Slow cooker recipes
The slow cooker is every lazy cook's best friend (Lazy? Us? Oh go on then...) Bung everything into the pot in the morning, and come home to a delicious, healthy dinner in the evening. What could be simpler? From hearty beef stews to spicy lamb dishes, the slow cooker's charm lies not just in its ease, but also in its versatility. So, we've rounded up some of our favourite slow cooker recipes. Rich and satisfying, these dishes are well worth the wait.
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Slow cooker chilli con carne
This slow cooker chilli con carne is a classic that feeds all the family. The best bit? Very little effort is required - just prepare the mince and pop it in the slow cooker all day, then sit back and enjoy the flavoursome results...
- 900g lean beef steak mince
- 2 medium onions (chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tsp chilli powder (mild or hot to taste)
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 beef stock cubes (crumbled)
- 1 tin kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- Fry the onions until they start to soften. Add the mince meat and garlic. Cook until the meat is browned.
- Add the chilli powder and crushed stock cubes, making sure you stir well.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the purée and bring to the boil.
- Pour into the slow cooker, add the kidney beans and stir again. Make sure that the slow cooker is no more than ⅔ full, then put the lid on.
- Cook on low for approximately 6 hours. When it's thoroughly cooked, warm it by turning up the heat for a couple of hours (as slow cookers vary check your handbook for how long it's ok to do this for).
- Serve with rice or jacket potato and top with grated cheese or soured cream.
Slow cooker lamb dahl
Spice up your supper with this tasty slow cooker lamb dish. With lentils and a sweet hint of mango, this family favourite is best served with copious amounts of rice and naan bread.
- 100g green dried lentils
- 500g lamb (any cut - cheap as you like)
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp curry paste (we like the pasanda ones)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp mango chutney
- Chop the onions and meat, and fry in the vegetable oil until browned.
- Chuck into the slow cooker.
- Stir in the curry paste and then add enough water to cover the meat.
- Add the lentils.
- Cook for at least 6 hours - the longer the better!
- Add the mango chutney and then cook for a bit longer.
Slow cooker chicken and bacon stew
Packed with vegetables, this succulent slow cooked chicken stew makes for a warming, delicious dinner. Thanks to the lengthy cooking time, this juicy dish is a flavour sensation.
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 8 rashers smoked back bacon (all fat removed and chopped into bite size pieces)
- 4 medium sized carrots (sliced)
- 8 mushrooms sliced in half (take off stalks)
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 55g butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 Chicken stock (eg OXO) cubes (crumbled in ½ pint boiled water)
- 2 rounded tbsp plain flour
- 1 rounded tbsp tomato puree
- Turn the slow cooker on to high or if using the oven, turn it on to 180°C.
- Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken until it is lightly browned and cooked all over. Transfer to a warmed slow cooker or ovenproof dish, if cooking in oven.
- Do the same with the carrots, bacon, mushrooms and onion, transferring each ingredient to the slow cooker or ovenproof dish as they are browned.
- Stir in the flour, tomato puree and seasoning into a frying pan, then slowly add the stock, stirring continuously as you bring it to the boil. If it goes lumpy, blend with a hand blender to smooth the sauce.
- Pour ¾ of the sauce over everything in the slow cooker or ovenproof dish, cover and cook for 4 hours in slow cooker or 1 hour and 30 minutes in the oven. (Add more of the sauce if needed - heat the sauce again before adding it.)
- Serve with potatoes and a green vegetable of your choice.
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Slow cooker beef bourguignon
This French classic, cooked in fine red wine, is a deliciously rich beef stew. Best served with a crusty baguette, it's perfect if you're entertaining, or fancy something a little more indulgent for your midweek supper.
- 600g diced beef
- 200g shallots, peeled and quartered
- 6 rashers bacon (diced)
- 187ml (small bottle) red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 beef stock pot
- 150ml water
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dry mixed
- 2 bayleaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon until it is just turning crispy. Then put it into the slow cooker.
- Fry the beef until just browned and add to the slow cooker.
- Fry the onion and garlic for about 1 minute, then add the flour, stock pot and water. Stir well until heated through - then add to the slow cooker.
- Add the seasonings and wine in the slow cooker, mixing everything together.
- Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.
- Add the mushrooms 1 hour before serving.
Slow cooker Mediterranean vegetarian casserole
Maximum taste. Minimal effort. That's our kind of cooking! You don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy this healthy dish, packed with nutrition.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 3 sticks celery
- Half a bulb fennel
- Can of chopped tomatoes
- Handful of brown lentils
- Can of butter beans
- Smoked paprika
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Fry them gently in olive oil until they are soft.
- Chop all of the other vegetables and place in the slow cooker. Add the onion, garlic, brown lentils, tin of tomatoes and smoked paprika to taste. Add a further tin full of water.
- Cook for 5 hours on high.
- Half an hour before serving, add a can of butter beans and salt and pepper to taste.
Slow cooker gammon and root vegetable stew
Good things come to those who wait. That's certainly true of this hearty gammon and vegetable stew. This slow cooker meal is so easy it only has two steps, but the flavours are anything but simple.
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 pork/ham stock cubes
- 1 red chilli
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
- New potatoes (with the skins on)
- Gammon joint
- Chop the ingredients into cubes and put everything in the slow cooker. Cover with hot water and the stock cubes.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
Slower cooker braised oxtail with stout and red wine
This rich, boozy stew is a dish to be savoured. Simply prepare in the morning, leave to cook slowly all day, intensifying the flavours, and enjoy this delicious meal in the evening.
- 1.6kg oxtail (cut into pieces)
- 40g plain flour
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 750ml good red wine (like Burgundy)
- 350ml Guinness
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 10 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 8 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 25g butter
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If using a conventional oven preheat to 150°C/Gas Mark 2.
- Dust the oxtail with flour, and season well with salt and black pepper. Pour the olive oil into a large flameproof casserole dish set over a high heat. Add the oxtail in small batches and quickly seal on all sides, cooking until the meat begins to brown. Remove each batch and transfer to a plate and repeat until all the meat is browned and sealed.
- Once all the meat is browned, return to the casserole and pour over the wine and Guinness. Add the thyme, garlic and shallots and bring to the boil.
- Put all ingredients into the slow cooker and leave for 6 to 8 hours, or over night. You can also cook it slowly in the oven in a casserole dish, complete with lid, slowly for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is tender.
- Remove from the oven or slow cooker and add chopped parsley and butter.
For more recipes, check out our dinner ideas page, packed with an archive of family-friendly recipes.