½ Cup Brown Sugar
    ½ Cup Ketchup
    1 Large Onion – Diced

    2 14oz Cans Green Beans – Drained
    2 14oz Cans Kidney Beans – Rinsed and Drained
    2 14oz Cans Butter Beans – Rinsed and Drained
    2 14oz Cans Baked Beans
    1 14oz Can Lima or Waxed Beans (optional)

    Brown Ground Beef, Sausage, and Bacon and drain. Mix together remaining ingredients with meat in the Crock Pot. Cook on high for one hour and cook on low for 3 hours longer. This makes a lot but it freezes well.

    This is delicious with a crusty loaf of bread

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  37. Court Says:

    Just wanted to pass along a piece of info for T in HD:

    I, too, live in Germany and my German husband has often pondered the crockpot dilemma - crockpots fascinate his kitchen appliance loving head. At any rate, Tchibo is offering a “Glühwein- und Einkochautomat” this week and it looks something like a crockpot:

    Good luck on your search!

    By the way, my favorite memories of childhood meals revolve around those which my mom prepared in the crockpot - spaghetti, chili, ham & beans. Mmm!

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