Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream From Cleveland Monday. Learn more




Enter an ingredient, course or keyword and get cooking!




AARP Games - Play Now!
AARP Auto Buying Program


Contests and

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation!

Hawaii, the Grand Canyon or an Alaskan Cruise! No purchase necessary. Ends May 31. See official rules.

most popular


Slow Cooker Recipes For Every Meal

Comfort food at less than 500 calories a serving

measuring tape in shape of waist

Want to Lose Weight? Follow these 12 tips to shed pounds and stay healthy.

slow cooker recipe with lamb and spinach

Prepare easy and healthy meals under 500 calories with a slow cooker. — Photo by Tara Donne

Slow cookers have come back into fashion as a fantastic moist-heat method of cooking that allows dishes to simmer unattended for hours, resulting in a meal that tastes like you slaved away all day at the stove. Here are four breakfasts, four desserts, four soups and five hearty, savory main dishes that all clock in under 500 calories — so you can enjoy the comfort of satisfying winter meals that stick to your ribs but not to your waistline.

See also: Low calorie mac n cheese, grilled cheese and pizza.

Set a slow cooker to cook before you go to sleep in the evening, and wake up to freshly made old-fashioned oatmeal or other delicious grain-based recipes for breakfast. Pop your ingredients into the slow cooker before leaving for work in the morning, and come home to dinner of fork-tender meat and braised vegetables. Even desserts can be made in a slow cooker, as a handful of recipes in this article demonstrate.

Slow-cookers can turn cheap cuts of meat into scrumptious savory stews, and the low temperature makes it impossible for food to burn — the worst you can do is overcook your meal. And the promise of only one pot to clean, as opposed to a stovetop full of multiple pans, mixing bowls and dishes to wash, is certainly appealing as well.

A few pointers to keep in mind:

  • When cooking raw, dried beans, it's imperative that you boil them first to eliminate toxins that are destroyed by boiling for 10 minutes, but not by the lower temperature in a slow cooker.
  • If food in a slow cooker is allowed to cool below approximately 158 degrees F, harmful bacterial growth is possible. Make sure to reheat food before serving.

Slow-cooked breakfasts:

Creamy Morning Millet With Apples by Judith Finlayson
Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
by Liana Krissoff
Grits for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
by Andrew Schloss
Breakfast Bread Pudding
by Robin Robertson

Hearty slow-cooked soups:

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup With Coconut by Judith Finlayson
Parmigiano Pumpkin Soup With Frizzled Proscuitto
by Andrew Schloss
The Easiest French Onion Soup
by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman
Chicken (or Any Other Meat) Stock
by Mark Bittman

Savory slow cooker recipes:

Perfect Hominy-White Bean Chili by Robin Robertson
Chunky Pork Shoulder Ragu
by Michele Sciocolone
Osso Buco
by Liana Krissoff
by Stephanie O'Dea
Harvest Pot Roast
by Jesse Ziff Cool

Slow-cooked desserts:

Slow Cooker Sticky Bun Bread by Lora Brody
Chocolate Truffle Cake
by Michele Scicolone
Caramelized Brown Betty by Andrew Schloss
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann

You might also like: What you should pack for lunch. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

denny's restaurant member discount membership

Members save 15% all day, every day when dining at participating Denny’s restaurants.

Member Benefit Discount Dunkin Donuts Cream

Members get a FREE Donut with purchase of a L or XL beverage at Dunkin' Donuts.

Outback membership benefit aarp festive steak dinner

Members save 15% on lunch and dinner every day at Outback Steakhouse.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.