11 Slow-Cooker Meals Perfect For Busy Nights

Maybe you love to cook, but just don't have the time you need to create a big meal every weeknight. Perhaps you don't care for cooking all that much, but you do want an amazing meal to come home to after a busy day of work. Whichever camp you fall into, you'll love these 11 slow-cooker meals perfect for busy nights.

All you'll need to do is throw some ingredients into your slow cooker before you leave the house. In the end, you can come home to an amazing dinner that took very little effort. Put together some sides (or don't!) and you'll have dinner on the table within minutes. Best of all, these aren't just your average slow-cooker soups or other standard Crock-Pot recipes. We've pulled together a few inventive options that you likely didn't even know you could make in your slow cooker, and there are options for every weeknight, regardless of what you're craving.

1. Slow Cooker French Toast

Have a hankering for breakfast food? You can enjoy breakfast for dinner in a flash, thanks to this French toast recipe that uses your slow cooker. You'll want to set your brioche bread to soak in a mixture of custard, brown sugar, orange zest, and nutmeg in the morning (or the night before you want to eat). Then, when your lunch break rolls around, turn on your slow cooker and let it do its thing for four hours on low. The result is a super-flavorful, golden, rich french toast that's ready and waiting for all your favorite toppings.

Recipe: Slow Cooker French Toast

2. Slow Cooker Persian Peach and Chicken Stew

This sweet-and-sour dish combines fresh peaches and chicken for a delicious and easy stew that's a far cry from your standard beef stew with carrots and potatoes. A burst of flavor is made possible via a combination of spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cardamom, while pomegranate molasses and lime juice add extra notes of flavor to the harmony. Eat this stew as-is or serve alongside rice for an extra-filling meal that'll hit the spot.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Persian Peach and Chicken Stew

3. Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

French onion soup looks impressive, sure — but there's no need to labor over your stove to put an amazing bowl of this crowd-favorite soup on the table. With a little slicing, dicing, and waiting for your slow cooker to do all of the work, you can turn out a delicious batch of French onion soup in only 10 minutes of prep time and just over five hours of cooking time. After the soup is finished, all you need to do is broil your toast and top the soup with cheese.

Recipe: Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

4. Slow Cooker Carnitas

Described as the "south-of-the-border version of pulled pork," carnitas is an absolute must for any Mexican-inspired feast. However, roasting your pork low and slow in the oven requires you to stick around the house and keep an eye on the cooking process. If you just don't have time for that but are still craving some delicious Mexican eats, let your slow cooker do the hard work for you. This recipe cooks your pork to fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth perfection in four hours.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Carnitas

5. Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

Is tacos al pastor your go-to order at your favorite Mexican restaurant? As it turns out, you can easily replicate this delicious dish at home. All you need is your slow cooker, 10 minutes of prep time, five hours of waiting, and a handful of pantry staples. Serve the resulting, melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece alongside tortillas and lime wedges for an easy, delicious dinner. This recipe makes 12 tacos, so you can feed the whole family or a group of friends during your next fiesta-inspired feast.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

6. Easy Crockpot Sesame Chicken

If your go-to takeout order is sesame chicken, you'll love this super-easy slow-cooker recipe. Just throw your chicken breasts and sauce ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do its thing for a few hours. When you come back, your chicken will be ready to shred and you can use the cooking liquid to create a thickened, delicious sauce. Serve your sesame chicken with rice or noodles for a complete and easy meal.

Recipe: Easy Crockpot Sesame Chicken

7. Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Whether you're hosting a dinner party or just want a delicious, elegant meal after a busy day, this slow cooker pork loin recipe could be exactly what you need. Easy, but with spectacular results, the recipe produces a beautiful, perfectly-cooked pork loin that's ready for serving alongside your favorite side dishes. You'll need to brown the pork loin ahead of popping it into your slow cooker, but that's basically all the work you'll have to do — unless you decide to also make a savory gravy with the pan juices afterward, which we highly recommend.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Loin

8. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

There's no need to spend money on Indian take-out the next time you're craving butter chicken during a busy week. Just put your slow cooker to work and come home to find this favorite dish ready and waiting. This is literally one of those slow-cooker recipes that simply allows you to dump all of the ingredients into the body of your slow cooker, mix it up, and forget about it. All you have to do afterward is come back later to your ready-to-eat butter chicken.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

9. Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

Whether you're serving it on a bun or all on its own, barbecue chicken makes a delicious dinner any season. This slow-cooker recipe shows you how to make your own barbecue sauce, which you use to drench your chicken thighs, before letting it all simmer together for four hours. You only need about 15 minutes of prep time to piece it together and then you're ready to chow down. Open up a pack of potato rolls and a bag of chips and dinner's ready.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

10. Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket

If you've already had your fair share of slow-cooker barbecue chicken (it is a pretty easy and popular slow-cooker recipe, to be honest) and you want to level up your barbecue game without any hassle, you'll want to try this slow cooker barbecue brisket recipe. Requiring only a handful of ingredients and just over six hours, it results in a tender, succulent brisket swimming in a smoky, tomato-based barbecue sauce.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket

11. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Move over, standard red chili. Whether you're laying off the red meat or just want something new in your rotation of soups and stews, this slow cooker white chicken chili recipe fits the bill. It swaps out traditional beef for chicken breasts, kidney beans for cannellini beans, and tomatoes for corn. Best of all, it adds in a whole lot of extra flavor thanks to jalapeños, lime juice, and green chiles. This may just become your favorite overall chili recipe for good.

Recipe: Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili