14 Fall Crockpot Recipes Because Life Is a Cabaret

Simple dinners you can set and forget.

July 15, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham

Sometimes life can throw stresses our way when we least need them: walking out without an umbrella on a rainy day, for instance, or reaching into a bag of jelly beans only to find that you've eaten all but the licorice ones.

I pull out my trusty Crockpot on days like those, when I need a little "Life is a cabaret, old chum!" pep in my step, a little slow-cooked comfort. The kind of comfort that comes twofold: first in the cooking, because all I need to do is bung everything into the slow cooker and press the button; the second in the eating, because we all know that the dishes we braise, simmer, and stew for 8 hours straight are usually soul-soothing.

For days when you want to ignore the rest of the world and all of its problems like me and Sally Bowles in Cabaret, here are our best slow-cooker recipes.

Fall Crockpot Recipes

1. Chicken Breasts With Creamy Mustard-Leek Sauce

"I was initially concerned that the lean meat would dry out," our test kitchen director Josh Cohen told me while developing this recipe. But the creamy leek sauce (based on classic French preparations of rabbit in mustard sauce) is rich and flavorful, with a nice tinge of acidity from the whole-grain mustard. All this to say: These slow-cooker chicken breasts will be moist as can be.

2. Chicken Parmesan Soup

What happens when you take boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slow-cook them in crushed tomatoes, garlic, and a handful of aromatic spices? This fan-favorite Crockpot soup. Parmesan cheese and gemelli pasta make this a hearty weeknight option, too.

3. Persian Lamb Stew

Who would've thunk that a plate this gorgeous could come out of a slow cooker? When you let the Crockpot do all of the hard work (breaking down a lamb shoulder), all you need to do after is bejewel the tender meat with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and fresh dill.

4. Basic Pot Roast

This is easily the most popular pot roast on Food52. Susan Miglore (Genius columnist Kristen Miglore's mother) has adapted Betty Watson's original recipe for the Crockpot. "By removing it from the realm of the stove and oven," Kristen explains, "you're that much freer to have pot roast at any time of year, whenever you need it."

5. Tom Kha Gai

"While this soup can be made on the stovetop in under an hour," Martha Stewart says, "it benefits from a longer spell in the slow cooker. The lemongrass and lime leaves infuse more flavor into the broth and the tender, moist chicken thighs."

6. New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

Recipe author Katie Macdonald's mom swears the secret to her red beans and rice is a cup of pickle juice. "They're comforting, creamy, and so well-flavored," she writes. "Everyone who tries them loves them." See Step 8 for the slow-cooker variation of her mother's top-"secret" recipe.

7. Chicken Breasts With Lemon, Sage & Milk

When I'm in full meal-prep mode, I like to make these milk-braised chicken breasts in my slow cooker. That way I have a whole week's worth to magic into all manner of lunches and dinners, especially this curried chicken salad.

8. Beef Stroganoff With Mushrooms

"Sometimes you need a meal that's one-pot, easy, and cozy," writes one recipe reviewer. "It was exactly what we needed on a busy weeknight."

9. Mediterranean Chicken Thigh Stew

This recipe comes from community member KarinCooks, who uploaded it way back when (2009!). When I noticed how popular it was, I asked our kitchen to cook and photograph it—and now we're in love with it as much as you are.

10. Butternut Squash Shakshuka

How about brunch? Invite friends over for the chillest fall gathering, thanks to this slow-cooker shakshuka. Comforting butternut squash stars in this one-pot wonder, along with a healthy smattering of parsley and feta.

11. Italian-Braised Pork

Red wine and fennel seeds are what give this slow-cooker pork shoulder recipe its "decidedly Italian accent." Enjoy over polenta with a glass of red wine.

12. Pot Roast With Chickpea Salad

You don't need me to tell you about making pot roast in a slow cooker—everyone knows about that. The real star here is the fresh chickpea salad that goes with and brightens up the old classic.

13. Creamy Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

Here's a go-to vegetarian option for weeks when you just want to hit the ground running (or at least let the vegetables do their thing in the Crockpot while you go about your day). This soup is so easy, there's only one step.

14. Lentil & Root Veggie Soup

This hearty soup calls for two types of lentils: French green lentils and black lentils, which both hold up well to long, slow braises. Parmesan rinds lend salt and savory flavor to the broth, as does the garnish of crispy pancetta.

What's your favorite thing to throw into the Crockpot? Let us know in the comments below.
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Eric Kim is the Senior Editor and Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the Digital Manager at Food Network, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.