40 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes That Make It Easy To Eat Light (2024)

40 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes That Make It Easy To Eat Light (1)

When the new year rolls around (and healthy eating resolutions roll in), we wish so badly we had a private chef to make it even easier. If you're also under the impression that the only way to eat healthier is buying tons of produce and doing endless kitchen prep, we've got news for you. The real secret is already in your kitchen: your humble slow cooker. (Yes, believe it!) Planning is key if you're trying to eat healthier, and it doesn't get any easier than these set-it-and-forget-it recipes. While the phrase "meal prep" might make you think of a kitchen sink full of pots and pans, you can prep like a champ thanks to your handy slow cooker, which makes making big batches of things you can eat all week SO simple. Whether you're in the mood for a healthy soup, a slow-cooker rotisserie chicken, or a stir-fry, each of these healthy slow-cooker recipes basically make themselves.

We're super-big fans of high-protein recipes to keep us full and energized all day long, and it turns out that the slow cooker is perfect for keeping our favorite meaty dishes tender and perfectly cooked without making us feel like we're eating bland "diet" food. We've got plenty of slow-cooker chicken meals, like our Crockpot white chicken chili, our Crockpot chicken fajitas, and our . If you didn't think you could make a top-notch chicken cacciatore in your slow cooker, you'll soon believe it!

And if you're a vegetarian, don't worry: We've got you covered too! Try our slow-cooker vegan butternut squash soup, our slow-cooker eggplant Parmesan, and our slow-cooker split pea soup. New to slow cooking? We've tested all the best slow cookers to make sure you find the best one for you and your kitchen.

Looking for more slow-cooker recipes? Try our best slow-cooker pork recipes, our top slow-cooker beef recipes, or even our favorite kid-approved slow-cooker recipes.

1

Slow-Cooker Garlic-Parmesan Chicken

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When you think Parm + chicken, your brain might go to melty, saucy chicken Parmesan, but we might dig this dish even more. All the flavor from the chicken thighs, butter, garlic, and thyme seep into the tender baby potatoes for a fully satisfying, comforting meal.

Get the Slow-Cooker Garlic-Parmesan Chicken recipe.

2

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Sure, everyone loves chicken noodle soup, but for some of us, there's nothing that soothes the soul like a big bowl of chicken tortilla soup. A slight kick from chili powder and fire-roasted tomatoes gives every bowlful a jolt of flavor.

Get the Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

3

Crockpot Spaghetti Squash

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News flash! You don't have to turn on your oven to make perfectly cooked spaghetti squash. Once you've cooked up your squash, why not put it to good use? Our four-cheese spaghetti squash is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. 😍

Get the Crockpot Spaghetti Squash recipe.

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4

Crockpot Pepper Steak

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Think stir-fry flavors can't work in a slow cooker? Think again! This pepper steak is a straightforward, savory sweet number that'll put your standard takeout to shame.

Get the Crockpot Pepper Steak recipe.

5

Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

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A simmering pot of soup on a chilly fall afternoon is the recipe for a cozy meal. This vegan butternut squash soup is made in a slow cooker, so after you chop up all your vegetables, it’s essentially hands-off!

Get the Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Soup recipe.

6

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

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Our slow-cooker white chicken chili couldn't be easier to make, and we love the texture it takes on once the beans are partially mashed. It might feel weird to use a potato masher in your slow cooker, but trust us, it works wonders!

Get the Crockpot White Chicken Chili recipe.

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7

Slow-Cooker Salmon

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Think of this recipe as a base for all future slow-cooked seafood dinner recipes. Feel free to switch up the citrus you use, make a bed of sliced onions or leeks, or throw in some herbs like rosemary or thyme if you like.

Get the Slow-Cooker Salmon recipe.

8

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

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Looking for a low-effort, stick-to-your-ribs dinner? You've come to the right place. This Tex-Mex-inspired soup is hearty, delicious, and endlessly riffable.

Get the Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe.

9

Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

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A big bowl of chili at dinnertime is what winter is all about. This turkey-based version is both comforting and healthy, and it comes together in no time. So grab your slow cooker and cozy on up!

Get the Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili recipe.

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10

Slow-Cooker Red Wine Beef Stew

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If you need an excuse to get your slow cooker out, this is it! Simmering beef, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions together for hours creates one of the most deeply satisfying stews you’ll ever eat.

Get the Slow-Cooker Red Wine Beef Stew recipe.

11

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

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A slow-cooker meal made with only four ingredients is really something to celebrate. The chicken falls apart and becomes immensely tender, while chunky salsa and piquant taco seasoning deliver classic Tex-Mex flavors. The final touch? A few bright hits of lime juice.

Get the Crockpot Salsa Chicken recipe.

12

Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

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The spiced garlicky herb sauce (sort of like a cheat chimichurri) is absolutely heavenly and will make this the best pork shoulder of your life. For serving, we'd recommend some herb roasted potatoes and a bright, leafy sautéed green like Swiss chard.

Get the Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder recipe.

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13

Crockpot Whole Chicken

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We know it sounds crazy, but you can replicate the deliciousness of a rotisserie chicken at home... in your slow cooker. To get that iconic crispy skin, slather the bird in a brown sugar spice rub and chuck it under the broiler before serving to achieve a beautiful, caramelized finish.

Get the Crockpot Whole Chicken recipe.

14

Easy Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

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A flavorful base of sautéed onion, carrots, garlic, and herbs takes this delicious autumn soup the next level. Also fantastic? The final drizzle of heavy cream.

Get the Easy Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup recipe.

15

Slow-Cooker Creamy Lemon Herb Chicken

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This slow-cooker creamy lemon herb chicken spends all day bubbling along and results in everything you want in a meal: delicious, comforting, and easy. By cooking low and slow, the humble chicken breast is transformed into something that melts in your mouth.

Get the Slow-Cooker Creamy Lemon Herb Chicken recipe.

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16

Slow-Cooker Beef & Broccoli

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In the world of Chinese-American classics, you can’t beat beef and broccoli. And while you can always order takeout, here at Delish, we’re so obsessed that we’ve found a way to make it in a slow cooker.

Get the .

17

Slow-Cooker Sausage & White Bean Soup

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A good, hearty white bean soup is one of our favorite ways to warm up in the colder months, especially when you can make it in your crockpot. We *do* suggest searing the sausage, though, if you can swing it. Seared sausage = more flavor.

Get the .

18

Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

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We love slow cookers because they do ALL of the work, so we can do literally anything else while dinner cooks. This recipe takes six hours, which is enough time to do all kinds of chores, self-care, and more. Need dinner faster? Make our classic chicken cacciatore instead.

Get the Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore recipe.

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19

Pumpkin Spice Slow-Cooker Oatmeal

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Forget the classic pumpkin spice latte—this pumpkin spice slow-cooker oatmeal will be your new morning pick-me-up. Heartier than a latte and a pastry, this pumpkin spice recipe is the hearty breakfast you need when you want to stay full and satisfied all morning long.

Get the Pumpkin Spice Slow-Cooker Oatmeal recipe.

20

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

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Slow cookers not only make your life easier, they also make chicken fajitas easier. Perfectly tender chicken and earthy bell peppers come together beautifully in this winner of a recipe. Just be sure to top with plenty of sour cream, cheese, and pickled red onions.

Get the Crockpot Chicken Fajitas recipe.

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Mackenzie Filson

Mackenzie Filson is a food writer and contributing digital food producer at Delish. Her favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate-pine. If wine was an astrological sign she'd be a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. She's never met a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos she didn't eat in one sitting.

40 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes That Make It Easy To Eat Light (2024)

FAQs

Can crockpot meals be healthy? ›

Healthy Ideas for the Slow Cooker

It's a great way to cook ribs, cobblers and potato salad during the summer (without heating up your entire kitchen!) and, believe it or not, you can even bake a loaf of homemade bread in one. So, it should come as no surprise that your trusty slow cooker is ideal for healthy meals too.

Are slow cookers a healthy way to cook? ›

A slow cooker can help with eating healthily, as this way of cooking doesn't need much (if any) fat, which can help to lower the calorie content. It also intensifies flavours – which is helpful when cutting down on salt.

How do I get the best results from a slow cooker? ›

Avoid overcrowding: For the best results, fill a slow cooker between one-half and two-thirds full. Go ahead and cook big roasts and whole chickens; just make sure you use a large crock and that the lid fits snugly on top. Trim fat: For silky sauces and gravies, take a minute or two and cut the excess fat from the meat.

Can Rice be healthy? ›

Is rice nutritious? Rice is a rich source of carbohydrates, the body's main fuel source. Carbohydrates can keep you energized and satisfied, and are important for fueling exercise. Brown rice, especially, is an excellent source of many nutrients, including fiber, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins.

How long is food safe in crockpot? ›

Most appliances will automatically shut off after 20 or so hours on this setting, but you shouldn't leave food in a slow cooker for an extended length of time. The general rule of thumb is that 2-4 hours is the maximum length of time you can leave food in a slow cooker on warm.

What should you not cook in a slow cooker? ›

​11 things you shouldn't put in your slow cooker
  1. Lean meats. ...
  2. Raw meat. ...
  3. Too much liquid. ...
  4. Delicate vegetables. ...
  5. Too much spice. ...
  6. Dairy. ...
  7. Too much booze. ...
  8. Meat that has the skin on.
Oct 12, 2022

Is it OK to put raw chicken in slow cooker? ›

Yes, you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker! Slow cookers and Crock-Pots are designed to cook raw meats. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created from the tightly covered container destroys bacteria, making slow cooking safe. You can put frozen chicken in a slow cooker, too!

Which is better a Crockpot or slow cooker? ›

What's the difference between a slow cooker and a Crockpot? A slow cooker and a Crockpot are the same thing, essentially. A slow cooker is an appliance of which there are lots of brands. Crockpot is one brand of slow cooker.

Why do you put a tea towel under slow cooker lid? ›

Soak up the condensation

Taste user Jenny says she puts a tea towel under her crockpot lid to catch water and stop it thinning too much. This technique is also a favourite with taste's food editor Miranda.

What is the best meat to slow cook? ›

The best cuts of meat for slow cooking
  • Chuck steak.
  • Round steak.
  • Blade steak.
  • Topside.
  • Silverside.
  • Skirt steak.
  • Shin (gravy) beef.
  • Sausages.

Do potatoes go on top or bottom of meat in crockpot? ›

Slow cooker recipes have (obviously) long cook times, and it's the meat—not the carrots—that benefit from it. By placing the protein at the bottom (closest to the heating element), and vegetables at the top, you can keep your plant parts a little more toothsome, while ensuring your meat is fall-apart tender.

Is 4 hours on high the same as 8 hours on low in a slow cooker? ›

The difference between "High" and "Low" on slow cookers seems to differ with every brand and model. One thing that is consistent, though, is that food takes seven to eight hours to reach a simmer point (around 210°) on low; versus three to four hours on high.

Can you put raw meat in a slow cooker? ›

Yes, you can add raw steak to a slow cooker to cook it to your desired doneness level.

Can I put frozen chicken in the Crockpot? ›

Information. It is best to thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. Frozen pieces will take longer to reach a safe internal temperature and could possibly result in foodborne illness. Frozen or partially frozen foods can also cool everything else in the slow cooker.

What are the benefits of slow cooker meals? ›

Slow cooker benefits.

They use less electricity than an oven and can be used year-round. Because of the long, low-temperature cooking, slow cookers help tenderize less-expensive cuts of meat. They usually allow for one-step preparation; putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker saves time and reduces cleanup.

Do slow cookers take nutrients out of food? ›

Because of the lower temperature, the nutrients in the food remain more stable than other methods of cooking. By virtue of being in sealed unit, whether using an electric slow cooker or in a casserole dish in your oven, any of the nutrients usually lost in the liquid from heat are simply reabsorbed into the meal.

Are nutrients lost in slow cooker? ›

While slow cooking does expose food to heat for an extended period, it also retains many vital nutrients.

Can home-cooked meals be unhealthy? ›

Start with fresh, healthy ingredients.

Similarly, adding too much sugar or salt can transform a healthy home-cooked meal into an unhealthy one.

References

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