8 Family Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes for Fall & Winter!

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe in slow cooker with wood spoon and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

It’s time, my friends!  It SLOW COOKER SEASON!!  If you know…you know.  If you are new to the wonderful world of the slow cooker, well, you are about to have your life changed!  That’s because the slow cooker takes the stress out of dinner, gives you time back with your family, cooks dinner for YOU – oh and leaves the hair on your head (lol – yes, I have wanted to pull my hair out vs make dinner too)!  Because I know first hand how amazing the Slow Cooker is, today I have my top 8 Easy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes that you really must try this Fall and Winter!

These 8 Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes meet the following criteria:

  1. EASY – 90% of the Dinner is cooked in the slow cooker.  This means that the main protein and veggies are cooked in the slow cooker.  The only other parts of the dinner that may be needed are a starch or grain (pasta, rice, quinoa, potato, etc. and potentially a simple salad if you desire.  
  2. KID-FRIENDLY – these recipes are kid-tested and parents have confirmed to me that their kids enjoyed them!  Let’s face it, kids are finicky.  One day they love something and the next they don’t.  So, I don’t pretend that all kids will love these recipes.  However, there is nothing too spicy or too polarizing here.
  3. COMFORTING – It’s getting cold out and we this year, we all need a bit more comfort, right?  All of these recipes are sure to warm your insides and give you a cozy and comfy feeling.
  4. BALANCED – These are recipes that contain a balanced mix of vitamins and nutrients.  I don’t shy away from the yummy stuff (ehem, cheese:) but I do try to include a healthy dose of veggies!

A Slow Cooker is a Busy Family’s Best Friend

My slow cooker is one of my most beloved kitchen appliances.  Not only does a slow cooker make wonderful food, it helps to make your life easier and gives you peace of mind.  You can fill the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you are at work.  You come home to delicious and comforting aromas and have a warm dinner waiting for you.

I absolutely love love love my easy and simple (and not expensive) Crock-Pot.  I have the 6-Quart version with 5 settings (low 4-hour, low 6-hour, high 8-hour, high 10-hour, and warm).

There are other fancier versions and if I were in the market for a new slow cooker, I would want THIS one with a browning insert!  You can order this today and have it in a few days to start your Slow Cooker Cookin’!

So, here you go!

8 Easy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

1. Comforting Beef Stew over Noodles

Slow Cooker Beef Stew over Noodles on a plate. This is downhome comfort food that's full of flavor and texture with carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, beef, and more. Now, try pouring that salty, chunky, saucy goodness over noodles...yup, even more amazing! #beefstew #crockpot #slowcooker #easydinners #dinnerrecipes

Beef Stew over Noodles is one of those slow cooker dinner recipes that is just downhome comfort food. It’s full of flavor and texture with carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, beef, and more. Make it in the Slow Cooker and it’s like your Mom made it for you because it cooks all day while you are out and it’s waiting for you when you are home. Now, try pouring that salty, chunky, saucy goodness over noodles…yup, even more amazing!

2. Slow Cooker Light & Creamy Broccoli Soup

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Soup in two bowls on counter with crockpot in back. This is easy, comforting, and delicious! With Carrots, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, and Oregano, this is one flavorful soup. And, there is no heavy cream, just milk and a little half and half mixed with cornstarch, so it's healthy and gluten free!

This Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Soup is easy, comforting, and delicious!  With Carrots, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, and Oregano, this is one flavorful soup.  And, there is no heavy cream, just milk and a little half and half mixed with cornstarch, so you can feel good about eating this gluten free veggie-loaded soup!

3. Homemade Chicken & Veggie Soup

5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken Soup in a bowl with spoon and crockpot in background. This soup is thick, creamy, and hearty. It's filled with flavorful broth, meaty shredded chicken, and sweet bursts of bright veggies. You can prepare all of the ingredients ahead and freeze them until you are ready to cook. Then, thaw, pour into the Slow Cooker, set and forget.

This 5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken Soup is thick, creamy (but, no dairy!), and hearty.  It’s filled with flavorful broth, meaty shredded chicken, and sweet bursts of bright veggies.  But, this version is also the easiest ever because you prepare all of the ingredients ahead (even months ahead) and freeze them until you are ready to cook this wonderful meal.  Then you thaw, pour all of the ingredients into the Slow Cooker, set and forget.  Forget until those amazing and comforting aromas remind you that you have a Homemade Chicken Soup waiting for you!

4.  Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs are always a show-stopper and the perfect main dish for entertaining.  I have made them for holiday dinner parties, for Sunday family dinners, visits from out-of-towners, and thank you meals for friends.  They are incredibly decadent and taste like you slaved away in the kitchen for your guests.  The flavors from the onion, carrots, demi-glace, thyme, and garlic all seep into the meat, which is fall-apart tender and absolutely delicious.  These Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs taste amazing with Creamy Parmesan Polenta, so check out that recipe too!

5. Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley. It's an easy family dinner. 

This Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is loaded with flavor and texture.  With each spoonful you get a smokey and salty bite flavor from the pork, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion.  Carrots balance out this dish with a slightly sweet and tender bite.  Finally, the pork is so moist and fork tender.  But the best part is that this entire dinner can be made in the slow cooker during the day.  Or you can make it ahead in the oven and then reheat on a busy weeknight!

6. Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled on top!  It's such an easy dinner since the pork cooks in the slow cooker to be perfectly seasoned and fall apart tender. #tacos #easydinner #glutenfree #dinner #mexican #pork

These Slow Cooker Pork Tacos are mouthwateringly fantastic!  Top them with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled all over!  You get the salty and smoky flavor from the perfectly seasoned and slow cooked pork, a sweet and tart bite from the pickled onions, with creaminess from the cheese, and tang from the cilantro lime crema.

7. Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with basil and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

This is my easy, made-for-busy-moms Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe!  It has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.  It’s made with beef chuck, so it’s affordable and easy to work with.  It’s made without wine, but instead gets that acidic backdrop from Balsamic Vinegar.  And it’s easy for busy moms because it’s made in a slow cooker!  Just toss all ingredients in, set for 6-8 hours, shred the beef, and that’s it!

8. Slow Cooker Detox Cabbage Soup

Comfort soups can be good for you too.  This Slow Cooker Detox Cabbage Soup is really easy, low-calorie, veggie-packed, which is a great way to get some healthy in between the holiday feastes! This soup is light, but filling with cabbage, tomato, carrots, onion, and garlic. It is also so easy because it is made in the slow cooker, but you can make it faster on the stove as well. It is so good for you and so low calorie, that this makes a great dinner, lunch the next day, and snack whenever you get hungry!

BONUS: 9.  Brazilian Black Beans (Feijão)

Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans are thick, rich, and delicious! Serve as a side or main over rice.

These Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans, known as Feijão, are a traditional dish in Brazil. The slow cooker makes it incredibly easy to make these anytime and it allows all of the flavors from the meat, onion, cilantro, and garlic to cook into the beans for a distinctive, thick, saucy, and hearty dish. They are great as a side or a main dish. If you have never tried these beans, you really MUST and I promise you will love them.

 

What are YOUR favorite Slow Cooker recipes?  Please share in the comments!

😍 Carrie

Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

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Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley.  It's an easy family dinner. 

Are your weeknight dinners frazzled?  I hear you!  I used to be there too.  And if I don’t turn to my easy dinner arsenal, I can be right back there again!  BUT, this Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is yet another dinner to help make your life easier!  

This Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is loaded with flavor and texture.  With each spoonful you get a smokey and salty bite flavor from the pork, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion.  Carrots balance out this dish with a slightly sweet and tender bite.  Finally, the pork is so moist and fork tender.  But the best part is that this entire dinner can be made in the slow cooker during the day.  Or you can make it ahead in the oven and then reheat on a busy weeknight!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

THE MAGICAL SLOW COOKER

One of the easiest ways to make family dinners on busy weeknights is using a slow cooker!   You can put all of the ingredients into the pot and then set and forget.  The slow cooker does all of the work and you get a home filled with wonderful aromas and a hot meal just waiting to be enjoyed!  I have had the same slow cooker for years and there is absolutely nothing fancy about it.  But it’s never let me down and I never feel the need to get any other machines.  Check out my Shop page to see the slow cooker I would get today if I were going to replace mine!  It has a browning pot so you don’t have to dirty a second pan!

Here are a few of my family’s favorite slow cooker dinners:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT FOR THIS PORK STEW RECIPE

I made this recipe in a slow cooker.

However, you could also make it in the oven in a dutch oven or small roasting pan with a lid. To make this stew in the oven, follow the instructions for adding all of the ingredients. Then bake covered in the oven at 400 F degrees for 1-1.5 hours until the pork is fork tender.

And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR PORK STEW RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) ahead!

What can I say, this one is super easy!  The only thing you need to do for this recipe is prep the veggies and then mix everything in the slow cooker insert.

Up to 5 days ahead, you can peel and dice the carrots and onion. Also peel and mince the garlic.  These can be stored together in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

What else can I add to the stew?

For veggies, there are lots of options!  Veggies that can be added in from the start of the cooking are: creamer (baby gold) potatoes halved, sweet potato cubes, butternut squash cubes, celery slices, diced parsnips, or bell peppers.  Veggies that you will want to add in just the last hour are: kale, zucchini slices, or other soft vegetables that can get mushy.  Spinach can be added after the cooking is done and will wilt down in the hot stew in just minutes.

You can also add in egg noodles in the last hour and they should cook through for you!  Or you can add cooked rice or cooked quinoa.  

COOK YOUR PORK STEW RECIPE

Well, it doesn’t get much easy than this!  Just add the onion, carrots, and pork to the slow cooker insert. Then add the paprika, minced garlic, dried oregano, crushed bouillon cubes, water, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.

Adding paprika to raw pork and veggies in slow cooker insert for Paprika Pork Stew Recipe with carrots, onion, parsley.

All ingredients in slow cooker insert for Paprika Pork Stew Recipe with carrots, onion, parsley.

Turn the slow cooker to 6, 8, or 10 hours depending on your schedule.

Serve in a bowl by itself or over noodles and enjoy!

Can I freeze the stew?

Yes!  Absolutely!  This is a wonderful meal to make a ton of and then portion out for freezing. You can either freeze all of the ingredients raw and then add them to the slow cooker frozen.  In this case, you will wait to add the water until you are ready to cook.  Freeze the rest of the ingredients, then add them to the slow cooker frozen with the water, and set to 8 hours.

If you want to cook and then freeze, I like to first cool it in the fridge.  Then transfer it into freezer storage bags that can freeze flat and then be neatly stacked.  However, you can also freeze it in reusable plastic storage containers or glass freezer-safe containers.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley. It's an easy family dinner. 

Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

This Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is loaded with flavor and texture.  With each spoonful you get a smokey and salty bite flavor from the pork, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion.  Carrots balance out this dish with a slightly sweet and tender bite.  Finally, the pork is so moist and fork tender.  But the best part is that this entire dinner can be made in the slow cooker during the day.  Or you can make it ahead in the oven and then reheat on a busy weeknight! #porkstew #porkrecipes #easydinners

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef stew, crock pot, pork, Pork stew, slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 283 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pork stew meat, cubed
  • 1 Onion, yellow or 3 small shallots
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 4 Chicken or Beef Bouillon Cubes, crushed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 cups Water

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Peel and dice the carrots. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic.

Cook your Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

  1. Add the onion, carrots, and pork to the slow cooker insert. Then add the paprika, minced garlic, dried oregano, crushed bouillon cubes, water, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.

    All ingredients in slow cooker insert for Paprika Pork Stew Recipe with carrots, onion, parsley.
  2. Turn the slow cooker to 6, 8, or 10 hours depending on your schedule.

  3. Serve in a bowl by itself or over noodles and enjoy!

    Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley. It's an easy family dinner.