Most of us lead very busy lives with work, family and kids to look after. So if there is a way to make meal times less stressful and more enjoyable, then everyone should take advantage of that.
Crockpots or slow cookers are an ideal way of cutting down on the time you spend in the kitchen.
We have found 33 of the best dump dinners for the crockpot so that you can have more free time to relax and unwind after a busy day.
For most soup and stew recipes you can just dump and set the crockpot, but some benefit from cooking the veg a little and searing the meat lending an extra layer of flavor.
A crockpot is one of the best ways to cook a stew and this garlic Parmesan chicken stew is no exception.
You can use chicken breasts or thighs depending on which you prefer or have to hand. You can use your own choice of vegetable or stick with classics such as potato and carrots.
The heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and seasoning add the delicious liquid and flavor.
Mac and cheese (see also ‘11 Best Cheeses For Mac And Cheese’) has got to be on the top ten list of most people’s favorite dinner dishes. And this one is just perfect for cooking in the crockpot.
Remember to spray the crockpot and stir the pasta every hour to stop it sticking together.
However the chicken broth and evaporated milk do an excellent job of keeping the dish moist and adding delicious flavors.
Chicken cooked in a creamy tomato sauce is a perfect weekday dinner and all the more so when it is done in your crockpot with minimum work.
The canned tomatoes and pasta sauce are added together along with the cream, cornstarch and seasoning. Then the chicken is bedded down to tenderize slowly for 3-5 hours.
Once the chicken is cooked add the basil and serve over pasta.
This is a hearty soup perfect for fall or winter. A mix of Italian sausage, potatoes, kale and Parmesan cheese. Memories of the Olive Garden will come flooding back.
The herby sausages add their own flavor to this amazing soup and there is an excellent balance of sweetness and spice. If you prefer you can swap the kale for spinach.
Serve with crusty bread for a comforting midweek meal.
Garlic and herb flavored chicken thighs slow cooked are a wonderfully tasty weeknight dinner treat (see also ‘29 Super Fun Weeknight Dinner Recipes‘).
By the time these are cooked the meat will be falling off the bone and melting in your mouth.
The secret to these tender morsels is that they are seared before being put in the crockpot. This seals in the moisture and stops them becoming stringy and tasteless.
Add taco seasoning instead of herbs as a variation.
This is a healthier version of hamburger helper.
The ground beef and onion are cooked in a skillet and then transferred to the crockpot with the vegetables, broth, tomato sauce and seasoning.
It can be cooked on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours to allow the flavors to infuse. Just before the cooking time is up add the pasta so that it doesn’t become too mushy.
A great fall evening dinner for all the family, this creamy Italian chicken noodle soup (see also ‘30 Delicious And Authentic Italian Soup Recipes‘) is very filling. The chicken and peppers are cooked in the broth for 3-6 hours and then shredded and put back in the crockpot.
Add the cream and cornstarch along with the pasta and spinach. Continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes until al dente. Stir in the Parmesan cheese before serving.
This wholesome winter warming soup will be welcomed on chilly evenings. Tender chunks of beef and delicious vegetables absorb the flavors of the seasoning over the cooking time.
Browning the meat before adding it to the crockpot seals in the flavors and creates a better texture in the finished dish.
At the end of cooking add a splash of balsamic vinegar or ketchup to liven up the taste.
9. BBQ Chicken
The boneless and skinless chicken in this recipe will melt in your mouth after just 3-4 hours on low in your crockpot.
To save time use store bought barbecue sauce for this tasty chicken dish. Add some of your own secret ingredients such as unsweetened pineapple juice, and you have a tasty dish for your crockpot.
Take the chicken out when cooked, shred and add back into the sauce.
A crock pot is the perfect way to cook pulled pork. The slow cooking breaks down the meat making it melt in the mouth delicious.
Add some apple juice and seasoning to the pork in the pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Then shred with two forks and return to the pot with the remaining juices and some barbecue sauce. Serve in hamburger buns.
What a treat for a midweek dinner! Sweet and sour meatballs made with fresh or frozen beef meatballs, red and green peppers and pineapple chunks.
Dump them all in the crockpot and pour over the sauce made from sugar, vinegar, ketchup and cornstarch among other things.
Cook for 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 on high until the meatballs are done, and the sauce has thickened.
12. Crockpot Lasagna
Made with only six ingredients this is a great way to cook lasagna. The Italian sausage and onion are cooked in a skillet and the sauce is added.
With a layer of sauce on the bottom of the crockpot you can layer the lasagna sheets then add the sauce, the mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan
Repeat 2 more times and then cook on low for 2-3 hours.
This is a filling and nutritious soup that you will love serving to your family.
Soft, tender potatoes, crispy bacon, green onions and cheddar cheese all blend beautifully together in this dish.
Cooking takes almost 8 and a half hours, but the end result is a delicious and warming soup that your family will want again and again. This also makes a great dinner party starter.
14. Pot Roast
A pot roast cooked in your crockpot is the ultimate in comfort food. Season the meat first and then sear it in a pan before putting it in the crockpot.
Cooking the onions in the same pan soaks up some of the meat flavor, add the liquid ingredients and make the sauce.
This is then poured over the meat and vegetables which is cooked on low for around 8 hours.
For those really busy days this honey lemon chicken is perfect for cooking in a crockpot.
Boneless chicken is chopped into bite sized pieces and browned before putting into the pot with the lemon juice, honey, broth and soy sauce.
Cook on low for 3 hours or on high for 1 and a half to 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning to taste and add a little lemon zest.
A little cheat code for this recipe cuts the preparation time to 15 minutes.
Put the beef, onion and seasoning in a bowl and cook in the microwave for 8-10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.
Now add to the crockpot with the other ingredients and cook for 6-7 hours on low and 4-5 hours on high. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Overflowing with flavor this crockpot dish is a real winter warmer.
Tender pieces of stewing beef, soft potatoes and nutritious vegetables are cooked in a medley of balsamic vinegar, honey, beef broth and seasoning.
This is a dish that you can set and forget. In 8 hours you will have a delicious meal for the whole family to enjoy. Serve with some thick, crusty, fresh bread.
Everyone loves pork chops and these glazed pork chops cooked in a crockpot are going to be top of your family’s list from now on.
Sear both sides of the chops for a couple of minutes and then lay in the crockpot with some sliced onions.
Pour over the mixture of liquid ingredients and seasoning and cook for 6-7 hours on low or until tender.
Although cooking chicken sandwiches in a crockpot may sound tricky this works really well.
Simply add four chicken breasts to the pot with some tomatoes and pesto and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Once cooked, shred the chicken and serve it in buns or a wrap with some shredded cheese and fresh basil Or alternatively you can have it with some salad, rice or potatoes.
20. Barbecue Ribs
These barbecue ribs are ideal for cooking in a crockpot as not only does it break down the fibers of the meat, but it also infuses the flavor of the marinade into the ribs.
A combination of barbecue sauce, sugar, minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce the marinade is poured over the ribs.
They are cooked for 7-9 hours on low depending on how tender you want the meat to be.
21. Baked Ziti
If you like meat and cheese this is the crockpot recipe for you. The ground beef or sausage is cooked in a skillet with the onion and seasoning, then the sauce is added.
Next all the creamy cheeses are mixed together with egg and basil. This is then layered in the crockpot with the meat and sauce. Cook for 2 ½ hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.
Delicious moist chicken with sweet pineapple, a great dinner dish with a taste of Hawaii. This dish only takes 10 minutes to prepare and cooks in your crockpot for 5 hours.
Simply place chicken breasts in a lightly greased crockpot then mix and pour over the sauce ingredients.
Put the pineapple rings on top of the chicken to allow the juice to infuse with the meat.
A healthy and hearty soup for chilly fall evenings this soup is full of delicious and nutritious vegetables, even your kids will love it.
Simply brown the meat with the onions, add the seasonings and tomatoes then top off with the shredded cabbage and beef broth (see also ‘39 Easy Dinner Ideas Using Cabbage‘).
Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and serve with some crusty bread.
This dish is a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. The combination of colors makes it instantly appealing. Best of all it takes a mere 5 minutes of preparation time.
Seasoning and sealing the chicken gives it a beautiful golden color. Then you can add the sauteed garlic, cream, stock and Parmesan cheese.
Not forgetting the sun dried tomatoes. So much flavor and color!
Juicy and tender pork chops covered in a delectable sauce, and all with just 10 minutes of preparation.
The sauce is a combination of honey, soy sauce, citrus juice, ketchup and paprika. Place the pork chops in the bottom of a lightly greased crockpot and pour the sauce over.
Now, let it do its magic. Cook for 5-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
For cold winter days this hearty dish will warm you all the way through.
A great thing about this recipe is that you can use tougher cuts of meat and the slow cooking will break it down. You will be left with melt in the mouth juicy beef.
Chunky winter vegetables are cooked with the beef in a sauce flavored with Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar.
This is a Puerto Rican style dish of ground beef, onion and peppers flavored with enticing Latin American spices including sofrito and adobo.
The mixture is added to the crockpot after lightly sauteing along with the seasoning and liquid ingredients. It’s then cooked for 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
Stuffed olives and raisins are added during the last hour of cooking.
A wonderfully aromatic and tender chicken dish that looks and tastes amazing. The best thing though is that this is a true dump dinner for your crockpot.
All the ingredients are mixed and placed in the pot to simmer to delicious perfection. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
During the last hour stir in some cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce and help it stick to the meat.
A dish that the whole family will enjoy, this takes just minutes to prepare. Place the potatoes and onions in the pot, sear the chicken, add the seasoning, lemon juice and chicken broth.
The slow cooking allows the lemon flavor to penetrate the chicken making it tender. The potatoes will be softened and absorb the lemon and chicken goodness.
Cook for 5 ½ to 7 hours on low.
Carnitas are really versatile, you can add them to nachos, tacos or a salad. So this is a crockpot dish that you will use again.
The Coke in this recipe, along with the lime and orange juices help to tenderize the pork so that it falls apart.
Put the pork joint in the crockpot with the seasoning, add the liquid ingredients and cook for 8-10 hours on low.
This is a wonderfully flavorful and aromatic dish that will fill your kitchen with the delicious smells of the East.
The creamy peanut flavored chicken will be cooked to perfection and the zucchini and red pepper add color and texture.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours or 2-3 hours on high. In the last half hour add some cilantro and lime juice. Serve over noodles and garnish with peanuts.
A rich chicken dish with a tasty tomato sauce, chicken cacciatore is an easy Italian recipe that can be prepared in your crockpot.
Using bone-in chicken thighs means the meat will not dry out during cooking. Searing it in a pan gives it a nice golden color and sauteing the veg in the same pan retains the chicken flavor.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 on high.
An irresistible dish for any time of year, this tortellini soup with Italian sausage takes just minutes to prepare.
Remove the sausage from its casing and fry with onion and garlic.
Add to the crockpot along with the chopped carrots, celery broth and tomatoes. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5.
Half an hour before serving add the tortellini, cream and spinach.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Can Food Be Left In A Crockpot?
To keep food warm in a crockpot the maximum time is about 2 hours. After this the food should be transferred to the refrigerator.
Is It Okay To Dump Everything Into A Crockpot?
Most stews and soups allow you to just dump the ingredients and set the crockpot. Some recipes do benefit from cooking veg slightly and searing meat for color and to seal in the flavor.
Can Crockpot Meals Be Prepared The Night Before?
Yes, you can prepare vegetables and sear meat the night before. Leave in the crockpot and store in the fridge overnight.
There are so many things you can do with your crockpot, and it is a great tool to make your life a little easier.
Without the need to stand and supervise the cooking you have more time to relax or spend with your family.
Cooking should be fun not a chore and using your crockpot allows you to experiment and try out different recipes.
We hope that the recipes we have provided here will give you some inspiration and encourage you to use your crockpot more often.
Give yourself the night off and let the crockpot do the work.