These days, we want all the things and we want them now. But “more” and “fast” aren’t always desirable choices. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to simplify and dial down the pace a bit. That especially applies in the case of these 21 Crock-Pot recipes. Made with five (or fewer!) ingredients and all requiring some degree of patience thanks to the slow-cooked method, they’re the perfect examples of both “less is more” and “good things come to those who wait.” They’re also just really effortless and really tasty, so it’s worth dusting off the ol’ pot and giving them a go.
1. Healthy 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Granola
With just 1/4 cup of honey and tons of fiber in this eight-serving batch, this granola isn’t just pretending to be healthy, as so many other recipes do—it’s actually as good for you as it seems. With just four main ingredients, it even leaves some leeway for a mix-in of your choice; make it even more wholesome by adding nuts, coconut flakes, or unsweetened dried fruit.
2. Slow-Cooker Berry Breakfast Quinoa
If you’re going to count a teaspoon of cinnamon, then this recipe technically has six ingredients, but we’re guessing it’s a spice any breakfast fan is bound to have on hand anyway. With a quinoa base, plus banana and berries for mixing in, this is the perfect balance of fiber, protein, and healthy carbs to get your day going.
3. Slow-Cooker Spinach and Mushroom Frittata
If you’re worried that cooking your eggs for 2 hours will make them rubbery, this frittata should put your doubts to rest. The slow cooker somehow knows exactly what it’s doing and gets them to fluffy perfection every time. Throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, but the classic spinach and mushroom combo used here makes for guaranteed deliciousness.
4. Crock-Pot Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats
Why wait four hours for oatmeal to cook in the Crock-Pot when the stovetop method takes 10 minutes? For one thing, the level of creaminess that the oats achieve in the slow cooker is on another level. Plus, in the case of this recipe, the slow-cooking method also allows the apples to cook down and get super sweet, infusing each bite with an almost caramelized flavor. It’s totally worth the extra time.
5. Slow-Cooker Breakfast Stuffed Peppers
The best types of recipes are those that look much more complicated than they really are. These stuffed peppers fall into that category; with five simple but impactful ingredients—including eggs, cheese, and ground sausage—they make for a lovely presentation and a filling meal. Only you’ll know how easy they were to make.
6. Slow-Cooker French Toast Casserole
For a weekend or holiday treat, this French toast casserole is the best way to get a fun breakfast on the table without you having to wake up early. The ingredients—which include whole-grain bread for some extra fiber—can be dumped into the slow cooker the previous night, since the recipe requires 4 hours of refrigeration in advance and 8 to 10 hours of cooking time.
7. 5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili
Between the beans and the spices and the meat, traditional chili needs a whole lot of ingredients to get its depth of flavor. This simplified chicken-based version opts for store-bought salsa verde and some ground cumin to get the same effect with half the items and half the effort. No endless stirring necessary here; just 6 to 8 hours in the slow cooker, and it’s good to go.
8. 5-Ingredient Crock-Pot Bacon and Leek Lentil Soup
The mildness of the lentils and sweetness of the leeks are the perfect contrast to the smoky and savory notes of the bacon in this impossibly easy soup. With lots of complex carbohydrates and 23 grams of protein per serving, it proves that recipes with bacon in them can also be totally healthy.
9. Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup
Sweet and savory, buttery yet light… butternut squash has so much going for it on its own that you don’t need a lot of extra ingredients to turn it into a tasty dish. Here, it’s spruced up a bit with garlic and onion before getting slow-cooked, then blended into a silky or chunky (totally up to you) soup.
10. Crock-Pot Ham and White Bean Soup
There’s zero chopping whatsoever for this ridiculously easy soup, which makes it the perfect thing to cook when you don’t have time—or don’t know how—to cook. Just throw the ham, can of beans, and herbs in the slow cooker and let it work its magic to yield comforting, protein-rich bowls to dig into.
11. Easy Crock-Pot Potato Soup
Potato soups that look like this usually contain heaps of cream and globs of butter, but this one manages to pull off a rich flavor without being an assault to your arteries. The sour cream can be easily swapped out for almond milk to make the recipe completely dairy-free, and the velvety texture comes mostly from simply blending together the slow-cooked potatoes and broth.
12. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Thai Yellow Curry
If you’ve got curry paste and coconut milk, you really don’t need too many other ingredients to put together an unforgettable recipe. Here, the classic chicken and potatoes get jazzed up with the Thai flavors to be turned into a flavorful curry that’s perfect with a heap of rice—the regular or cauliflower kind.
13. Coconut Shrimp Curry
With lots of shrimp and a thick coconut milk base, this recipe gives off the vibe of a rich noodle soup. Spiced up with red curry paste, it’s also got a complexity in flavor that will never give away the fact that it’s a five-ingredient dish.
14. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Fork-tender sweet potatoes stuffed with a smoky, tomato-spiced black bean mixture—yup, it can all really happen with just five ingredients and a slow cooker. This easy but impressive meal tastes perfectly fine on its own, but if you can afford a few extra items, throw on a topping or two—avocado slices or a dollop of Greek yogurt really can take it to the next level.
15. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Taco Bake
Several store-bought shortcuts come in handy to get this easy, healthy meal on the table. With layers of tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese cooked down into Insta-worthy goodness, these familiar Mexican flavors and textures are pure comfort.
16. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken
For a lighter alternative to pork, try using the classic apple cider flavors for pulled chicken instead. The meat, the apples, and the onions all get incredibly tender in the slow cooker, and the fruity flavors are so potent you won’t believe there isn’t any added sugar in the recipe.
17. Healthy Honey Garlic Slow-Cooker Chicken
Before the chicken gets to hang out in the slow cooker for 4 hours, it’s coated in a honey, soy, and garlic sauce, which coats the meat and seeps into it during the cooking process for maximum flavor. Sweet, salty, and super juicy, it’s ideal to tuck into lettuce wraps, serve on top of rice, or throw on salads.
18. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Make like it’s St. Patrick’s Day any time of year with this classic corned beef and cabbage recipe. It’s literally a matter of placing the brisket and the veggies in the slow cooker—dinner doesn’t get easier than that.
19. White Beans and Sausage
This hearty meal really takes advantage of the slow cooker’s efficiency by using dried white beans instead of the canned kind. They do have to be soaked in water the night before, but the extra-earthy, rustic touch is totally worth it.
20. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Sure, you’ll find the usual carrots and potatoes alongside the meat here, but this is no ordinary pot roast. Spicy, peppery grated horseradish is spread on top, lending so much extra flavor that all you need is a bit of salt and pepper to round things out.
21. 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Steak Fajitas
A few chopped veggies, a can of diced tomatoes, and some fajita seasoning are all you need to make two pounds of beef ready to be rolled into tortillas. If you’re not super strict about the five-ingredient thing, feel free to make your own fajita seasoning at home; otherwise, the store-bought kind won’t hurt.