20+ Easy Back to School Slow Cooker Recipes - Real Food Whole Life

20+ Easy Back to School Slow Cooker Recipes

August 27, 2021 (Updated on October 27, 2021)

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

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

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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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-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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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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3-Ingredient Crockpot Salsa Chicken Stuffed Potatoes is the easiest, most delicious, craziest 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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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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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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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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The secret to perfect, juicy pork carnitas is to broil the shredded pork for 10-15 minutes after it has been tenderized in the slow cooker for several hours. 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, chili powder, and other seasonings

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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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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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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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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 (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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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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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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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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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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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!

If you want to fire up your grill instead, try this recipe for grilled bbq chicken with naturally sweetened sauce!

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A sweet and savory summer wonder, this simple, healthy Slow Cooker Peach Chicken with Basil is easy to make, tastes amazing, and will keep your kitchen cool in the warm months and bring a touch of summer in the cold months.

Ingredients: chicken, onion, balsamic vinegar, peaches, basil, garlic powder and salt.

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

Ingredients: chicken breast, 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

Yield 6
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 5 mins

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!


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


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?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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