12 Slow Cooker Italian Recipes for Low-Key Weeknight Dinners

Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Come home to a comforting hands-off dinner with our array of Italian slow cooker recipes. With slow cooker makeovers for takeout Italian beef and just-like-Grandma-made slow cooker Italian soups, these easy slow cooker Italian recipes will transport your taste buds.

01 of 12

Spicy Turkey Lasagna

Spicy Turkey Lasagna
Andy Lyons

Give lightened lasagna complex flavor with dried oregano and crushed red pepper. They flavor the layered pasta's lean ground turkey and rich cheesy filling. Serve the Italian slow cooker recipe with a fresh salad (and a bottle of Italian red wine, if you like) to complete the cozy feast.

02 of 12

Pasta with Beef-Fennel Ragu

Pasta with Beef-Fennel Ragu
RJT LLC Scott Little

This two-part recipe might be one of the easiest pasta party entrées you'll ever whip up. Start the slow cooker with Italian beef, fennel, and tomato ragu first, and allow it to simmer low and slow from breakfast until about dinnertime. For the final 20 minutes, stir in a box of no-boil penne and allow it to cook until al dente. That's it!

03 of 12

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches
Blaine Moats

Transform a humble loaf of ciabatta bread into a memorable meal with this slow cooker Italian chicken masterpiece. The secret lies in the combination of Mediterranean ingredients in the sandwich filling. Chicken breasts simmered with tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers make for a brilliant display of color, texture, and flavor.

04 of 12

Mushroom Risotto with Peas

Mushroom Risotto with Peas
Jason Donnelly

Silky risotto is hard to resist, but it can be a hassle to make on the stove top. Here, the slow cooker does all the "stirring" for you. Arborio rice is short and plump so develops a creamy texture as it soaks up the chicken broth. Pair the grain with fresh mushrooms, peas, and garlic in a white wine broth for an elegant slow cooker Italian rice dinner that is irresistibly smooth.

05 of 12

Italian-Style Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Italian-Style Slow Cooker Meat Loaf

We're giving the classic American comfort food a complete Mediterranean makeover. This slow cooker Italian beef meatloaf recipe features parsley, garlic, and balsamic vinegar for a taste of Italy in a picky-eater-friendly package. (Psst...try leftover slices between two slices of toasted bread.)

06 of 12

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
Blaine Moats

Italian wedding soup derives its name from the marriage of meat and greens. For this slow cooker Italian wedding soup, meatballs, vegetables, and chicken broth combine to make a soup hearty enough to be a main dish. Crusty bread and a side-dish salad round out the meal.

07 of 12

Beef and Carrot Ragu

Beef and Carrot Ragu
Andy Lyons

Wide, ridged noodles are the perfect accompaniment to this chunky slow cooker pasta sauce featuring carrots and roma tomatoes. The thick ragu clings to the pasta and tender slow cooker Italian beef short ribs. The ragu calls for a half cup of red wine: Crack open a canned wine and you'll have enough left over for two small glasses to savor with dinner.

08 of 12

Warm Eggplant and Kale Panzanella

Warm Eggplant Kale Panzanella
Blaine Moats

Salads might seem surprising from the slow cooker, but the fresh eggplant and bell peppers in this panzanella benefit from its hassle-free heat. Combined with tender kale and toasted bread crumbs, the Italian slow cooker recipe makes a low-calorie—yet surprisingly filling—entrée. To please those with heartier appetites, top each serving with grilled steak, shrimp, or salmon.

09 of 12

Italian Pork with Sweet Potatoes

Italian Pork Sweet Potatoes
Blaine Moats

Dig into fork-tender pork shoulder roast, no smoker required. A fennel seed rub coats this pork with extraordinary licoricelike flavor; golden orange potatoes add the right amount of sweetness to the Italian slow cooker recipe.

Test Kitchen Tip: Shred any leftover meat and fold it into frittata batter for brunch the next day or stuff into rolls for sandwiches for lunch or dinner.

10 of 12

Stuffed Artichokes with Spicy Italian Sausage and Sweet Red Pepper

Stuffed Artichokes with Spicy Italian Sausage and Sweet Red Pepper
Karla Conrad

Steamed artichokes are easier than ever when you employ this handy countertop appliance. Filling enough to be an entrée but ideal as a showy dinner party side, these artichokes stuffed with slow cooker Italian sausage will have everyone begging for the recipe.

11 of 12

Saucy Ravioli with Meatballs

Saucy Ravioli with Meatballs
Blaine Moats

Score three affordable supermarket items—spaghetti sauce, frozen ravioli, and frozen Italian meatballs—to get a head start on this easy supper. The only other things you'll need to complete the slow cooker Italian meatball and pasta entrée are a few hours of cook time and two types of cheese.

12 of 12

Italian Braised Chicken with Fennel and Cannellini

Italian Braised Chicken Fennel Cannellini
Scott Little

Gluten-free Italian dinners do exist! And you won't miss the pasta or pizza crust here. Fennel provides subtle sweetness to the simmered sauce that blankets this slow cooker Italian chicken recipe. Versatile cannellini beans and yellow bell peppers keep the meal hearty and healthy.

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