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Cooking in a crockpot is my secret weapon to saving time and money in the kitchen.
When I was a college kid and barely knew how to scramble an egg, I could whip up a week’s worth of meals in a crockpot.
All you’ve got to do is dump the ingredients in and set the timer. Come back in 6-10 hours and you’ve got all the food you could possibly eat.
These cheap crockpot meals are my go-to recipes to help me meal prep on a budget.
They’re easy to prepare and relatively healthy.
The best part is that these cheap crockpot recipes cost less than $3 per serving!
If you need help learning how to meal prep, check out our step by step meal prep guide!
75 Cheap Crockpot Meals to Meal Prep on a Budget
Try out these cheap crockpot recipes if you’re looking for meals that are easy to throw together and delicious. Obviously, you’ll need a crockpot to make these meals. While it’s a little bit of an investment, this crockpot will last for years, and the time it saves you more than pays for itself.
Cheap Rice Crockpot Recipes
Rice is a great food to use in a slow cooker because it’s cheap, healthy, and fills you up. It also pairs great with meat and vegetables, making it easy to enjoy a complete meal. These cheap crockpot recipes are great for saving money with meal prep.
This meal is one of the cheapest I have ever prepared, at just $1 per serving. It’s also incredibly flavorful, and is packed with good calories and carbohydrates (from the tomatoes, rice and beans). This is one of our favorite healthy slow cooker recipes!
This cheap crockpot recipe has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s so versatile, you can prepare it for breakfast, dinner, or even as a dessert.
Preparing rice pudding in a crockpot saves both time and effort. Just toss the ingredients in a crockpot and the results can be summarized in two words – creamy and delicious!
There is no doubt that chicken and rice were made for each other. This is well-known, as it’s one of the most popular dishes around the globe. This crockpot chicken and rice dish can be cooked in a single pot. Just add chicken and veggies first, then when the dish is close to finished, add the rice. Chicken and rice is so customizable, you can add any fresh vegetables your family prefers, or use whatever you have on hand. Use seasonal veggies to make it even more affordable!
This is a delicious holiday recipe perfect for mushroom lovers. Since it requires just a few ingredients, it’s the perfect cheap crockpot recipe for your family. This recipe is suitable for a vegan diet. Add some butter to make this luxuriously rich.
Chicken Crockpot Recipes
These cheap crockpot recipes are perfect for people craving an easy chicken dinner. These cheap crockpot meals are nutrient-rich, as they’re full of lean protein.
This crockpot glazed chicken teriyaki is a healthy twist on traditional teriyaki that uses no refined sugars. Pair this with some delicious veggies and brown rice then you have yourself a healthy balanced meal. This recipe is also gluten and dairy free, so its perfect if you are thinking about trying any of these diets.
Crockpot honey garlic chicken is super easy to prepare, and so delicious. Just toss the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and by the time you return from work this shredded chicken dish will be ready to serve. You can serve it with rice and a side of steamed veggies for a complete meal, or serve it on a bun with a side of coleslaw for a little lighter meal.
This crockpot meal is filled with flavorful chicken thighs, butternut squash, and spices commonly used in Indian cooking. You can make it Whole30 compliant by taking out the couscous and raisins, and it can be made gluten-free by using GF rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice.
The secret to this flavorful dish is to slowly simmer the protein-packed enchiladas in the sauce for at least four hours. Then simply shred chicken, and a few more ingredients like tortilla strips, olives and cheese and you’re good to go!
Tip: Add some additional vegetables to make it more nutritious.
This sweet Asian inspired dish is better than takeout on so many levels. Not only is it healthier than the traditional Chinese dish, it’s also cheaper and tastier. It’s got chunks of tart pineapple, juicy chicken, bell peppers and onions mixed in a spicy sweet chili sauce. Your family will love this recipe!
If you want a healthy side dish, check out this broccoli with garlic sauce recipe!
This is a quick and easy version of the Mexican soup, Caldo de Pollo. It’s made using shredded rotisserie chicken and tons of fresh vegetables, including carrots, celery, garlic, onion, jalapeno and cilantro. If you are a fan of chicken soup but with a spicy twist, this recipe won’t disappoint you. Perfect for getting over a cold!
What sort of crockpot list would this be if we didn’t include a chicken noodle soup recipe? Chicken noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food, and making it in a crockpot is so much easier, with this recipe taking under two hours.
The two main ingredients in this dish are thick egg noodles and juicy, shredded chicken. Rest assured, your entire family will love this recipe!
Chicken marsala is a truly elegant dish – and now it’s been adapted for the slow cooker! This recipe consists of tender chicken cooked in a light mushroom and marsala wine sauce. Not only is it delicious, but it’s way cheaper than ordering it at a restaurant.
This is one of our favorite cheap crockpot meals!
Don’t let the name turn you off – this chicken dish contains no actual bourbon, but is named after a street in Louisiana, and is commonly found in cajun-themed Chinese restaurants around the US. If you’ve made bourbon chicken before, then you will love making it with a slow cooker!
As the name suggests, this recipe uses a slow cooker to cook an entire chicken at one time. Surprisingly, you actually don’t need any water or broth either! The results are juicy, tender chicken that practically falls off the bone. Simply place whole chicken in a slow cooker and let it do it’s thing!. You can add potatoes and veggies for a more balanced meal, but place those under the chicken to cook.
Tip: To make the skin crispy and brown, put it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes after cooking – though this is totally optional.
Healthy Crockpot Recipes
For a healthy life, you need a healthy diet. That begins with eating healthy crockpot recipes.
Slow cooker bolognese is the perfect comfort food, and it’s so simple, with just five minutes of prep time. It uses just one pot which makes it really fuss free, perfect to put on at the start of a lazy morning or just before you go to work. This is a simple recipe that is packed with proteins, healthy fats and iron.
This smokey chipotle bean chili is super easy to make! All you need is your slow cooker, a handful of ingredients and 5 minutes to prep. It’s also high in protein, vegan and low in calories. Great for cooking in a big batch for meal prep, and costs just $1.61 per portion.
No need to break out the grill for this barbecue recipe! This perfect barbecue dish comes out tender and delicious straight from the crockpot. It requires just ten minutes of prep and makes ten(!) servings, ensuring you’ll have plenty of lunches and dinners prepped for the week ahead! Serve with rice and veggies or on a sandwich.
This is a delicious, vitamin-C packed dish that is easy to make and contains a lot of nutrients, mostly due to all the vegetables, like tomatoes, onions and peppers.
Tip: You can make this dish paleo friendly by subbing out the tortillas with fresh lettuce.
This recipe requires just five ingredients (chicken, beans, salsa, lettuce and cheese) making it practically effortless. Just toss the chicken, beans and salsa into the crockpot and go about your business. In four hours your simple and delicious meal will be ready. This recipe is perfect if you have gluten allergies, as it’s totally gluten-free!
This chicken dish will have you believing it’s summer, no matter what season it is! It takes just 15 minutes to prepare – you won’t even break a sweat. The fruity peach barbecue sauce is so delicious, and because it makes three cups, there will be plenty for leftovers.
This dish is paleo friendly, plus gluten-free and dairy-free. You can make it Whole30 friendly by serving the chicken on lettuce instead of buns.
Banh mi is a popular dish served in Vietnam, typically involving a crusty french bread topped with savory ingredients. If you’re a Banh Mi sandwich fan, then consider this the crockpot version. Instead of the traditional sandwich, you’ll add brown rice, vegetables, pork and mayo.
Chicken cacciatore is a popular traditional italian dish, usually made with chicken, vegetables and wine. This Italian dish is typically prepared hunter style, meaning it includes fresh tomatoes, onions, and herbs, hence the term “cacciatore”, which means “hunter” in Italian. This easy to make healthy recipe is made with a thick tomato sauce and tender boneless chicken.
Orange juice, apples, garlic, chicken and a bit of nutmeg powder are the only ingredients you’ll need to create this unique and delicious crockpot recipe. The nutmeg and marjoram leaves adds a bit more flavor and makes this recipe more savory.
This crockpot chicken recipe with walnut herb sauce is good enough for you to skip the supermarket rotisserie chicken. The cabbage-kohlrabi slaw – with cucumber, onions, lemon juice and parsley is a wonderful side dish. Toss in more vegetables for a more balanced dish.
There is no frying required when you prepare this delicious eggplant dish adapted for the slow cooker. People will think you slaved over a hot stove all day, but this couldn’t be any easier. After using this recipe you will never go back to frying!
Tip: Use GF breadcrumbs to make this dish gluten free!
Among all the healthy crockpot recipes on the internet, stuffed peppers have always been a favorite. They’re easy to make, healthy and require just fifteen minutes of prep work. They’re also totally customizable, so you can make them low carb or vegetarian easily.
This nutrient-rich and creamy crockpot recipe is made using just eight ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Using canned salmon, dried seasonings and condensed soup make this dinner super easy to throw together.
Vegetarian/Vegan Crockpot Recipes
These cheap crockpot meals are the best you’ll find if you are vegan. When you are looking for easy comforting recipes without meat I suggest you give them a try. These recipes are suitable for both breakfast and dinner. I’ve recently been juicing vegetables 1-2x a week! Check out our review of the Best Juicer for a Beginner to get started juicing yourself!
Your kitchen is bound to smell amazing for hours with this recipe. Cranberry apple juice combines with spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise to make a cider that is perfect for Fall.
Tip: This recipe is cheaper to prepare during apple season.
Mole is a sauce typically used in traditional Mexican cooking. This cheap crockpot recipe combines it with potatoes and beans for a satisfying meal that’s nutritious and will fill you up. It’s so easy to make and takes as little as fifteen minutes to prepare. These go great over rice or filled in tortillas.
This is one of the easiest recipes to make on this list. You can make these without oil, though the author suggests adding some butter to make these extra smooth and creamy. This vegan recipe requires just beans and onions, along with some spices, making it the ultimate cheap crockpot vegan recipe.
Tip: These beans can be made ahead and frozen so you can enjoy them whenever you want. Just place them in an air-tight container and freeze for up to three months!
This is the perfect meatless meal that your whole family will enjoy. Not only does it save time, but it also saves money, using lentils as a substitute for the ground beef, making it super healthy and packed with fiber. If you like this one, check out our full list of ground beef recipes!
This vegetarian chili mac is just as hearty and satisfying as the meat version, but with fewer calories and more nutrients. If you want to make this even easier on yourself, this recipe can be frozen ahead of time and simply thawed out before transferring to your slow cooker.
Tip: Leave out the cheese if you want to make this recipe vegan.
Cabbage steaks are a great weeknight meal if you’re trying to eat lighter. Made with just cabbage and potatoes, this is a healthy filling meal that comes together quickly and takes no time to cook. I was a bit skeptical of this recipe, but I guarantee it will be a hit on any weeknight.
Tip: You can substitute any root vegetables for the baby potatoes.
When you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but you’re craving something hearty, try this lentil and kidney bean recipe. This recipe makes eight servings, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers to take to work for lunch. It’s also loaded with fiber, making it a super nutritious meal.
This recipe is one of my favorite vegan breakfasts. This cheap crockpot recipe not only tastes wonderful, but it smells heavenly as well. Prepare it the night before and it’ll be ready to eat for breakfast right when you wake up.
Tip: It tastes great on its own, but you can add dried fruits, nuts or seeds to get some extra nutrition.
This amazing recipe is sure to excite anyone enough to get up in the morning. The peanut butter provides healthy fats and protein, while the oatmeal gives you some fiber so you’ll be full all day! The chocolate is just tasty, and really, do we ever need an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast? This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
Beef Crockpot Recipes
Beef is one of the most commonly consumed meats in the United States. Fortunately, there are loads of recipes that use beef in the crockpot.
This slow cooker beef stew recipe can be prepped in just twenty-five minutes, and features a few shortcuts to save you time, like not requiring you to brown the beef before adding it to the pot.
The dumplings are also super easy to make, and you just pop them in the pot during the last hour of cooking. This cheap crockpot meal is best served with mashed potatoes.
This Chinese food favorite makes for a cheap crockpot meal, and tastes just as good as you’d get in a Chinese restaurant. This easy to make dinner calls for steak and a handful of other ingredients you likely have on hand, making cooking a breeze.
Tip: Did you know you can actually make rice in the slow cooker and freeze it so that you always have some on hand?
This easy to make recipe is delicious and is great for leftovers because it makes so much! This beef is tasty served over egg noodles, rice, or potatoes.
Tip: You can also make this recipe ahead – just freeze everything in one container and cook as directed after thawing in the fridge. It’s good for up to three months in the freezer.
Slow cooking and elegant don’t typically go hand in hand, but that’s about to change because of this fancy dish. This recipe consists of beef, burgundy wine, fresh vegetables and a shot of cognac for good measure. The beef and vegetables are cooked directly in the alcohol, giving it a heady, flavorful taste.
Tip: This recipe does contain a lot of alcohol, and while most of it cooks off, there is likely to be some remaining, so save this recipe for the adults.
This recipe requires only three ingredients and just five minutes of prep time, making it the ultimate beef crockpot recipe, and the perfect supper for a busy weekday. Just toss in the beef, mushroom soup and dry packets of onion soup early before going to work, and by the time you return home, it’ll be ready to eat!
Picadillo is a flavorful Cuban dish that’s typically made using ground beef and potatoes, similar to hash. It also comes with an amazing sauce that’s available in a variety of flavors. You can freeze and enjoy this recipe for up to three months! Simply reheat in the crockpot before serving It goes great with rice. This meal is Whole30 approved too!
Keto Crockpot Recipes
Keto recipes are low carb and healthy for anyone on a diet. These cheap crockpot recipes will make your keto diet much easier to stick with. Need more recipes like this? We’ve got a list of 45+ keto crockpot recipes to help you out!
Comfort food to the rescue! This low carb creamy broccoli cheese soup is healthier than the “real” version, and makes ten servings, so there will be plenty for lunch or dinner tomorrow! You’ll definitely be craving this recipe all year round.
Tip: Add a blend of cheddar and monterey jack cheeses for extra cheesy goodness!
Pork curry is a rich, flavorful recipe. It gets much of its flavor from the spices used, including onion powder, ginger, cloves and curry. This slow cooker pork curry recipe is great for making ahead, as it can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, and in the freezer for three months!
Tip: You want to use a cut of pork that has a lot of fat so it doesn’t overcook. The author recommends using pork belly, but you can also use pork shoulder or pork loin.
This low-carb Mexican soup requires just five ingredients and ten minutes to prep. Brown ground beef in a pan, then place the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot – easy peasy! recipe can be enjoyed by all people. Whether you’re on the keto diet or not, this recipe can be enjoyed by everyone. It’s creamy, spicy – you’re going to love it.
This easy to prepare Mexican dish has only three ingredients but packs a whole lot of flavor. It makes six servings, so there should definitely be leftovers, and because it’s low carb, it’s definitely good for people on the keto diet.
Easy to Make– Cheap Crockpot Meals
Although crockpot recipes are generally easy to make, these recipes are the easiest crockpot recipes known to man, with some of them requiring as few as three ingredients.
Everyone loves coming home to a creamy chicken alfredo. The simplest way to make this restaurant-quality dinner is by combining chicken thighs and homemade alfredo sauce in the crockpot. Serve with fettuccine noodles and a side salad for a comforting meal.
Tip: You can use crockpot liners to make clean up even easier!
Did you know you can make baked potatoes in the crockpot? It’s true! Merely brush with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then wrap in foil and place in the crockpot. It’s so simple you’ll start pulling out the crockpot just for these! Top with sour cream, cheese, and bacon for a hearty side.
This recipe is an easy to prepare crockpot dish that takes as little as five minutes to prepare and with only five ingredients. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice and some greens for a nourishing meal.
Turkey tetrazzini is a classic American casserole dish made with turkey, spaghetti, mushrooms and cream, and now you can make it in the crockpot! This recipe switches it up by adding a little wine to the mix, which enhances the taste!
Spaghetti and meatballs is one of the most commonly enjoyed dishes out there. This recipe uses store bought meatballs to make things easy – you don’t even have to thaw them! Just toss everything, minus the spaghetti, in the crockpot, then add the noodles thirty minutes before the sauce is done, and you’ve got a one-pan dinner. You can add onions and chopped carrots for flavor and nutrition.
This five-ingredient crockpot dessert will definitely be a hit. It uses boxed cake mix and canned apple filling, which makes it super convenient, and it cooks in under two hours, so you can have this on the table right after dinner. You could probably make this while you eat dinner!
This is the kind of filling meal you need after a hard day at work. Fortunately, you have a crockpot that will lighten the load when it comes to preparing a healthy meal for your family. This rich, hearty dish is good for the soul.
This delicious, easy to make crockpot dinner only requires six ingredients, and you can toss ‘em all in the crockpot at once and just walk away. Don’t go too far though, as you’ll want to use this chicken for everything from tacos, enchiladas, and lettuce wraps. This recipe is paleo, Whole30 and keto friendly, and it’s gluten free!
This rich, chunky spaghetti sauce is similar to a bolognese, which means it’s hearty and delicious. Serve this over noodles with a crusty french bread and green leaf salad for a tasty, satisfying meal. You can add mushrooms or zucchini to make it even healthier.
These are absolutely the easiest sausages you will ever make in a crockpot. Smothered in a worcestershire, dijon, sriracha and ketchup based sauce, these sausages are kind of addicting! If you intend on having leftovers, double the batch because they’ll be gone in no time.
This dish tastes like pizza in a pot. Loaded with your favorite toppings and two types of cheese, this hits the spot when you’re craving that pizza goodness. With just fifteen minutes of prep, now you can avoid the takeout line and the delivery guy with this super simple crockpot recipe.
High Protein Crockpot Recipes
Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle. Try one of these healthy recipes if you’re trying to get in shape!.
These protein-packed honey garlic meatballs are easy to make, and you most likely have all the ingredients needed on hand. These make a great appetizer, or as a dinner when served over rice.
This is by far one of the easiest crockpot recipes on this list. It’s totally customizable, so you can use pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans to make this a protein and fiber rich meal.
This recipe can be served as a side dish, and goes great at the dinner table, potluck or barbecue.
Tip: these beans can be frozen for up to eight months.
Pork tenderloin is a great source of lean protein, which is helpful in building muscle, making this a great meal for after a workout. With potatoes and onions, this recipe has a lot of nutritious veggies too!
Nothing is more comforting on a cold, snowy day than a bowl of warm stew. This rich beef stew is full of flavor and will definitely keep the whole family full. Don’t expect any leftovers with this dish! The kabocha squash adds a subtle sweetness that plays beautifully with the savory beef.
Tip: You can use pre-cut butternut squash in place of the kabocha squash if you’re trying to save time
Crockpot Winter Recipes
There are those cold, frigid days when you just don’t want to do any kind of cooking. This is where crockpot Winter recipes come in: they help you get a nourishing, delicious meal on the table with minimal work, and help turn dreary Winter days into warm, memorable ones.
This is one of my favorite Winter crockpot recipes. It’s easy to prepare and turns boring old boneless chicken breast into a warm, hearty meal that can be served over pasta, rice or mashed potatoes. You can add alfredo sauce to enhance the flavor.
This meal is commonly made on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also great on a cold day. Be sure to add the cabbage at the end of the cooking time to ensure it stays crispy and tender. Corned beef typically comes with a seasoning packet, but you can make your own and it tastes so much better!
After a long, dreary Winter day, you want to come home to a hot meal. Something hearty and substantial – something that will warm you to the core. These ribs fit the bill nicely
This cheap and easy to make crockpot recipe is the perfect Winter dish for your entire family. It goes beautifully with chicken, but it’s just as delicious with ham, meatballs or pork.
For more delicious soup recipes, check out these easy crockpot soups.
Breakfast Crockpot Recipes
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not make it the easiest meal of the day? These cheap crockpot meals are some of the easiest breakfast dishes to make. Note that some of these breakfast crockpot dishes may be considered “overnight” crockpot recipes, as they cook while you’re asleep
Stuffed with egg, spinach, ham, cheese, mushrooms and onions, this is one amazing crockpot breakfast recipe. Not only is this recipe super easy, it also cooks in just two hours. Tip: adding crushed pie crust makes this extra indulgent.
This Stuffed French Toast recipe is bursting with peanut butter and jelly goodness – it’s like you’re eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. Not just kids will like this recipe!
This delicious slowed-cooked sausage casserole is perfect for a hearty breakfast. It’s keto-friendly and only takes 10 minutes to prep.
This delicious slow cooker breakfast recipe is perfect for busy mornings. You can pop all the filling ingredients in the slow cooker the night before and wake up to the delicious aroma of eggs, sausage and hash browns. Then just wake and assemble!
Slow Cooker Desserts
There is nothing more satisfying than an indulgent dessert after dinner. How about using a crockpot to make that dessert? These are some of the best crockpot dessert recipes found on the internet.
Yes, you can actually make cheesecake in the slow cooker! The cinnamon and vanilla give this cheesecake an amazing aroma and flavor, but the best part about making it in a slow cooker is the minimal effort required. Slow cooking also gives this dish a silky-smooth texture.
This slow cooker bread pudding is made with day old French bread and studded with plump, juicy raisins. It cooks up in under three hours, giving you plenty of tim to get dinner on the table before you dig into this!
Homemade tapioca is a delicious but time consuming dessert, but that can be avoided with this slow cooker recipe! Simply toss milk, sugar and tapioca in the slow cooker and let it do the rest! Kids and adults will love this old fashioned tapioca recipe that takes just ten minutes to prep.
Fruit compote is a great dessert, as it’s loaded with sweet fruits that are good for your health. Of course, being a slow cooker recipe means it’s also easy to make. This recipe makes a great dessert or side dish at parties and potlucks.
This classic dessert is typically made over a fiery stove, but not here! This recipe combines the flavors of rum, caramel, bananas and vanilla, which blend to create a natural taste that endures in your mouth. Using a crockpot to make this dessert will definitely be effortless and fun (no open flames required)
If you like peanut butter cups, then you’ll love this recipe. Not only do you get a cake that tastes like a peanut butter cup, it’s even better because you can prepare it with a crockpot. Cupcakes are an awesome dessert choice, but these peanut butter cupcakes are both awesome and healthy!
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.