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34 Summer Slow Cooker Recipes to Make All Season Long

It's not just for soup season

summer slow cooker recipes: pulled chicken sandwich
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

You’re likely thinking of retiring your slow cooker for the season, but not so fast. You really should be using this wonder appliance all summer long. Your Crockpot can get classic summer dinners—like pulled pork, barbecue ribs and even a peach cobbler—on the table with minimal hands-on work. Plus, it frees up the oven for other important dishes (like cherry slab pie). Here, 34 summer slow cooker recipes to make now through Labor Day.

6 Slow Cooker Mistakes You Might Be Making


1. Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, make ahead
  • Serves: 8

A giant batch of fork-tender pork for tacos, salads, rice bowls and beyond? This calls for a fiesta. Use it for lunch and dinner within three days after making, or keep it frozen for up to three months.

2. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: slow cooker recipe, one pot, high protein, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 6

Quesadillas! Tacos! Wraps! Sandwiches! You’ll get some serious mileage out of this set-it-and-forget-it recipe. I like to serve them with brioche buns, shredded lettuce and sliced tomato, but the choice is yours.

3. Slow Cooker Garlic-Herb Mashed Cauliflower

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: slow cooker recipe, low carb, keto-friendly, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 6

Your cheeseburger is looking a little lonely. Meet its new best friend, buttery and bursting with smashed garlic cloves, chives and rosemary. Trust me, you won’t miss the potatoes.

4. Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, high protein
  • Serves: 4

Consider this your kids’ new favorite dinner. Nothing beats walking in the door to the smell of honey-soy chicken after six hours of low-and-slow TLC. Just steam some white rice when you get home and it's ready to serve.

5. Slow Cooker Corn and Jalapeño Dip

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe, one pot, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: 6

Meet the barbecue’s most popular appetizer. Pepper jack, Parmesan, cream cheese and sour cream make an ooey-gooey base for canned corn and diced jalapeño. Top it with chives and bacon crumbles before serving with tortilla chips.

6. Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why I Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 10 to 12

A dish of this stuff won’t last long at a picnic. While you can totally make this on the stove or in the oven, I’m guessing that’s the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day. Just combine the ingredients and cook on low until the cheese is melted.

7. Crockpot Corn Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

I love this summer staple right off the cob, but I also don’t mind switching it up and eating it by the spoonful. Onion, celery, potato, thyme and chicken broth make it a dish you’ll crave year-round. The secret to keeping it creamy yet light? Evaporated milk.

8. Slow Cooker Chicken Piccata

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, slow cooker recipe, high protein
  • Serves: 4

Picture eating a bowl of this in the yard as the sun sets with a glass of chardonnay. Yup, you’re unwinding already. If you don’t want to make a trip to the store, try these substitutes for capers.

9. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly
  • Serves: 6

This is an easy win at any potluck, and the leftover pork chops work great in sandwiches and quesadillas to boot. Pile the meat on a bun with light and tangy coleslaw for an easy win.

10. Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, slow cooker recipe, high protein
  • Serves: 4

I’m always up for a plate of enchiladas, but assembling them can be time-consuming. Enter this genius Crockpot casserole. Think chicken, black beans, corn and all the fixings, melty and ready for some chip-dipping action.

11. Honey Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaer, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy
  • Serves: 12 to 16

Every once in a while you need a good finger food. The kids won't mind taste-testing this mess-free twist on wings. Especially since they're wrapped in corn tortillas and fried until crispy.

12. Slow Cooker Baked Beans

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, one pot, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

Summer's a busy season for these sweet little gems, since they make an appearance at pretty much every barbecue. Hang in the yard with a cocktail while these finish cooking inside.

13. Crockpot French Toast Casserole

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 20 minutes (plus soaking time)
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 8

Brunch on the deck? I’m so ready. Even better, almost all the work is done the night before. That means it'll be finished once you wake up, giving you plenty of time to make mimosas.

14. Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs In the Crockpot

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours
  • Why I Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6 to 8

Give the grill a break and whip up a rack of these indoors. The homemade barbecue sauce is a real keeper (we're talking blackberry preserves and molasses, y'all). And of course, these bad boys will fall right off the bone after five hours.

15. Slow Cooker Korean Short Rib Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

Oh, gochujang. Where do I even begin? This sweet-and-spicy fermented chili paste works wonders on beef in the Crockpot. Top with shredded cabbage for crunch and pickle spears for a briny finishing touch.

16. Slow Cooker Mediterranean Frittata

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegetarian, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

A gorgeous breakfast that requires basically zero effort? Count me in. This Mediterranean-style dish is prime for brunch on the porch. Extra goat cheese, please.

17. Slow Cooker Meal-Prep Burrito Bowls

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: make ahead, high protein, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 4

Add this filling fave to your meal-prep rotation, stat. The mix of slow-cooked pork shoulder, black beans and vegetables is tasty as is, but don't even get us started on the Greek yogurt-lime crema.

18. Slow Cooker Sriracha Meatballs

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours and 5 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, high protein, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: makes 36 to 40 meatballs

Pepper jelly. Sriracha ketchup. Sesame oil. These meatballs are onto something when it comes to drool-worthy condiments. Have them over jasmine rice or serve with toothpicks and ranch.

19. Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

Think tender slices of beef chuck on soft long rolls with a melty slice of provolone, baby arugula and lemon juice, all dipped in savory au jus. Your daily turkey and Swiss could never.

20. Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: Instant Pot recipe, slow cooker recipe, high protein, make ahead
  • Serves: 8

Canned green chiles and chipotles in adobo bring the heat to fork-tender beef chuck roast. Try swapping beef stock for your favorite Mexican lager. Don't want to wait for the slow cooker? Use the Instant Pot instead.

21. Crockpot Macaroni And Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Why I Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 10

Ribs, brisket and pulled pork somehow taste even better when nestled next to a scoop of mac. You'll never guess the secret ingredient. OK, OK...it's cheddar cheese soup.

22. Crockpot Beef Chili

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe, high protein
  • Serves: 8

Nothing beats a balanced, hearty chili. This one has heat from smoked paprika and chili powder, plus sweetness from cinnamon and maple syrup. Top it off with cheddar cheese, avocado and sliced green onion.

23. Easy Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients
  • Serves: makes 6 rolls

These are one way to get the kids out of bed. Store-bought dough makes this ridiculously easy to assemble. And I think this goes without saying, but you might want to make a double of the vanilla glaze.

24. Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 45 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, make ahead, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 8

Everyone's favorite game day side in liquid form—and that's including all the beloved fixings, from the bacon bits to the sour cream.

25. Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 20 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, high protein, crowd-pleaser, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: 6

This Southern classic is basically the OG one-pot dinner. The recipe is traditional—red potatoes, cut corn cobs, andouille sausage—and makes feeding a crowd a breeze. Don't be shy with the Old Bay.

26. Slow Cooker Greek Tacos with Lamb

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours
  • Why I Love It: gluten free, high protein, beginner friendly, slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 5 to 6

Your fave Mexican handheld just went Mediterranean. It turns out that ground lamb is the taco filling you didn't know you needed. Finish each one with feta crumbles and a drizzle of tzatziki, and you’ve got the best lamb recipe you will eat all summer.

27. BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza with Brussels Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy, high protein, slow cooker recipe
  • Serves: makes 1 pizza

Boy, does the slow cooker know what to do with pork. Here, pork tenderloin and your go-to BBQ sauce transform into a crowdpleaser the kids will ask for over and over again. Brownie points if you make your pizza dough from scratch.

28. Slow Cooker Crispy Chicken Carnitas

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: high protein, kid-friendly, slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 8 to 10

If you've ever wondered if there's such a thing as too many tacos, my answer is a hard no. Then again, this crispy, juicy meat tastes great on salad, in a pita or straight out of the slow cooker. The choice is yours.

29. Spicy Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: slow cooker recipe, crowd-pleaser, high protein
  • Serves: 6 to 8

Juicy chicken thighs, canned cannellini beans and shredded cheese make this zesty one-pot dish beyond satisfying. I'll take sour cream and hot sauce on mine, please.

30. Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 15 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, one pot
  • Serves: 8

Hosting a fancy dinner party? An impeccably roasted bird is just the ticket for wowing your guests. Serve the chicken and spuds with dressed greens.

31. Slow Cooker Stuffed Shells

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 25 minutes
  • Why I Love It: slow cooker recipe, one pot, kid-friendly, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser
  • Serves: 6

Because the only thing that can make pasta even more kid-friendly is a creamy cheese filling. I’m talking ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and fresh herbs.

32. Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 50 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pot, slow cooker recipe, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 8

In short, this vanilla ice cream-topped masterpiece tastes like summer. Feel free to substitute raspberries, strawberries or blueberries if you'd prefer.

33. Crockpot Peach Cobbler

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, slow cooker recipe, beginner-friendly
  • Serves: 10

'Tis the season for making anything and everything with stone fruit. This baby's got an entire stick of butter and eight whole peaches, so I figure it's a solid place to start. I'll bring the whipped cream.

34. Slow Cooker Oreo Cheesecake

  • Time Commitment: 5 hours and 30 minutes
  • Why I Love It: special occasion-worthy, kid-friendly, slow cooker recipe, make ahead
  • Serves: makes 1 cheesecake

If you've ever wondered why restaurant cheesecake is always so much better than what you make at home, chalk it up to the special equipment. You may not have an industrial water bath, but you do have a slow cooker. Look out, Cheesecake Factory.


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Freelance PureWow Editor

From 2015-2017 Hannah Loewentheil held the role of Editor covering entertainment, food, travel and all things nyc.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...