20 Slow Cooker Recipes You Can Prep in 20 Minutes or Less

No-fuss, slow cooker recipes that take 20 minutes or less to prep because the whole point of having a slow cooker is to make life easier!

Let me paint a picture for you: It’s late at night, and you’ve decided to plan dinner for the next day. You know it’s going to be a busy one, so you decide a slow cooker is just what you need.

You start scrolling through Pinterest and find THE ONE. You know, that one recipe where you actually have all the ingredients on hand, it looks phenomenal, and you’re a million percent positive your whole family is going to love it. #jackpot 

You click on the link and scroll through everything and finally get to the recipe, only to discover it will take you 3.4826 hours to actually prepare the recipe before it even goes in the slow cooker. You hang your head in defeat, roll your eyes, and take a hammer to your phone.

Sound familiar? Okay, maybe I’m being *a little* dramatic (it’s what I’m known for) but I have encountered this scenario (minus the hammer to the phone) many times and it is so frustrating! 

When I think of slow cooker, I think of a no-fuss, hands-off meal that I can spend minimal time prepping because the whole purpose of the slow cooker is to make life easier!

This collection of recipes will make your life easier because not only are they tasty, but they are ready to go in the slow cooker in 20 minutes or less. Most of these only take about 5-10 minutes of prep. These are the kinds of things that will bring a smile to your face!

A bowl of crockpot Taco Soup topped with sour cream and chips

Prep time on this is about 10 minutes and that’s because you do want to brown the meat before it goes into the slow cooker. Browning the meat will give it a better texture and the soup a better flavor.

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Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

Making a giant batch of this pulled pork will be a game changer. There are so many different ways to use it (think tamales, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.) or you can freeze it for later.

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

The mantra for this dish is Spice is Nice! There are a lot of spices used to season the meat, but if you don’t have a couple of them, don’t stress about it! It’ll be okay! Serve over couscous or rice.

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Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry served in a bowl with spinach and rice

Meatless Monday never looked better. Not only does this dish pack some intense flavor, but it is all made in your slow cooker, so it has easy clean up too!

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How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker

Hands-off is this recipe’s middle name. We’ve included a few tricks to avoid pasta that’s mushy and sauce that’s too watery.

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Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork

This is a fantastic way to spice up pulled pork. You could serve it on a Hawaiian dinner roll, in a dumpling, or even in lettuce cups for a low-carb option.

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Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chili Chicken Chili in the crockpot

The only prep work needed for this recipe is dicing the onion and the celery. Everything else is a matter of opening a few cans, measuring some spices, and stirring it all together!

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Crockpot Beef Stroganoff served in a bowl

The prep time for this recipe is on the longer side (20 minutes) but only because you need to brown the meat before you put it in the slow cooker. It really adds a rich flavor that you’ll be dreaming about all day.

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Slow Cooker Brats and Beer Cheese Dip

This is essential for any game day whether it’s football, soccer, tennis, or maybe you’re having a Bachelorette marathon and need something to graze on for a few hours. Whatever the case, make sure you have this cheesy dip on hand!

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Glazed Carrots in the Slow Cooker

This hands-off side dish frees up oven space so you don’t have to stress about trying to fit everything into the oven at the same time. If you’re serving a larger crowd, you can easily double the recipe without having to increase the cooking time.

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Two Crockpot Chipotle Chicken Tacos on a plate with lime wedges

Let’s taco ‘bout how much we love tacos! They are made on the regular at my house, and making them in the slow cooker simplifies my life in ways you can’t even imagine. I’m convinced these taste even better because of how easy they are to cook up.

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Slow Cooked Turkey With Mustard Sauce

I know what you’re thinking… Mustard? In a stew? YEP. Turkey has a bold flavor on its own, so it needs a bold flavor to accompany it, and mustard fits the bill. If you can’t find turkey, it’s perfectly okay to sub in chicken!

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Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

These are perfect for a day when you’ll be home for lunch and can start them cooking for dinner. The filling can also be prepared the night before and kept refrigerated. You could even stuff the peppers ahead of time so that all you have to do the next day is put them in the slow cooker.

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Slow Cooker Granola

Not only does this recipe make the world’s tastiest granola, but your house is going to smell amazing while it’s cooking. Our tip for making granola this way is to leave the lid to the slow cooker slightly ajar, allowing the moisture to escape! Crunchy granola for the win!

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Crockpot poached salmon

It may seem odd to use a slow cooker for salmon because salmon actually cooks up really quickly. But here, we’re using the slow cooker less for its “slow cooking” function and more for its ability to provide steady, even heat—which is the perfect medium for cooking delicate fish like salmon.

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How to Make Jambalaya in the Slow Cooker

 Bold flavor made easy! We do cook rice in a separate pot, so you can ladle the jambalaya on top of the rice, or mix it all together at the very end. Either way, you’re going to want to savor the flavor!

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Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Slow Cooker potatoes in a dish with butter and a napkin

Once you’ve made mashed potatoes in the slow cooker, you won’t be able to make them any other way. It is so easy and is the perfect side for so many dishes! I like to add in some minced garlic to the slow cooker for a nice and subtle garlic flavor.

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Honey buffalo chicken wings cooked in a crock pot and served with blue cheese dressing

Want to know how easy these wings are to make? Simply toss them in a spicy rub and a hot honey sauce, which you do right in the slow cooker. It takes less than 10 minutes and after you turn your slow cooker on, you can forget about them until they’re ready.

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Homemade Chicken Stock

There's something so satisfying about making your own chicken stock, and doing it in the slow cooker is a total set-it-and-forget-it exercise. Use it in soups and risotto, sip it from a mug, freeze it for future use—the sky is the limit!

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Green Chicken Chili recipe made in the slow cooker

While we originally made this chili on the stove top, we have included slow cooker directions as well. If you want more of a kick to your chili, add in a dash or two of hot sauce!

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Claudia Cash

Claudia is the Community Manager for Simply Recipes, and finds joy building relationships with our readers through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. As the mother of 5 girls, she is passionate about family dinner and having that time together every day to connect with those we love, even if it's over toast and eggs.

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