Recipe: Soulful Chicken Soup

This tastes just like the chicken soup you remember from your childhood. Don’t let the egg noodles cook in the slow cooker for more than 10 minutes or they’ll become mushy.

Iain Bagwell

These healthy slow cooker recipes are not only delicious, but easy to make.

In today’s world, “easy” and “healthy” need to go hand-in-hand when it comes to making food. Finding time to create wholesome meals that please the entire family without compromising wellness can seem impossible. Luckily, these healthy crock pot recipes help you bypass an elaborate day of cooking while still serving up heavenly flavors that everyone will love.

Table of Contents:

Healthy Meal Ideas

Whether you’re looking for a slow cooker breakfast casserole or a hearty vegetarian crock pot dish, quick crock pot recipes are ideal for feeding yourself on-the-go or taking care of the entire family without spending your day in the kitchen. Take advantage of these healthy crock pot meals to create distinctive dishes, complete with a dash of convenience and peace-of-mind!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

1MoreCreative/Getty Images

A healthy breakfast is the best way to kickstart a productive day, but it’s not always easy to find time for making meals when you’re rushing to work or getting the kids ready for school. Preparing a slow cooker breakfast the night before can offer the perfect solution to this problem. Get your morning started right with these mouthwatering crock pot breakfast recipes!

Crock Pot Breakfast Casseroles

Recipe: Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Sweet potatoes and savory breakfast sausage make a delicious pair. We used creamy mozzarella in this recipe, but feel free to swap in your favorite cheese variety.

Victor Protasio

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Recipe: Tomato-Herb Frittata

Toss tomato halves, eggs, herb seasonings, and cheese together and cook overnight on low for three hours. Here's to waking up to an easy breakfast that doesn't require much effort on your part. 

Tomato-Herb Frittata

Crock Pot Oatmeal Recipes

Oxmoor House

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Cindy Barr

Hearty Oat and Grains

Healthy Crock Pot Lunch Ideas

Life’s daily hustle and bustle can hinder our ability to have a healthful, yet quick lunch handy. Creating make-ahead lunches in the crock pot is a simple way to enjoy a satisfying midday meal when you’re in a time crunch. Look through some of these healthy lunch ideas to find your next make-ahead meal!

Recipe: Ramen Bowls

Any ramen lover will tell you—it's all about the broth. We build layers of rich flavor with the help of mushroom stems, fresh ginger, kombu (a type of edible kelp), sesame oil, and, of course, low and slow heat.

Jennifer Causey

Ramen Bowls

Recipe: Barbacoa Brisket

Start this one before you leave the house in the morning and come home to Texas-style beef brisket that's Taco Tuesday-ready. 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Barbacoa Brisket

My Recipes

Slow-Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup

Recipe: Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

Of all the Crock Pot recipes out there, this one will easily become your new go-to pork shoulder slow-cooker recipe, thanks to the sweet and tangy soy-and-vinegar flavor profile. Pull the pork, and serve it Southern-style over grits or sandwiched between buns, and ladle on plenty of sauce. You’ll simply love the flavors of the garlic—there are a dozen cloves in here—as well as the bay leaves, the onion, the brown sugar, and the soy sauce. It all goes to give this pork the perfect glaze. Once you have your first bite of this classic pork, you will understand why slow cooking it brings out the tender best in this cut.

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

Healthy Crock Pot Dinner Ideas

Dinner is often the largest and most time-consuming meal to make. Whether you’re assembling a large family dinner or an intimate dinner for two, having healthy dinner ideas on hand is essential for feeding your loved ones the most nutritious (and delectable) meals possible. These slow cooker dinners provide the best of both worlds.

Recipe: Chicken Thighs with Olives and Tomato Sauce

You can add capers along with the olives, parsley, and seasoning for a more briny flavor in chicken thighs with olives and tomato sauce. The parsley goes in last to keep its flavor and color intense. Serve with a salad of mixed greens and a simple vinaigrette.

Randy Mayor

Chicken Thighs with Olives and Tomato Sauce

Recipe: Pork Noodle Bowls

Fragrant Pork Noodle Bowls are light enough for a warm weather meal. Make the slow-cooker pulled pork in the morning, so when you get home you can quickly assemble the noodle bowl.

Iain Bagwell

Pork Noodle Bowls

Recipe: Fresh Corn and Potato Soup with Sautéed Shrimp

After tasting the delicious results of "milking" a fresh corn cob, you'll never shuck and chuck again. We fully tap the flavor of in-season corn with this kernel-to-cob cooking method, infusing our soup with rich, sweet flavor.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Fresh Corn & Potato Soup with Sauteed Shrimp

Recipe: Braised Fennel, Cannellini Beans, and Italian Sausage

Cooked slowly over the course of an afternoon or evening all of the delicate flavors of these ingredients come together in a mixture of balance and bite. 

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Braised Fennel, Cannellini Beans, & Italian Sausage

Healthy Crock Pot Dessert Ideas

Dessert isn’t exactly known for being nutritious and low calorie, but it’s an essential component to all truly healthy dinner ideas. Crock pot desserts not only require much less effort to prepare than their traditional counterparts, but they can be better for you as well. Finish off your family dinner or dinner for two with some of these hit-the-spot healthy dessert recipes!

Slow Cooker Apple Cake

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

Slow Cooker Cardamom Rice Pudding with Fresh Peaches

Mariha-kitchen/Getty Images

Saucy Apples 'n' Pears

Oxmoor House

Holiday Gingerbread Pudding

High Protein Slow Cooker Meals

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Protein isn’t just a nutrient that our bodies needs to function, it also helps build fat-burning muscle and keeps us feeling full. Crock pots are perfect for creating healthy slow-cooker meals that highlight robust proteins like chicken, beef, pork, and turkey. Take a peek at these delicious recipes for a few protein-filled meal ideas. Some could even be helpful if you’re looking for paleo slow cooker recipes!

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

Out-of-this-world barbeque may be one of the South’s claims to fame, but these dishes don’t always go easy on the waistline. Luckily, healthy chicken crock pot recipes can give you that quintessential Southern flavor without all the extra calories. These healthy chicken recipes for the slow cooker taste like they’ve been plucked straight from Mama’s cookbook.

Recipe: Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken

Begin with a whole chicken, cut-up, and seasoned with salt, paprika, and garlic powder. A little cola will make your sauce Southern from the outset, and ketchup will keep it simple. Five to seven hours later, you will be waiting for the mouthwatering, sticky-sweet chicken to come out of the slow cooker so the juicy, falling-off-the-bone meat will be ready to go. Shred it, and serve it over some Sweet Potato Cornbread. Top it all with pickled peppers and onions, and some simple slaw. You just can’t get much more Southern—and you definitely can’t get any more delicious—than this.

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Slow-Cooked Barbecued Chicken

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

To save yourself time, and to make this dish manageable, look for jars of peeled garlic in the refrigerated cases in the produce section at most major supermarkets. While there, grab a package of poultry herbs, which includes fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley and can substitute for the individual herbs. Add dried apricots to infuse the rich sauce with a fruity back note, then get all these delicious ingredients in your slow cooker and get ready to enjoy a delicious treat infused with fantastic flavors and overflowing with amazing aromas. You can serve this over couscous for a North African-inspired supper.

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Crock Pot Whole Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Recipe: Chicken With Artichokes and Wild Mushrooms

A special dinner such as Chicken with Artichokes and Wild Mushrooms can be easily achieved on busy weeknights thanks to your slow cooker. You will want to brown the chicken in a skillet first for added visual appeal and flavor. Wild mushrooms can be found in assorted packages at your local supermarket. Cook them in the chicken drippings for a few minutes before adding them to the slow cooker. You will be amazed with their richness, depth, and bold, earthy flavors. Garnish the chicken with fresh oregano, and serve it with some lemon wedges—you will love the fresh citrus bite.

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Crock Pot Chicken Breast with Artichokes & Wild Mushrooms

Recipe: Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Quarters

Brown the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker for the best golden-brown results.

HECTOR SANCHEZ

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Recipe: Chicken Sausage and White Bean Stew

On a cold evening, come home to a simmering slow cooker filled with comforting Chicken Sausage and White Bean Stew.

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Chicken Sausage & White Bean Stew

Photo: Alison Miksch

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken Lettuce Cups

Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Recipes

Known as a staple of Texas and Oklahoma cuisine, healthy beef recipes made in the crock pot are a fantastic addition to any Southern kitchen. Give these slow-cooker beef recipes a shot when you want to enjoy tasty, healthful dishes.

Recipe: Spiced Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes

Tender cubed sweet potatoes add color and flavor to this richly spiced beef stew.

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Spiced Crock Pot Beef Stew With Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Cipollini onions are small, flat Italian onions. If you can't find them, substitute pearl onions. Other large, full-flavored greens like mustard greens or kale will work as well.

Nina Choi

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Thai Red Curry Beef

Recipe: Wine-Braised Oxtails

Slow cooking oxtails (beefy cuts from the tail of a cow) with red wine and aromatic vegetables releases their rich flavor, creating a hearty, fork-tender stew that’s guaranteed to take the chill off a cold winter’s evening. These are delicately seasoned with fresh rosemary, and bay leaves, bringing their distinctive fragrances to the fore. You will love the taste of these cuts of meat, and you will savor how deliciously it all meshes together in the pot. Prepare this for a bold dinner and enjoy every intense and filling bite.

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Wine-Braised Oxtails

Recipe: Classic Beef Stew

This one will make you want to fill up a bowl and curl up on the couch. 

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Classic Beef Stew

Recipe: Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa

Peaches make the perfect foundation for a delicious summer salsa, and pairing them with tender meat creates a great taco. Slow-cooker beef brisket may be the foundation here, but it is the crunchy fruit summer salsa that steals the show. Make it by pairing fresh peaches with cucumber, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, lime, and salt. It couldn't be simpler. Spoon this delectable concoction into your tortillas that have been filled with brisket and get ready to savor the tastes of the season. You'll love how sweet peaches blend with the spicy adobo chile heat.

Alison Miksch

Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa

Healthy Slow Cooker Pork Recipes

It may come as little surprise that pork is so popular. Known for its versatility and value, pork regularly takes the spotlight when it comes to crock pot dishes. Peruse through these healthy pork recipes to enjoy all of the delicious flavor that the other white meat has to offer.

Recipe: Pork with Apples, Bacon, and Sauerkraut

Thinly sliced pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon cured with salt and spices) and a few quick twists of kitchen string turn an inexpensive pork loin into a party-worthy dish.

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Crock Pot Pork Loin, Apples, Bacon, & Sauerkraut

Recipe: Good Luck Greens and Peas with Ham

You had us at black-eyed peas and greens. Plus, all that leftover ham in the fridge was just begging to be used for this delicious reason. 

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Good Luck Greens & Peas with Ham

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos Al Pastor with All the Fixings

Lay out all the toppings and let your little ones build their own for a fun twist on taco night.

Greg Dupree

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Tacos Al Pastor

5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Recipes

Achieving a perfectly cooked turkey can be challenging in an oven, but the crock pot makes the whole process easier than ever. Because the poultry cooks slowly over time, crock pot turkey is known for being moist and flavorful. If you’re looking for a finger licking good turkey dish without all the hassle, then give one of these healthy turkey recipes a try.

Victor Protasio

Moroccan Turkey Legs and Thighs with Fruit, Olives, and Almonds

Recipe: Apple Butter Glazed Turkey

Turkey tenderloins are cooked in an apple butter sauce. The result is one melt-in-your-mouth meal. Serve with roasted carrots and a crisp glass of wine.

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Apple Butter-Glazed Turkey

Recipe: Red Beans and Rice

Our favorite Southern duo cooked slow. 

Photo: Howard Lee Puckett

Red Beans and Rice with Turkey Sausage

Healthy Slow Cooker Main Dishes

As every busy Southern cook can attest, there’s nothing quite like the convenience of crock pot recipes. Healthy crock pot recipes can help you create soup, pasta, and chili dishes that will keep your family happy and full. Hit your family meals out of the park with these mouthwatering healthy dinner ideas.

Easy Crock Pot Chili Recipes

Slow cooker chili is a fantastic addition to anyone’s recipe repertoire. Not only is it easy to make in the slow cooker, but it can also be prepared many different ways—ensuring your dinner table always has a little variety. Here are a few healthy chili recipes that will add some spice to your weekly menu.

Recipe: White Chicken Chili

The best part about this White Chicken Chili (aside from the flavor, of course) is it requires no pre-cooking. Just throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and wait for it to cook into a big pot of something delicious.

Hector Manuel Sanchez

White Bean Chicken Chili

Recipe: Brisket Chili

Enjoy the ball game, go shopping, or work in the yard. Return to the kitchen a few hours later to find a warm pot of flavorful brisket chili waiting for you and your family.

Photo: Hector M. Sanchez

Brisket Chili

Recipe: Smoky Turkey-and-Sweet Potato Chili

Lean ground turkey replaces the usual ground beef in this richly spiced, veggie-rich chili.

Photo: Hector M. Sanchez

Smoky Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili

Recipe: Beef-and-Bean Chili

Chili is a wintertime staple, and this slow cooker version is excellent served on its own with cornbread or on top of hot dogs.

Photo: Hector M. Sanchez

Beef-and-Bean Chili

Simple Crock Pot Soup Recipes

Making healthy soup recipes doesn’t have to be challenging. Soup can be as easy as chopping up a few ingredients, throwing them into the crock pot, and walking away for the next few hours until your meal is fully prepared and ready to serve. These slow cooker soup recipes transform some of the most decadent soups into an easy-to-make, healthy meal.

Recipe: Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Trust us, this filling ham and bean soup tastes like you worked much harder than you really did. 

Photo: Hector M. Sanchez

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Recipe: Soulful Chicken Soup

This tastes just like the chicken soup you remember from your childhood. Don’t let the egg noodles cook in the slow cooker for more than 10 minutes or they’ll become mushy.

Iain Bagwell

Soulful Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Recipe: Green Tomato Chile Verde

This Green Tomato Chile Verde sounds like it will be hot as blazes, but the poblano peppers bring a mild, mellow heat to this delicious dish. We also love the tang and body that green tomatoes give this comforting stew. 

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Green Tomato Chile Verde

Recipe: Tortilla Soup

Smoky and spicy, this soup is loaded with our favorite Mexican spices like cumin and peppers – plus our favorite garnishes, like queso and tortilla chips.

Hector Sanchez

Tortilla Soup

Kid Friendly Crock Pot Noodle Recipes

It doesn’t have to be difficult to create a delicious family meal that everyone will love. Oftentimes, even the pickiest of eaters gleefully anticipate a classic pasta dinner. From delicious tomato sauces to perfectly simmered meats, these quick crock pot recipes pair slow-cooker convenience with classic, family-pleasing flavors.

Slow Cooker Lasagna with Sausage & Squash

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce

Make up a big batch of this Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce to have on hand throughout the week.

Alison Miksch

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

Recipe: Turkey Meatball Stroganoff

Frozen meatballs and the slow cooker make getting a home-cooked comfort meal of Turkey Meatball Stroganoff on the table super easy.

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Turkey Meatball Stroganoff

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Parmesan-Herb Pork Loin with Chunky Tomato Sauce

The recipe calls for a cup of red wine, but the alcohol will burn off over its 8-hour cook time. You’ll be left with a delicious, flavorful pork loin that both kids and adults will love.

Hector Sanchez

Slow-Cooker Parmesan-Herb Pork Loin with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Healthy Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes

Meats often take the spotlight when it comes to crock pot dishes, but there are plenty of mouthwatering vegetarian slow cooker recipes out there. Slow-roasting veggies in the crock pot is particularly ideal for soups, stews, and curries, but can also make fabulous sides and main dishes as well. These healthy vegetarian recipes are the perfect way to skip the meat without any fuss.

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Slow-Cooker Veggie Chili

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

Black Bean Soup

Recipe: Balsamic Root Vegetables

Roasted root vegetables are a great Thanksgiving side dish, and balsamic vinegar makes for a fantastic tart-yet-sweet addition to our sweet potatoes, parsnips, red onions, and carrots. These great-tasting root vegetables get a little added touch of sweetness from dried cranberries and a glaze that includes balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and brown sugar. Salt and pepper add just the right amount of spice. You’ll love these warm just out of the oven. This looks and tastes beautiful dusted in fresh parsley. For a delicious twist, top these root vegetables with a sprinkling of cooked and crumbled bacon just before serving.

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Balsamic Root Vegetables

Recipe: Stewed Green Beans and Tomatoes

Our update to this favorite Southern side will remind you of great Asian takeout. 

Stewed Green Beans & Tomatoes

Southern Living

Hot-&-Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

Oxmoor House

Thyme-Scented White Bean Cassoulet

Now that you've had all these suggestions, pull out your crock pot and get cooking! (Not that you'll have to cook for too long. Thank you slow cooker for making dinner time easier!)