Our Most Versatile Slow-Cooker Protein Recipes Ever

Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Relaxed winter nights call for satisfying no-fuss suppers. Pick your protein of choice, toss in fresh ingredients, and let the slow cooker do the rest! Each recipe starts with a foundational slower cooker recipe for the protein, including our Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast, Slow-Cooker Chicken, and Slow-Cooker Black Beans. From there, we've created extremely different, completely delicious recipes to accompany each slow-cooked protein. These Southern Living slow cooker recipes offer a protein for everyone, including black beans, lamb, pork, salmon, chicken, and turkey. Check out your new favorite weeknight supper recipes.

01 of 10

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

You'd never guess that this sophisticated dish was made in a slow cooker. Tender lamb shanks over creamy parmesan grits makes for a great weeknight meal or dinner party standout. These braise all day in a tomato wine sauce that gets reduced and drizzled over the lamb and grits for the final touch.

02 of 10

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

You can't have true shepherd's pie without lamb, and this cast-iron skillet recipe is simply the best. Before it's assembled, lamb is braised in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low and then shredded. Add in green peas, carrots, and onions and top with a layer of prepared mashed potatoes, before digging into this comforting dish!

03 of 10

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Top these tender, cloud-like chicken biscuit sandwiches with tangy red cabbage, a few pickles, and plenty of our creamy white barbecue sauce! You won't even be craving that Chick-fil-a sandwich come Sunday. As an extra bonus, the slow cooked chicken yields broth you can use for soups and sauces.

04 of 10

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

What's better than this traditional comfort dish on its own? This version with slow-cooked chicken and a cast-iron skillet! Top with puff pastry, and bake until its gloriously golden and bubbly.

05 of 10

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Pork Strata

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Pork Strata
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

This casserole made with crunchy bread cubes, creamy cheese, and tender pork makes an equally delicious big-batch breakfast as a filling family dinner! For the juiciest pork, let the bone-in shoulder blade chops chill in brine for 1 1/2 hours before slow cooking.

06 of 10

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Tender, glazed salmon, brown rice, Brussels sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms make up this hearty one-bowl meal that leaves you full and happy. The teriyaki twist gives fun flavor to an easy dish. For flavorful, tender filets, the salmon is poached in lemon grass, fennel, shallots, and wine for 1 to hours in the slow cooker.

07 of 10

Salmon Bagel Sandwiches

Salmon Bagel Sandwiches
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Simple, flavorful, and unique—this savory bagel sandwich uses our favorite slow-cooked salmon, a zingy cream cheese mixture, arugula, and extra garnishes to create an indulgent meal that feels special for a weekend lunch or weeknight dinner. The cream cheese gets its zing from fresh chives, dill, radishes, lemon zest, and lemon juice. To lock in even more savory flavors, use everything seasoned bagels, a nod to the classic lox bagel sandwich.

08 of 10

Black Bean Burgers with Comeback Sauce

Black Bean Burgers with Comeback Sauce
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

The star of this protein-packed show is the Comeback Sauce, a spicy and smoky finishing touch. The mayonnaise-based sauce hails from Mississippi, but Southerners all across the Deep South love the spicy kick it gives to any dish. Black beans stew in the slow cooker in seasoned broth for about 6 hours before using them as a base for the burgers.

09 of 10

Turkey with Shallot-Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

Turkey with Shallot-Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

This herby slow-cooked turkey is enough to rival the deliciousness of your Thanksgiving bird! Roasted fingerling potatoes make a filling side, while the zingy mustard sauce deserves to be ladled over just about anything. The secret ingredient to the sauce is rendering reserved turkey skin for pan drippings before adding the shallots, wine, chicken broth, and mustard.

10 of 10

Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole

Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Change up the classic Hot Brown sandwich from Louisville by turning it into a tasty casserole. Turkey cooks on low for about 5 hours in a bath of chicken broth and fresh herbs before it is assembled into the casserole. A creamy, crunchy mixture of fresh tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, toasted bread, and crispy bacon is too good when baked until perfectly golden.

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