Fall Crock-Pot Recipes For Busy Weeknight Feasts

by Jessica Learish

When fall foods start to hit the grocery store shelves, my dinner game gets pretty imaginative. I mean, there's nothing more inspiring than a well-concocted fall feast — I mean, entire holidays are created out of the bounties of the autumn harvest. However, I can't always spend the whole afternoon prepping a glorious meal for dinner since I'm a busy adult human — but thankfully, there are ways around that. For instance: These Crock-Pot recipes for fall pretty much do the work for me while I'm out bringing home the bacon, so to speak.

For example, yesterday I threw together a delicious chili in a few short minutes, pushed the power button on my slow cooker, left for work, and returned home to the glorious smell of a slow-cooked American stew with ground chicken and spicy pork sausage in the evening. Yum.

I'm a slow cooker addict. I firmly believe that it's the most useful tool in my kitchen every season of the year, but there's something about coming home to a piping hot, ready-to-eat feast in the fall that is extraordinarily appealing. Maybe it's because fall is such a busy time of year— kids (and adults) go back to school, basically every sport is in season at the same time, and the holidays will be here before you know it.

Get ready to up your weeknight dinner game this fall with these set it and forget it feasts.

1. Pulled Pork Chili

Maybe the best line of copy on the whole internet is in the recipe post for this chili on How Sweet It Is. It reads, "But you could probably put pork on a shoe and I’d eat it." Same, girl, same.

2. Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Judging by the displays in Trader Joe's, the food world has gone full-pumpkin in 2016. From pumpkin bagels and potato chips to pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin chai, this delightfully creative recipe for turkey and pumpkin chili from Table For Two will fit right in with the all-pumpkin-everything aesthetic.

3. Slow Cooked Brisket

If you don't have a meat smoker at your home, a Crock-Pot is your best bet for getting a fresh-made brisket cooked low and slow onto your dinner table. Head over to The Kitchn to find out just how easy it is to make this meat-lover's dream a reality.

4. Turkey With No Fuss Gravy

October was made for practicing your turkey game before Thanksgiving rolls around, so throw some turkey in your slow cooker and see just how easy roasting a bird can be. Mel's Kitchen Cafe has the details on this one.

5. Slow-Cooked Bolognese

I've never tried to do this, and I absolutely cannot wait to bust out this party trick on an upcoming weeknight. Thanks a million to The Kitchn for bringing this brilliant idea to my attention.

6. Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Plop a whole chicken into your slow cooker and let the magic happen for a few hours. Pro-tip though, if you're looking to present a beautifully roasted whole bird on the table, be super careful when you're taking the chicken out of the Crock-Pot because it will fall off the bone and leave you with a delicious but less than picture-perfect pile of meat. FoodieCrush has the details.

7. Spiced Lamb Gyros

Lamb is a super fun thing to throw in the Crock-Pot. It's got such a unique flavor, and shredding it and rolling it up in a pita is how it was meant to be consumed (just ask any Greek person). This recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain is great with the mint aioli and fries.

8. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Did you know that you can just stick a whole clean butternut squash in the Crock-Pot, cook it for a couple of hours, let it cool, and save yourself the laborious task of peeling and seeding it raw? Genius, I know. After you've done that, jump into this recipe from Taste And Tell, and before you know it, you'll be sipping on this devilishly creamy soup.

9. Chimichurri Chicken Lentil Soup

Next time you need a meal that will warm you to your core, look no further than this herbaceous and soothing soup from A Spicy Perspective. This is a next-level chicken soup that will cure whatever it is that's ailing you, from a cold to homesickness to regular old hunger.

10. Slow Cooker Apple Crumble

Dessert in the Crock-Pot has go to be the best idea anyone ever had in the fall. My boyfriend is an enormous sucker for any apple-related desserts, and you can bet I'll be breaking out this brilliant concoction from How Sweet It Is before this season is over.

11. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Similarly, you can make breakfast in the Crock-Pot for those cozy weekend mornings when you just want to stay under the covers until noon. How Sweet It Is has this great overnight oatmeal recipe that's perfect for fall.

12. Vietnamese Pho Ga

Pho is a staple in my diet. I eat it at least once a week. But, having pho as a go-to at home recipe would be a great addition to anyone's repertoire. Check out this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

13. Slow Cooker Sausage And Spinach Lasagna

Slow cooker lasagna is a great thing to have in your playbook. It's perfect for those nights when if you could consume pure carbs and nothing else, you'd probably do it. Head over to The Kitchn for details on this one.

14. Pork Carnitas

I know, historically speaking, that the slow cooker was invented by a Jewish family looking to avoid the use of technology during Shabbat, but I think the slow cooker was low key made for making carnitas. This is my favorite thing to make in my slow cooker by a landslide, and this recipe from Damn Delicious is no slouch either.

15. Bread

You can actually make some pretty bangin' bread in a slow cooker, and your home will never ever smell better. The Kitchn has a recipe just for such an occasion.

16. Pumpkin French Toast

Remember that conversation we had about pumpkin? Well this pumpkin creation will get your morning started the autumnal way. It's all the great stuff about french toast without any of the labor or mess. Damn Delicious has the recipe.

17. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

And the quintessential fall Crock-Pot recipe has to be this Crock-Pot chicken pot pie with biscuits from Damn Delicious. Everything about this recipe screams home sweet home.

Images: Damn Delicious (3); How Sweet It Is (3); Table For Two; The Kitchn (4); Mel's Kitchen Cafe; FoodieCrush; Climbing Grier Mountain; Taste And Tell; A Spicy Perspective; Steamy Kitchen