7 Hearty Winter Slow Cooker Recipes for Stress-Free Meals

Cook filling and nutritious meals to keep you warm and cozy.


Healthy Food
Cooking a stew in a slow cooker.

(TMA Harding / Shutterstock.com)

There’s nothing like a warm comforting meal after coming home on a  cold winter’s day. The easiest way to do that is to use a slow cooker or crock pot. Just fill your cooker with wholesome nutritious ingredients before you leave the house in the morning and let it cook while you are at work.

Use healthy winter vegetables like carrots, potatoes along with hearty beans, lentils and grains to make a dish that will warm you up inside and out. From stews to soups, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you use a disposable liner, cleanup will be a snap.

Vegetarian Chili

This slow cooker chili is as hearty as a meat version because it is filled with wheat berries, beans, hot peppers, and tomatoes. You can make it mild or spicy. The recipe from Country Living can easily be made vegan by not garnishing with cheese or sour cream. Prep time is around 20 minutes and cook at least seven hours on low or five hours on high.

Vegetarian chili.

(Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com)

Indian Chicken Stew

Nothing chases away the winter chill better than a curry stew. This version from Better Homes & Gardens uses chicken thighs rather than beef. This healthy meal also contains chickpeas, diced tomatoes, onion, chicken broth, and spices. If you use canned beans, rinse to remove excess salt. Cook for up to 10 hours on low and serve with rice.

Veggie Lentil Soup

This lentil soup recipe from Eating Well is made from green lentils and winter vegetables including carrots, onions, russet potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Use four cups of unsalted vegetable stock and fresh herbs and spices. Prep time is 30 minutes and the soup can cook for seven to eight hours. When you get home remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and puree four cups of the soup in a blender while leaving the rest chunky.

Healthy vegan lentil soup.

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Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

When you need a hearty meal to feed a crowd, try this super cheesy version from Country Living. There’s very little prep time or mess because the macaroni cooks in the slow cooker. You will need a pound of elbow macaroni, butter, half and half, evaporated milk, grated cheddar cheese and Monterey jack, as well as a four-ounce package of cream cheese cut into pieces.

Mushroom Barley Stew

This cozy recipe from the blog Simply Scratch is a filling vegetarian recipe that can go from slow cooker to table. The stew is made from cremini mushrooms, rutabaga, carrots and celery, leeks, diced tomatoes, and uncooked barley. This recipe freezes well so make a large amount and freeze half to enjoy another day.

Down Under Pumpkin Soup

Warm up with this hearty soup from Australia’s Best Recipes that is made from fresh pumpkin, potatoes, onion, curry powder, and vegetable stock. Just fill your crockpot and cook on high for six to eight hours. Blend before serving with a whole grain crusty bread.

Hearty pumpkin soup makes a good winter dinner.

(Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com)

Slow Cooked Meatloaf

You can make a classic meatloaf in your crockpot with this recipe from the Dinner at the Zoo blog. All you need is a mixture of lean ground beef (or turkey) mixed with onions, bread crumbs, and herbs. Place cut up carrots and potatoes around the loaf in the slow cooker. Top the meatloaf with ketchup or barbecue sauce and let cook. You have a complete meal when you get home.