1. They’re basically fail-proof.
In case you’re unfamiliar with how a slow cooker (also known as a crock pot) works, you basically dump all the ingredients in and set it to cook at ‘high’ or ‘low’ for as long as needed. Fewer steps=fewer opportunities to make mistakes. So, as long as you’re fairly adept at pushing buttons it’s pretty hard to screw up.
2. You can come back to a home-cooked meal at the end of a long day.
Few things are worse than coming back after your 6 PM class knowing you have to wait an hour or more to make your dinner before you can eat. With slow cookers, you can easily prep in the morning, set it to cook on low all day, and reap the sweet fruit of your labor when you come home at night.
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3. They’re huge time savers.
Food prep is majorly cut down as most recipes only require cleaning and chopping up ingredients before they go in the pot—forget sautéing, baking, boiling and fricasseeing, whatever the hell that is. You’ll also save time cleaning up as you really only need to clean the ceramic crock afterwards (you can even eliminate this step if you use slow cooker liners).
4. You can use them to make pretty much anything.
Everybody knows that you can use slow cookers to make pulled pork and pot roasts, but did you also know you can make breakfast casserole, chicken tikka masala, and even pizza? What a world.
5. You can eat as healthy or as indulgent as you want.
Watching your weight? Use your slow cooker to make stuffed peppers, chicken chili, or red beans and rice. If you’re looking to treat yoself (because you totally deserve it after that 15 minute walk to class), go for mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, or an ultra-moist chocolate cake.
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6. There’s tons of 3-4 ingredient recipes online.
If you’re looking for a no-fuss slow cooker recipe, this page is a great one to reference. Some other awesome low-maintenance combinations include beef+garlic+pepperoncinis, pork+BBQ sauce+root beer, and the oddly delicious chicken+dry onion soup mix+craberry sauce.
7. Leftovers for dayyyyyyys.
Because of how large crock pots are and how many portions a single recipe makes, you can easily get a week’s worth of meals out of one cooking session—most crock pot recipes freeze well, too, so there’s no need to finish it all at once. Make a big batch of roast chicken and vegetables on Sunday and you’ll be sitting pretty for the entire week. Or, you could go HAM like these guys and make a month’s worth of food in one day.
8. You can save big on food costs.
Crock pot recipes are usually developed with working families in mind, meaning you likely won’t have to buy any super expensive ingredients to make your meals. That, combined with how few ingredients some recipes require and the multitude of leftovers you’ll have afterwards, makes slow cookers one of the most economically efficient ways to cook your meals.
9. They’re perfect for tailgating.
Huge portion sizes means you can make plenty to go around at a tailgate (or you can just keep it all to yourself, no judgment here), and the insulated ceramic crock will keep food warm for hours. Brats, spinach and artichoke dip, and chicken wings all make particularly good options.
10. They can help you get drunk.
Like any kitchen appliance worth its salt, crock pots can be used to aid you in your never-ending quest for inebriation. Warm up with spiked hot chocolate, mulled wine, or just pour in an entire fifth of Burnett’s and call it a day.