6 Ways to Cook Meat in Your Crockpot

The crockpot is a life-saver for those who like to eat homemade dinners but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. While soups are a regular crockpot go-to, meaty dinners also can be mastered, as lean meat develops its taste when it is cooked on low heat for hours. When you’re craving a hearty dish but don’t feel like enlisting the same basic recipes again and again, whip up one of these 6 recipes. There’s no reason to order take-out when dinner is this tasty and easy.

1. Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Slow cooker with chicken

Slow cooker with chicken | iStock.com

First is a recipe from The Recipe Critic, which proves that anyone can master homemade honey teriyaki chicken, especially with the help of a slow cooker. Your dinner will cook for 4 to 5 hours until it’s ready to be served over rice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Optional garnish: green onions, sesame seeds

Directions: Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in the bottom. Next, combine soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, onion, garlic, pepper and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over the chicken breasts. Cook the chicken on high for 3to 4 hours or low for 4 to 5. Once it is cooked, remove and shred on a plate.

Pour the remaining sauce into a medium sauce pan. Separately, whisk together water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine this into the sauce on medium high heat, continuing to whisk until the honey teriyaki sauce starts to boil and thicken. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and pour the sauce over it. Serve chicken over rice.

2. Slow-Cooker Chicken Salad

Chicken salad sandwich

Chicken salad sandwich | iStock.com

Chicken salad is the perfect dish to prepare on a Sunday and then enjoy all week long. It’s fuss-free and can be eaten plain, on a salad, or as a sandwich. This recipe from I Heart Naptime requires only 10 minutes of prep time. The chicken will cook for 3 to 4 hours until it’s ready to be mixed with mayonnaise, grapes, pecans, salt, pepper, and dill. The resulting juicy chicken salad has the perfect flavor and crunch from the add-ins, and the recipe feeds a crowd, serving eight.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • ½ cup red seedless grapes, quartered
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Fresh dill, optional

Directions: Add chicken, onion, celery, and stock to a large slow cooker. Cook on low until chicken is cooked through and tender. This will take about 3 to 4 hours. After it is cooked, shred chicken and let it cool to room temperature. Add chicken to a bowl along with mayonnaise, grapes, pecans, salt, pepper, and dill. Serve on bread for a sandwich, or on greens for a salad.

3. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled-pork sandwiches

Pulled-pork sandwiches | iStock.com

Perhaps the most popular pork recipe to cook in the crockpot is that which yields pulled pork sandwiches. These juicy sandwiches from Food Network are the perfect treat to serve for Sunday football. You can start your dinner in the morning, and have it ready for kick-off. The recipe feeds four so double it if you’re serving a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (3 -to-4-pound) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 potato buns
  • Barbecue sauce and prepared coleslaw, for serving

Directions: Combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet; add the pork and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Remove the pork and transfer to a plate; whisk ¾ cup water into the drippings in the skillet. Transfer the liquid to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.

Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 cups water to the slow cooker and whisk to combine. Add the pork, cover and cook on low, 8 hours.

Remove the pork and transfer to a cutting board. Strain the liquid into a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Roughly chop the pork and mix in a bowl with 1 cup of the reduced cooking liquid, and salt and vinegar to taste. Serve on buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

4. Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

Sliced, crusted pork tenderloin with broccoli and gains

Sliced, crusted pork tenderloin with broccoli and gains | iStock.com

Next is crockpot pork tenderloin from Whisking Mama. A handful of ingredients and five minutes of prep time are all you need to prepare this dinner that will be ready after 5 hours in the crockpot. Put your meat in the slow cooker, pour over the marinade, and turn your machine to low heat. The end result will be a juicy and tender meat that pairs well with any side dish of your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Shallot chopped

Directions: Set crockpot to low. Before adding pork to the crock pot, prepare marinade by combining soy sauce, mustard, oil, maple syrup, onion, powder, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Next, place tenderloin in crock pot and pour over the marinade. Cook on low. Two small tenderloins will take about 4 hours while one large piece will require five. Once meat is cooked through, serve it with any additional marinade.

5. Asian Pork Chops

Pork chops with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds with rice

Pork chops with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds with rice | iStock.com

Enjoy your pork chops with an Asian flair with this recipe from Taste of Home. As long as you have the required ingredients, you can master these sweet and tangy Asian pork chops that your slow cooker will have ready in 3 to 4 hours. The end result will be a dinner of moist and tender meat that is flavored with a sauce made from brown sugar, wine, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic. You can serve your pork chops over rice and then it’s time to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (5-ounce) boneless pork loin chops
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Hot cooked rice, optional

DirectionsSprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Place in a 3-quart slow cooker. Add the onion, green pepper and green onions. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, wine, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic; pour over chops. Cover and cook on low for 3to 4 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with pork and rice if desired.

 6. Slow Cooker Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes

Slow cooker chicken

Slow cooker chicken | iStock.com/Violette Nlandu Ngoy

This Parmesan chicken and potatoes dinner from Damn Delicious is a must. The chicken can cook in the slow-cooker for up to 8 hours, and it’s seasoned with basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. The potatoes also join the poultry, and they are flavored with garlic and thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions: Season chicken with basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Next, add butter to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and sear both sides until golden brown. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain fat and set chicken aside.

Place potatoes in a slow cooker and add in olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the slow cooker in an even layer. Cover and cook chicken and potatoes on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Once chicken is completely cooked through, serve immediately with parmesan and parsley.