Gallery: 15 Slow Cooker Recipes

Mexican Beef With Lime Crema and Pinto Beans
Mexican Beef With Lime Crema and Pinto Beans

Offering the ultimate in one-pot cooking, this fall-apart Mexican-style pot roast is prepared in the slow cooker, along with saucy, cowboy-style pinto beans that have been rinsed but not pre-soaked. Once cooked, just wrap the combo up in warm flour tortillas with a dollop of lime crema and enjoy.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Pork Paprikash
Pork Paprikash

Slow cooker paprika pork, seasoned with thyme and caraway, is finished with sour cream and served over egg noodles. The robust, tangy Hungarian-style dish is one of the best hearty and comforting options during winter's dreariest months. Plus it's easy to make, and it feeds a crowd.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Chicken Tomatillo Tacos
Chicken Tomatillo Tacos

Chicken thighs, a forgiving choice, get tender to the point that they're easily shredded. When incorporated into the cooking liquid, there's no need for extra condiments, save cilantro and onions for a bit of brightness on top.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Kalua Pork Sandwiches With Crispy Asian Slaw
Kalua Pork Sandwiches With Crispy Asian Slaw

A taste of the islands is particularly welcome during the winter, and this dish offers it in spades. Typically, this traditional Hawaiian method involves cooking meat—whole pigs in particular—in an underground oven, but your run-of-the-mill slow cooker can provide a pretty decent approximation. Pork, left to its own devices for an 18-hour cook, turns out tender, smoky, and salty—the perfect counterpoint to crunchy Asian slaw.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Chicago-Style Italian Beef and Sausage Combos
Chicago-Style Italian Beef and Sausage Combos

Here, in a full-on take, is the ubiquitous Chicago Italian combo in slow-cooker form: a hefty Italian sausage and Italian beef sandwich, tucked in crusty bread, soaked with heady jus and topped with hot giardinera. It's heaven in a bun, and about as good as any version I've had around town.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Pork Shoulder Pasta
Pork Shoulder Pasta

Comforting, aromatic slow-cooked pork shoulder makes for a rich, meaty pasta sauce. Here, it's seasoned with fennel seeds and thyme, garnished with Parmesan and a grating of lemon zest.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Tangy Brisket With Potatoes and Sweet Peppers
Tangy Brisket With Potatoes and Sweet Peppers

Brisket is one of those things that needs to be cooked low and slow. And for those planning ahead, it's even better when cooked, refrigerated and sliced for serving the next day. This version melds a vinegary tang with a touch of brown sugar, resulting in a deeply flavorful sauce that can be sopped up by the potatoes within.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Pho With Eye of Round
Pho With Eye of Round

Few things are more comforting or restorative than a piping-hot bowl of pho. And the scent when it cooks, slow and low, wafting throughout your home? That's about as good as it gets. This fairly effortless version is done in a slow cooker, resulting in a rich, aromatic broth that closely resembles the one served at your corner noodle store.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Filipino Pork With Garlic Fried Rice
Filipino Pork With Garlic Fried Rice

Simple but incredibly satisfying, Filipino adobo pork is everything a Sunday meal should be: hearty, homey, and fragrant enough to fill your home with "yum." Using pork shoulder and preparing it in a slow-cooker is relatively effortless, but the payoff is big. Left to its own devices for a long enough period of time, you get nice caramelization on the outside of the meat.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Savory Tomato Pork Stew
Savory Tomato Pork Stew

This stew is rich and meaty, while still taking advantage of the incredible bounty of tomatoes that is no doubt overflowing your counters and crisper drawers at the end of the summer. It takes a few hours to cook, so it's a great candidate for a weekend supper or a low-maintenance weeknight slow cooker meal. If you want to add a little heat, try adding 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the rest of the seasonings.

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[Photograph: Stephanie Stiavetti]

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Dr. Pepper
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Dr. Pepper

This recipe has a funny "secret" ingredient that you might not have considered cooking with: Dr. Pepper. In this context it adds an interesting dimension to the dish that nothing else could possibly provide. It gives this pulled pork a certain sweetness that just isn't possible with anything but good, old-fashioned sugar. A few other ingredients round out this dish, but really, the Dr Pepper is what makes it!

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[Photograph: Stephanie Stiavetti]

Spicy Pork and Cabbage Goulash Soup
Spicy Pork and Cabbage Goulash Soup

When the winter doldrums hit, nothing but a thick spicy soup will do. This goulash-inspired number has a little vinegar sharpness, and it warms you from the inside out. The aroma of it cooking will warm your home too. Pork stew meat, like shoulder, is recommended. However, you can use leftover cooked pork, or pork loin, too. Just reduce the cooking time so that you only heat the cooked pork through, otherwise it will dry out.

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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Apple Butter
Apple Butter

Did you know that in addition to soup, chili, and stew, your slow cooker can also be used to make delicious preserves, like this apple butter? This recipe uses a mix of Gala and Granny Smith apples, with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for flavor. Feel free to use your favorite cooking apples and spices. You can process the apple butter in a hot water bath and store it on the shelf for up to six months, or just store it in the fridge for up to two months.

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[Photograph: Lucy Baker]

Easy Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage Crunch and Avocado
Easy Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage Crunch and Avocado

A taco's filling is infinitely variable, so it's easy to make them on the cheap. All you've got to do is pick a hearty but inexpensive filling, and practice rigid discipline with respect to your garnishes. Pork butt can be had for a couple bucks a pound, and it's a fatty cut that responds beautifully to marinating and slow cooking. When it's shredded and mixed with a bit of barbecue sauce and a hint of chipotle, it's not only rich, but sweet, sour, and a little bit spicy.

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[Photograph: Cara Eisenpress]

Rauchbier Pulled Chicken
Rauchbier Pulled Chicken

This faux-barbecue pulled chicken is far from authentic, but it's delicious, easy to make, and perfect for advance prep. Throw everything in a six-quart slow cooker overnight, pull the meat in the morning, then refrigerate until your guests arrive. This recipe uses a smoky and spicy Märzen Rauchbier along with a can of chipotles in adobo to enhance the rich and smoky flavor of the sauce.

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[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]