One of my secrets to low-stress hosting of a crowd is to utilize my slow cooker. Why? It allows me to work ahead and then relax as my guests arrive, knowing that a warm, comforting dish is ready to go when we are. Here are 25 of the most delicious and EASY slow cooker recipes that work for a large group.
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast – I have been making my pot roast exclusively like this for years now. Hands down our favorite, especially when guests come over.
2. Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Spinach Lasagna – This lasagna method is perfect for a crowd! There’s no pre-cooking of noodles and it pulls together very quickly. Moist and delicious!
3. Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef – Oh my, make this with something mashed potatoes or Cream Cheesy Sweet Potatoes for a lip-smacking Sunday dinner. Actually, this is going on my menu plan this week now.
4. Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos – If you have kids coming over, this is a Mexican-inspired favorite with my three children. Jazz it up for adults by adding some salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo or other toppings.
5. Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce – I make this side dish every Thanksgiving now. It’s a tasty, tangy twist on homemade cranberry sauce that everyone raves about.
6. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders – This might be the easiest recipe of all for a crowd. Simply dump raw chicken breasts (that’s right–no pre-cooking!), sauce, a little seasoning into the crock and you’ll have a delicious sandwich-filling in a few hours. Kids love this one, too.
7. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Need a recipe that you can’t screw up. Here you go. Just set it and forget it. Then, get to work on some sides like Asian Slaw, some baked beans, and maybe a fun dessert like Mini Fruit Pizzas or Snickerdoodles.
8. Crock Pot Baked Potatoes – This is a great tip! Save oven space and cook baked potatoes for a crowd in your slow cooker. Or a cheap and interesting group meal would be loaded baked potato bar. Set out all kind of toppings for your guests like bacon pieces, cheese, cooked broccoli, chives, sour cream, salsa, etc.
9. Honey Garlic Chicken – One of my friends said she made this and it was awesome! If I can make a good Asian-inspired dish in the slow cooker, I’m sold. I plan to serve this over brown rice.
10. Crock Pot Pumpkin-Spiced Latte – For years, this has been one of our most popular recipes and for good reason. Polly makes it every fall for a crowd…who then raves over it.
11. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken – Here’s another dump it and forget it recipe for a crowd. Serve over rice or top nachos with this mexican-inspired chicken dish.
12. Pasta Bar with Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce – Every crowd loves a pasta bar. Next time, save money and throw in this easy-to-slow-cook huge batch of homemade sauce to impress your guests. Bonus: Your whole house smells wonderful as a result!
13. Slow Cooker Baked Apples – Here’s an unique dessert option for a group. I love that you can prepare it in advance and time these cooked apples to be done after dinner. This warm caramel-y sweet would be delicious with some vanilla ice cream on top. (Hint: Borrow an extra slow cooker to double the recipe for a crowd.)
14. Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Veggies – Borrow an extra slow cooker from a friend and get two whole chickens with veggies going for your next crowd. Each one feeds about 4 adults. It’s SO simple and cost-effective, and the result is a one-pot wonder or meat and hearty veggies. I add some rolls and a fruit salad as sides.
15. Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin – I’ve made this many, many times over the years for guests and always get rave reviews. Try making this extremely flavorful pork tenderloin in your slow cooker instead of firing up the oven to make hosting easier. Slow cooker instructions are included at the bottom of the recipe.
16. Easy Crock Pot Cinnamon Apples – Use up those leftover apples that are on the verge of going bad to create a pot of fall-goodness that will warm your whole home. Guests will be instantly greeted with a cinnamony-apple aroma that will make their mouth water.
17. Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken – Cooking for a crowd doesn’t get much easier than this one. While the chicken slow cooks, make some rice ahead of time, chop some fruit, and offer a simple green salad. This is one of our favorite low-stress meals for a group.
18. Asian Lettuce Wraps – I’ve made this for several Christmas parties over the years. It works as an appetizer or as a main dish and is SO, so good. Slow cooker instructions are included at the bottom of the recipe.
19. Tender Braised Short Ribs – Oh. my. goodness. I want these yesterday. Whip up a big batch of mashed potatoes and these short ribs and your guests may not not want to ever leave.
20. Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Beef Tacos – Everybody loves tacos, right? Offer a few different taco vehicles (i.e. hard shells, soft shells, or tortilla chips) and toppings like lettuce, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, lime wedges, etc. Worried about the spice? Just pull back on the peppers if you’ve got some sensitive taste-buds in the group. This one will be a hit.
Soups in the Slow Cooker
Soups are a hosts’ best friend when it comes to cooking for a crowd. Make any of these ahead of time (even freezing them weeks in advance). Then, simply set the slow cooker to low until the soup is warm. Then switch to the “warm” setting until you’re ready to serve. Here are our favorites to serve a crowd out of a slow cooker:
21. Crowd-Pleaser Mexican Soup – This is Polly’s go-to recipe when a crowd of college students come over (a regular occurrence in her house, since she’s married to a college pastor).
22. Tomato Bisque – And this one is my go-to soup for a group. It’s excellent served with panini sandwiches on the side or even simple grilled cheese sandwiches cut into “sticks” and served up as “cheese dippers”.
23. Ham and Bean Soup – Don’t dismiss a hearty, winter classic like this one. My mom has been making this since I was little and our family loves it! Psst, it’s also a soup on a dime.
24. No Peek Stew – This takes minutes to put together in the slow cooker and then just set to LOW for about 8 hours. Serve up with some crusty bread and a side salad for a homestyle dinner.
25. Tortilla Soup – Only have a few minutes to throw something in the slow cooker? This is it! It will please both the vegetarian and carnivorous guest. Offer a few toppings like shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, fresh chopped avocado, and sour cream. Slow cooker instructions at bottom of the recipe.