Looking for summer slow-cooker recipes? Want to use your slow cooker all year round? Low and slow means no hot kitchen (ideal for the summer months) and no stressy dinners. Throw everything into the slow cooker first thing in the morning, or overnight on low, for an easy midweek meal or weekend entertaining meal.
Summer slow-cooker recipes
Use your slow cooker this summer to make a super-soft chipotle pulled pork, then stuff into brioche buns with avocado and pickled jalapeños. A great, fuss-free recipe for a get-together.
A salad in a slow cooker? Once you’ve seen how easy it is to get squishy, soft aubergines without slaving over a griddle you’ll make this again and again. A colourful salad that’s ideal for the warmer months, it contrasts a sweet molasses and honey dressing with salty feta for a moreish result.
Centuries ago, Sardinia was occupied by the Spanish. As a result, the island is famous for its paella, albeit with an Italian twist (orzo or fregola is used instead of rice). This version, with smoky chorizo, sweet tomatoes and juicy prawns, is a great reason to get that slow cooker out over the summer.
This simple but flavour-packed veggie tagine makes a feature of meltingly soft peppers, but you could add any summery veg to the base sauce – chunks of squash or courgette would be good.
A creamy, aromatic, vegan-friendly curry, made in a slow cooker. Slow cookers are good for nuts when you want them to be soft and creamy, like the fresher cashew curries found in Sri Lanka. Eat this with rice, or better yet roti or naan. If you’re stretching out leftovers then hunks of heavily buttered homemade soda bread baked with some cumin will also work.
These gyros swap the traditional spit-roasted meat for pull-apart shredded lamb. The meat is marinated overnight and then cooked for six hours in the slow cooker, but while it takes a while to make, there’s happily very little hands-on time. When the meat is finished, it’s shredded and tossed in all the gorgeous cooking juices, then served in wraps with veg and a moreish garlicky sauce. A perfect Greek-style dish for lazy sunny days.
Nothing says summer BBQ like pulled pork in soft floury buns with crunchy slaw. We’ve adapted this epic recipe to suit your slow cooker so you don’t have to put your oven on at all. Just dig out that slow cooker and invite your friends over.
Check out our easy slow-cooker chilli recipe, with black beans, fiery chipotle chilli paste and quick-pickled onions. The black beans are cooked down with onions, green peppers, celery, tomato and smoked paprika, and can handle the chilli kick – so be bold with it. Quick pickled onions, soured cream, chopped coriander and more chilli sauce are essential finishing flourishes for this flavoursome slow-cooker dish.
Check out our creamy chicken stew with peanut butter, inspired by West African groundnut stew. Serve this dish, with its mellow peanut butter, fiery ensemble of spices, and juicy, tender chicken, scattered with extra sliced red chilli for oomph. This light and fragrant style of curry is ideal for summer days.
Aubergines and tomatoes are at their best in summer, so take advantage of the glut and make this classic Italian dish. Layer up aubergine slices and they’ll turn meltingly soft in the slow cooker.
If your slow cooker has a fry button, you can cook them in a drizzle of olive oil before assembling. Chunky tomatoes and mozzarella slices, a drizzle of olive oil, basil leaves and some seasoning make for a delicious recipe. Scatter with grated parmesan and cook for six hours on low.
Huge pieces of meat don’t need to be saved for a roast. Carnitas are a great idea for summer entertaining, and with no knives and forks needed it works great for a garden party, too. Cook the meat in your slow cooker for eight hours on the low setting. The salsa ingredients can just be fried in a little olive oil, so you won’t need your oven at all.
Check out our easy vegan chickpea stew. Packed with dates, crunchy almonds and vibrant turmeric, it’s a great recipe to whip out in the summer. Slow cooking chickpeas with a heady selection of spices really ramps up the flavour in this frugal dish – try to get hold of the extra-large, chubby chickpeas in jars for superior texture, too. This aromatic vegan dish can be ready in between one and six hours, depending on which setting you use on your slow cooker.
Check out these easy slow-cooked lamb shanks. Kleftiko is a Greek dish of lamb and potatoes slow cooked with white wine, lemon and oregano. Serve with bread for mopping up juices, and a Greek salad. Lots of Mediterranean flavours packed into one dish, perfect for summer holiday vibes.
Fresh tomato (marinara) sauce
Batch cooking pasta and pizza sauce is a great way to use up any tomatoes that look like they’ve seen better days – plus if you grow them, they can ripen quicker than you can use them up.
Add about 1.5kg blanched and chopped tomatoes, a bunch of basil, bay leaf, a good glug of olive oil, some seasoning and a few crushed garlic cloves to the slow cooker and cook for six to eight hours until the tomatoes have completely broken down. You can use a stick blender to make a smoother sauce.
If your tomatoes are super ripe, you don’t need to add sugar or vinegar to make a piquant sauce but taste and add a sprinkle of each if it needs it. Add a spoon of crème fraîche or mascarpone for richness post-cooking, if you like.
Slow cooker oats
Minutes are valuable in the morning, so save another 15 for something useful by making your porridge in a slow cooker overnight. Use your usual porridge recipe (reducing the milk a little, to account for no evaporation) and activate the ‘keep warm’ function, and you’ll wake up to a warm breakfast that’s ready to go.
Porridge isn’t just a winter warmer: top with summer berries, a dollop of yogurt, a few sunflower seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup for a summery version. We have lots of porridge toppings here.
Ribs tend to be slow-cooked in water or stock (or in this case, Dr Pepper) before they’re roasted or barbecued to make the meat super juicy.
Get ahead and cook the ribs the day before in the slow cooker for four hours on high or six hours on low. To finish them off, drizzle with the glaze and chuck on the barbecue for sticky, charred, fall-apart ribs. A perfect summer recipe for a garden gathering.
Slow-cooked peppers make a great pizza topping, pasta sauce, sandwich filler or even a condiment for cauliflower fritters. Fry peppers and red onions in a drizzle of olive oil, then pile into your slow cooker for with chopped tomatoes, chilli and red wine vinegar, and cook for between two and four hours. This will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, so make double.
This curry is light and fresh, so is a great shout on a hot summer day. Make a batch overnight, cooking on the low setting, and you’ll have a healthy lunch or dinner ready and waiting, the next day.
For an easy dessert with minimal preparation, try cooking peeled pears slowly. Poach them in cider with a cinnamon stick for 4-6 hours on low until tender. Serve with vanilla ice cream and flaked almonds, or crushed amaretti biscuits.
listen to cookery writer Anna share her brilliant slow-cooking tips for summer. (Hint: your barbecue routine will never be the same!)
olive magazine podcast ep16 – Dan Doherty’s new book, summer slow cooking and afternoon tea sundaes