20+ Winter Slow Cooker Recipes - Real Food Whole Life

20+ Winter Slow Cooker Recipes

December 17, 2021

white bowl of crockpot lentil soup with fresh herbs and crusty bread on the side

If you’re looking for easy, delicious Winter Slow Cooker recipes, you’re in the right place!

Read on for a collection of easy, vegetarian, comfort food, soup, and chicken winter crockpot recipes perfect for cozying up with when the temperatures drop.

top down view of ingredients for crockpot lentil soup in a black slow cooker pot

about these healthy winter slow cooker recipes

I don’t know about you but as the seasons change, so do the ingredients in my kitchen.

One of my favorite ways to take advantage of all the delicious produce during its peak season (and most affordable price point) is to switch up the veggies and spices I’m using.

It keeps things interesting and is a simple way to liven up weeknight dinners so they feel new again (without too much extra effort).

Just like my summer and fall crockpot collections, these well-loved winter crockpot recipes are all a breeze to throw together.

Including lots of my favorite comfort food dishes, vegetarian recipes, winter soups, and family-friendly chicken dinners to cozy up with.

The best part is that they make lots of leftovers, so this is a great list to have on hand if you need to feed a crowd quickly & easily!

easy prep winter slow cooker recipes

If you’re new to slow cooker recipes, don’t worry – these are all very beginner friendly dishes.

Even though the cook time looks long in the recipe card, the hands-on prep time is very short.

In my opinion the less prep & less stress part is one of the biggest perks of crockpot cooking (well, that and less cleanup)!

They’re an especially great option if your weeknights feel very busy and you want a little more time for yourself.

Since you can set a timer & walk away, it frees you up to spend your time however you want to and still be able to come home to a nourishing, hot meal.

table of contents

Click on each category below to go straight to that section:



comfort food



what makes these recipes healthy

The truth is, there isn’t a universally agreed upon definition of what makes a recipe healthy.

As an expert on healthy habits, I should know — I’ve interviewed over 200 health and wellness experts on the question of what it really means to be healthy, and have yet to uncover a definition of healthy eating that all experts agree on.

However, I did write the book on what it really means to be healthy, and when it comes to recipes I take a whole, real foods, research-based approach.

With that in mind, all of these recipes are made with whole food ingredients, without any added refined sugar, and do not include processed ingredients or oils.

They are also plant-forward, include whole grains, as well as plenty of colorful, health-filled veggies.

Finally, as a healthy habits expert, I know that a big part of eating healthy is making the process easy.

That’s why all these recipes are not only filled with good-for-you ingredients, but also incredibly simple to prepare.

As always, if you’re following a specific diet for health reasons, consult with your doctor or registered dietitian for specific health advice and check out our nutrition disclaimer for more information.

how to freeze & store leftovers

All of these recipes will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

Many of these recipes also freeze well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

more easy crockpot recipe collections

30+ Dump and Go Slow Cooker Recipes

50+ Healthy Crockpot Recipes

Vegan Slow Cooker Recipes

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes

Whole30 Slow Cooker Recipes

Paleo Crockpot Recipes

Anti-Inflammatory Crockpot Recipes

Gluten Free Crockpot Recipes

Fall Slow Cooker Recipes

Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

these recipes are all…

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

I hope you’ll make these healthy Winter Slow Cooker Recipes soon.

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

Note: Some of the recipes may say “instant pot” in the title, but the recipe cards contain slow cooker instructions too!

vegetarian slow cooker recipes for winter

This easy crockpot lentil soup is made with simple pantry ingredients like green lentils, celery, carrot and spinach making for a hearty vegan and vegetarian meal. Plus instant pot and stovetop directions!

Ingredients: green (or brown) lentils, stock, onion, celery, carrot, diced tomatoes, garlic, red wine vinegar, spinach, salt and bay leaves.

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Crockpot Creamy Tomato Soup is super simple to make, and is creamy, dreamy, sweet and savory. Your new favorite paleo, whole30, diary-free recipe!

Ingredients: diced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, onion, garlic, raw cashews, Italian seasoning and other spices

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Made with pantry staples, Slow Cooker Turmeric Lentil Chili is incredibly simple to prepare and is packed with good-for-you ingredients. A vegetarian crockpot meal perfect for any night of the week!

Ingredients: kidney beans, lentils, stock, onion, tomato paste, coconut milk, cumin, turmeric and other spices

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Golden Glow Red Lentil Soup is an easy one-pot meal that’s bursting with nourishment. Simple to make in the Instant Pot, Crockpot, or stovetop, you’re going to love this gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian recipe.

Ingredients: red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes, onion, lime juice, garlic, ginger, turmeric and other spices

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easy slow cooker recipes for winter

Packed with chicken and vegetables, Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free) is made with real food ingredients and tastes amazing!

Ingredients: chicken breasts (or thighs), chicken stock, carrots, celery, onion, frozen peas, coconut milk, bay leaf and other seasonings

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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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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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crockpot comfort food

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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This crockpot spaghetti sauce works with any pasta! It's slow cooked & easy to make with simple ingredients like ground beef & crushed tomatoes. Can be easily made vegan or whole30 with simple swaps!

Ingredients: ground beef, onion, olive oil, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, honey (optional) and salt.

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These Crockpot Turkey Meatballs combine ground turkey with fresh spinach, basil and marinara for an easy-prep gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo and whole30 friendly recipe!

Ingredients: ground turkey, marinara sauce, basil, spinach, onion, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and salt.

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Crave-worthy Buffalo chicken gets a dairy-free makeover! Stuffed inside a tender sweet potato, and done completely in the slow cooker, 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken & Sweet Potatoes is your answer to dinner tonight.

Ingredients: chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, hot sauce, mayo, lime juice, coconut oil 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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winter crockpot chicken dishes

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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Tender, juicy, and incredibly simple to prepare, Slow Cooker Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots is bound to become your new go-to weeknight recipe.

Ingredients: whole chicken, baby potatoes, carrots, paprika, garlic, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary and salt.

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5 simple ingredients combine in juicy, succulent 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Garlic Balsamic Chicken, an effortless dinner recipe for any night of the week.

Ingredients: bone-in chicken breasts, balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil and salt.

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slow cooker soups for winter

This Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup is an easy prep, gluten-free & dairy-free take on the classic everyone knows and loves! A delicious, cozy soup packed with veggies, leafy greens and hearty, tender meatballs. Also includes stovetop directions.

Ingredients: ground beef (or ground turkey), carrots, celery, onion, nutritional yeast, escarole (or kale), chicken stock, garlic, granulated garlic powder, almond flour (or oat flour), baby spinach, lemon juice, egg (optional) and salt

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Packed with protein and veggies, this hearty Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew is easy to throw together and makes the perfect one-pot meal. Includes directions for making in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot!

Ingredients: chicken breast (or thigh), stock, potatoes, carrot, celery, onion, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder and other seasonings

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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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This 3-bean crockpot turkey chili is an easy, one-pot meal made with ground turkey, hearty beans, simple spices, and plenty of vegetables. Perfect for busy weeknights!

Ingredients: ground turkey, canned beans, bell peppers, onion, sweet potato, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, and other spices

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Made with carrots, celery, onions and potatoes, this comforting crockpot turkey soup is so easy to prepare. The perfect way to stretch leftover turkey meat into extra meals. Also has instructions for stovetop and the Instant Pot!

Ingredients: cooked turkey, chicken stock, onion, carrot, celery, potatoes, canned coconut milk (or heavy cream), garlic powder, Italian seasoning 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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Cozy and delicious Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup can be made on the stovetop or slow cooker resulting in a super flavorful coconut curry broth. Includes easy swaps to make this whole30, paleo, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly!

Ingredients: ground chicken, rice noodles, chicken stock, almond flour (or oat flour), lemongrass, garlic, ginger, red curry paste, fish sauce, coconut aminos, water, coconut milk, baby spinach, lime juice and salt (includes swaps for vegetarian, vegan, whole30, paleo)

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white bowl of crockpot lentil soup with fresh herbs and crusty bread on the side
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20+ Winter Slow Cooker Recipes: Lentil Soup

Yield 6
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins

This easy, healthy crockpot lentil soup is made with simple pantry ingredients like green lentils, celery, carrot and spinach making for a hearty vegan and vegetarian meal. Plus 20+ more winter slow cooker recipes the whole family is sure to love!


  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or finely grated
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt divided
  • 1 ½ cups dry green lentils (or brown lentils) rinsed and picked over
  • 1 15-oz can petite-diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 large bay leaf (or 2 small bay leaves)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Optional Serving Suggestions

  • extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked pepper, freshly grated parmesan cheese (traditional or vegan), fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, crusty bread


Slow Cooker Directions

  • Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, lentils, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine. Do not add the spinach, it will be added at the end.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, or until the veggies and lentils are soft.
  • Remove the lid, remove the bay leaf, add the vinegar, and stir to combine. Add an additional 1-2 cups of stock to thin the soup if necessary. Taste and add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional vinegar if desired.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend for 5-10 seconds. Alternatively, carefully, remove ½ to 1 cup of cooked soup to a blender. Cover, blend on high, then add back to the soup, stirring to combine. Note: blending for just a few seconds will add a creaminess to the soup, while leaving the texture of most of the lentils and vegetables intact.
  • Add the spinach, and stir to combine. Serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil, and any other toppings you like.

Instant Pot Directions

  • Set a 6-quart pressure cooker to saute mode for 8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
  • Cancel the saute function. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, lentils, tomatoes, stock, and bay leaf, stirring to combine.
  • Secure the lid, select the manual setting, and set it to high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • When the pressure cooker timer is done, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.

Stovetop Directions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stirring to combine. Cook until the onions soften, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the celery, carrot, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and stock, stirring to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Follow remaining slow cooker steps 3-5.


Dried brown or green lentils work interchangeably here. Do not use red lentils.
The heat of slow cookers can vary, as can the amount of liquid lentils absorb during the cooking process. If necessary add additional stock at the end, to achieve your desired consistency.
This soup will also thicken considerably as it cools, so if you prefer it thicker, allow to cool for 30 minutes prior to serving.


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 783mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9099IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 4mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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