There’s nothing like the slow cooker to make dinner easy, but during the week it can still be rough to get a home-cooked meal on the table. Happily, with only 20 minutes of prep required (or less!), these recipes make Crock-Pot cooking practically effortless. Dump in your ingredients and a few hours later you’ll be dining in style.

1. Slow-Cooker Mac + Cheese: Load up your slow cooker with pasta, cheeses, butter, milk, and spices; and a few hours later, you’re in comfort food heaven. (via Brit + Co)

2. Slow-Cooker Chicken Stroganoff: Everything goes in the slow cooker except the egg noodles, which are made on the stove top just before serving. (via Brit + Co)

3. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup: Only a little more complicated then opening a can of the condensed stuff, this slow-cooker chicken noodle soup recipe gives you way more bang for your buck. (via Brit + Co)

4. Slow-Cooker Baked Beans: Rich, smokey, savory, and sweet, baked beans can be a meal in themselves. Just pair with some B&M brown bread and you’ve got dinner. (via Brit + Co)

5. Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs: Cheese gives each bite of these chicken meatballs a ooey, gooey mouthfeel. Top them on spaghetti for a complete dinner. (via 3-Step Slow Cooker Cookbook; photo via Jennifer Blume)

6. Mini Slow-Cooker Lamb Tacos: Beer at once flavors and tenderizes the meat in these tacos. Skip the salsa recipe and opt for store-bought to make this recipe even quicker. (via Fiestas: Tidbits, Margaritas & More; photo via Isabella Martinez-Funcke)

7. Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Ribs: You don’t need a grill to enjoy barbecue. The slow-cooker simmers ribs in a tangy sauce until they’re falling off the bone. Blast them under the broiler right before serving to add irresistible caramelized notes to your meal. (via Spicy Southern Kitchen)

8. Slow-Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken: Peanut butter makes this chicken rich and saucy. It’s begging to be dished out over a bowl of noodles or fluffy white rice. (via The Recipe Critic)

9. Slow-Cooker Asian Meatballs: The secret to these meatballs? They’re not made from scratch — shhh. The ridiculously flavorful, ginger-honey sauce makes up for it. (via The Diary of a Real Housewife)

10. Red-Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs: After 15 minutes of prep and eight hours on low heat, this elegant dinner-party-worthy meal can be yours. (via Recipe Tin Eats)

11. Slow-Cooker Chipotle Orange Street Tacos: Citrusy, smokey, and spicy slow-cooked chicken forms the backbone of these tacos. Spoon it into warmed corn tortillas, then add your favorite toppings. (via Half Baked Harvest)

12. Slow-Cooker Sausage and Peppers: We love how versatile this recipe is. Add the sausage and peppers to hoagie rolls for lunch, mix with marinara for an Italian dinner, and chop up the leftovers to add to your omelet for breakfast the next morning. (via The Life Jolie)

13. Slow-Cooker Beef Stew: Tender chunks of beef, a complex broth, and loads of savory veggies mean this stew is about to become a staple in your house. (via Food Lovin’ Family)

14. Slow-Cooker Salmon With Creamy Lemon Sauce: Salmon needs something to brighten it up. In this case, it’s a zingy lemon sauce that clings to each bite. (via Diethood)

15. Slow-Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Utterly indulgent baked potato soup is one of our fave hands-off slow-cooker meals. Top your bowl with crispy bacon, sour cream, chives, and (of course) a handful of cheese. (via Well Plates)

16. Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja: Cuban-style shredded beef swimming in a sauce of chiles, tomato, cumin, and oregano is flavorful enough to stand on its own. If you have a little extra time, it’s even better when added to a bowl of beans, rice, and plantains. (via The Roasted Root)

17. Slow-Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken: Skip the delivery fees and make a batch of honey garlic slow-cooker chicken this weekend instead. By the time you get back from drinks with the girls, you’ll have a craveable dinner waiting for you in your Crock-Pot. (via Family Food on the Table)

18. Slow-Cooker Vegan Tikka Masala: Without meat to add a savory depth of flavor, lots of vegan dishes benefit from a low and slow cooking time. It gives the ingredients and spices an opportunity to meld together, creating a fully developed flavor profile that will make you forget about meat. (via Delish Knowledge)

19. Tacos Al Pastor: Once you give these pork and pineapple tacos a try, you just may find yourself craving them over and over again. Good news for you, making the meat in a slow-cooker means they’re practically effortless to whip up. (via Gimme Some Oven)

20. Butter Chicken: It takes less time to throw together this chicken than it would to head to your local take-out joint. (via Kitchen Sanctuary)

21. Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup: You will have eight servings of chicken enchilada soup to eat or save for later when you make this recipe, prepped in 10 minutes or less. (via Diethood)


RELATED: The Beginner’s Guide to Slow-Cookin’ Everything From Drinks to Dessert

Additional reporting by Heather Sage

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