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The Very Best Cheap Slow Cooker Recipes

The Very Best Cheap Slow Cooker Recipes

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These are easy family slow cooker meals

Slow cookers are great for making cheap and easy meals and require very little effort on the cooking front. Our slow cooker family meals are perfect if you need to keep your family food shop down.

Using a crockpot or slow cooker are perfect if you’re a busy family. You can make all the meals in the morning then come home to a gorgeous dinner already made.

When looking for recipe ideas for your slow cooker, try and avoid those that need loads of preparation or checking on, as the best part of owning a slow cooker is being able to chuck everything in and then leaving it.

If you are looking for more slow cooker recipes then have a look at:

49 Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes For The Whole Family – Aldi are not only cheap but also offer a great range of fruit, vegetables and meats at a low price. Use our post here to make someone amazing for dinner tonight.

7 Gammon Slow Cooker Recipes That Are Budget Friendly – We love gammon and it tastes even better when its been cooked in the slow cooker.

Really Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Recipes That Are Budget Friendly – These are the best chicken curry recipes that can be cooked in the slow cooker.

7 Slow Cooker Pork Recipes Under £1 a Head – Pork is such a great meat and even better in the slow cooker.

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Top tips for using your slow cooker

If you’re using a family-sized slow cooker then here are our 5 top tips to getting the most out of it. You can use your slow cooker to cook chicken, beef, gammon etc. You name it you can cook it in a slow cooker. We use a slow cooker like this but any with a temperature gauge is good.

1. Slow cooker chicken – Chicken thighs are the best for a slow cooker. Slow cookers tend to overcook meat but a thigh is a perfect cut with a small amount of liquid to keep it moist.

2. Voltage matters – If your food is sticking to the bottom of the pan even on low heat it could mean you’re getting a higher voltage through your slow cooker then you should.

3. No need to pre cook – You may want to pre-cook your meat or onion first, but there really is no need if you don’t have the time.

4. Take the lid off – If you are finding that your sauces are full of liquid then take the lid off 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

5. Use frozen food – The cheapest cuts of meats and frozen vegetables work!

Budget slow cooker meals 

There are loads of slow cooker recipes for kids out there, but the best ones are made from cheaper cuts of meats with vegetables to bulk them out. Trust me, no one will be any the wiser. 

Cooking the dishes on low works well and really helps bring out the flavors.

Slow cookers are designed to be left alone. Every time you open that lid it releases heat and may mean you have to cook for longer.

Prices are average and are calculated using Asda as a guideline. I’m assuming that you have the basic kitchen staples. Our full list of kitchen staples can be found here. It’s always worth keeping them stocked up if you can. Alternative ingredients can be used without compromising recipe. Based on four people.

If you are looking for more £1 family meals on a budget then have a look at:

The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List – This has a huge list of £1 a head family meals that will help you bring the cost of your food shop down. All are easy to make and taste great as leftovers too.

Feeding a Family on a Budget: This Weekly Shop is Just £18 – This is a £18 a week shop when you really need to cut down on your spending. There’s no thrills here but good food that could help you save a few pounds when you really need it.

One Month of Family Meal Ideas on a Budget – This post gives you a month of budget meals that could save you money. This takes the thinking out of meal planning and means that you can shop for less.

Easy slow cooker recipes for families

These slow cooker family dinners are really easy to make and can even be made the night before by freezing all the ingredients in a freezer bag.

Having a bank of crock pot or slow cooking recipes to hand stops you from having to think about what you’re going to cook.

Take the guesswork away and cook your family a healthy delicious meal within a few hours using one of the below recipes that you can chuck in and leave.

These recipes are all mega easy and include meals like chicken curry and beef stew.

If you shop at Aldi or another budget supermarkets, then check out our One Month of Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes here.

1. Slow cooker pulled chicken

Pulled chicken is a great dinner for the whole family. It’s really simple to cook in the slow cooker and is really tender. You can have it with rice or in a bread bun. It all needs to cook for 6-8 hours to make the chicken really tender.

2 tbsp vegetable oil 5p

3 chicken breasts £1.20

2 red onions 50p

2 garlic cloves 5p

2 tsp paprika 2p

2 tbsp chipotle paste 10p

250ml passata 25p

100g barbecue sauce 30p

1 tbsp light brown soft sugar 8p

Total: £2.55 that’s 63p for four people.

2. Slow cooker vegetable & beef casserole

This is a lovely winter recipe that can be cooked all at once in the slow cooker. We cook ours on low for 8 hours.

2 celery sticks 10p

100g frozen onion 25p

400g tin carrots 25p

5 bay leaves 5p

1 tbsp vegetable oil 5p

1 tbsp butter 8p

2 tbsp plain flour 5p

2 tbsp tomato purée 10p

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 10p

2 beef stock cubes 5p

200g beef steak £2

Total: £3.08 that’s 77p for four people.

3. Slow cooker beef chilli con carne

This chilli con carne recipe is easy to do and can be frozen for another night. Read how we cooked our Chilli Con Carne recipe here.

500g beef minced meat £1.99,

200g frozen onion 32p,

3 garlic gloves 7p,

300ml tinned tomatoes 28p,

400g tinned kidney beans 30p,

3 tbsp tomato puree 15p,

Half a lime 12p,

220ml stock 3p,

4 tbsp low cal spray 20p,

1 tsp salt 2p,

Half tsp sugar 5p,

180g Rice 24p,

Total: £3.77 that’s 94p for four people.

4. Slow cooker sausage and potato casserole

This Sausage and potato casserole is so easy to make and really cheap to buy. A lot of these ingredients, including the sausages and puree, can go toward other meals too.

Onion 22p,

Tin of New Potatoes 32p,

Frozen Sliced Peppers (600g) £1,

Frozen Value pork sausages (20 pack) 99p,

Chopped Tomatoes 29p,

Puree (80g) 75p,

Total: £3.57 that’s 89p for four people.

5. Slow Cooked pulled pork ribs

Lamb ribs

Despite their restaurant prices, spare ribs are actually one of the cheapest meat you can buy. This uses barbecue sauce and cooks them slow for tenderness.

1kg Pork ribs £2,

350g Barbecue Sauce £1,

2 stock cubes 4p,

2 bay leaves 2p,

1 tsp coriander seeds 2p,

1 tsp mustard seed 2p,

1 tsp peppercorn 2p,

Total: £3.12 that’s 78p a head.

6. Slow Cooker pork gammon in Diet Cola

Gammon cooked in cola

Add all the vegetables to the bottom of the slow cooker and then add the gammon and the cola. Cook for 6 hours on low heat. Put the gammon in a roast tin and cook for 15 to 30 minutes with the glaze.

375g unsmoked boneless gammon joint £2.12

2l cola 20p

400g tin carrots 28p

100g frozen onion 25p

1 stick celery 10p

1 cinnamon stick 5p

½ tbsp peppercorns 5p

For the glaze:

150ml maple syrup 75p

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard 5p

2 tbsp red wine vinegar 5p

Total: £3.90 that’s 97p per person for 4 people.

7. Slow cooker potato and beef curry

This curry is really easy to make and you can use left over beef from your Sunday lunch. It takes 2 minutes to prep as you just chuck everything in the slow cooker.

200g frozen onion,

300g frozen beef chunks,

2 garlic cloves,

1 tsp chilli flakes,

2tbsp curry powder,

2tbsp tomato puree,

1 sweet potato,

1 large potato,

150g mixed peppers,

1 tin of coconut milk,

1 tin of chopped tomatoes,

200g rice.

Add all your ingredients into the slow cooker. Put on low and cook for 4-6 hours. Cook the rice separately about 25 minutes before the curry is ready. This is a good time to check your sauce. If it is to runny then take the lid off the slow cooker for the last 30 minutes.

8. Slow Cooker Peach Chicken

This is a one pot slow cooker recipe is great for those rush evenings. All of this can be prepped in the morning or the night before. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot (apart from the rice) and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

Read how to make our slow cooker peach chicken here.

When you are ready to serve, cook the rice as per the packet instructions.

2 chicken breasts £1.20,

400g tin peaches 34p,

200g frozen peppers 40p,

1 red onion 28p,

2 tbsp brown sugar 5p,

4 tbsp soy sauce 7p,

1 tbsp ground ginger 5p,

250g rice 30p.

Total: £2.69 that’s 67p per person.

9. Slow cooker honey mustard roast ham

Gammon in a slow cooker

This slow cooker ham takes a little more work but is worth the effort. Almost fill your slow cooker with water, adding the gammon and any vegetables for flavor. Cook for 6 hours on low heat. Once done, score the gammon and mix together a tablespoon of English mustard, with honey and two tablespoons of demerara sugar. Pour that over the gammon. Cook for a further fifteen minutes in the oven on low heat. 750g ASDA Delicious Unsmoked Gammon Joint £4.50 1 tsp English mustard 7p 1 tbsp honey 5p 2 tbsp demerara sugar 5p Total: £4.67 that’s £1.16 for four people.

10. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala curry with fork

This serves four and is a medium heat. This really does just take 10 minutes to make but does take up to 40 minutes to cook so make sure you have some time as it’s worth it. We make our homemade naan bread with this too.

4 frozen chicken breasts £1.40,

150g frozen onion 16p,

2 garlic cloves 6p,

1 small piece of ginger 15p,

200ml tinned tomatoes 28p,

100ml single cream 60p,

1 tsp lemon juice 5p,

4 tbsp low cal spray 20p,

1 tsp salt 3p,

180g Rice 24p,

Total: £3.17 that’s 79p for 4 people.

11. Slow cooker spaghetti bolognese

This spaghetti bolognese recipe is so simple and the longer you leave it in the more intense the flavour. The sauce can be left to cook all day, ready to be mixed with freshly-cooked pasta when you get home.

1 onion chopped 22p,

1 tbsp tomato puree 10p,

2 tins chopped tomato 58p,

1 tbsp caster sugar or to taste 4p,

1 celery stick chopped 10p,

250g minced beef 83p,

1 carrot chopped 7p,

2 cloves garlic chopped 4p,

1 tsp oregano 2p,

2 large mushrooms chopped 75p,

1 beef stock cubes 6p,

1 handfull Parmesan for sprinkling 20p,

Total: £3.01, that’s 75p a head.


You really don’t need much to be able to cook great meals. You will need a good slow cooker though with different heat settings as each meat needs a different time. 

We use Morphy Richards 3.5L Stainless Steel Slow Cooker which is 3 litres and has different heat options. It is dishwasher safe as well. 

If you have a big family then Tower T16043MNB Cavaletto 6.5 Litre Slow Cooker with 3 Heat Settings is a good cooker that will have enough room for you to cook for everyone.

If you are looking to food prep then we use 70 Pcs Freezer Bags, which are ziplock reusable sandwich bags that you can add your meals into and freeze. We tend to meal prep for the week. So all the raw food goes into the bag and then we defrost and add it to the slow cooker when we need it. 

We also like to keep our leftovers for teh next day. We use YASHE Plastic Food Storage Containers to keep the food in the fridge and take it to work the next day. 

Meal Planning and Budget Planning

Being prepared is the key here. Meal planning and knowing what staples you have in the kitchen can really save you money.

Owning a slow cooker makes preparing food so much easier. You can even make them ahead of time to be ready when you get in and use them as leftovers if you too much.

Before you do anything though make sure you have a great slow cooker. We use a slow cooker that has different heat settings.

Then the week before you plan to use your slow cooker or even shop, start by using these 4 tips to really get your food shopping bill down.

1. Meal Plan Sheets – Depending on how comfortable you are, either find a spare pad or print out 8-10 copies of a weekly meal plan sheet.

You’ll need enough space to write down a simple menu for each day and a shopping list as you go.

You can make your own weekly meal plan or download my meal plans and shopping lists for free from the Resource Vault. Having several copies on hand will help inspire you to get started and keep up the meal plans for several weeks.

If you’ve never meal planned before then start here by reading how it can save you hundreds of pounds!

2. Look at the below stores to see if you can save some money:

Remember to come join our FREE Facebook Group for all the latest deals, freebies and quick family money saving tips!

Of course there are plenty of other ways to save money, and once you start seeking them out then you will be amazed at what you find.

Every time you buy online you could be getting cashback. Have a look at:

OhMyDosh – You can make money by buying your normal open shop through OhMyDosh. They are easy to use and payout once you’ve reached £10.

Sign up to OhMyDosh* here for free and get £1 added to your account for free.

Read what we think about OhMyDosh here.

Quidco – Quidco is a great and easy site to use. They offer great extra bonuses too.

Sign up for Quidco here for free.*

Swagbucks homepage

Swagbucks – Swagbucks is well know and an easy site to use if you’ve never used a cashback site before.

Sign up for Swagbucks here for free. 

Go to these sites first before you buy anything online and see if you can get money back. Anything goes from hotel stays to toys and train tickets.

Snoop app features

3. Use an app like Snoop to keep track of your spending and to help you save. Using Snoop* can help you build up your savings, pay off dent quicker and invest to make your money work harder. It’s free to join!

4. Join our 6-week FREE money-saving course that walks you through how you can save your family money. No filler. Just real tips and advice from us on how we save money daily.

Related Posts: 

The good thing about a slow cooker is that you can chuck almost anything in. Food waste can be a huge issue if you forget to meal plan or the kids have suddenly gone off a few meals so use what you have.

Buy wonky vegetables, make sure all your fridge items are stored correctly and shop weekly. It’s been shown that if your fridge is empty the food in it stays cooler for longer. Read more about how you can reduce your family food waste here.

I hope these have helped you come up with some ideas this week on what you can cook in your slow cooker.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly budget recipes or meal plan ideas, then head over to the budget food section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 cheap posts dedicated to helping you cook and shop wiser for less. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family food Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to eat well and spend less; Family Meal Plans on a Budget, Budget Family MealsBudget Slimming World Recipes for Families.

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.

These are the best cheap slow cooker recipes that come in at under £1 a head. They are perfect for the whole family by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums.

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