Crockpots, or slow cookers, are incredibly useful pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen. These devices are great for making whole meals in a single pot, and the ends result often has a stronger taste due to the way the lid seals in all of the flavors and juices.
Since they are slow cookers, dishes that are prepared in these pots can take a long time to reach completion. On the other hand, since all your ingredients are going into the same pot, crockpot meals require very little prep.
This list contains numerous delicious side dishes that you can prepare in a crockpot for going along with your main meal.
Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
Scalloped potatoes is an English dish that consists of sliced potatoes baked in a cream sauce that has been seasoned with fresh herbs. It makes a luxurious side dish for most roast dinners and tastes amazing when cooked in a crockpot.
This recipe requires the sliced potatoes to be placed in the pot with onions and sliced ham before being covered in cream and grated cheese. What comes out of the oven is a succulent and satisfying side dish that has a beautiful smokey aftertaste.
Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos
When prepared in a crockpot, the meat for these tacos is tender and bursting with flavor. The chicken breasts in this recipe are flavored with chipotle peppers, garlic and black pepper as well as honey to make them slightly sweet.
All you need to do is throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker and leave them for up to 4 hours until everything is nice and tender. The great part about this recipe is that you can leave the shredded chicken in your crockpot on the warm setting, so your friends and family can help themselves to delicious tacos.
Crock Pot Corn Bread
A crockpot is an extremely versatile piece of cooking equipment and can be used for a variety of sweet and savory meals. Normally, corn bread is cooked in a skillet to make the edges nice and crispy.
However, if you like your corn bread moist and soft, then this is the ideal recipe for you. Since the moisture can’t easily escape, this dish has a great texture and the beautifully soft bread is great for eating by itself or with a bowl of soup.
Boston Baked Beans
These Boston baked beans are a great addition to any meal and very easy to make. They are mixed with sliced bacon or diced pork along with dried navy beans all of which is cooked to perfection in a crockpot.
However, the best part is the sauce, which is sweet and slightly spicy thanks to the inclusion of ground mustard and cloves. You can enjoy these beans on toast, a baked potato or as a sweet and savory side dish for your next meal.
Crockpot Ranch Potatoes
If you are looking for a new way to use up the potatoes in your pantry, then why not try this simple and easy to make recipe. It works best with russet potatoes, but you can just as easily use any other variety you have available.
Mixed with ranch dressing and two types of cheese, this dish is luxuriously creamy and goes well with anything you pair it with. They take 3 hours to cook, so it is best to put them on before you start preparing your main meal.
Black beans are an awesome side dish for any Mexican cuisine such as tacos, nachos or burritos. Making them in a slow cooker is one of the best ways to get them perfectly tender and soft.
You can make this recipe in large batches and store any spare beans for several months in the freezer. The beans are very easy to flavor any way you want, and you can cook them in chicken broth for a very tasty side dish.
Mac And Cheese
This is one of the fastest meals to make on this list and only requires 2 hours of cooking time in your crockpot. While it does take longer to make than stove top mac and cheese, you will be happy you waited once you taste the result.
The longer cooking time allows the pasta to absorb all the flavors of the cheese, as well as making the sauce exceptionally creamy. Give this recipe a try next time macaroni and cheese is on the menu.
Corn On The Cob
Corn on the cob is a simple but tasty dish that can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilling to boiling. Naturally, you can also prepare it in a crockpot and the longer cooking time makes it perfectly sweet and crunchy.
The great thing about this dish is that the corn comes out of the pot already buttered and seasoned. This method of cooking makes all the flavors much more intense, and you may find that this is the best corn on the cob you have ever tried.
This cider is not alcoholic, but you can easily make it so with a dash of spiced rum or bourbon. It has an incredibly strong flavor thanks to the long cooking time, which stews the apples in a bath of freshly ground spices.
Sliced oranges are also included, which makes the taste of this beverage even more fruity and delicious.
It takes just over 6 hours to prepare and cook this recipe, and the end result is a beautifully smooth cider that works as a great drink for a warm summers’ day.
Broccoli And Cheese
Broccoli is the perfect side dish for any meal, since it is crunchy and packed with lots of nutritional value. In a slow cooker, the florets retain all their vitamins and minerals and come out of the pot perfectly tender.
The vegetables are coupled with small cheesy chunks of sour cream and cheddar for an awesome savory side dish. With a similar texture to omelette batter, these cheesy pieces make a great companion for the broccoli florets.
This is a creamy and very tasty side dish that pairs well with a whole range of southern style meals. It takes about 3 hours and a half to cook but requires almost no prep at all apart from throwing all the ingredients into a pot and covering it with the lid.
With cream cheese, milk and sugar in the sauce, this corn is extra sweet and has a beautiful creamy texture. You can enjoy this side dish with jambalaya, gumbo as well as any other Creole or Jamaican cuisine.
Barbecue Pork Ribs
The long cooking time is the key to making these ribs deliciously tender and juicy enough that they melt in your mouth.
Again, there is practically no prep required for this meal apart from breaking the ribs into suitably sized pieces and covering them with barbecue sauce and other seasonings.
These ribs are crispy on the outside with a succulent, juicy texture just beneath the surface. They go well with a main meal or as part of a tasty sandwich.
Green beans work with almost any meal since they are crunchy, sweet and very nutritious. Slow cooking is a great way to avoid your beans losing all of their vitamins and minerals, which is what can easily happen if they are boiled.
These greens taste amazing with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice for a dressing. Serve these beans alongside any casserole or roasted dinner for a simple but savory side dish.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Using a slow cooker is a great way to make your potatoes soft enough for mashing. Yukon gold potatoes are the best choice for this recipe, as they have a buttery flavor that means you hardly need to season the end product at all.
While they are cooking, the potatoes are infused with crushed garlic cloves as well as chicken broth, which makes them taste as good as they smell. If you want to make them extra decadent, you can mix in some grated Parmesan for a cheesy side dish that is packed with garlicky goodness.
Just because crockpots are normally used for food doesn’t mean you can’t make some awesome drinks in them as well.
This fruity beverage is the perfect thing for thanksgiving celebrations or just a cold winters day when you need a pick-me-up. The main body of the drink is made from red wine, brandy and triple sec mixed with pomegranate juice.
This mixture is boiled on a low heat with sliced oranges, apples and diced pears to create a beautiful mulled wine that is packed with fruity flavors.
Speaking of thanksgiving, next time you are making stuffing for your turkey, why not try doing so in your slow cooker. This will retain a lot of the moisture and prevent your stuffing from being overly dry.
The crockpot also allows you to make a large amount of stuffing for feeding large groups of guests and family members during the festive season.
The onions, garlic and diced celery stalks are tossed in parsley, sage and oregano to create a sumptuous, herby stuffing that pairs well with any roast dinner.
Honey Butter Peas And Carrots
If you have any picky children who don’t like eating their vegetables, then why not try giving them this succulent honey coated side dish. This recipe takes over five hours to cook but gives you a large pot of vegetables for going alongside your dinner.
Coated in honey, butter and seasoned with white pepper, these carrots and peas are very sweet but still packed with nutritional value. Serve them with any meal for a savory side that even the pickiest eater couldn’t say no to.
Cinnamon And Brown Sugar Butternut Squash
Butternut squash makes a good alternative to sweet potatoes, and this dish really brings out the natural sweetness of this vegetable.
This is accomplished by cooking the chunks of squash with a mixture of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon for a side dish that works equally well with a savory meal or on its own as dessert.
You can enjoy this meal at any time of year, but it goes particularly well as a substitute for candied yams during thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Slow cooking is a great way to enhance the taste of any meal, since the lid traps all the moisture in the pot and seals in the flavors. That’s one of the reasons why this spicy pumpkin and turkey chili is so sumptuous.
Puréed pumpkin is added into a pot along with sautéed turkey and vegetables for a creamy chili that is equal parts sweet and spicy.
The only thing you need to enjoy this meal is a bowl of freshly cooked rice, and just like that you have an awesome, hot meal for those cold winter nights.
Sweet Potatoes Wedges
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6 which makes them very good for your brain and nervous system. These slow cooked sweet potatoes are perfectly tender and mixed with brown sugar to make them even sweeter.
They make an excellent side for any meal, especially Thanksgiving dinner alongside a turkey roast. Once you have tried these sweet potatoes, you won’t want to cook them any other way again.
These mushrooms are cooked whole in Italian salad dressing for a succulent side dish that is incredibly juicy. Cooked in butter and with sliced onions, the mushrooms are soft but firm and bursting with delicious flavor.
You can tailor this recipe to suit any tastes by replacing the dressing with a blend of your own favorite herbs and spices. Serve this side with any Italian meal or a plate of mashed potatoes and sausages for a healthy breakfast.
Rice is a staple part of numerous meals, but it can be quite tricky to get the right consistency when cooking it on a stove top or in the oven.
Slow cookers are one of the best tools for getting the best rice, as you will discover for yourself when you try out this recipe.
One of the most important steps is to make sure you rinse your rice thoroughly before you start cooking it. If you want to make your rice even sweeter than you can add an optional blob of butter into the water before turning on your crockpot.
Collard Greens With Ham Hocks
Collard greens are a delightful southern style side dish for enjoying alongside jambalaya or buttermilk biscuits and gravy. They have many of the same health benefits as spinach with a taste that is similar to kale although slightly less bitter.
One of the best ways to enjoy these greens is with diced pieces of ham or bacon mixed through, which offers a sumptuous smokey flavor. This recipe takes 4 hours on high heat to prepare, so you can set it going while you work on your main meal.
Pumpkin Apple Cobbler
We’ve seen plenty of savory dishes on this list, but you can also use a crockpot to make delicious desserts. Tart apples like coxes and granny smiths make the best choice for this dish, but you can just as easily use any fruit you have in the house.
Mixed with puréed pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, this cobbler is the perfect dessert for fall. Once it has finished cooking, this dish tastes incredible with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a garnish of pecan nuts.
Cooking in a crockpot will not only make your food taste better, but it will also make it more nutritious. Slow cookers are better at sealing in the nutrients, and are far less damaging to food than boiling or roasting.
One of the best things about these pieces of kitchen equipment is that they are so versatile and can be used for a plethora of savory and sweet dishes, as well as drinks.
Their only weakness is that they take a long time to cook anything, hence the name slow cooker. However, if you start any of these tasty side dishes early enough in advance, then you will be able to leave your crockpot running while you prep the rest of your meal.
So why not give one of these recipes a go and see what a crockpot can do to make your meal even more delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Crockpot?
A crockpot is an electrical device similar to a pressure cooker designed to cook food at a much lower temperature than other conventional culinary methods. They have a heavy lid which seals in moisture and prevents your food from drying out.
Crockpots are used to prepare dishes in a way that offers a softer texture and richer flavor than you can achieve by roasting or boiling your food.
Is Slow Cooked Food Better For You?
Since they cook at a much lower temperature, crockpots are less likely to remove nutrients or denature the proteins in your food.
They also trap moisture in the pot, which means less of your flavor can escape during the cooking process. When used properly, food prepared in a crockpot can be healthier than many meals that are roasted or boiled.
How Should I Clean My Crockpot?
You can use soapy water to clean your crockpot like any other kitchen utensil. However, there are some necessary precautions you should take to prevent your cooker being damaged.
For one, it is recommended to never use abrasive cleaning agents or scouring pads, as these may damage the walls of the pot. You should also turn your cooker off and let it cool before cleaning to prevent damaging the heating element.
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