12 Foods you never knew you could make in your slow cooker

Jan 14, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. ET

Sometimes it's too hot to cook, and sometimes I'm just too darn lazy. On those days, my friends, I take out the slow cooker.

The best thing about these unexpected slow cooker recipes is that with a little planning ahead, they free up a lot of time. Plop your ingredients in, set a timer, relax (or run errands) for a few hours, and then enjoy an amazing, flavorful meal, alone or with friends. Your guests will never know the slow cooker did most of the work.

1. Chex Mix recipe

crock pot slow cooker chex mix

Image: Gimme Some Oven

Why not make a batch of slow cooker Chex Mix for your next party? It'll save oven space, and your whole house will smell totally delish.

2. Rosemary olive oil bread recipe

slow cooker rosemary olive oil bread

If you love freshly baked bread (and who doesn't?), using a slow cooker is the perfect way to enjoy it year-round, even in the dog days of summer when you can't imagine turning on your oven.

3. Hard-boiled eggs recipe

slow cooker crock pot hard boiled eggs

Image: Oh Sweet Mercy

If you have a big family, are making egg salad for a potluck or picnic or just really like hard-boiled eggs, then using a slow cooker is the perfect way to get the big batch you need with minimal effort.

4. Baked potatoes recipe

crock pot slow cooker baked potatoes

Image: My Frugal Adventures

These slow cooker potatoes couldn't be easier to make and are the perfect side dish for a big dinner party or a lazy weeknight meal.

5. Lasagna recipe

slow cooker crock pot lasagna

Image: Faithful Provisions

Who knew you could make lasagna in the slow cooker, noodles and all? Brown the meat, then layer the ingredients, cover, and cook on low for a few hours. No worrying about burnt edges, uncooked noodles or spillover.

6. Corn on the cob recipe

slow cooker crock pot corn on the cob

Image: Family Fresh Meals

The next time you have a summer barbecue, don't worry about heating up your house with a pot of boiling water or using up precious grill space. You can make perfectly cooked corn on the cob right in your slow cooker.

7. Cocktail recipes

slow cooker crock pot mulled cider

Nothing warms up the body and soul quite like some spiked hot cider or mulled wine. Try one of these 15 slow cooker cocktail recipes to keep you cozy no matter how cold it is outside.

8. French toast casserole recipe

slow cooker crock pot french toast casserole

Image: Recipes that Crock

If you're a brunchaholic trying to save money or tend to wake up a few hours before the kids in the morning, then this French toast is the perfect recipe for you. Make it the night before, then cook on high for 2 hours the next morning for an effortless morning meal.

9. Pumpkin pie recipe

slow cooker crock pot pumpkin pie

Yeah, you can make pie in the slow cooker! Say goodbye to fussy torn pie crusts, and say hello to warm, creamy pumpkin pie.

10. 7-Layer bars recipe

slow cooker crock pot 7 layer bars

Image: Tamilee Tips

Dessert in a slow cooker? It seems people tend to think of the slow cooker as a vehicle for mainly savory dishes, but it's totally perfect for cooking ooey, gooey desserts like these seven-layer bars too.

11. Refined sugar-free, dairy-free fudge recipe

slow cooker vegan refined sugar free fudge

Image: Sugar-Free Mom

Making fudge on the stovetop can be a total pain in the butt. One minute you have creamy, chocolaty goodness, the next minute you're left with a burnt, grainy mess. Not so with this slow cooker recipe, which churns out perfect fudge every time.

12. S'mores brownies recipe

slow cooker s'mores brownies

Image: Imperial Sugar

These s'mores brownies are way easier than going through the trouble of making a campfire, and you can have them year-round too.

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More great slow cooker recipes

Our top 10 Slow Cooker Sunday recipes of 2014
Slow cooker vegetarian stew with kale is comfort food done right
Slow Cooker Sunday: Classic cioppino is a seafood stew done right

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