For those days when you will be away from your kitchen all day

8 to 12 Hour Slow Cooker Recipes

TDS Reader Contributors

All Day Slow Cooker Recipes

I would really like to start using my slow cooker to make meals, but during the week, the food inside of it would be left unattended for 8-10 hours. All of the recipes that I see are for 5-6 hour stretches on low and may even include suggestions to stir once during cooking. Can you help provide me with some 8 to 12 hour slow cooker recipes? Thanks so much!
Rachel R.

Love This Cookbook!

I found Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good's Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker to be very helpful. Many of these slow cooker recipes can be cooked either on low for all day (8-12 hour recipes) or for half a day (4-6 hour recipes) on high. Even the recipes that say 8 hours can sometimes be stretched out to 10 hours on low with no ill effect. There is no need to open and stir. In fact, it's best not to when using the low setting because it takes so much time to heat back up to cooking temperature. I've marked my favorites in this book and we go back to them over and over.
Marsha in Tacoma, WA

The Beauty of Beans

I have found many wonderful all-day slow cooker recipes in vegetarian slow cooker cookbooks. Bean recipes are particularly good in this category, as beans will cook slowly and hold their shape as they absorb flavor from other ingredients. Beans are also inexpensive, tasty and good for you. They are packed with fiber and other nutrients.

If you have access to a computer, then check out for great slow cooker recipes. And remember that in most cases, cooking a bit longer won't hurt your meal at all.

Another solution is to purchase a slow cooker that has a built-in timer to switch a meal from the low setting to the warm setting. However, I would start with adapting recipes first, since that is the more frugal approach.

From Freezer to Slow Cooker

I make soup, stew or casseroles and then freeze them in plastic containers that are smaller than my slow cooker. On mornings that I need a meal ready when I get home, I take out a ready but frozen meal, pop it out of the container and into the slow cooker, and put the slow cooker on low. Slowly it will defrost and then warm up. It will eventually be hot when you get home. Sometimes you have to run hot water on the outside of the container to loosen the meal or place it in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes.

Chill Ingredients Overnight

I've used a slow cooker for 30 years. On the lowest setting meals are rarely overcooked after 8-10 hours. You can assemble ingredients the night before (so all the peeling and paring is done) and place them in a bowl in the fridge overnight. Because the ingredients are cold, they'll take an extra hour or two to cook, which gives you that extra time you need.

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Use Frozen Meat in Slow Cooker Recipes

I'm sure you'll get fabulous 12 hour slow cooker recipes, but one easy thing I have found to do with my slow cooker is to use frozen meat. I'll freeze chicken thighs (make sure that they freeze in a way that will fit into the slow cooker) and put them on low. By the time you come home, they will be ready and perfect. I've done this with a small pork shoulder (fat side up), a bottle of barbecue sauce, and an onion. It is delicious! This can be done with a turkey breast as well. Add mushroom soup, an onion, celery, and a small cube of chicken bouillon to the turkey breast. You'll think you've died and gone to heaven when you taste it.

Related: Avoiding Dried Out Slow Cooker Meats

Tried-and-True Slow Cooker Recipes You'll Love

Here are some slow cooker recipes for over 8 hours that are tried and true:

Beef Stew

2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into one inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup flour 4 carrots, sliced
1/2 tsp. salt 3 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. pepper 1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup barley
1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup water

Put meat in slow cooker. Mix flour, salt, and pepper. Pour over meat and stir to coat meat with flour. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours (high for 4-6 hours). Stir stew thoroughly before serving. Serves 6.

Cornmeal Dumplings

1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 TBSP. skim milk
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 TBSP. sugar

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto soup. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more without lifting lid until end of cooking. Serves 6 to 8.

Slow Cooked Rump Roast

3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 TBSP. flour
2 carrots, sliced
1 TBSP. prepared mustard
1 onion, sliced 1 TBSP. chili sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2-4 lb. rump roast, fat removed
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar

Place potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in bottom of pot. Place in rump roast. Salt and pepper to taste. Make a smooth paste of flour, mustard, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and sugar. Spread over top of roast. Cook on low 10-12 hours (or high 5-6 hours).

Corned Beef and Cabbage

3 carrots, cut in 3-inch pieces
2-3 medium onions, quartered
2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
cabbage, cut in small wedges
3-4 lb. corned beef brisket
1-2 cups water

Put all ingredients in slow cooker in order listed. Cover and set to Low for 12-20 hours. (High: 7-10 hours) Push cabbage wedges down into liquid after 5-6 hours (Low) or 2-3 hours (high).

To prepare more cabbage than slow cooker will hold with large brisket, cook it separately in skillet. Remove 1 cup of broth from crock pot during last hour of cooking. Pour over cabbage wedges in skillet. Cover and cook slowly for 20-30 minutes.

California Chicken

3 lbs. chicken, quartered
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 TBSP. green pepper, chopped
2 TBSP. soy sauce
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 TBSP. molasses (optional)

In bottom of slow cooker, arrange chicken quarters. In a small bowl, combine orange juice, chili sauce, soy sauce, molasses, dry mustard, and garlic salt. Pour over chicken. Do this at night before going to bed. Place it in the slow cooker liner and leave it in the refrigerator until morning allowing the meat to marinate.

Before work the next morning, take slow cooker out and plug it in. Simmer chicken at low setting for up to 10 hours. Add green peppers and oranges 30 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
from Crockery Cooking (The Country Friends Collection)

8-10 potatoes, sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups ham, cubed
1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, diced

Layer one ingredient at a time, starting with potatoes, ham, onion and cheese in a 5-quart slow cooker. When done layering, pour soup over the top. Do not mix. Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. Makes 6-8 servings.
Debra in MA

Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

This recipe is a standard for our family. It's easy, and I routinely cook it on low for 8-10 hours.

Fake Rotisserie Chicken

1 whole chicken
Lawry's seasoned salt
aluminum foil

Make 5 balls of aluminum foil and place in bottom of the slow cooker. Remove giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with water. Place chicken on top of aluminum foil balls (this keeps the chicken out of its grease while it is cooking). Sprinkle liberally with seasoned salt. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. You can also cook on high for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Potato Trick

I always prepare my slow cooker "dish" the night before and put it into my freezer compartment in a dish the size of my slow cooker. When I get up in the morning, I take it out of the freezer and drop it into the slow cooker. However, I find that if I am making stew and adding potatoes, I have to blanch the potatoes before freezing them or they turn dark, and according to the kids, they "look yucky." Blanching (two to three minutes) in boiling water is enough. Now, with slow cooker liners, it is even easier to move your supper from freezer to slow cooker. There is also a programmable slow cooker out there, and if you are ever purchasing a new one, you might want to look into one of that type. I may investigate this option the next time I buy.

Cook the Night Before

I cook the food overnight instead of during the day. Then I don't worry about leaving the slow cooker on and unattended during the day. You have more flexibility with time also. It takes less time to just pop the food into the refrigerator verses preparing the recipe in the morning.

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Adapting to a Longer Cooking Time

Here are some suggestions to adapt most recipes to an 8 to 12 hour slow cooker recipe:

  1. Buy a plug-in timer, like the kind used for Christmas lights or to turn lights on and off when you're on vacation. Plug the slow cooker into that, and set it to start a couple of hours after you leave in the morning. If the food in the slow cooker is cold from the fridge, it won't spoil in that time. Test the timer by using it for the first time when you are at home to make sure it comes on. Also, make sure that it's rated for the proper load. Wouldn't want to start any fires.
  2. Put the meat into the slow cooker frozen. This works especially well for chicken, which gets overcooked more quickly than other meat. Also, it helps to prevent any threat of spoilage if used in combination with the timer as in the above suggestion.
  3. Most stew-type recipes are quite forgiving. You can stir just before serving. We leave our slow cooker on from 7:30am to 6pm with things like beef stew, beef bourguinon, lamb stew and chili, and there's no loss of quality. Pulled pork or beef for sandwiches improves with the longer cooking time. Sometimes the dishes benefit from the addition of some flour and water or sour cream at the end of cooking to bind the sauce together. Chicken dishes work better applying the two suggestions above.


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Reviewed January 2018

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