You may have come across the term “dump dinners” and wondered what in the world it means. But despite the unfortunate name, they’re actually pretty great.
A dump dinner is basically just a slow cooker recipe that throws the majority of ingredients in all at once. Sometimes they require one or two additional steps (like adding cheese or fresh herbs at the end), but these recipes are almost entirely hands off. They’re perfect for busy weekdays and can be easily prepped in advance to make life easier.
We rounded up 12 of our favorite tips for making dump dinners — from how to prep them in advance to making them cook faster — and included 12 of our favorite recipes so you can put the tips to use.
TIP #1: Line your slow cooker with parchment paper or special slow cooker liners to make clean up a breeze.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa
TIP #2: Preheat your slow cooker to shed a few minutes off of the cooking time.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef
TIP #3: Increase your seasoning when cooking in a slow cooker — the long, low heat has a tendency to mellow flavors out.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Creole Chicken and Sausage
TIP #4: Run your slow cooker overnight instead of while you’re at work to avoid overcooking.
Put the tip to use: Vegetarian Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
TIP #5: Don’t open the lid unless you absolutely have to.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa
TIP #6: If your recipe calls for heavy cream or cheese, add it at the very end.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder
TIP #7: Go ahead and use cheap cuts of meat. The long cooking time will help break them down and make them tender.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
TIP #8: Don’t store leftover food in the slow cooker bowl — instead, transfer it into a different container.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas
TIP #9: Don’t overfill your slow cooker.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken
TIP #10: If your slow cooker ends up with gnarly stains on the bowl, use vinegar and baking soda to clean it.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
TIP #11: If your recipe turns out soupy, remove the lid to let the excess liquid evaporate.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Wild Rice Vegetable Soup
TIP #12: Prepare your meals in advance and stash them in Ziploc baggies in the freezer to get a head start.
Put the tip to use: Slow Cooker Meatball Soup
And if you’re looking for even more slow cooker recipes, check out these posts: