25 Slow Cooker Recipes to Wow at Your Next Potluck

Step out with bold flavors for your potluck meals. Get all the comfort food right here with these 25 slow cooker recipes, from bourbon short ribs, saucy meatballs, and spicy Jamaican beef stew.

Showstopping Slow Cooker Recipes to Bring to Your Next Potluck

Simply Recipes

When it’s time to celebrate with friends and family, we gather with food. So, pull your slow cooker from the dark recesses of your bottom corner cupboard next to the sink, choose a soon-to-be-favorite recipe from our list, and prepare to return from the potluck without a leftover in sight.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional or unique meal, these slow cooker recipes reward the potluck crowds by coaxing out layer upon layer of flavor. So, celebrate the convenience of the slow cooker, celebrate the food, and celebrate the people (those same people who’ll wish they had a bigger bowl when they eat your food).

Robin Shreeves joins Bryce Coulton in compiling this list.

  • Slow Cooker Jambalaya

    How to Make Jambalaya in the Slow Cooker
    Nick Evans

    The combination of Creole seasoning, shrimp, and smoked sausage are among the high points of this dish. And although you needn’t be in Louisiana proper to pull it off, do yourself a favor and turn up the volume on The Neville Brothers, and you won’t be too far off. While it’s recommended to cook the rice separately, it can be added when the jambalaya has finished filling your kitchen with all of its smoky and spicy aromas. And don’t forget to get out your cast-iron pan, so there’s a slice of cornbread at the ready.

  • Slow Cooker Brats and Beer Cheese Dip

    Beer Cheese Dip Recipe
    Marta Rivera

    Here’s one of those dishes that can sit on the counter all game long. While most of the cooking is done outside of the slow cooker, the convenience of this dip is it's kept warm and melty all on its own. Point your guests to a bowlful of tortilla chips, and let them have at it. Now, go take a load off, you’ve done your good deed for the day.

  • Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork

    Crockpot Pulled Pork
    Summer Miller

    Having a solid go-to pulled pork recipe on-hand will save the day. The rub uses typical baking spices for depth of flavor and the pork is then combined with cider, mustard, tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar for standout flavor. And if you need another old acquaintance of pulled pork, give these pickled onions a try. If you're really feeling ambitious make your own buns.

  • Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

    Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole Topped with Crispy Shallots on a Platter Surrounded by Utensils, a Kitchen Towel, and a Glass of Water

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    Just look at this beauty! This slow cooker version of the holiday must-have frees up oven space. From-scratch fried onions are its crowning glory, but here's a hot tip: get the surprisingly good premade fried onions next time you're at an IKEA marketplace to save yourself a step.

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  • Slow Cooker Spinach Feta Dip

    Mediterranean spinach feta dip in the slow cooker
    Nick Evans

    If you’re after a classic dip with a twist, this is the one. The ribbons of spinach and the saltiness of feta cheese give this dish the body and flavors we look for in a dip. If you’re in need of even more flavor, go ahead and add a bit of smokey bacon. Just don’t plan on leftovers.

  • Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

    How to Make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker
    Nick Evans

    Traditional dishes are an absolute hit at potlucks. We all want something we recognize and can count on. The dependability of pasta and creamy, melty cheese will transport your oldest of eaters back to their childhood, and the youngest back too, well, to last week. Also, it’s good to keep in mind the keys to cooking pasta in a slow cooker: Initially using the minimum amount of liquid, and stirring it through completely at the 90 minute mark.

  • Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

    Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chili Chicken Chili in the crockpot
    Emma Christensen

    The versatility of a chili allows you to be creative in having a dish that pleases the pickiest of eaters. Whether you swap out for your favorite beans, chili peppers, or toppings, it can be adapted with ease, and enjoyed by everyone afterward. And if you’re feeling more creative still, a dollop of salsa verde lends a tart brightness to a can’t-miss dish.

  • Slow Cooker Bourbon Short Ribs with Cheesy Grits

    Braised Short Ribs in the Slow Cooker
    Nick Evans

    As the weather cools down, this becomes my go to potluck dish. The richness of a cut like short ribs is only enhanced by the cheesiness of the grits. While the bourbon and the brown sugar bring a depth of flavor to the sauce, the orange zest brightens it. And to carry on those specific flavors, finish the get-together with a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned.

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  • Jamaican Beef Stew with Scotch Bonnets, Ginger, and Allspice

    Two bowls of Jamaican Beef Stew served with rice.
    Kalisa Marie Martin

    This dish is not your grandmother’s standard meat and two veggies. Adaptable to the slow cooker, the allspice base notes, the method of browning the sugar, and the warmth from the peppers distinguish this stew from many others. The layers of flavor can be enjoyed on their own, or you can serve it over a bowl of long-grain rice.

  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole
    Elise Bauer

    Chicken thighs are a wonderful vessel for the deep flavors of cumin and cinnamon, which the rice assumes as well. It's a simple and flavorful dish. Do you want to know the secret to the success of this recipe? In cooking the rice, hold back 1/2 cup of chicken stock, then after 60 minutes of cooking, see if the rice needs the additional liquid.

  • Slow Cooker Lamb Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

    Lamb Stew with Pomegranate Molasses in a bowl with bread.
    Alison Bickel

    Lamb’s unique flavor and texture are combined with the sweetness of pomegranate molasses to pull the dish together. And it’s the less expensive cuts like the shoulder or shanks which are best suited for this stew, a Middle Eastern meat and potatoes staple, for sure. And when the dishes are all put away, you’ll be pleased you had thought ahead and baked this Apricot Tart to take with you to your potluck dinner.

  • Slow Cooker Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

    Meatballs in a slow cooker filled with tomato sauce with a spoon lifting a meatball out of the sauce.
    Alison Bickel

    In a restaurant I worked in, we cooked our meatballs, right in the sauce, not in a slow cooker though. Tomato sauce and meatballs are an ideal pairing—I dare say they are even better than Scorsese and DiNiro. If you’re looking to go full-on, old-school Italian-American, make your own homemade pasta to go along with it. I’m sure everyone at the potluck would rave about this dish. You could also keep it simple and serve these up by themselves with some toothpicks.

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  • Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers

    Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry
    Sabrina Modelle

    Whether you like your curry with coconut milk creaminess or a thicker tomato base, there is flexibility to this dish to serve either of your preferences. And if you soak the chickpeas overnight, you can reduce the cooking time, too. It all goes into the slow cooker at once, giving you a moment to make a Cilantro Lime Rice to serve it with.

  • Slow Cooker Pot Roast

    Perfectly tender crock pot roast piled onto a gray plate with carrots and potatoes and covered in gravy.
    Alison Bickle

    Pot roast hits all the traditional touchpoints with beef, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Oh, the gravy—absolutely, do not forget the gravy. There is loads of flavor in using a chuck roast, and if you sear the meat beforehand, you’ll be filling your slow cooker with even more beefy flavors. Prepare parts of the dish the night before, and in the morning, it all goes into the slow cooker and you’re off to start your day. Since you’ve already opened a bottle of red wine for the pot roast, why not tie a bow on the evening with some honey mulled wine.

  • Slow Cooker Banana Bread Pudding

    Slice of the best slow cooker banana bread pudding topped with a scoop of ice cream and drizzeld with caramel sauce on a gray plate. A jar of caramel sauce is off to the side.
    Jessica Gavin

    The make-ahead aspect of a slow cooker dessert removes many of my baking stressors. The simplicity of a bread pudding—with its flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, banana, and caramel—ranks it among the desserts I just can’t turn down. The bread is best if soaked for the full 24 hours, the caramel sauce can be made up to a week beforehand, and it gives you time to make your own vanilla ice cream to scoop on top—or you could leave the ice cream at home, and stash it away just for yourself. I won’t tell a soul, I promise.

  • Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili

    Tailgate Beef Chili Recipe in a crock pot.
    Nick Evans

    Served over rice, in a bowl on its own, or ladled over a hot dog, a good chili like this one will be part of your cool-weather months. You could even grab a few potatoes, make potato skins, and fill them with the rich flavors of chili. What is especially convenient about this dish is that chili is even better after it sits for a day, and how pleased you’ll be when you have your potluck dish ready a day in advance.

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  • Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Wings

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

    Whether it’s football or fútbol, a platter full of wings within arm’s reach couldn’t make for better watching of your favorite team or club. The brown sugar and bitterness of the molasses even out the heat from the hot sauce and cayenne. Listen, take 10 minutes to mix up the marinade—then go mow the lawn, build a treehouse, or whatever you like for the next 3 1/2 hours while the wings cook. On the other hand, you could also put together a quick blue cheese sauce that you won’t be mad about, either.

  • Slow Cooker Almond Orange Rice Pudding

    Jewish Kheer Recipe
    Rachel Narins

    This rice pudding is bright and smooth, and it is a variation of the Indian dessert, kheer. The pudding's consistency contrasts well with the textured toppings of candied almonds and orange and the warming spices of a just brewed chai tea should link these two at the hip.

  • Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup

    Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup
    Sabrina Modelle

    Make this with coconut milk and you’ll have both vegans and non-vegans, alike, asking for your recipe. It’s the ginger, coconut milk, and even a topping of cilantro or roasted pumpkin seeds, which help celebrate the flavor of pumpkin and pull this away from everything that’s pumpkin-spiced.

  • Cheesy Slow Cooker Sausage Balls

    Cheese-stuffed sausage balls on a plate
    Nick Evans

    It’s all about the cheese with these sausage balls. The cheese—both cream cheese and cheddar—replace breadcrumbs and eggs, and acts as a binder to maintain their shape. Add fresh herbs, if you’d like, but these sausage balls are already chock full of flavor. Cooking in as little as two hours, this is a quicker slow-cooker recipe, which comes in handy when there’s lots to do and company is on the way.

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  • Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

    Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat
    Elise Bauer

    Tacos are always fun for a crowd of people to build themselves. Everyone will appreciate the variety of garnishes you’ve laid out, but they will lose themselves in the layers of tastes—earthy cumin, shades of heat from chili powder, and the sweet acidity of pineapple—the slow cooker infuses into the chicken. And no one will mind if you continue your run of impressive simplicity with a stellar dish of Spanish rice.

  • Slow Cooker Spiced Oatmeal

    slow cooker spiced oatmeal in black bowls
    Alison Bickel

    Made with steel-cut oats that add body and a nutty flavor to this slow cooker spiced oatmeal, this is a great dish to take to a potluck brunch. Dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker before bed, and it will be ready in the morning. Keep on warm until you're ready to take it to the potluck.

  • Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

    pulled pork sandwich with pickled onions
    Garrett McCord

    This is a crowd pleaser. Pork shoulder, onions, Dr Pepper soda, bbq sauce, and some spices slow cook together for 8 to 10 hours. When it's done, the pork shreds easily with two forks. Serve on buns with pickled onions or slaw.

  • Spiced Mulled Wine

    spiced mulled wine in glass mugs
    Nancy Mitchell

    For a holiday or winter potluck, spiced mulled wine is something simple to contribute that everyone will appreciate. Simmer inexpensive red wine with brandy, ginger, sugar, an orange, cloves, and cinnamon. Once heated through, turn the slow cooker to warm and serve hot in mugs.

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  • Slow Cooker Taco Soup

    slow cooker taco soup topped with corn chips and sour cream
    Lisa Lin

    Here's your game day potluck dish. Ground beef, beans, corn, and chilis cook with spices to make a spicy soup. Serve with toppings like shredded cheese, corn chips, sour cream, or cilantro and a side of green chile cornbread.

  • Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

    slow cooker mashed potatoes in a bowl with a pat of butter
    Lisa Lin

    Who doesn't love creamy mashed potatoes? Make a crowd-sized amount in your slow cooker that will stay warm throughout the potluck. Great for holiday potlucks, make them ahead of time, store in the fridge, and reheat before serving.