Grandpa's Favorite Slow-Cooker Recipes

Smells like Sunday supper!

slow cooker salisbury steaks
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

When it comes to recipes, we’re always talking about Mama and Grandma. And of course, that is rightfully so. But we can’t leave Grandpa out of the food conversation completely. Whether as a cook in his own right or simply as an enjoyer at the table, Grandpa is just as essential to the Southern kitchen as anyone in the family. Here, we’ve gathered some of Grandpa’s favorite slow-cooker recipes. The slow cooker has long been a must-have tool in Southern kitchens for many reasons. It’s so easy to use that even if Grandpa isn’t the resident chef of the family, he can toss the ingredients in and turn it on. Plus, it makes plenty of food, whether for him and Grandma to eat all week or for a big family meal. And with slow-cooker liners, cleanup is a breeze. One of the best things about the slow cooker, though, is the delicious dishes it produces. Some of Grandpa’s go-to comfort food recipes come straight from the slow cooker. Next time he’s coming over, surprise him with one of these nostalgic meals that will surely leave him full and happy (and ready for a spell in the famous nap chair). Smells like Sunday supper to us! 

01 of 20

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Mary-Claire Britton

When you picture Sunday supper at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we have a feeling that pot roast might be one of the first images that comes to mind. Serve the tender meat and veggies with a scoop of homemade mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfy meal.

02 of 20

Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings

Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings
Iain Bagwell

Chicken and dumplings is a legendary Southern comfort food dish, and we’re willing to guess Grandpa loves it. This version, which is topped with drop dumplings, comes together easier than ever in the slow cooker. 

03 of 20

Easy Chili

Easy Chili

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

“This is our recipe for Easy Chili, and when I say Easy Chili, it really does not get any easier than this,” says Test Kitchen Pro Ivy Odom. Whether the temperature has just dipped below 60 or it’s gameday, no grandfather I know ever turns down a comforting bowl of chili. My grandmother always prepared it with mini cheese toasts on the side for dipping. 

04 of 20

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

slow cooker salisbury steaks
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

"Pure nostalgia, grandma's house, ‘home,’ whatever descriptor you use, it all comes back to one thing: This dish takes you back, and in the best way," said one Test Kitchen Pro who tested this recipe firsthand. The fact that you can make it in your slow cooker just adds to the allure of this recipe. 

05 of 20

Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks

Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

There are some side dish recipes that Southerners admittedly “cook to death,” and that’s the only way we want to enjoy our collard greens. Instead of checking on them and stirring on the stovetop, simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it do its job. 

06 of 20

Slow Cooker Tomato-Basil Meatloaf

Slow Cooker Tomato-Basil Meatloaf
Photo: Victor Protasio

Meatloaf just might be the least pretentious, most beloved recipe in grandma’s tin. With Italian-inspired additions like fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes and a no-mess slow-cooker result, this version upgrades the classic cooking method and the flavor. 

07 of 20

Classic Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Classic Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

If Grandpa isn’t feeling his best or it’s an extra chilly day, a warm bowl of homemade beef stew will always do the trick. This easy recipe gets to cook low and slow for at least six hours (if not a full eight), so the flavors are full and hearty. 

08 of 20

Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts

Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts
Alison Miksch

If it’s been a while since Grandpa got to go on a road trip, bring his favorite gas station snack to him with this two-ingredient recipe. To make them Cajun-style, add a package of boil-in-bag shrimp-and-crab boil and Grandpa’s favorite hot sauce to the slow cooker before cooking.

09 of 20

Slow Cooker Goulash

Slow Cooker Goulash
Jennifer Causey

Egg noodles are the ideal vessel to soak up all the goodness of this meat-and-veggie stew. “Delicious. My company polished this off and left me with no leftovers,” wrote one five-star reviewer.

10 of 20

Slow-Cooker Ham

Southern Living Slow Cooker Ham two servings on two plates with salad and bread

Fred Hardy II; Food Stylist: Kelsey Moylan; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

Tell Grandpa there’s no need to pick up the honey-baked ham this holiday season. Our new slow-cooker recipe is too easy to add to the menu instead. He’ll enjoy creative ham leftovers for days. 

11 of 20

Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Iain Bagwell; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

You need just five ingredients to make Grandpa this versatile pulled pork recipe in the slow cooker. Whether with barbecue sauce on a sandwich, with a side of veggies, over nachos, or atop a spud, he can enjoy it countless ways throughout the week.

12 of 20

Slow-Cooker Buttermilk Grits

Slow-Cooker Buttermilk Grits
Antonis Achilleos

It’s not a morning at Grandpa’s house without the smell of bacon and eggs on the stovetop. This slow-cooker version of classic buttermilk grits requires so much less hands-on work than its stovetop counterpart. 

13 of 20

Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Grandpa has been enjoying this Southern-favorite appetizer through decades of parties. One sweet-and-savory bite will take him right back. “It is a dump and stir recipe in the slow cooker,” says Test Kitchen Pro Ivy Odom. “And most recipes in the slow cooker take forever, but these only take two and a half hours, and you can keep them warm at your party. It’s just a win-win situation.” 

14 of 20

Black-Eyed Pea Soup With Ham Hocks

Black-eyed pea soup with ham hocks in white pot with smaller bowl of soup

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

With smoked ham hocks, black-eyed peas, and collard greens, this slow-cooker soup has everything Grandpa needs to start the New Year off on a lucky note. Don’t forget a side of fresh cornbread from the skillet.  

15 of 20

Spicy-Sweet Ribs and Beans

Slow Cooker Recipes: Spicy-Sweet Ribs and Beans Recipes
Southern Living

Bring Grandpa’s favorite barbecue joint to him with this slow-cooker recipe that includes a main and a side dish. Add a scoop of homemade coleslaw for the ideal refreshing and tangy bite to round out the meal. 

16 of 20

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Slow Cooker Recipes: Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Photo: Howard Lee Puckett

Red beans and rice is a timeless New Orleans dish that exudes comfort in every bowl. This simple version is as easy as putting the ingredients in the slow cooker and pressing “start.” 

17 of 20

Slow-Cooker Pork Roast

Slow-Cooker Pork Roast
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

This slow-cooker supper is much more budget-friendly than a beef tenderloin recipe, and it’s easier, too. Don’t you dare throw out those juices from the slow cooker! They’re liquid gold. 

18 of 20

Uncle Jack's Mac-and-Cheese

Uncle Jack’s Mac-and-Cheese
Hector Sanchez

Macaroni and cheese is a staple side dish of Southern meat ’n three restaurants, and we’d bet it’s part of Grandpa’s go-to order. You probably never thought to make it in your slow cooker, but trust us (and all the five-star reviewers) on this! 

19 of 20

Creamy Potato-and-Ham Hock Slow-Cooker Soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

“It is so creamy and warm and comforting, packed full of flavor,” Test Kitchen Pro Ivy Odom said after her first bite of this recipe. “Perfect for the fall, and really easy in the slow cooker. Great for a weeknight dinner or for a soup to keep in the freezer on really cold nights. So if you need a set-it-and-forget-it type of comforting potato soup, this is the one for you.”

20 of 20

Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti Casserole
Jennifer Davick

Give Grandpa’s favorite pasta night recipe an easy, cheesy update with our slow-cooker Spaghetti Casserole. Serve with a big-batch salad and side of garlic bread, and voila!

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