A Month of Budget Slow Cooker Meals for Four People
Budget-conscious cooking and your slow cooker go hand in hand. When you cook on low heat over long periods of time, you can transform cheap ingredients into succulent, flavorful dinners. And, just as important as saving money, slow cookers save you time spent in the kitchen. This collection of budget-friendly slow cooker recipes is designed to feed a family of four every weeknight for four weeks. If you do happen to have leftovers, save them for the weekend and spend your time doing prep for the next week of meals. We've included corresponding weekly grocery lists, so you can keep everybody fed with as little effort as possible.
Week 1: Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
Start the week/month with a crowd-pleasing comfort dinner that everyone can get behind. This dump-and-go, five-ingredient dinner was made for Mondays. Serve over egg noodles, fettuccine, or rice.
Week 1: Slow Cooker Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
Week 1: Frank's Favorite Slow-Cooker Thai Chicken
Chicken thighs are the supermarket's best kept secret. Legs and thighs tend to be cheaper since they're dark meat, but don't count this against them — dark meat is more flavorful, and it doesn't dry out in the slow cooker like breast meat can at times. Here, thighs are coated in a Thai-inspired sauce made with salsa, peanut butter, coconut milk, lime, soy sauce, and ginger. Use whatever coconut milk you have to make Asian coconut rice for serving with your chicken.
Week 1: Erica's Delicious Slow Cooker Beef Roast
The slow cooker makes tough, cheaper cuts of beef like chuck roast fork tender. We love this classic pot roast because it's a whole meal in one — meat, potatoes, and carrots — no need for any additional side dishes.
Week 1: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Alfredo
It's hard to believe that this show-stopping Alfredo sauce comes together with shortcut ingredients like packaged salad dressing mixed, cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and canned mushrooms. Reviewer lucyford describes it as, "Creamy and so full of flavor."
Week 2: Spicy Beef Curry Stew for the Slow Cooker
Week 2: Slow Cooker Chicken Creole
"The stewed tomatoes and jalapeno pepper give this slow cooker recipe its Creole zing, along with seasoning and other veggies," says recipe creator MARY MOON. "This is an easy and tasty Creole chicken recipe. Just put all ingredients into the slow cooker and let it simmer all day." Like many Creole and Cajun dishes, this dish is based on the holy trinity of Cajun cooking: onions, bell peppers, and celery. Serve by itself or over egg noodles or rice.
Week 2: Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken
Week 2: Flavorized Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Forget dry and flavorless meat loaf; the slow cooker seals in flavor and moisture. We love that this recipe cooks the potatoes and carrots alongside the meat: "Came out delicious and the veggies being cooked with the meat I think was my favorite part…" says reviewer and
Week 2: Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken
Pineapple and soy sauce are a perfect match for marinating meat, offering both sweet and salty, tropical and tangy. You'll likely have leftover pineapple — try making this Quick and Easy Pineapple Fried Rice to serve with the chicken or check out our collection of sweet and savory ways to use canned pineapple.
Week 3: South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese
Week 3: Slow Cooker Chicken Pepperoni
Chicken breasts are smothered in spaghetti sauce, topped with pepperoni and jalapeno, cooked in the slow cooker, and served over layers of mozzarella cheese and spaghetti in this mashup comfort food recipe.
Week 3: Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
Use the remaining spaghetti from yesterday's meal to serve with homemade spaghetti sauce and Parmesan-flavored meatballs made easy in the slow cooker.
Week 3: Slow Cooker Chicken Quesadillas
Week 3: Slow Cooker Autumn Delight
Beef stew meat and onions are cooked in a thick mushroom and onion gravy and served over egg noodles. If you can't find cream of mushroom soup with garlic, you can use two cans of regular cream of mushroom soup with fresh minced garlic instead, as reviewer Sarah Jo suggests.
Week 4: Honey Sriracha Chicken
Week 4: Steph's Zesty Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Homemade meatballs, fresh pineapple, and green peppers are glazed in a pineapple-soy sauce mixture and cooked in the slow cooker. "For dinner, I like to serve them with a side of steamed minute rice to go along with the meatballs," says recipe creator zoeandelvis.
Week 4: Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas
Week 4: Slow Cooker Mojo Chicken
Week 4: Fry Bread Tacos with Spicy Shredded Beef
Fry bread Friday, anyone? Round out this month of slow cooker meals with these fun, fluffy fried bread tacos topped with shredded beef from the slow cooker and homemade refried beans. You can also provide additional toppings like shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.
- Pictured: Slow Cooker Mediterranean Roast Turkey Breast
- 20 Budget-Friendly Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes
- 19 Easy Dinners You Only Need 3 Ingredients to Make
- Browse our entire collection of Budget Cooking Recipes.