A good slow cooker has so many benefits – among other things, it can be a lifesaver for busy parents on a school night. As long as you plan ahead, dinner can be waiting for you when you get home, so you can spend time with the kids rather than slaving over a hot stove. On top of that, it can also be an economical way to cook for your brood. Cheaper cuts of meat benefit from long, slow cooking, and it’s always great for making thrifty one-pot meals.
Winning family dinners
Our slow cooker meatballs recipe is ideal for getting ahead, as you should have plenty of leftover portions for storing in the freezer. It can cook on low for five hours without any interference, so it’s great if you’re out and about for the day. Also, the meatballs are made from turkey mince which is a lighter, healthy option and we’ve packed them with other flavours the kids will love.
If you’re short on time before plating up, our slow cooker lasagne only requires three hours to cook. The result is a comforting family pasta dish with extra-tender beef mince that’s low in fat and low in calories.
Ideal for families with young children, this child-friendly chilli is quick, hassle-free and can be batch cooked, allowing leftovers to be frozen for when you’re short on time. Cook it on low for around six hours after doing the preparation in the morning and return to glorious results come supper time. The chilli con carne mixture also contains hidden veg that will help nourish any fussy little eaters.
For a comforting family treat, try making a creamy Thai chicken curry using our super easy recipe with only a few ingredients. Leave these to meld together for several hours, resulting in an aromatic and satisfying family supper.
Watch this video on how to make our easiest ever slow cooker Thai chicken curry:
More family slow cooker dinners:
Slow cooker beef stew
Slow cooker sausage casserole
Slow cooker spaghetti Bolognese
Slow cooker Spanish chicken
Slow cooker shepherd’s pie
Slow cooker Goan pulled pork
Slow cooker pork fillet with apples
Slow cooker chicken curry
Slow cooker lamb curry
If you’re looking for a relaxed and easy veggie meal the whole family will love, our fragrant slow cooker vegetable curry should do the trick. This comforting dish delivers four of your 5-a-day, and the leftovers can be frozen for later. The chunky butternut squash, peppers and aubergine will soak up the aromatic spices while cooking, resulting in a deliciously creamy and flavourful dish to serve with wholemeal flatbreads.
Combine melty aubergines with summer veg in the slow cooker for a vibrant vegetarian stew which is perfect for al fresco entertaining. Serve with a zingy herb dressing and sprinkling of crumbly feta and flaked almonds. If you’re after a winter warmer, slow-cooked marrow with fennel & tomato is ideal for dunking a slice of crusty sourdough into, and also packs in four of your 5-a-day.
For veggie pasta lovers, our slow cooker vegetable lasagne will go down a treat. Made from layers of wholewheat pasta, ratatouille and sliced aubergine, this light supper is not only scrumptious but also packs in all five of your 5-a-day.
More veggie slow-cooked meals…
Make busy family weekends an absolute breeze by giving your Sunday roast the special slow-cooked treatment. This method of cooking will make the meat super succulent and full of flavour. Our roast chicken recipe only takes 15 minutes to prepare and the leftovers can be frozen, or perhaps used in a soup. Simply place the whole chicken in a pot with onions, carrots and a bay leaf and leave your slow cooker to do the hard work.
Take a trip to the continent for your roast inspiration with this easy one-pot Greek lamb. Infused with Mediterranean flavours, this slow-cooked centerpiece is great for entertaining and can be served with a range of Greek meze dishes.
If you prefer a traditional roast beef dinner, look no further than our slow cooker pot roast recipe. The rolled beef brisket will soak up all the gorgeous flavours in the red wine sauce, resulting in a mouth-wateringly tender roast dinner.
If the little ones in your family aren’t too adventurous when it comes to trying different types of meat, the recipes below make a brilliant and gentle introduction. Chicken thighs, beef brisket, pork shoulder and lamb neck all pack great flavour, and slow cooking really extracts the maximum amount of it. Of course, you can also use less meat and bulk out your meals with vegetables.
Cold winter nights will be so much more bearable with this warming and aromatic slow-cooked lamb tagine. Use a choice cut of meat such as shoulder, neck or leg, and mix with chunky veg and spices. Adding dried fruit such as cherries, apricots or prunes will also give the stew a hint of sweetness.
Another budget-friendly, flavourful option is our slow cooker honey mustard chicken thighs. This no-fuss dinner uses just a handful of ingredients, and kids will love the creamy honey and mustard sauce. For a low-fat yet satisfying family meal, try making our hearty slow cooker chicken casserole. This simple, crowd-pleasing dish requires just 10 minutes of prep time, then you can leave the hard work to your slow cooker.
More slow cooker recipes with cheap cuts:
Slow cooker puddings
It’s not just suppers that can be cooked to perfection in the slow cooker – these seriously comforting, homemade puds can all be simmered to perfection as well. Trust us, you won’t look back…
Start the day with our slow cooker bio yogurt, enriched with gut-friendly probiotics. This luxuriously creamy recipe requires only two ingredients – whole milk and live yogurt. It requires 17 hours to cook, so it’s more of a weekend project, but it’s completely worth it and can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks to feed your family. Mix the bio yogurt with fresh fruit, cereal or porridge for a healthy and filling breakfast.
If mornings are chaos in your household and the thought of being stuck at the stove for even a few minutes seems tough, this slow-cooked porridge could be the answer. Simply chuck the ingredients into your slow cooker before bed and wake up to a bowl of creamy comfort in the morning. Let the kids add their favourite toppings and you should be all set.
Plus… buying a slow cooker
If you want to find the best slow cooker for your family, as well as clever tips for getting the most out of your new gadget, check out our review of the best slow cookers plus 10 top tips for using a slow cooker.
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Do you have any slow cooker tips or favourite recipes? Leave a comment below…