Find go-to slow cooker recipes for kids (and parents!) with this master list of easy recipes. Included you’ll find kid-friendly chicken dishes, soups and stews, crockpot chili, easy vegetarian recipes for the slow cooker, and much more—chosen with your picky eaters in mind!

Slow cooker chicken tacos on plate with sides.

Slow Cooker Recipes for Kids

The crock pot can be such a busy-family lifesaver with its whole set-it-and-forget-it capabilities. It’s such an amazing feeling to have dinner ready and waiting at the end of the day!

But—and this is often a big but—so many little kids don’t like foods all mixed together, so cooking family meals in a slow cooker can sometimes feel impossible.

Which is where this list comes in! I can’t guarantee that your kids will eat everything on this list (I wish!), but I do hope that some of these meals will fly with your little people. I tried to cover a range of recipes to please your family, regardless of their preferences.

Here’s to easy cooking!

(You may also like my favorite Freezer Meals and Shortcut Meals.)

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Slow cooker chicken tacos on plate with sides.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Cooking chicken in the crockpot is one of the easiest ways to make tender, easy-to-chew chicken that kids and adults love. These are some of our go-to recipes for chicken in the slow cooker, starting with these easy tacos.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos
With a short ingredient list and a veggie-loaded sauce, these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are such a delicious family meal. (You can even make it in the Instant Pot for dinner in just 25 minutes.)
Get the recipe
Slow cooker chicken tacos on plate with sides.

Butter Chicken

You can make this Indian-style chicken in the crock pot or Instant Pot, so you can go with the one that works better for your day.

Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Forget takeout—deliver this popular Indian dish to your table instead. Shredded chicken thighs are coated in a rich, buttery sauce with hints of tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala—a messy but very flavorful finger food. Adapted from The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook.
Get the recipe
instant pot chicken sandwich

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

You can make this easy barbecue chicken recipe in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, then serve it in sandwiches or alongside bread or rice.

(You can also make classic salsa chicken by swapping in salsa for the barbecue sauce. That’s such an easy crockpot chicken recipe.)

Easiest Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
You can double this recipe and use 2 pounds of chicken if desired. Just do your best to spread it into an even layer in the instant pot. (Note: The nutrition facts will vary based on the bbq sauce that you use.)
Get the recipe
instant pot chicken sandwich

vegetarian bean chili in bowls

Crockpot Veggie Chili

Whether for game day, a hearty meal on a chilly weekend, or just an easy weeknight supper, these slow cooker chili recipes are easy to make and serve up. I love to put out bowls of toppings so the kids can choose which ones they want.

Things like shredded cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, and diced tomatoes are great chili toppings, especially on this veggie chili. And you can make this chunky soup easier for kids to eat by draining off some of the liquid.

Vegetarian Bean Chili (Big Batch)
When serving this to a little one, I like to drain off much of the broth. This makes it a little easier (and less messy) for them to eat. If your family likes spice, add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
Get the recipe
vegetarian bean chili in bowls on table.
slow cooker black bean soup in pink bowls.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

I love using a slow cooker to make soups and stews since you don’t need to stand by the pot while the soup simmers, and the flavors have plenty of time to meld and mix. This black bean soup option is a family favorite.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Use the crock pot to cook up a hearty and nutritious Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with veggies and lots of kid-friendly flavor. It's easy, versatile, and a great freezer meal
Get the recipe
red lentil soup for parent and baby

Red Lentil Soup

This plant-based soup includes sweet potato, coconut milk, ginger, and turmeric for a most delicious combination of flavors.

Easy Red Lentil Soup
With plant-based protein and Vitamin C-rich veggies, this brightly flavored Red Lentil Soup—with sweet potato, ginger, and coconut— is a perfect fast family dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.
Get the recipe
red lentil soup for parent and baby
Lentil soup in white bowl with cheese on top.

Crock Pot Lentil Soup

Put everything into the slow cooker and let it cook low and slow all day to make the yummiest vegetarian lentil soup.

Add a simple side of crackers, toast, or a muffin to round out the meal.

Favorite Vegetarian Lentil Soup
With a quick method and a variety of vegetables packed into the soup, this vegetarian Lentil Soup is a perfect weeknight family dinner—especially when you're craving comfort food.
Get the recipe
bowl of vegetarian lentil soup.
bowl of healthy mashed sweet potatoes.

Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

We love these easy sweet potatoes as a side dish, but they can also be added to Sheet Pan Quesadillas and Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese.

Easy Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes
With an almost fool proof method, these Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes mash up into silky smooth baby food or a side. You can also skip the mashing and serve them as you would baked potatoes if preferred.
Get the recipe

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Learn how to make the easiest homemade refried beans to add to burritos, tacos, and more.

Easiest Homemade Refried Beans
This recipe makes enough for 2-3 meals depending on the size and appetites of your family. See below for storage information!
Get the recipe
slow cooker refried beans

Slow Cooker Black Beans

It’s so easy to make a big batch of black beans starting from dried beans to use in soups, tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, Black Bean Brownies, and more.

Slow Cooker Black Beans (with Instant Pot Option)
This recipe makes enough for 4-5 meals depending on the size and appetites of your family. I make one batch about every 4-6 weeks and freeze the beans in meal-size portions until we’re ready to enjoy them. You can also use just 1 pound of beans if desired and cook them as directed—just cut the seasoning in half as well.
Get the recipe
crockpot applesauce in jar on towel
Easy Crockpot Applesauce
With just a few basic ingredients and fresh apples, your crock pot can do the rest of the work of making applesauce!
Get the recipe
crockpot applesauce in jar on towel

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

Whenever we have too many fresh tomatoes, this is my go-to method for turning them into sauce.

Easy Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
This slow cooker tomato sauce method is the easiest way to transform fresh tomatoes into delicious sauce. Scale the recipe up or down for a smaller or larger slow cooker. You don't have to be precise! And the chopped tomatoes can be very roughly chopped.
Get the recipe
slow-cooker-spaghetti-sauce-in-freezer-containers in storage containers
chana-masala-for-family with three plates

Channa Masala with Rice

With a veggie-loaded base and Indian-style spices, this slow cooker meal can also be done in the instant pot if you prefer.

Instant Pot Chana Masala-Style Chickpeas
Try making a super easy Indian food recipe at home with this mild Instant Pot Chana Masala. It's easy to make, freezes beautifully, and packs extra veggies tucked right into the sauce. (This will likely make enough for two meals—I like to freeze the second half for a future week.)
Get the recipe
instant pot chana masala meal.

Slow Cooker Beef Burritos

With beef and veggies in the mix, this easy slow cooker recipe is a satisfying and flavorful burrito mixture.

Slow Cooker Beef Burrito Recipe with Veggies
If you want to make these vegetarian, try using 2 cups rinsed and drained black beans or pinto beans instead of the ground beef.
Get the recipe
easy beef burritos on plate

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Use ground turkey, beef, or a mixture of pork and beef. Make any classic meatball recipe you like—such as the one below—by simmering meatballs on low in the slow cooker with a jar of marinara sauce.

Healthy Meatballs (with Hidden Vegetables)
With the texture you expect from a traditional meatball but added nutrition from three types of veggies, your whole family will love these.
Get the recipe
healthy meatballs in large bowl and small kids bowl

Slow Cooker Pasta Recipes for Kids

There’s nothing inherently difficult about boiling water and making pasta … until you have little kids underfoot and demanding your attention! You can try slow cooker lasagna or slow cooker macaroni if you’d like.


Best Slow Cooker for Families

For years, I relied on my basic Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Slow Cooker. It was reliable and consistent and I totally recommend it—especially since it’s less than $40! Lately though, as I’ve been using my Instant Pot more, I’ve been using its slow cooker function, which is just as great. I recommend both options!

You May Also Like

Do you have a favorite slow cooker for kids recipe that I missed? Please add it in the comments—I’d love to know!

This post was first published October 2019.

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