Easy and Elegant Crockpot Recipes to Make For Dinner
Slow cooker meals can often conjure up images of sloppy-looking stews and cheap chunks of meat. While these dishes are certainly delicious, they’re typically not gourmet enough to be worthy of a dinner party or special occasion. But this doesn’t mean you need to spend hours standing over your stove in order to make a lavish meal for your guests — there are plenty of elegant-looking dishes that can easily be prepared in your crockpot. A whole roast spice-rubbed chicken, apple cinnamon slow cooker pork loin, and slow-cooker braised lamb Shanks are just a few of the sophisticated suppers you can make. Ready to class up your slow cooker dinners? Here are six must-try crockpot recipes.
1. Slow-Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks
These tender lamb shanks are seasoned with superb spices and coated in a rich and creamy sauce. Williams-Sonoma’s recipe yields 4 servings. If you’d like a scrumptious side to serve alongside your meat, we recommend making Our Best Bites’ homemade egg noodles.
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup red wine
Directions: Put the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf in a slow cooker and stir to combine. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to the slow cooker. Remove the sauté pan from the heat, pour in the wine, and return to medium-high heat.
Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the wine to the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 6 hours according to the manufacturers instructions. Transfer the lamb shanks to a large serving dish. Remove the bay leaf from the cooking liquid. Using a blender or stick blender, purée the liquids and solids until smooth. Pour some of the sauce over the shanks and pass the rest alongside.
2. Slow Cooker Cranberry Coq au Vin
If you’re hoping to whip up some French cuisine in your crockpot, Frugal Foodie Mama’s recipe is just what you need. This slow cooker cranberry coq au vin is bursting with sweet, tart, and tangy flavors that are sure to appease your guests’ appetites. It yields 4 servings.
- 4 (8-ounce) chicken thighs, skin removed, fat trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
Directions: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet set over a medium-high flame. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, then cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to crockpot.
In a small bowl, whisk red wine, vinegar, brown sugar, soup mix, cinnamon, and cranberries to combine. Pour over chicken, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on low. Serve.
3. Crockpot Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze
Thanks to A Spicy Perspective’s bacon wrapped beef tenderloin with balsamic glaze, your guests will feel as though they’re dining at a five-star restaurant. This recipe, which yields 8 servings, has you cook an expensive cut of beef nice and slow, creating a tender dish that is dripping in a sensational balsamic glaze.
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) beef tenderloin, 10 inches long
- 12 strips thick pepper bacon
- 1 small onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ¾ cup beef stock
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Salt and pepper
Directions: SEason tenderloin with salt and pepper all over. On a clean work surface, lay out bacon, overlapping slightly to create one rectangle. Carefully transfer tenderloin to center of bacon and wrap securely. Use toothpicks to hold bacon in place.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add tenderloin, toothpick-side down. Cook until well browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to crockpot. Add onion, garlic, and rosemary sprigs to crockpot. Cover and cook on low until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in vinegar and mustard, then add beef stock. Pour around tenderloin and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 4 hours total. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes. If desired, reduce cooking liquid on the stove.
Remove toothpicks, slice tenderloin and serve topped with glaze.
4. Italian Pork with Sweet Potatoes
Your family and friends will love sitting down to Better Homes and Gardens’ Italian pork with sweet potatoes. If you’re looking for an easy and elegant side salad to serve with this dinner, we suggest making Food Network’s arugula salad with olive oil, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (1½ pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Italian parsley sprigs (optional)
Directions: In a small bowl, combine fennel seeds, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. Trim fat from meat. Sprinkle fennel seed mixture evenly over meat; rub in with your fingers. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker. Place sweet potatoes in cooker. Add meat. Pour broth over meat mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours. Remove meat from cooker, reserving cooking juices. Slice or shred meat. Serve meat with sweet potatoes. If desired, garnish with sprigs of parsley.
5. Apple Cinnamon Slow Cooker Pork Loin
Rachel Schultz delivers a perfect pork loin dinner that looks as lovely as it tastes. You’ll slice slits throughout the meat, and fill each opening with an apple slice and honey, creating an enticing meal that’s filled with warm flavors.
- 3 pounds pork loin
- 1 apple, sliced
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- Mashed potatoes
Directions: Slice horizontal slits in tenderloin, going about three-quarters of the way through the meat. Add an apple slice to each slit, then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Transfer to slow cooker and top with onions. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes on the side.
6. Stuffed Flank Steak
Taste of Home’s stuffed flank steak is worthy of any special occasion. The succulent steak is stuffed with moist stuffing, ensuring you have a dish your dinner guests will love. The recipe yields 6 servings.
- 1 package (8 ounces) crushed corn bread stuffing
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- ½ cup egg substitute
- 1¼ cups beef broth
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 (1½ pounds) beef flank steak
Directions: In a large bowl, combine the stuffing, onion, celery, and parsley. In a small bowl, beat the egg substitute; stir in broth and butter. Pour over stuffing mixture. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper; stir well. Pound steak to ½-inch thickness. Spread 1½ cups stuffing mixture over steak. Roll up, starting with a short side; tie with string. Place in a 5-quart slow cooker. Remaining stuffing can be wrapped tightly in foil and placed over the rolled steak. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in stuffing reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit and meat is tender. Remove string before slicing.