Slow Cooker Recipes Under $3
Pasta with Beef-Fennel Ragu
Budget dinner price: $1.86 per serving
For this slow cooker spin on Bolognese, combine lean ground beef with tomatoes, thinly-sliced fennel, veggies, and spices. During the final 20 minutes of cook time, stir in a box of no-boil, no-drain pasta and you'll be left with a complete Italian feast for less than you'd pay for a soft drink at the Italian restaurant across town.
Red Wine and Caramelized Onion Pot Roast
Budget dinner price: $2.59 per serving
A rich, moist beef roast, tender potatoes, and a splash of red wine; this holiday-worthy classic comfort food dinner tastes way more expensive than it actually is. (In related news, we'd happily pay plenty for an air freshener that emits a savory smell as incredible as this roast any day.)
Slow Cooker Falafel
Budget dinner price: $1.63 per serving
Enjoy street food for a steal—both budget- and diet-wise—with this simple sandwich recipe. Instead of frying in a vat of oil, we call for simmering the nicely-spiced chickpea patties in just two tablespoons of olive oil before serving in a toasty pita and topping with a minty yogurt sauce.
Chorizo and Black Bean Pizza Pie
Budget dinner price: $1.51 per serving
Save dough by making your own crust with flour, yeast, and a handful of common cabinet items, then stuff it with chorizo, beans, veggies, and cheese for a deep-dish delight that probably costs less than your go-to delivery pie. (Bonus: The tip is yours to keep!)
Cuban Arroz Con Pollo
Budget dinner price: $2.81 per serving
Peppers, both fresh and roasted, make up almost half of the price of this Latin American chicken and rice recipe—and for very good reason. They add just enough bite to keep things interesting but are mild enough to please a kid's palate.
Italian-Style Slow Cooker Meat Loaf
Budget dinner price: $1.65 per serving
For the best meat loaf texture and taste for the price, combine a pound of extra-lean 95 percent ground beef with a half pound of 85 percent lean beef. Mix in chopped zucchini and roasted red peppers for extra nutrition, and you'll be stunned by the scrumptious 194-calorie-per-slice results.
Garlic-Ginger Pork Lettuce Wraps
Budget dinner price: $2.12 per serving
We’re giving the other white meat a global makeover in this easy, flavor-packed, and light lettuce wrap recipe. If you’re in a hurry, you can make this garlic-ginger pork in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker.
Gruyere Risotto with Arugula Gremolata
Budget dinner price: $2.90 per serving
Indulge in creamy, dreamy risotto without all the stirring. With this cheesy rice recipe, the slow cooker does nearly all of the work for you. To transform this Italian masterpiece from a side dish to a meal, top each serving with a prosciutto-laced pine nut and arugula gremolata.
Spicy Turkey Lasagna
Budget dinner price: $2.03 per serving
"I make this on a regular basis and it turns out great every time," says BH&G fan Karen. Budget-friendly ingredients like a jar of marinara, a pack of frozen spinach, and a box of lasagna noodles leaves plenty of cash to splurge on 93 percent lean ground turkey that adds plenty of low-fat protein to this slow cooker lasagna.
Cabbage Roll Soup
Budget dinner price: $1.93 per serving
Affordable dinner staples like ground beef, rice, broth, and canned tomatoes star in this cozy dump-and-serve soup. Add a side of crackers or crusty bread, and dinner is done.
Indian Chickpea and Vegetable Curry
Budget dinner price: $2.86 per serving
Scoop up this creamy, warmly-spiced chickpea-tomato stew with a fork or our utensil of choice: a warm piece of naan bread. For nights you're in a hurry, follow our instructions to prep the same recipe in a pressure cooker.
Slow Cooker Coq au Vin
Budget dinner price: $2.39 per serving
Coq au vin, or chicken with wine, is a classic French stew that Julia Child helped make famous in the states. Employing the slow cooker and an envelope of 90 cent beefy onion soup mix makes the rustic recipe easier than ever to prepare!
Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast
Budget dinner price: $1.70 per serving
Since the meat and veggies come together in one pot (your slow cooker or pressure cooker), clean up for this hearty roast recipe is as low-stress as the budget damage. Craving carbs? Stir together a bowl of creamy, cheesy polenta to serve alongside.
Maple-Mustard-Sauced Turkey Thighs
Budget dinner price: $1.74 per serving
Light on ingredients (just five are required!) and budget impact, this tender turkey dinner offers the perfect blend of sweet and tangy by way of a mustard-maple syrup sauce. Use your extra $1.26 per plate to add a side salad and dessert, if you like.
Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie
Budget dinner price: $1.56 per serving
If the low cost of this set-and-forget chicken thigh recipe doesn't win you over, how about this review from BH&G reader Shirley? "Oh my gosh, this is yummy. It's not all that difficult! Make sure you use the pie crust for added YUM."
Jerk Pork Wraps with Lime Mayo
Budget dinner price: $1.75 per serving
Cool off jerk-seasoned roasted pork shoulder with a scoop of refreshing citrus cream sauce. Bump up the protein for just a few more pennies per serving by swapping plain non-fat Greek yogurt in for the mayo.
Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken and Noodles
Budget dinner price: $1.79 per serving
Besides the chicken breasts, no single ingredient in this Asian-inspired recipe costs more than 89 cents! Pantry and fridge staples like sriracha, soy sauce, and dried red chile peppers make a big impact for a small price.
Lamb, Bean, and Sweet Potato Chili
Budget dinner price: $1.78 per serving
Beef up this black bean and sweet potato chili with, well, beef, or lamb shoulder—whichever cut of meat is most affordable at your market. Throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker, simmer for about 8 hours, and a filling one-bowl meal will be yours with next-to-no effort.
Spicy Spring Picnic Pork
Budget dinner price: $1.67 per serving
Bet you can't guess the secret 80-cent ingredient in the sauce for this slow cooker pork! Okay, we'll spill: It's a cup of Dr. Pepper. It adds just enough sweetness to balance out the hot and spicy barbecue sauce that coats every bite of shredded meat.
Greek Sloppy Joe Pitas
Budget dinner price: $1.21 per serving
A combo of gyrolike ground lamb and chickpeas lend 15 grams of satisfying protein to each half pita. Several spoonfuls of dried (read: budget-friendly) spices and a splash of red wine crank up the Mediterranean vibes.
Saucy Italian Chicken
Budget dinner price: $2.52 per serving
Think of this marinara-poached poultry recipe as an inside-out, Italian riff on chicken cordon bleu. Each chicken breast is topped with cheese and wrapped in ham before getting sauced-up in the slow cooker.
Warm Eggplant and Kale Panzanella
Budget dinner price: $2.66 per serving
Yes, meatless meals can be made easily and affordably in the slow cooker! Featuring many of the same building blocks as baba ganoush like eggplant, garlic, and olive oil, we suggest tossing this slow roasted veggie dish with toasted bread cubes and fresh basil just before serving.