The 15 Best Healthy Crock Pot Recipes! - Snacking in Sneakers (2024)

I love when readers give me ideas for posts, and this was a great one. I recentlyreceived this message:

“Hi Chrissy! With school starting back up and the fall coming I know lots of families are soon to be overly busy and struggle to have the time and energy to fit cooking healthy and really tasty meals on weekdays, or even on the weekend with activities and catching up on family time and chores and errands. I was hoping you might consider doing a post of some good and good for you crock pot recipes? The one pitfall I find when googling crock pot or slow cooker recipes is that it seems like half of them start with the same two ingredients… Noodles and cream of something.”

I have struggled with the same thing when searching for crockpot recipes. If fact, on another “healthy crockpot” post I found a while back, there was a recipe that included a 20 ounce bottle of soda – something I would have a hard time classifying as healthy! So I went on a mission this past week to reach out to some of my favorite bloggers so that I could share the 15 best healthy crock pot recipes.

There were twomain criteria to choose the best ones for this post:
1) Healthy ingredients – meaning minimally processed and using as many whole foods as possible.
2) Preferably no cooking beforehand. It drives me crazy when recipes want you to cook half the stuff before putting it in the slow cooker. There are 1 or 2 recipes on this list that might ask you to cook something before adding it to the slow cooker, but otherwise everything is prep, chop, and dump in the pot.

So, here you go! The 15 best healthy slow cooker recipes,with links to each recipe included. Now you can have the convenience of slow cooker meals that are still healthy and nutritious for your body.

{Side note – Don’t have a slow cooker yet? I HIGHLY recommend them! They make cooking easy for busy folks, and they are an inexpensive kitchen tool. I’ve got a fun red 4 quart crock pot (amazon affiliate link; I earn a commission on qualifying purchases) but there are lots of other models out there as well.}

1) Slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup from Two Peas and Their Pod

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This chicken and wild rice soup recipe is one of our favorite slow cooker dishes in the fall and winter. It’s a relatively short ingredient list of whole foods that pack a lot of flavor. And of course, if you end up with a cold this season, nothing tastes better than some warm chicken soup.

2) Slow cooker banana nut oatmeal from The Lemon Bowl

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So maybe it’s not a ‘traditional’ dinner option, but I have been obsessed with banana oatmeal lately (you may have seen me post a few photos on Instagram recently). I’ve been making it on the stovetop, but I was excited to find this new recipe for slow-cooker banana oatmeal. I can’t wait to try it out – it’s got great reviews. It uses steel cut oats – which work better than rolled oats in the slow cookers since they absorb liquid differently and have a different texture – along with spices, banana, and nuts to add flavor.

Tip: If you find overnight crockpot oatmeal sticks to the sides of your crockpot or browns too much, consider placing all the ingredients in a glass dish, and then putting that in a water bath in the crockpot.

3) Pear and apple crockpot pork from Whole Foods, New Body

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I’ve made this pear and apple crockpot pork a few times, and love it. It is a perfect fall dish, and I love utilizing some fresh picked local apples to make it. Plus, the apples and pears make the house smell so delicious while it’s cooking!

4) Black bean and rice soup from Kayln’s Kitchen

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I’m a big fan of making at least a few vegetarian dinners a week, since it can save money on your grocery bill. This black bean soup is a great vegetarian recipe to start with – beans are an incredibly versatile and nutrient-rich choice, and are so inexpensive! At the end of this recipe when you add in the rice, I like to use instant brown rice rather than white rice for an even better nutrition profile.

5) White bean chili from Knead to Cook

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Another great bean-based vegetarian recipe! This bean chili one uses white beans, and combines that with healthy vegetables like sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and onion. It’s another very simple recipe with few steps and easy-to-find ingredients that make it easy for even a beginner cook to make.

6) Slow cooker lemon garlic chicken from Number 2 Pencil

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This slow cooker lemon garlic chicken is another tried and true recipe for me. It requires very little prep work, and the lemon, garlic, and fresh rosemary make the chicken taste fantastic.

I typically also add a little white wine to the crockpot. When I get home, I’ll make some whole wheat pasta and a quick-cooking veggie like asparagus or zucchini. Then I toss the chicken plus the liquid from the chicken, lemon, and wine with the pasta and veggies for a complete dish.

One thing to consider – food safety recommendations will tell you not to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot, because the internal temperature may not rise quickly enough to kill bacteria. I’ve made this with a small whole chicken several times without any problems. But, if you’re nervous about it, just break down the chicken into a few smaller pieces before putting it in the crock pot, or use bone in chicken breasts/thighs!

7) Curried carrot soup from Gluten Free Goddess

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On a chilly night, sometimes a simple creamy soup can make a perfect dinner. Or, make this recipe ahead of time and portion it into a few healthy lunches (if you have kiddos, you can put it in a thermos to keep warm until lunch time at school). As a bonus, the carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes in this vegan curried carrot soup recipe pack a hefty dose of Vitamin A to support healthy eyesight.

8) Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Skinny Taste

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I chose these buffalo chicken lettuce wraps for my top 15 because it’s a) extremely easy to make, and b) a very guy friendly dish. I see this as an awesome crock pot dish for football season – pop the chicken in the slow cooker on Sunday morning, and by game time in the afternoon it’s ready to eat.

9) Chicken tortilla soup from The Skinny Fork

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I love that this chicken tortilla soup recipe is as simple as dumping all the ingredients in the crockpot and letting it cook. And aside from chopping a few vegetables, and toasting some tortillas before serving, no prep work is needed. One tip – I find (in my crock pot at least) that chicken breast can dry out a bit if cubed, so I’d suggest just throwing it in whole and then shredding it with two forks right before serving.

10) Slow cooker jerk pork with Caribbean salsa from Skinny Taste

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Obviously I look at the Skinny Taste website a lot, since they have two recipes that made the cut. There are just so many great dishes to choose from there. The jerk seasoning and OJ marinade makes this slow cooker jerk pork tastes great, and the avocado/mango salsa really adds a pop of flavor. You can serve it over rice, quinoa, tortillas, or just on a bed of lettuce.

Plus, I really love that this dish cooks on low for 9 hours. Some recipesend up being done after 6 or 7 hours, which can be hard for people working the traditional 9-5 (unless your slow cooker has the timer and warm setting, which some unfortunately don’t).

11) Sweet potato and turkey chili from Iowa Girl Eats

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Iowa Girl Eats is one of my favorite cooking blogs, and I’ve found a lot of great recipes on it – and this sweet potato turkey chili included in that list. I love all the delicious spices that go into this recipe – cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne – mmmm! It’s got ground turkey to please the meat eaters, and sweet potatoes and beans to bulk up the plant-based ingredients and add some fiber.

12) Slow cooker chicken tikka masala from Snacking in Sneakers

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We’re big on different ethnic foods in our house, so I like that this slow cooker chicken tikka masala utilizes Indian flavors. The ingredients are also simple and should be found at most grocery stores. You can serve over rice, or with some Naan. I make a super simple homemade flatbread that works wonderfully with this.

13) Vegetarian quinoa chili from Smells Like Home

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I’ve got to admit – part of me was initially attracted to this vegetarian quinoa chili recipe simply because there is a photo of shipyard pumpkin ale next to the bowl of chili, haha! (PS – I am seriously missing those at this time of year being pregnant). I love that this vegetarian chili recipe uses quinoa, which helps to bulk up the dish and make it heartier for the meat lovers. Of course, if you want to make it meaty, feel free to add ground turkey or chicken breasts to the crockpot.

14) Ham and potato soup from Spend with Pennies

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Potatoes get a bad rep. Yes, they are starchy. But they are also loaded with potassium and Vitamin C. For athletes, they’re a nice carb-rich choice. For others, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally having some regular potatoes. I wanted to add this slow cooker ham and potato soup to the list because it’s definitely a healthier version of traditional comfort food. Even though it’s a creamy soup, it doesn’t use a canned cream of something – instead, you’ll use milk and a little sour cream.

15) Crockpot spaghetti squash and meatballs from yours truly!

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To round out the 14 dishes, I’ll toot my own horn and add in the crockpot spaghetti squash and meatballs dish that I posted about the other day as number 15. It uses clean ingredients and becomes a lighter meal by incorporating spaghetti squash rather than pasta. Plus, who doesn’t love “spaghetti” and meatballs?!

*Thank you so much to all the bloggers who agreed to share their recipes/photos and be part of this post!*

Share with me: What crock pot dish are you most excited to try? Have any other healthy favorites that you would add to our list?

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Chrissy Carroll

Chrissy Carroll is a Registered Dietitian and USAT Level I Triathlon Coach. She specializes in sharing nutrition and fitness tips, as well as recipes, for runners, triathletes, and active women.Chrissy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition, a Masters Degree in Public Health, and is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

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The 15 Best Healthy Crock Pot Recipes! - Snacking in Sneakers (2024)


Are crockpot foods healthy? ›

Speaking of nutrients, meals prepared in your slow cooker are likely a healthier alternative to many convenience foods and take-out meals. These homemade slow cooked meals are great ways to combine veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins.

What cooks better in a crock pot? ›

Fattier meats and dark meat chicken are better options, as leaner cuts may dry out during the cooking process. Fattier meats are good, but trim the fat away before placing in the Crockpot slow cooker.

How do you arrange food in a crock pot? ›

Arrange food in the slow cooker based on the amount of time needed to reach safe internal temperatures. For instance, vegetables require a longer cook time than meats, so placing vegetables on the bottom and sides of the slow cooker next to the heat source ensures the vegetables reach a safe internal temperature.

What is the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot? ›

However, Crockpots generally have ceramic or porcelain pots, while most slow cookers have a metal pot. As with a lot of cooking appliances, the biggest difference comes from the distribution of heat.

Can you put raw meat in a slow cooker? ›

Yes, you can add raw steak to a slow cooker to cook it to your desired doneness level.

What is the #1 crock pot? ›

Best Overall: All-Clad Gourmet Slow Cooker with All-in-One Browning, 7-Quart. This is so much more than a slow cooker. The All-Clad Gourmet Slow Cooker can saute, brown meat, simmer stews and cook rice!

What is the best meat to cook in a slow cooker? ›

Choose the right cut: Chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulders and lamb shanks (think fatty and tougher meats) become meltingly tender with the moist, low heat of a slow cooker. Leaner cuts like pork tenderloin tend to dry out. Likewise, dark meat chicken — thighs, drumsticks, etc.

Do potatoes go on top or bottom of meat in crockpot? ›

Slow cooker recipes have (obviously) long cook times, and it's the meat—not the carrots—that benefit from it. By placing the protein at the bottom (closest to the heating element), and vegetables at the top, you can keep your plant parts a little more toothsome, while ensuring your meat is fall-apart tender.

Do you put frozen food in crock pot? ›

It is best to thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker. Frozen pieces will take longer to reach a safe internal temperature and could possibly result in foodborne illness. Frozen or partially frozen foods can also cool everything else in the slow cooker.

Is it OK to put raw chicken in slow cooker? ›

Yes, you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker! Slow cookers and Crock-Pots are designed to cook raw meats. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created from the tightly covered container destroys bacteria, making slow cooking safe. You can put frozen chicken in a slow cooker, too!

Can I put frozen chicken in the crockpot? ›

According to the slow cooker and food safety guidelines from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, it's imperative to "always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker." If this is news to you, you're not alone. Not all of our favorite slow cookers come with consistent warning labels.

Are crock pots toxic free? ›

The good news is that while the idea of toxic substances leaching into food is unsettling, most ceramic makers today are required to use lead-free glazes—meaning new, undamaged, high-quality ceramic crock pots are a fairly safe bet.

Is cooker food good for health? ›

Pressure cooking is a cooking method that uses a combination of heat and steam. It is the steam and pressure and not the high heat that actually cooks the food. Therefore, it is considered safe to cook food in a pressure cooker as long as cooking time is carefully regulated.

What are the benefits of slow cooker meals? ›

Slow cooker benefits.

They use less electricity than an oven and can be used year-round. Because of the long, low-temperature cooking, slow cookers help tenderize less-expensive cuts of meat. They usually allow for one-step preparation; putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker saves time and reduces cleanup.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a crockpot? ›

While there are some disadvantages to using a slow cooker, such as the risk of overcooking food or forgetting to turn it off, these generally pale in comparison to the benefits. For busy families or those who enjoy coming home to a hot meal, a slow cooker can be a great addition to any kitchen.


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