Cooking for one means dinner can easily become yet another turkey sandwich or bowl of cereal. Yawn. Instead of letting the single life rob you of delicious meals, whip up one of these amazing Crock-Pot recipes. If you prep and cook on the weekend, you’ll have killer leftovers that make worrying about weeknight meals a thing of the past. You can also freeze single portions—because who wants to eat the exact same meal five days in a row?

Whether you’re a die-hard ramen fan or you like to keep things vegetarian, we’ve got you covered. And since the Crock-Pot does most of the work, you’ll suddenly have tons more free time to go for a run, meditate, or catch up on Last Week Tonight.

Chicken and Turkey

Slow cooker ramen is just as easy (and way healthier) than packaged!
Photo: Simple Healthy Kitchen

Instant noodle bowls may be reminiscent of dorm dinners, but there’s something about the salty soup that’s undeniably delicious. For a healthier alternative that’s nearly as easy, try this recipe which calls on the slow cooker to do all the heavy lifting. Even the soft boiled eggs get cooked right in the broth.

Photo: Back to Her Roots

Chili is one of the greatest comfort foods out there. This recipe is an easy version that’s filled with lean protein from turkey and lots of filling fiber from beans and corn, so you can eat a bowl without feeling like you’re going to burst. Simply brown the meat, add it to the Crock-Pot with the rest of the ingredients, and then forget about it for a couple of hours.

Photo: Girl and the Kitchen

This smart soup is packed with veggies and a flavorful broth to give you a perfect balance of healthy and tasty. It's also filled with chicken, so don't worry, you won't be skimping on a hearty, protein-packed meal if you opt for this lighter soup instead.

Photo: Slim Sanity

Nothing says Sunday dinner like some hearty meatballs. Unfortunately the process of rolling and cooking them can eat up the middle of the day, which is why this recipe is perfect for a weekend dedicated to catching up on some chores—or Netflix. Prep the meatballs in the morning and they’ll slowly cook all day.

Photo: Fit Slow Cooker Queen

Ever get tired of plain chicken? We do too, but this recipe is far from boring and super easy to prepare. The sweet coconut and savory cilantro combo mix with cumin, coriander, and curry to create a dish that shocks your taste buds and keeps you excited with every bite. Not to mention, the whole meal takes only seven steps to make. What could be better?

Photo: Fit Slow Cooker Queen

Who says turkey is only for Thanksgiving? With 25 grams of protein in three ounces of breast meat, it’s a great choice any time of the year. Cooking the bird in broth with coconut milk keeps it moist and lets it soak up some of the sweet flavor. This may not be your typical turkey dinner, but it's easier (and tastier, in our opinion).

Photo: Host the Toast

Braised chicken tacos from a Mexican restaurant might be delicious, but why not bring the fiesta home? A simple sauce comes together in the blender and then gets the low and slow treatment with some chicken thighs. Garnish choices are only limited by your imagination. Bacon pico de gallo? We're in.

Photo: Fit Slow Cooker Queen

Capture the taste of Jamaica by blending up a sauce of habañeros, spices, ginger, and pineapple juice. It’s sweet, spicy, and insanely good. And with just five ingredients, it couldn't get much easier to prepare.

Photo: Bowl of Delicious

Greek-style anything is good in our books, but this easy recipe will turn your boring chicken into a fancy dinner in no time. In just five steps from beginning to end, you'll be ready to serve this Greek dish for everyone. Bada bing bada boom.

Meatless

Make lasagna in less time with this recipe
Photo: Damn Delicious

Brussels sprouts lover? You need this recipe. It'll probably even convince the sprout haters to join your side. Slow cooking the sprouts is easier and more flavorful because the whole time they're in the crockpot, they're soaking up all the extra spices so they'll be ready to serve when you pull them out.

Photo: Holy Cow Vegan

Creamy, fragrant dal is the chicken soup of Indian cooking. Bring the exotic flavors home by cooking up a batch in the Crock-Pot with ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, and some greens. A final flourish of lemon and cilantro completes the meal, which is a good source of fiber and protein.

Photo: Healthy Slow Cooking

Tomato and basil sauce is never as hearty as a meat ragu, sadly. But you can get the same texture, and a lot more staying power, by filling up with this Bolognese loaded with mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, and eggplant. Chop the veggies in the food processor, add to the Crock-Pot with the rest of the ingredients, and set it to cook. There’s plenty of time to run errands.

Photo: A Ducks Oven

Canned soup is convenient, but it also often comes with corn syrup and potassium chloride. No thanks. Peeling tomatoes and roasting garlic for this recipe take a little bit of prep time, but it’s pretty much no-maintenance after that. High in lycopene that could help prevent a stroke Dietary and Circulating Lycopene and Stroke Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Li, X., Xu, J. Scientific Reports, 2014 May 22;4:5031 , tomatoes have a tangy and sweet flavor that’s perfect in this soup.

Photo: Hummusapien

For a vegetarian entrée with some serious staying power, try this vegetarian curry. It’s filled with veggies for tons of vitamins and antioxidants, chickpeas for protein, and a little bit of apple for natural sweetness. Get creative with the leftovers: Serve on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, add an egg on top, or even pureé it with a little water to transform it into soup.

Photo: Honey Ghee and Me

Thom Kha Gai soup is filled with sweet, spicy, and sour flavors that make it a favorite at Thai restaurants. A slow-cooker version makes it easy enough to enjoy at home all the time. Add tofu, vegetable stock, coconut milk, and a bunch of seasonings to the insert and let it cook. Forget takeout, this is make-in goodness.

Photo: Tastes Lovely

Beans and potatoes will fill you up in this hearty soup, and there’s loads of vitamins thanks to the kale. The recipe includes steps for garlic-rosemary crostini to top it all off, but if you don’t have time, any quality loaf of bread makes a delicious dunker.

Photo: Raising Generation Nourished

Packed with beans, mushrooms, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli, this casserole brings serious flavor and loads of texture. The quinoa and beans alone provide about 10 grams of protein per serving to keep you satisfied, and a final sprinkle of Parmesan sends it over the top. It’s a natural for dinner but also perfect for lunch and breakfast.

Photo: A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

It’s time for beets to get some attention outside the realm of salads and this old-school soup does the trick. Sauté some veggies and caraway, then add them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Beets and cabbage provide lots of filling fiber and give this soup just enough sweetness. Sour cream is a traditional topper, but Greek yogurt works just as well.

Photo: Damn Delicious

You’ve probably had Mexican rice, but what about Mexican quinoa? This Crock-Pot recipe makes getting dinner on the table really easy. A combo of peppers, corn, black beans, and cheese ensures it’s as tasty as it is healthy. Leftovers can easily morph into burritos and tacos.

Photo: Minimalist Baker

There’s nothing wrong with traditional stuffed peppers, but this version seriously amps up the flavor. Mix up some quinoa, salsa, and black beans for a filling that’s far from ordinary. Tip: Pick different colored peppers for a rainbow effect.

Pork

Bet you never made pork as flavorful and tender as this!
Photo: The Roasted Root

It seems like tea is finding its way into a lot of foods, but many of them just end up tasting like a mouthful of potpourri. Yuck! This pork dish gets just enough aroma from chai tea and some apple cider. When leftovers taste like this, you’ll want to use your slow cooker way more often.

Photo: The Blond Cook

Balsamic vinegar is better for a lot more than just salads. This recipe smothers a pork tenderloin in a sweet and tangy sauce made with the vinegar, honey, garlic, and some soy sauce. Pork tenderloin is a lean source of protein and contains phosphorus to promote healthy bones. Cook and serve. It's that easy.

Photo: Recipe Tin Eats

Traditional pork carnitas cook slowly and then head to the fryer to get a little bit of crispness on the edges, but that’s a lot of hassle and added oil. This version is simpler, healthier, and just as flavorful. Garlic and bay leaves add flavor as the meat cooks, and chipotles offer some serious kick. This filling is great for tacos, burritos, or a seriously killer grain bowl.

Photo: Everyday Good Thinking

For a low-maintenance version of an American favorite, this pork and apples dish is about as easy as it gets. Galas apples are suggested, but Granny Smith or Honeycrisp would be delicious as well. Leave the skin on for even more nutrients and a prettier presentation. Even the classics can benefit from a little makeover.

Photo: Damn Delicious

Pork can seem like a bland protein, but this recipe gives it a complete makeover with ginger, cumin, and cinnamon. Chickpeas add heartiness and fiber while butternut squash gives a light sweetness and plenty of vitamin C. Who says cooking for one has to be boring?

Beef

Photo: The Skinny Pot

Filipino food doesn’t get a whole lot of attention, but it might become your new favorite cuisine after you give this recipe a try. The flavors are salty, tangy, and spicy. Interested yet? This simple dish only needs a few ingredients, and packs in a ton of veggies along with it.

This hearty sauce is great on pasta, zoodles, or baked potatoes.
Photo: Recipe Tin Eats

Bottled pasta sauces can taste processed and hide added sugars and sodium. For an extra special noodle topper, try making this rich braise. Beef cooks down in a hearty tomato sauce spiked with red wine and a little bit of rosemary until it’s tender. Sick of pasta? Try it on baked potatoes, spaghetti squash, or a sandwich.

Photo: Daring Gourmet

A classic beef stroganoff combines mushrooms and steak in a creamy sauce. It’s delicious when done right. Using the slow cooker and a braising cut of beef ensures the meat will be ultra-tender. Stirring in a sour cream mixture just before serving gives a luxurious texture. It might be better than your grandma’s!

Photo: Culinary Hill

Sometimes, nothing beats a steaming bowl of soup. Pull out the slow cooker for this easy version of a simple favorite. It’s rich, hearty, and warming. Just be sure to use pearled barley; quick-cooking will turn to mush.

Photo: Damn Delicious

Takeout can be an appealing option when you’re feeling tired—until it arrives and it’s mostly sticky sauce with just a few slices of meat and some limp veggies. Thankfully it’s a cinch to make a way healthier version in the slow cooker. Just make a quick soy and brown sugar sauce and add it to the beef. Tossing in the broccoli at the end ensures it stays nice and fresh.

Photo: Let the Baking Begin Blog

Not all stewed meat needs to taste the same. Why not wake things up with a little bit of sriracha? This hearty beef dish combines everything in the Crock-Pot to cook nice and slow. A little bit of parsley at the end adds some freshness, and just look at those colors!

Photo: Laurens Latest

With so much sugar, it’s no wonder kids like sloppy joes. Bring this beloved sandwich to the adult table by cutting out some of that sweetness and adding a little chili powder and bell pepper. Plus, lean beef is a great source of protein and packs tons of iron to promote oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This may be a decidedly more adult recipe, but you still have permission to get messy.

Photo: Back to Her Roots

While most Crock-Pot recipes are super easy, they usually need at least one side dish to go with them. For a truly crazy week, this stew is a complete live saver. It’s full of beef, veggies, sweet potatoes, and a rich sauce, so it’s a complete meal. No time to head to the store? No worries. Swap in any veggies you have on hand.

Photo: Wellness Mama

Sometimes, planning dinner for the week means having to buy more groceries than one person can carry. Don’t worry, this meatloaf totally has you covered. Beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and eggs are all you need to make this dinner. It’s a blank canvas for any topping you like. Ketchup is a natural choice, but salsa is ridiculously good too.

Seafood

Cajun seasonings and tomatoes spice up shrimp.
Photo: Climbing Grier Mountain

Southern seafood dishes always bring tons of flavor, but they also tend to bring lots of buttah. This recipe lightens things up with a tomato base that gets a serious flavor boost from garlic, Cajun seasoning, and chili powder. With plenty of leftovers to get you through the week, every day can seem like Mardi Gras.

Photo: Four Generations One Roof

Seafood in a slow cooker? Don’t rule it out. This chowder takes a shortcut by precooking the celery and onions in the microwave before adding it to the Crock-Pot with the usual suspects of fish, stock, and bay leaves. Tilapia adds a dose of protein plus some B vitamins to keep you feeling energized. A touch of cream makes this soup over-the-top delicious.

Photo: 5 Dollar Dinners

The word “elegant” hardly comes to mind when it comes to Crock-Pot cooking. Time to change that. This delicate salmon dish makes cooking fish a whole lot easier. It’s much better than constantly monitoring a fillet on the stove or in the oven since the heat is so much gentler. With a touch of lemon, the taste is just as simple and delicious.

Photo: The Seasoned Mom

Simplify cioppino with a simple, two-stage cooking process in the Crock-Pot. Start off with the veggies, fish stock, wine, and tomatoes. Once the broth is flavorful, the seafood goes for a quick swim. Swap in any of your favorite fish or shellfish. This meal is so low maintenance that you can enjoy a glass of wine while you wait. Cheers!

Photo: Fit Slow Cooker Queen

Just when you thought all simple fish dishes were boring, this recipe proves that’s definitely not true. Halibut steams with a bright tomato mixture that’s basically a cross between bruschetta topping and salsa. That’s our kind of condiment! Choose Alaskan halibut for the most omega-3s.


Originally posted April 2015. Updated August 2016.

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