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.

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!

these recipes are all…

20+ easy back to school slow cooker recipes

top down view of white bowl of vegetable soup with striped blue napkin
5 stars (21 ratings)

Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup (Dump and Go!)

This easy, hearty slow cooker vegetable soup is made with a mix of cut veggies that stand up well to a longer cook time, such as carrots, potatoes, and celery (no mush veggies here!) Best of all, you can make it without sautéing the vegetables first, which is a nice time-saver, too! 
Ingredients: potatoes, celery, carrot, onion, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, peas, corn, green beans, stock, garlic powder, smoked paprika, bay leaves and salt.
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4.94 stars (47 ratings)

Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder (Crockpot, Instant Pot, Stovetop!)

Light, healthy, and bursting with flavor this Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder makes for an easy weeknight dinner or for anytime. Can easily be made in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or stovetop.
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), baby potatoes, celery, cauliflower, onion, chicken stock, coconut milk (or cream), lemon juice, turmeric and other seasonings
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Overhead shot of a bowl of sweet potato black bean chili garnished with avocado slices and sliced green onions. You can see a second bowl of chili, a lime wedge, cilantro, and a kitchen towel in the background.
5 stars (29 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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Brown bowl on a blue background filled with chicken and bean chili, topped with cheese, cilantro, and avocado.
4.95 stars (39 ratings)

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili (Dump and Go)

Ingredients: chicken, tomato sauce, beans, salsa, cumin, garlic and salt.
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5 stars (33 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 (12 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 (11 ratings)

Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken & Veggies

A versatile, filling, one-pot meal, slow cooker ranch chicken and veggies is made with a simple homemade ranch seasoning blend, chicken, carrots, and potatoes; making for an easy dinner recipe everyone will love!
Ingredients: chicken breasts, chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, yogurt (traditional or plant-based), mayo, apple cider vinegar, homemade ranch seasoning.
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4.93 stars (40 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 (30 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
4.95 stars (34 ratings)

Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Chicken

Bright, tangy, and wildly simple to make, Slow Cooker Lemon Herb 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
4.96 stars (25 ratings)

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Chicken (5-Ingredients!)

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Cider 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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white plate with buffalo turkey meatballs and fresh herbs on top
5 stars (4 ratings)

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Tender, juicy, and super delicious, buffalo turkey meatballs are a healthy appetizer or main dish, made with no breadcrumbs, and easy to prepare in the crockpot or in the oven.
Ingredients: ground turkey, grated onion, almond flour (or oat flour), nutritional yeast, granulated garlic powder, cayenne pepper sauce, butter (traditional or dairy-free) and salt
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close up of crockpot vegetarian chili in a white bowl with toppings
5 stars (109 ratings)

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

This easy crockpot vegetarian chili recipe tastes delicious and is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients, three beans, vegetables, and spices. Gluten free and vegan!
Ingredients: black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, bell peppers, onion, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, and other spices
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closeup of a white bowl filled with soup on a blue background with blue striped napkin
4.96 stars (23 ratings)

Slow Cooker Hamburger Soup

Simple and hearty, slow cooker hamburger soup is loaded with vegetables and ground beef, and can be simmered all day in the slow cooker or made in 35 minutes on the stovetop.
Ingredients: lean ground beef, onion, carrots, celery, tomato paste, chicken stock (or beef stock), olive oil, potatoes, red & yellow bell peppers, red wine vinegar, water, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt.
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bowl of shredded slow cooker fajita salsa chicken with chips and avocado on white table
5 stars (23 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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closeup view of turkey chili in a white bowl with chips and lime slices
5 stars (2 ratings)

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili + More Slow Cooker Turkey Recipes

Easy and delicious slow cooker turkey chili, plus more slow cooker turkey recipes!
Ingredients: ground turkey, canned beans, bell peppers, onion, sweet potato, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, and other spices
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white bowl of crockpot white chicken chili with jalapenos and tortilla chips on top
5 stars (95 ratings)

Easy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Crockpot white chicken chili is an easy prep, dump and go recipe, made with healthy ingredients and deliciously creamy without any dairy. Also includes Instant Pot and Stovetop instructions!
Ingredients: chicken breast, stock, white beans, mild green chilis, salsa verde, onion, garlic powder, cumin, cream cheese (traditional or dairy-free).
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Slow cooker BBQ chicken in a black crockpot on a white background.
5 stars (12 ratings)

Crockpot BBQ Chicken (2-Ingredients!)

This wildly easy 2-ingredient crockpot bbq chicken can be prepped in no time using store-bought or homemade sauce, yielding deliciously tender and versatile pulled chicken. Perfect for meal prep on busy weeks!
Ingredients: chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) and chipotle BBQ sauce (or store bought barbecue sauce).
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Overhead shot of a slow cooker with chicken, peaches, onion, and basil.
4.98 stars (45 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 (48 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
5 stars (1 rating)

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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