15 Great Slow Cooker Side Dishes for Easy Summer Cookouts
Want to make sure your summer cookouts are fun and relaxing? Let your slow cooker handle the side dishes that go along with whatever's going onto the grill. Making slow cooker side dishes frees you up so you're not stuck in the kitchen. Here are 15 summer side dishes you can load into your crockpot hours before things heat up outside.
Mexican Pintos with Cactus
Five ingredients and 10 minutes are all it takes to get this prepped and into your slow cooker. Several reviewers said they used jarred cactus because they couldn't get their hands on fresh (ouch) but still loved this recipe. Top servings with avocado, cilantro, onion, and crumbled Mexican cheese.
Mother Earth's Baked Beans
This popular side dish has a speedy 15-minute prep. Just pop the ingredients into your slow cooker, turn it on, and come back later to a delicious side dish you'll want to make again all summer.
Slow Cooker German Potato Salad
Recipe creator dramamath explains, "I tried this recipe for some friends who had requested my German potato salad. I didn't have time to make in on the spot so I gathered my ingredients and put it in a slow cooker. They loved it!"
Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Try this easy, creamy corn to balance out spicy or saucy barbecue main dishes. Shelby raves, "This recipe was INCREDIBLE! This is the closest recipe I can find to Rudy's Cream Corn in Texas. I made it as a side dish to a BBQ brisket dinner with my family."
Slow Cooked Collard Greens
Allrecipes community member lutzflcat says it best: "Two things that I really liked about this recipe are the rich flavor that the chicken stock adds and the little kick from the fresh jalapeño peppers. And the fact that this is a slow cooker recipe, keeping me out of the hot kitchen at dinner time, is a bonus."
Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
"I only got a forkful of this because that's all that was left when I got to it but it tasted great to me, creamy and cheesy. I doubled the recipe for a picnic," says Matlyn. The moral of this story? Make sure you scoop some onto your own plate right away before the hungry hordes descend.
Got some brats on the grill? A pot of this crunchy, tart sauerkraut would be a perfect side dish. You'll start with a big jar of sauerkraut, cover it with hard cider, and let your slow cooker do the rest. That's it!
Grandpa's Classic Coney Sauce
Take hot dogs from grilled to great with a ladle of this spicy sauce over the top. (BTW — Don't make the mistake of calling it chili.) "My grandfather owned a drive-in restaurant back in the 1950s," says recipe submitter Sean S. "This is his exact recipe for Coney Dogs from back in the day. I make this on special occasions and it is always hit with friends and family."
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions
Reality check: It can take almost an hour to make properly caramelized onions. But, who's got that much time to spare? The solutions is to put your slow cooker to work making a big pot of caramelized onions to top grilled burgers, steaks, hot dogs, pizza, and more. You can easily freeze portions so they're ready to heat at a moment's notice.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash
Can't stand the heat? Why heat up your kitchen baking summer squash? "This worked very well as an alternative to baking spaghetti squash," says mkstevens09. "A nice idea for if you are going to be out of the house for a while and want to cook something with the squash when you come home, or if you simply don't feel like using your oven. I cooked mine for the full 6 hours and it turned out perfectly tender."
Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes
When heating up the oven heats up the entire kitchen, Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes are the answer. Filling and versatile, baked potatoes make an easy addition to any cookout menu.
Slow Cooker Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
Enhance the flavor of grilled dishes with hearty Slow Cooker Spicy Black-Eyed Peas. Because the recipe calls for diced ham, this dish may even give you a reason to replace a meaty main with one of our best vegetarian grilling recipes.
Slow Cooker Green Beans
"I love an easy dump recipe, where you throw all of your ingredients in the pot and set it and forget it," Beanie VanBuskirk says. "A total win on that alone. But the peppers onions and bacon seal the deal, for sure!"
Braised Asian Kale in the Slow Cooker
Barbecue can be rich, so consider balancing it with a side of flavorful kale. Though the rice vinegar is optional here, adding it will brighten up the greens *and* cut through fatty meats.
Sweet Barbeque Beans
You can't go wrong with a classic. "This is a good dish for summer barbecues," Kelley James Magestro says. "We served it with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and there wasn't a bit left over."