Crock pot meals, dump dinners or slow cooker suppers – whatever you call them, these recipes are all about putting in minimum effort for maximum flavour. Our top 10 healthy, hearty, family-sized recipes are sure to leave everyone feeling satisfied – and there’s less washing-up to do afterwards. Simply prep your meals in the morning and come home to the smell of dinner, ready for plating up.
If you don’t have the kit, choose from the best slow cookers on the market and follow our advice for how to use them.
1. Slow cooker lasagne
Yes, you can make lasagne in your slow cooker! Simply layer up your pasta and sauce and you’ve got the perfect antidote to the winter chill. This low-calorie, low-fat version is classic family comfort food at its finest. Want to pack in even more veg for the kids? Try our five-a-day slow cooker lasagne.
Take a look at our healthy slow cooker recipe collection for more nutritious inspiration.
2. Slow cooker meatballs
Turkey mince makes these meatballs a lighter option for a family dinner. You can also get batch cooking and freeze them for speedy weeknight suppers. A little paprika and garlic makes this meaty pasta dish an instant win. Serve with rice, pasta or a simple green salad for a summery meal option.
Get more filling meal ideas from our family pasta recipe collection.
3. Slow cooker shepherd’s pie
Tuck into a comforting plate of shepherd’s pie with succulent mince and creamy mash. This recipe is also low-fat, low-calorie and chock-full of veg – in fact, three of your five-a-day. Use potatoes, sweet potatoes and crème fraîche for an addictive topping, and for an extra touch of luxury, try crisping it up under the grill for a few minutes.
Find more quick family comfort food recipes.
4. Slow cooker chicken casserole
Welcome to the world of low-fat comfort food in the shape of this wholesome chicken casserole. Porcini mushrooms add depth of flavour to your sauce and more chunky mushrooms, carrots and celery up your all-important veg count. Serve with Dijon mustard on the side for grown-up tastebuds.
Discover more delicious chicken creations in our healthy chicken collection.
5. Child-friendly slow cooker chilli
This versatile chilli can be munched in tacos, chomped with pasta or wolfed down in wraps. Batch cook our low-fat chilli and freeze for healthy dinners when you’re pushed for time. Serve with all the classic taco trimmings like soured cream, grated cheese and avocado. It’s sure to become a firm family favourite.
Try everything from confirmed classics to modern twists in our chilli con carne collection.
6. Creamy veggie korma
Creamy and healthy – not normally two words that go together in cooking, but this veggie korma manages just that. Everyone loves an easy one-pot and this freezable veg-filled wonder couldn’t be simpler. Stew your veggies in stock low and slow until tender and serve with basmati rice – and perhaps a homemade naan bread if you want the full takeaway experience.
Spice up your life and discover a new family favourite in our curry collection.
7. Big-batch Bolognese
A brilliant Bolognese recipe can satisfy even the pickiest of tastebuds. Prep the ingredients in 25 minutes and tip everything into your slow cooker for up to eight hours for a thick and saucy mince mix you can serve with pasta and plenty of parmesan.
Try more versatile Italian pasta plates with our ultimate Bolognese recipe collection.
8. Spiced carrot & lentil soup
Why not indulge in a warming, gently spiced bowl of carrot & lentil soup served fresh from the slow cooker. You can prepare this deliciously comforting recipe in 10 minutes flat. Blend your veggies after around 3 hours of cooking and keep it as smooth or chunky as you like. We love it served with a dollop of yogurt on top, a scattering of toasted seeds and warm naan bread.
Make all the comforting soups you love minus the calories with our healthy soup collection.
9. Slow cooker pork & apples
The classic flavour combination of pork with apples speaks of pure indulgence and yet, ours is a low-calorie dish. Keep it simple with tender, lean pork fillets, regular eating apples and a sauce made with crème fraîche and mustard. You’re only two steps away from a fabulous family dinner. Serve with greens for a complete, restaurant-worthy meal.
Find more triple-tested recipes for pork in our healthy pork collection.
10. Slow cooker mushroom risotto
Forget standing over a pan stirring constantly, this slow cooker mushroom risotto simply involves some light chopping then dishing up once everything has had a chance to stew to perfection. Sprinkle on a generous helping of parmesan for that deep, umami hit.
Master the art of cooking rice, Italian-style, with our veggie risotto recipe collection.
Like these recipes? Try other family meal ideas…
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Quick family recipes for busy weeknights
Easy family casseroles
What’s your family’s favourite slow cooker recipe? Leave a comment below…