If you’re looking for easy, healthy back to school slow cooker recipes perfect for busy weeks – you’re in the right place!

From healthy soups, chowders, chilis, main dishes & more – the recipes in this collection are all simple to prepare and perfect low-effort weeknight dinner wins!

four back to school crockpot dishes in black slow cookers on white backgrounds

When it comes to transitions, I’m all about finding ways to simplify things.

Including the answer to the daily question, “what’s for dinner?”

Less decisions = less stress.

That’s why on busy weeks – like when it’s time for Elle to head back to school – my family & I love to lean on easy slow cooker recipes for dinner.

To get you inspired, I’m sharing a collection of my favorite back to school dinner ideas that’ll help simplify your dinner decisions.

reasons you’ll love these back to school slow cooker recipes

  • Each recipe only needs a few hands-on minutes of prep time – then simply add your real food ingredients to the pot, set to cook, and let it do the work for you!
  • The ingredients are easy to find & will help you transition easily between summer and fall meals
  • These weeknight meals are great for anyone with a busy life, so even if you don’t have kids you can lean on these easy nourishing meals to get dinner done with minimal effort

Every one of these weeknight slow cooker recipes makes for great (freezable) leftovers. This post has all my best tips for how to freeze anything in a mason jar.

these recipes are all…

I’ve also included some paleo, whole30, vegetarian and vegan options too – so there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

I hope you’ll make these Easy Back to School Slow Cooker recipes soon.

If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

20+ easy back to school slow cooker recipes

white bowl of crockpot butternut squash soup with apple
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Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup with Apple

Made with butternut squash, apple, carrots, cinnamon, turmeric, and coconut milk, this recipe for crockpot butternut squash soup with apple is easy to prepare, and full of healthy, nourishing flavor!

Ingredients: Butternut squash, apples, onion, carrot, turmeric, coconut milk, vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and other spices.

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4.96 stars (22 ratings)

Instant Pot + Crockpot Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder

Light, healthy, and bursting with flavor, Instant Pot + Crockpot Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder makes for an easy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), baby potatoes, celery, cauliflower, onion, chicken stock, coconut milk, lemon juice, turmeric and other seasonings

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5 stars (14 ratings)

5-Ingredient Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili (Slow Cooker, Instant Pot)

5-Ingredient Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili is simple to prepare, totally nourishing, and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients: sweet potatoes, black beans, salsa, vegetable stock, cumin, smoked paprika and salt

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5 stars (11 ratings)

6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili

6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili is an insanely simple and totally tasty recipe to throw together any night of the week.

Ingredients: chicken, tomato sauce, chili beans, chunky salsa, cumin, garlic and salt

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5 stars (10 ratings)

3-Ingredient Crockpot Salsa Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

This Crockpot Salsa Chicken Stuffed Potatoes recipe is the easiest, most delicious, wildly simple recipe you’ll find anywhere. What’s more, everything cooks together in the slow cooker, so prep is super fast and cleanup is a breeze!

Ingredients: chicken breasts or chicken thighs, salsa, and russet potatoes.

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5 stars (8 ratings)

Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup

Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup is hearty one-pot meal that’s packed with the good stuff. A gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30 recipe your family will love.

Ingredients: ground turkey (or ground beef), onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, stock, spinach, Italian seasoning and other spices

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healthy slow cooker ranch chicken adn veggies on a white platter with blue and white striped napkin
5 stars (4 ratings)

Healthy Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken & Veggies

Skip the processed ranch packets and make your own to use in this easy, delicious Healthy Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken & Veggies!

Ingredients: chicken breasts, chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, yogurt (traditional or plant-based), mayo, apple cider vinegar, and the easiest homemade ranch seasoning

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5 stars (12 ratings)

Slow Cooker Tropical Pulled Chicken

Naturally sweet, tangy and oh-so delicious, Slow Cooker Tropical Pulled Chicken is a breeze to throw together and makes for a healthy dinner everyone will love!

Ingredients: chicken breasts or chicken thighs, gluten-free tamari, honey, grated ginger, canned crushed pineapple, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

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Tacos on a wood board and white table with carnitas and toppings.
5 stars (5 ratings)

Slow Cooker Carnitas

This slow cooker carnitas recipe is super easy to prepare and yields wildly delicious, succulent results everytime. Serve the carnitas warm as a filling for tacos, burritos or in bowls for an easy weeknight dinner win!

Ingredients: pork loin roast (or pork shoulder), orange juice, lime juice, cumin, mild chili powder, garlic powder and salt.

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5 stars (18 ratings)

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with 5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce is a crave-worthy dinner that can be prepped in minutes!

Ingredients: chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, peanut butter, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar and other spices.

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black slow cooker with lemon herb pulled chicken ingredients on white table
5 stars (12 ratings)

Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Pulled Chicken + 3 Ways to Use It

Bright, tangy, and crazy simple to make, Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Pulled Chicken is a no-fuss weeknight dinner everyone will love.

Ingredients: chicken, lemon juice, dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, garlic

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Image of Apple Slaw
5 stars (8 ratings)

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken is simple to prepare and yields super tender chicken in a sweet and savory sauce that everyone in the family will love.

Ingredients: chicken, apples, apple cider, onion, garlic powder and salt

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Image of Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Apple, & Turmeric Soup
4.94 stars (15 ratings)

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Apple, & Turmeric Soup

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Apple & Turmeric Soup is a simple chop and drop recipe that yields creamy, nourishing results. It’s a hit with the entire family, plus is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo and Whole30 friendly!

Ingredients: sweet potato, apple, potatoes, stock, coconut milk, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and other seasonings

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slow cooker citrus chicken on a white plate with slices of orange and lemon and lime
4.67 stars (3 ratings)

Slow Cooker Citrus Chicken (Pollo Asado)

Slow Cooker Citrus Chicken (Pollo Asado) yields bright citrus flavors and tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken. A super easy recipe with delicious results!

Ingredients: bone-in chicken thighs and legs, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, onion, honey (optional) and salt.

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Image of Slow Cooker Barbecue Chickpeas
5 stars (6 ratings)

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chickpeas

Traditional flavors combine in this Slow Cooker Barbecue Chickpea recipe, a satisfying and completely plant-based twist on classic barbecue.

Ingredients:  chickpeas, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, kosher salt, tomato paste, maple syrup (or honey), molasses, apple cider vinegar, and water.

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bowl of shredded slow cooker fajita salsa chicken with chips and avocado on white table
5 stars (9 ratings)

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita Salsa Chicken

The perfect recipe for when you’re short on time but still want a delicious, real food dinner, 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita Salsa Chicken is a snap to prep and requires just a handful of ingredients.

Ingredients: chicken, onion, bell pepper, salsa, lime juice and salt

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Image of Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Apple Cider Chili
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Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Apple Cider Chili

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Apple Cider Chili is a hearty sweet and savory vegetarian chili, combining a few simple ingredients into a quick, easy, and filling meal.

Ingredients: sweet potato, black beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, onion, stock, apple cider, chili powder, and other spices

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Image of Slow Cooker Chicken, Veggie, and Quinoa Stew
5 stars (3 ratings)

Slow Cooker Chicken, Veggie, and Quinoa Stew

This simple recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken, Veggie, and Quinoa Stew is healthy, hearty and so delicious!

Ingredients: chicken breast (or thigh), stock, quinoa, zucchini, corn, garlic, onion, carrots, chickpeas, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and other spices

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Image of Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken
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Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

With a short list of simple, real food ingredients this Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken is brilliantly easy and so delicious. Throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a perfectly cooked barbecue dinner. Yum!

Ingredients: chicken breasts, tomato sauce, honey, molasses, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar and salt.

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Overhead shot of a slow cooker with chicken, peaches, onion, and basil.
4.96 stars (22 ratings)

Slow Cooker Peach Chicken with Basil

Slow Cooker Peach Chicken with Basil combines juicy peaches, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil for an easy, flavorful dinner anytime. Easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, this one’s bound to become a new family-favorite recipe!

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), onion, balsamic vinegar, peaches, basil, garlic powder and salt.

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Shredded slow cooker enchilada chicken with tomato sauce in a black crockpot on a white background.
5 stars (21 ratings)

6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Enchilada Chicken

This easy recipe for shredded chicken for enchiladas is totally simple, completely delicious and the perfect weeknight crockpot recipe. Plus this chicken recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30 compliant too!

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), onion, garlic powder, cumin, lime juice, tomato sauce, chili powder and salt.

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bowl of shredded slow cooker fajita salsa chicken with chips and avocado on white table
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20+ easy back to school slow cooker recipes: fajita salsa chicken

The perfect recipe for when you're short on time but still want a delicious, real food dinner, 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita Salsa Chicken is a snap to prep and requires just a handful of ingredients. Plus 20+ more back to school slow cooker recipes I know you'll love!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1-2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 medium bell pepper, red, yellow, orange or green, thinly sliced
  • 1 16-oz jar or container salsa, divided (any brand you like, avoid those with added sugar or ingredients you can’t pronounce)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons

Instructions 

  • Add the chicken, onions, peppers, about ⅔ of the salsa, and salt to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6, or until the chicken and vegetables are very tender.
  • Uncover and remove the chicken to a cutting board. Shred with two forks or cut into pieces.
  • If there is a lot of liquid in the slow cooker you can drain some off or leave it all in, depending on whether you want a drier or saucier consistency.
  • Add back the chicken, the remaining salsa, and lime juice, stirring everything together. Taste and add additional salt, lime juice or salsa if you like.

Notes

This recipe makes 4-6 servings
Vegetable Side Suggestion: 5-Ingredient Everyday Creamy Slaw
Set aside some of the cooked, shredded chicken for resistant eaters. Serve with a veggie of choice.
Use whatever salsa you like, just be sure to check the ingredient list and try to avoid brands with added sugar or with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
This chicken and veggie mixture is extremely versatile, so serve it however you like. Stuffed into tacos, wrapped in lettuce leaves, over brown rice, or just as it is.
Feel free to pile on the toppings. Think sliced avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, green onions, or hot sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 186kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 372mg, Potassium: 629mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 668IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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