40 Crock-Pot Dinners Kids Can Serve Themselves

Adriana Velez | Mar 14, 2018 Food & Party
Image: iStock.com/kate_sept2004

little girl mixing food
iStock.com/kate_sept2004

As most of us already know, if it were up to kids, they'd grab themselves a nice, big bowl of ice cream for dinner and be done with it. But the next best thing is a slow-cooker meal all ready to go by the time the kids want to eat -- one they can literally serve themselves. Magic! Self-serve meals are truly the next wave in family-friendly cooking. Less mess = less stress for busy moms. I think we can pretty much all agree on that.

Stuck doing dinner duty before soccer games, art club, cello practice, and swimming lessons? These self-serve Crock-Pot recipes are also handy if the children are coming and going at different times, which is a reality for a lot of families -- especially during the school year. We all wish we had kids who were a little more helpful when it comes to cooking and cleaning, but the reality is that most cooking tasks are too dangerous for even some of our bigger kids. Crock-Pots are one of the most handy kitchen tools to have around. They are set-it and forget-it easy, can make even the cheapest cut of meat tasty, and when the food is ready, all kids have to do is lift the lid (with a potholder!) and grab a spoonful. 

So read on and check out these 40 great kid-friendly Crock-Pot dinners that any mom can have ready and waiting for the brood when they're hungry.


farbled/Shutterstock

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Nuggets

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    iStock.com/EasyBuy4u

    YES! We can cook our kids' favorite food in the slow cooker. Here's a recipe for from-scratch Crock-Pot chicken nuggets from A Year of Slow Cooking. Score!

    More from CafeMom: 8 Yummy Overnight Slow-Cooker Breakfasts Kids Can Serve Themselves

  • Slow-Cooker Spaghetti

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    iStock.com/Bojan Kontrec

    Here's how to cook spaghetti with sauce in a slow-cooker from Livestrong -- really! The whole family will love it.

  • Creamy Italian Chicken

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    iStock.com/CarlaMc

    Different versions of this creamy Italian chicken recipe get passed around like crazy. What is it, the easiness of the recipe or the tastiness of the dish? Both? Here's a solid recipe by Taste of Home.

  • Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

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    iStock.com/rez-art

    This, my fellow parents, is the "ultimate" Crock-Pot mac and cheese recipe by CafeMom. The kids will be amazed.

  • Tortellini With Sausage

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    iStock.com/wsmahar

    Blogger and mom Katie Deitrich of Little Fellows calls this THE BEST Crock-Pot meal she's tried yet. She did not name it, but it's made with frozen cheese tortellini, tomato sauce, and sausage -- and yeah, it looks fantastic.

  • Crock-Pot Pizza

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    Image © iStock.com/burwellphotography

    Who knew you could make THIS in a slow cooker? It's Crock-Pot chicken pizza! And it's genius.

  • Crock-Pot Tater Tot Casserole

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    Image via Punctuated/Flickr

    Tater tot casserole, a yummy sure win with everyone! Especially the littlest family members. 

  • Easy Crock-Pot Potato Soup

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    iStock.com/janeff

    Another delish, hearty dish they'll want seconds of: Easy Crock-Pot potato soup. The recipe by Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour is inspired by the potato soup from Outback Steakhouse.

  • Slow-Cooker Spinach Lasagna

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    iStock.com/robynmac

    Here's one way to get your kids to eat their greens! Or at least eat bits of lasagna that once sat next to greens. Maybe the vitamins will transfer? We give you a slow-cooker spinach lasagna recipe by Popsugar. And our stomachs are grumbling just thinking about it.

  • Crock-Pot Cheesy Vegetable Soup

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    iStock.com/Josef Mohyla

    This sounds too yummy to be healthy, but surprise! This Crock-Pot cheesy vegetable soup by Food Fun Family is a deliciously healthy meal . 

  • Crock-Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili

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    iStock.com/Room_TheAgency

    This Crock-Pot turkey chili by Skinnytaste is not too spicy, so our kids can bravely chow through a whole serving!

  • 'The Best' Crock-Pot Beef Stew

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    iStock.com/robynmac

    Cozy Crock-Pot beef stew, anyone? The longer it cooks, the tastier it gets! With this recipe by Family Fresh Meals, the whole house will smell wonderful in the process.

  • Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup

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    iStock.com/cobraphoto

    All kids have to do for this slow-cooker tortilla soup by the Food Network is top with tortilla chips, cheese, and cilantro if they want it. They'll go gaga for it. It's just so good.

  • Cheesy Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

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    iStock.com/rudisill

    Another cheese-and-potato dish: Cheesy ham and scalloped potatoes by Comin' Home. What can we say? Kids love the stuff.

  • Crock-Pot Fettuccine Alfredo

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    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    Who doesn't like fettuccine Alfredo in all of its creamy goodness? Skip the trip to Olive Garden and whip up this easy dish in the Crock-Pot, with the help of The Spruce

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Pot Pie

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    Africa Studio/Shutterstock

    Kids will go bonkers for the flaky crust and creamy filling of this chicken pot pie recipe by The Country Cook.

  • Sloppy Joe's

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    Ruslan Mitin/Shutterstock

    Everyone's favorite messy sandwich becomes even heartier and more flavorful when cooked to perfection in a slow cooker. We like this recipe by The Kitchn

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

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    istetiana/Shutterstock

    Set up a taco station and let the kiddos have a blast putting together their own tacos! We love this recipe by Valerie's Kitchen because the chicken comes out incredibly tender.

  • Crock-Pot Baked Ziti with Three Cheeses

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    iulilia_n/Shutterstock

    This recipe by The Dinner Mom is making us cheer -- and not because it has three cheeses. We're cheering because we don't need to boil the noodles ahead of time. 

  • Crock-Pot Baked Potatoes

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    Ruslan Mitin/Shutterstock

    Throw some taters in the Crock-Pot and the kids will have their favorite side dish to nosh on! We like the recipe by Well Plated.

  • Tender Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

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    Liv friis-larsen/Shutterstock

    Whole chickens are a classic and easy dinner, and a slow cooker makes preparing it a cinch. Have the kids go at it when they're hungry! We like this recipe by Oh, Sweet Basil

  • Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup

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    Jane Rix/Shutterstock

    A cup of tomato soup is as warming as a hug from our mom. That's enough of a reason to make a big batch of it so our kids can serve themselves when we're not there. Here's a recipe by Damn Delicious.

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Parmesan

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    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    Cook up this Italian staple in just one step with the help of a Crock-Pot instead of slaving over it in the oven. Do it with the help of this recipe by The Country Cook

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

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    Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

    Give the kiddos their dose of veggies with this delicious chicken noodle soup by The Spruce. A winter staple! 

  • Crock-Pot Breakfast Casserole

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    Randall Vermillion/Shutterstock

    For a one-stop breakfast, throw together a Crock-Pot breakfast casserole by Family Fresh Meals. It has everything the little ones could possibly want during breakfast, so we can get some extra shut-eye (in theory)! 

  • Stuffed Shells

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    Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock

    Be Your Best Mom has a delicious recipe for cheesy stuffed shells that also give kiddos their serving of spinach! Spinach masked in cheese? That's a surefire success. 

  • Slow Cooker Meatballs & Spaghetti Sauce

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    svariophoto/Shutterstock

    For a boost of protein to simple spaghetti, whip up this meatballs and spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker! It takes four hours to come together with this recipe by Lauren Greutman. Throw the meatballs over a bed of pasta or in some buns for sliders!

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas

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    Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

    Forget Chipotle. The kids will love this slow cooker chicken enchiladas recipe by The Magical Slow Cooker

  • Crock-Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

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    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    This recipe by Pinch of Yum delivers a soup so satisfying, the little ones will be running back for second helpings. 

  • Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

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    taelove7/Shutterstock

    For a sweet yet savory meal, make this chicken teriyaki recipe by Gimme Some Oven. This recipe also uses honey to sweeten the sauce instead of refined sugar!

  • Crock-Pot Pizza Pasta

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    Combine everyone's favorite cheesy carbs by making this Crock-Pot pizza pasta recipe by Julie's Eats and Treats.

  • Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken Wings

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    farbled/Shutterstock

    The kids are itching for some BBQ but no one wants to fire up the grill? Turn on the Crock-Pot instead with the help of this recipe by Lauren's Latest.

  • Swedish Meatballs

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    Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

    If the kids are begging for a trip to Ikea just to get the rich Swedish meatballs, then it's time for this recipe by The Country Cook.

  • Crock-Pot Cheeseburger Soup

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    So while this soup is probably not ranking very high on the list for healthiest soups, it definitely ranks high on the list of kid-pleasing soups. Find the recipe at Life in the Lofthouse

  • Crock-Pot Meatloaf with Potatoes

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    Africa Studio/Shutterstock

    For a hearty meal, follow this Crock-Pot meatloaf with potatoes recipe by The Spruce. What can we say? Meatloaf is a classic. 

  • Crock-Pot French Toast Casserole

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    Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

    For the ultimate brunch, whip up this Crock-Pot French toast casserole by Moms With Crockpots. Our sweet buds are salivating! 

  • Crock-Pot Orange Chicken

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    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    This orange chicken recipe by Show Me the Yummy is so delicious and tangy! The kids will love it, which we love since this recipe is healthier than take-out! 

  • Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

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    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

    Sometimes we just want to indulge in a juicy and messy dinner. That's the time to whip out this pulled pork recipe by Lauren Greutman

  • Easy Crock-Pot Taco Pasta Bake

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    Spice up some pasta with this taco pasta bake recipe from Family Fresh Meals. It's like the easiest and most mess-free version of tacos ever! 

  • Slow Cooker Chinese Fried Rice

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    Want to give the kids access to an easy meal? Make a big batch of this fried rice with the recipe by Daring Gourmet! Add in any leftover vegges in the fridge to make this the ultimate Crock-Pot meal.

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