20+ Three-Step Diabetes-Friendly Slow-Cooker Recipes

20+ Three-Step Diabetes-Friendly Slow-Cooker Recipes

Cooking is easy with a slow cooker, but it just got easier with these recipes! Whether you want a satisfying entrée, a delicious side or a full meal, these mouthwatering dishes have you covered in just three steps or less. Plus, these flavorful dishes are made with sodium-conscious ingredients and low counts of saturated fats to seamlessly fit into a diabetes-appropriate eating pattern. With nutritious recipes like our Black-Vinegar-Braised Beef and Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon & Potato Soup, dinner is made simple, yet very tasty.


Black-Vinegar-Braised Beef

Leigh Beisch

The fragrant aroma of star anise will welcome you home after this braise cooks throughout the day. Serve with rice or rice noodles.




Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon & Potato Soup

Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

This chicken potato soup is perfect for ushering in fall: It’s hearty enough for the beginning of soup season, yet brothy and veggie-packed so it doesn’t feel too heavy. This recipe is ideal for a weekend, when you can check on the slow cooker after just a few hours. Although you can’t leave it unattended all day, this chicken potato soup still offers the benefit of hands-free, fuss-free cooking. Baby red, Yukon Gold, or fingerling potatoes will all work well here, as they’ll maintain their shape nicely during cooking. Pair this easy chicken and potato soup with a slaw or kale side salad and crusty whole-grain bread for a healthy, satisfying dinner.




Slow-Cooker Chicken & Brown Rice with Roasted Corn & Black Beans

Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Ali Ramee Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

With plenty of spice from ground cumin, cayenne and paprika and the bit of char that frozen roasted sweet corn brings to the dish, you won’t miss the browning step in this easy load-and-go recipe. If frozen roasted corn isn’t available, substitute regular.




Salsa Verde Slow-Cooker Chicken

Ali Remdond

Chicken breasts are transformed when they get slow cooked in salsa verde. Shredding the chicken and returning it to the sauce ensures the end result is juicy and delicious. Serve the shredded meat over brown rice or use as a filling for tacos or enchiladas.




Chile-Spiced Pork Tacos with Cucumber-Mango Salsa

Leigh Beisch

Feel free to use just one type of chile powder in this dish, but we find that the combo of ancho and chipotle delivers the most nuanced flavor. The chipotle (dried, smoked jalapeño peppers) adds fire, while the anchos (dried poblanos) lend a fruity, more moderate heat.




Spicy Tomato-Braised Pot Roast

Jacob Fox

This tomato sauce gets its heat from Calabrian chiles. Find them whole or chopped packed in jars near the pickles in well-stocked grocery stores. If you don’t have any, just a bit of crushed red pepper will do the trick. Serve over polenta, mashed potatoes or pasta.




Creamy White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks

Iain Bagwell; Styling: Cindy Barr

Creamy, starchy and filling, this hearty, rustic soup is the epitome of comfort. And convenient: Beans go in dry—no need to soak.




Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili

Ali Redmond

This simple slow-cooker chili features plenty of veggies and shredded chicken breast simmered in a smoky broth of chipotle chiles and tomato. The chili is finished with shredded cheese, avocados and cilantro, but feel free to add your own favorite toppings to jazz it up!




Slow-Cooker Kale & White Bean Stew

Ali Redmond

Warm up to a hearty bowl of soup made with winter vegetables and protein-rich white beans. Comforting spices like oregano and thyme build flavor, while Parmesan provides an irresistibly savory finish.




Slow-Cooker Corn Casserole

With just five ingredients, you can make this healthy corn casserole with ease. The tang of the cream cheese and sour cream balances the sweetness of the corn. Frozen corn can vary in sweetness, so taste the brand you’re using to determine if the optional sugar is needed. This creamy corn casserole makes the perfect veggie side for any meal.




Slow-Cooker Kale & Sausage Stew

Ali Redmond

Turkey sausage gets transformed in this rich stew made with hearty winter vegetables like carrots, kale and potatoes. Perfect for meal prep or family dinners, this stew comes together easily in the slow cooker.




Slow-Cooker Wings

Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Lauren McAnelly Prop Stylist: Holly Raibikis

Slow-cooker wings are a fuss-free way to prepare wings for game day. The wings are tender, and they brown nicely under the broiler. After broiling, they’re tossed in the tangy, sweet sauce they’re cooked in, with the remaining sauce served on the side for dipping.




Spanish-Inspired Slow-Cooker Meatballs

Photographer / Brie Passano, Food Stylist / Annie Probst, Prop Stylist / Holly Raibikis

You may want to serve these slightly smoky, fragrant, briny little meatballs over pasta or polenta. The sauce, which has depth from red wine, is low in sodium because of its no-salt-added tomato base, and the meatballs are lighter than the usual suspects due to the addition of shredded zucchini and chopped Spanish olives. Do drizzle on some best-quality olive oil and a sprinkle of shredded manchego cheese.




Slow-Cooker Honey Whole-Wheat Rolls

Victor Protasio

The slow cooker yields super-tender, pillowy whole-wheat rolls. If you prefer them crustier, arrange the finished rolls on a baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired. Broil, watching carefully, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.




Slow-Cooker Peanut-Achiote Chicken & Vegetables

Leigh Beisch

This satisfying dish has a depth of flavor that belies its short ingredient list. Sazón seasoning typically includes coriander, cumin and oregano—look for one that also has achiote (annatto). The ground seeds of the evergreen Bixa orellana shrub, achiote gives the dish a bright orange hue. These blends, along with jarred sofrito, can be found with other Latin ingredients at most grocery stores.




Lemon Chicken-and-Egg Soup

Leigh Beisch

Taking inspiration from egg drop, this chicken-and-egg soup is enriched by drizzling in eggs whisked with fragrant sesame oil at the end of the cooking time. If in-season sweet corn is available, by all means use it—you’ll need kernels from 3 to 4 ears. Add it in Step 3 when you return the shredded chicken to the soup to heat through just before serving.




Slow-Cooker Chicken, Spinach & White Bean Stew

Ali Redmond

Warm up to a comforting bowl of chicken stew scented with thyme, oregano and smoked paprika. Adding spinach and white beans provides a hearty dose of fiber that will keep you satisfied until the next meal.




Cacio e Pepe White Beans & Escarole

Photographer: Brittany Conerly

These satisfying beans are inspired by cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta, a classic Roman dish where black pepper and Pecorino cheese combine with pasta cooking water to make a creamy, punchy sauce. Here, the creaminess of the beans stands in for pasta, and escarole makes it a meal. Escarole is milder than other winter greens like kale or collards, and has a crisp, hearty texture and sweet flavor that is delicious in this dish—but feel free to substitute another winter green of your choice.




Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

Will Dickey

Ground turkey and canned kidney beans combine in this easy slow-cooker turkey chili. A tomato base, plus cumin and garlic powder, supplies plenty of flavor, while jalapeño and chili powder bring on the heat.




Sweet & Spicy Soy-Braised Short Ribs

Dera Burreson

The sticky sauce on these ribs, made with tamari (or soy sauce), gochujang, grated pear and honey, is inspired by bulgogi, a staple of Korean barbecue. Don’t skip the step of running them under the broiler before serving—it gives the ribs the crisp edges you’d get from grilling. Serve with stir-fried baby bok choy and brown rice to sop up the delicious sauce.




Load-&-Go Slow-Cooker Soup with Mushrooms & Kielbasa

Photographer / Brie Passano Styling / Annie Probst / Holly Raibikis

The aromatic trio of garlic, cumin and thyme harmonize in this hearty soup that comes together quickly before the slow cooker does most of the work for you. Kielbasa adds protein and a deeply savory note to this dinner in a bowl.




Barbecue Grape-Jelly Meatballs

Greg Dupree

These barbecue grape-jelly meatballs are meatballs smothered in a sauce of sweet grape jelly, barbecue sauce, hot sauce and ketchup. They’re sweet, salty and incredibly tender after their long cook time in the slow cooker. You can serve them right from the slow cooker or stack them on toothpicks for easy finger food.




Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili

Ali Redmond

If you like Buffalo wings, you’ll love the flavors in this warm, hearty chili that comes together easily in the slow cooker. Sour cream helps cut the heat, but you could also use plain strained yogurt.