There are few things that feel better than coming home after a long day to a delicious, home-cooked meal waiting for you. Especially if it’s a rich, flavorful dish that’ll warm you up during the cold-weather months.

If you’re thinking this takes too much time to pull off, think again. Here’s how you let your slow-cooker do all the work.

First things first: Slow Cooker Types

Before you start planning recipes, you have to know which slow-cooker will work best for you. This depends on your budget, meal portions, material preferences (ceramic vs. metal), and storage space.

The most basic slow cookers have an on/off button and not much more. With mechanical slow cookers, you have to turn the control to the desired setting—low, medium, or high, and you are in charge of managing the time. Programmable slow cookers have electronic controls and a digital timer that lets you set a cooking time. These models also tend to automatically switch to a keep-warm setting when set time is up.

Tips for Proper Slow-Cooking

There is a big difference between a good slow-cooked meal and a great slow-cooked meal. Keep in mind the following tips the next time you prepare a recipe in your slow cooked.

  • Watch the quantities: Don’t overfill your slow cooker—it should be no more than three-quarters full. If your recipe uses liquid, it should come about halfway up the ingredients.
  • No frozen foods: Putting frozen ingredients in a slow cooker will keep food in the “danger zone” where bacteria can flourish. Just make sure your meat and vegetables are fully defrosted before going in the cooker.
  • Care for your slow-cooker: Ceramic inserts can crack if exposed to sudden temperature changes. Don’t place a hot ceramic insert directly on a cold counter—lay down a dishtowel first.
  • Let it do its job: With slow cookers, you don’t need to stir the contents or check its progress. In fact, if you do, heat will escape and can add up to 20 minutes to the cooking time.

There is a big difference between a good slow-cooked meal and a great slow-cooked meal.

Let’s Make Some Food

From chili to pork chops to soup—slow cookers can handle whatever you’re craving. To get you started, we put together our favorite meals using a variety of our products.

Philadelphia Cheesesteak Peppers

Stuffed Veggies: They’re a healthier alternative to a sandwich, but just as juicy and enjoyable. Try our Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers for a delightful twist on our hometown delicacy, or our hearty Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Bahi Mi Hot Dog recipe

Hot Dogs: Making hot dogs for the whole family (and keeping them warm until it’s time to eat) has never been easier. Go with our traditional Beef Franks or our savory Buffalo Style Chicken Sausage.

Bacon Cheddar Chowder Recipe

Chili, Chowder & Soups: These thick and hearty recipes are perfect for lazy, yet flavorsome meals. Try our, or our Spicy Bacon Lovers Soup.

Crock Pot Bacon Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Mac & Cheese: Add a little magic to your dinner with a mouthwatering, creamy, and warm mac & cheese serving right from your cooker. Experiment with our wide variety of artisan cheeses and discover your next favorite.