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12 Slow Cooker Drop Dinners That Practically Make Themselves

published Jan 6, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Slow cooker drop dinners (or dump dinners, as they’re also commonly known) are exactly what they sound like. These simple dinner essentials ask nothing more of you than dumping the ingredients into the slow cooker, plopping on the lid, and letting the slow cooker do its work. Okay, you might need to chop an onion or measure some broth, but that’s the extent of the upfront prep work. Hours later you’ve got a warm, satisfying dinner.

So, the real question is not if you’re going to make a drop dinner, but what kind of drop dinner are you in the mood for. There’s a lot to choose from: soups, curries, tender shredded beef — even lasagna and whole chicken. Here are 12 slow cooker drop dinners to get you started.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Drop everything in the cooker in the morning and by the end of the day you’ve got a full-flavored broth loaded with soft, tender beans and all the spiced undertones you expect from black bean soup.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef

In classic drop-dinner fashion, you’ll add the beef and a simple five-ingredient pantry sauce straight to the slow cooker in the morning, then leave it to cook all day. Take your pick between serving it over egg noodles or polenta, layering it on a sandwich, or stuffing it into a tortilla for tacos, burritos, or quesadillas.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Beef

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. How To Make Easy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

The best ever way to top off this classic, chunky soup is with a generous shower of shredded cheddar and crumbled-up cheddar crackers. You won’t be disappointed.

Get the recipe: How To Make Easy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

It’s a little untraditional, but a jar of your favorite marinara sauce makes the best (and easiest!) base for this soup. It delivers a flavor and texture you just can’t get from canned tomatoes.

Get the recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

Inspired by a Southern classic, a can of root beer packs just the right combo of sweetness and acidity to partner with rich, fatty pork shoulder.

Get the recipe: 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

6. Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry

You’ll want to save the coconut milk until the very end of cooking to take full advantage of its rich flavor and creaminess.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry

7. The Easiest Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This big-batch pork recipe starts with just a simple rub, so it’s a prime choice for filling tacos, burritos, and BBQ sandwiches, or topping salads and soups.

Get the recipe: The Easiest Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Slow Cooker Ravioli Lasagna

Inspired by the layered classic, this version still delivers all the goodness of pasta, sauce, and a double dose of cheese, with a small fraction of the work.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Ravioli Lasagna

9. Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

This light and hearty soup freezes like a dream, so it’s always a good idea to make a double batch. Your future self will thank you.

Get the recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

Credit: Leela Cyd

10. How To Cook a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

What slow cooker chicken lacks in crispy skin, it more than makes up for with impossibly juicy meat that practically melts in your mouth.

Get the recipe: How To Cook a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Slow Cooker Golden Chickpea Soup

Where you’ll want to focus your efforts is on topping your bowl. A dollop of tangy Greek yogurt, squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle of fresh cilantro really make this soup pop with a big, bright flavor.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Golden Chickpea Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

12. Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken

I speak from experience when I tell you that once you make a batch of saucy BBQ shredded chicken in your slow cooker, you’ll never make it another way again.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: 12 Slow Cooker Drop Dinners That Practically Make Themselves