20 Summer Slow-Cooker Recipes for When It's Just Too Hot to Turn on the Oven
When sweltering summer temperatures return to the South, the last thing our energy bills need is a hot oven steaming heat into the whole house. It's a season when we look to simple, cool dishes that don't require much, or any, heat to be satisfying. And when that's not quite enough, we take our cooking outside. Our grill becomes our guide to making it through the heat while keeping the family fed.
But when you're eager to spend your time enjoying the pool or a sprinkler session in the yard with the kiddos instead of actively cooking, look to your slow cooker to help you through the summer months. Sure, you're used to relying on this handy kitchen tool to do the hard work for you come back-to-school season and chilly winter nights, but that doesn't mean it should collect dust when the temperatures hit double digits. Keep your kitchen cool and your days spent in the sun while your slow cooker does the heavy lifting. From tacos to barbecue, here are some of our favorite summer slow cooker recipes you can enjoy any time.
Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
Recipe: Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
Start with a whole chicken, cut up, and simmer in a homemade barbecue sauce of ketchup, cola, cider vinegar, and a splash of bourbon for a Southern barbecue flavor. Enjoy this slow-cooked chicken by itself or as a sandwich piled with Pickled Peppers & Onions atop Sweet Potato Cornbread.
Slow-Cooker Chipotle Brisket Sliders
A little spicy and a little sweet, these sliders are a welcomed addition to any spread, especially on game day.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos
Taco night just got a lot easier (and tastier). Serve on corn tortillas with fresh toppings like red cabbage, tomatoes, radishes, and cilantro for a restaurant-worthy bite.
Recipe: BBQ Brisket
This brisket cooks in a vinegar-based barbecue sauce for about 8 hours to help you serve your most tender slice yet.
Slow Cooker Asian-Ginger Wings
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Asian-Ginger Wings
The secret to extra crispy, slow-cooker wings? Broil them for 15 minutes before tossing them in your slow cooker.
Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Recipe: Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Be sure to seal in the flavor of your pork by browning it before placing it in the slow cooker. Serve with a Carolina-style vinegar sauce and pickles, sliced onions, and coleslaw for a dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Start a fiesta on your back porch this summer with these party-worthy pork tacos that are easy enough to make any night of the week.
Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder
This creamy soup makes an indulgent but not too heavy meal on a hot summer day.
Slow-Cooker Sloppy Joes
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sloppy Joes
We promise this recipe is an upgrade to your elementary school cafeteria days, and it's the easiest way to get your kids' favorite dish on the table.
Tomato and Feta Dip
Recipe: Tomato and Feta Dip
If you grow your own herbs, this is the perfect dish to showcase pickings from your own garden. Serve with breadsticks for a dip that's sure to hold them over until dinnertime.
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Combine the pork shoulder with chicken broth, orange juice, garlic, pepper and salt in your slow cooker, set it in the morning and forget it.
Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
From kid-friendly quesadillas or melty enchiladas with a Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken, there are countless ways to serve this recipe.
Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Recipe: Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
This simple recipe will leave you with enough leftover meat that you'll have a bit of BBQ pulled pork to snack on all week.
Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder
Recipe: Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder
Meet your go-to pork shoulder slow-cooker recipe. It's sure to become an instant favorite 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.
Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
You can also serve the delicious Slow-Cooker Beef in slider buns with crowd-favorite sandwich toppings for a heartier meal.
Slow-Cooker Beef Sliders with Pickled Peppers
Rev up your slow cooker the night before. On game day, tote it to the game, plug it in, and let your crowd build their own sandwiches.
Meatball Sliders with Tomato Sauce
This fun dish is two recipes in one: delicious, easy meatballs and a slow-simmered tangy tomato sauce.
Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa
Recipe: Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa
Fresh salsa, warmed tortillas, and a spicy brisket filling make these tacos one winner of a dinner.
Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos Al Pastor with All the Fixings
Start by slow-cooking pork shoulder in an aromatic bath of pineapple, beer (try a floral, spiced white ale like Hoegaarden or Blue Moon), and canned chipotles in adobo. Then shred the meat and set out a taco bar full of fresh flavors, bright colors, and crunchy textures. You can't go wrong here. We like bowls of crumbled cheeses, sliced radishes, chopped onions, avocado, shredded cabbage, and plenty of fresh cilantro.