The winter months can be long and cold, and there’s no better way to combat the winter chill than with warming comfort foods. The only problem with those types of meals is that they’re usually not that healthy. The image of comfort foods often conjures up images of heavy casseroles laden with cheese, hearty stews, and gooey desserts. Delicious, for sure, but healthy…not so much.
Fear not! We collected 20 of our favorite comforting winter slow cooker meals. The best part? They’re all healthy, even though they taste completely delicious and indulgent. Each recipe is a well-rounded meal that doesn’t take all day to make. Don’t let the cold get you down—cozy up with one of these recipes and settle in with a warm drink in front of the fire.
Soups, Stews, and Chilis
Sometimes, you just want a big bowl of soup on a cold winter day. This chicken and wild rice soup is perfect for when you’re craving a comfort food classic. Creamy, delicious, and packed with spices, this soup will leave you feeling full, nourished, and oh so cozy.
Gnocchi is the Italian version of dumplings, and we can see why these little balls of dough have risen in popularity lately—they’re delicious! Unlike the familiar American-style chicken and dumpling soup, this recipe full of Italian flavors. It’s packed with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. This is one of those comforting winter slow cooker meals that will have your friends and family begging you for the recipe!
One of the most popular soups around is broccoli cheddar soup. This version just happens to be delicious and good for you, too! Of course, broccoli is the main element and it’s already packed with nutrients, but we added carrots as well for a bit of color and even more health benefits. Serve it with salad and bread for a lightened-up lunch during the winter.
Chili is the perfect meal when it’s chilly outside! White bean chicken chili is a super healthy update on the classic. Packed with protein, full of spices, and topped with a hint of cheese, this dish is the epitome of winter comfort food. Plus, by using a Crock Pot, it’s easy to keep it warm and ready to eat all day long.
Vegetables and Meat-Free
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of macaroni and cheese? This recipe is one of our favorite comforting winter slow cooker meals. It’s a lightened-up version of everyone’s all-time favorite comfort food. Whole wheat pasta, egg whites, and broccoli make this meal a well-balanced plate of complex carbs, protein, and fats. Don’t be afraid to go back for seconds!
Sometimes, simple is delicious. A big bowl of these beans and rice will become your next go-to comfort food this winter. Packed with flavor and protein, this meal is full of nutrients to keep you feeling energized all day. Be sure to make a big batch for leftovers—it’s even better heated up the next day!
There’s nothing like the holiday classics when it comes to comfort food. This healthy version of cornbread stuffing is perfect for your next big family gathering. Combine all the ingredients, put it in the slow cooker, and serve. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Perfect for when you’re trying to save some time cooking this holiday season.
Vegetables can be a meal all on their own, and this butternut squash risotto proves it. Packed with cheese and cooked low-and-slow, this creamy risotto is the definition of comfort food. Even the pickiest of eaters won’t be able to resist this deliciously cozy recipe!
Casseroles and Sandwiches
These stuffed cabbage rolls have all the flavors we love from a beef and rice casserole, just rolled-up in an easy-to-eat package! If you’ve never made cabbage rolls, you might feel a little intimidated by the rolling part, but we have a fool-proof method that will help you get there.
A good lasagna recipe is always important to have in your arsenal, and we love this slow cooker version! We lighten things up by using low-fat cheeses. The addition of spinach also adds another tasty vitamin and nutrient boost that will have you coming back again and again!
There are few things in life more comforting than a warm, messy Sloppy Joe. This slow cooker version is not only a cinch to make, but it’s super healthy, too! We swap-in ground turkey for saturated-fat-filled ground beef. It tastes so good, no one will even be the wiser.
Another Italian staple, baked spaghetti is a wonderful comfort food. The addition of lean beef or turkey packs plenty of protein in the dish, and the mozzarella creates that gooey, cheesy crave-worthy flavor everyone loves! After browning the meat, simply put everything in the slow cooker and you’re on your way!
Poultry and Beef
There’s nothing quite like a good chicken and dumplings recipe. Most chicken and dumplings aren’t exactly great for a diet, but this recipe happens to be good for you! Packed with vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, this is the perfect healthy fix it and forget it meal. Talk about great options for comforting winter slow cooker meals!
You might recognize “tikka masala” from Indian restaurant menus. It’s almost always on the menu because it’s one of the most comforting Indian dishes! This slow cooker version creates fall-apart tender chicken in a very hands-off way. Sounds good to me!
While not as common in the United States, curry is a staple winter dish in countries like India and Japan, and for good reason. The aromatic spices paired with chicken and vegetables creates a nourishing meal unlike any other. Simply serve it over rice for the ultimate winter comfort food. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
Meatloaf isn’t always healthy, so we decided to tweak it just a bit by making it a turkey loaf. We promise you’ll still get that same meatloaf flavor you know and love, just healthier. We recommend pairing this dish with the macaroni and cheese recipe above to create the perfect family dinner!
This is a wonderful recipe for a holiday celebration! By turning this french toast into a slow cooker casserole, you get all those ooey-gooey flavors without all the calories. With only 12 grams of sugar per serving, you’ll satisfy your holiday sweet tooth in a healthy way. We guarantee you’ll want to keep this recipe on file!
Oatmeal is the ultimate comfort breakfast, and a healthy one at that. Combining complex carbs, healthy fats, and a bump of protein, this meal ticks off all the boxes for a well-rounded meal. Oatmeal can also cook overnight in a slow cooker, so you can assemble it the night before and wake up to a ready-to-eat meal!
Adding sweet potatoes to oatmeal is an easy way to make your oatmeal taste like the holidays. Combined with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and honey, this oatmeal is the epitome of a comforting winter breakfast. To add a bit of tart flavor to your oatmeal, try topping it with a few dried cranberries!
We’re in love with this healthy yet decadent treat! By making a few ingredient swaps, we created a low-calorie treat that still has all the flavors of the famous flaming dessert. And our recipe uses the slow cooker, so it really couldn’t be easier to make.
During winter, it’s easy to reach for heavy comfort foods, but don’t fall for that trap! You can still eat the comforting classics you know and love while choosing versions that are so much better for you. You’ll look and feel better by opting for these comforting winter slow cooker meals that will give you the much-needed energy during the busy holiday season!