These All-Day Slow Cooker Dinners Cook While You’re at Work or School

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

After sharing a bunch of slow cooker drop dinners on the site (recipes that require very little prep and practically cook themselves), we heard from a number of you that you’d like to see more that cooked all day in the slow cooker, instead of just three to four hours. We heard you, and we’re here to deliver!

These are truly “set it and forget it” dinners. You’ll toss everything in the slow cooker before work, school, or errands, and by the time you walk in the door at the end of the day, dinner is waiting for you. Ready to get cooking?

5 Snapshot Recipes for Slow Cooker All-Day Drop Dinners

  • The protein: Each dinner starts with a protein (we’ve included a mix of chicken, pork, beef, and vegetarian) and makes enough to feed four to eight people, depending on the recipe.
  • Shredding the meat: For the recipes that include meat, the meat can be shredded directly in the slow cooker — no need to transfer it to a cutting board. After an all-day cook, it’s super tender and easily falls apart when shredded with a fork.
  • Slow cooker: All of these recipes are made using a six-quart slow cooker.

Pork Puttanesca

Stir together 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, 1/4 cup drained capers, 6 cloves smashed garlic, 2 tablespoons anchovy paste , and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes in the slow cooker.

Trim any large pieces of fat from the surface of a 3-pound boneless pork shoulder . Season with salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker; spoon some sauce over top. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours .

Use 2 forks to shred the meat in the slow cooker, then mix with the sauce. Serve over pasta, polenta, rice, or a baked potato, or try it topped with a fried egg.

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Add 1 pound dried black beans, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper (red or green) , 3 cloves minced garlic, 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours .

Remove bay leaves. Top with Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, or chopped avocado.

Balsamic Beef

Stir together 1/2 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark) , 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce , and 3 cloves smashed garlic in the slow cooker. Season a (3-pound) beef chuck roast with salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker; spoon some sauce over top. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours .

Use two forks to shred the beef in the slow cooker and mix with the sauce. Serve on rolls or with egg noodles, rice, or cauliflower rice.

Chicken Posole

Add 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total) , 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 1 chopped onion, 1 seeded and chopped poblano pepper, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons chili powder , and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to the slow cooker and toss to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours .

Use 2 forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker. Stir in 2 (14-ounce) cans hominy (drained and rinsed) and juice of 1 lime . Serve with lime wedges, sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, chopped avocado, or tortilla chips.

Sausage and Lentil Stew

Stir together 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 cups dried French lentils, 12 ounces Andouille-style chicken sausage (sliced into 1-inch pieces), 3 cups chopped kale leaves, 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours . Remove bay leaves and serve.

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