Does this sound familiar:  “A slow cooker?  I have one of those – in the back of my cabinet – somewhere.  It comes out about once every winter.” I am not really sure how or when crockpots became winter-only-worthy to many people.  Sure you can use it to make great soups and stews, but a slow cooker is good for so much more! Summer is slow cooker season!  

Why Use A Crockpot In Warm Weather?

There are many good reasons to use your slow cooker during long, hot summer days. Here are five: 

1. Slow cookers give off very little heat.

Ovens, on the other hand, can (and do) warm a whole room.  Want to keep your house cool and avoid having your A/C work overtime? Pull out that crockpot.  Cheesesteak and Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches make for perfect summer meals.  They are warm weather friendly and healthier versions of our Philly classics that the whole family will love.

2. Crockpots let you spend more time at the pool, beach, office, playground, etc.

 Since slow cookers cook so nice and slow (a new tongue twister for you!) their recipes don’t generally have an exact completion time the way oven cooked meals can.  You don’t need to hover over your slow cooker and remove the food the minute a timer goes off.  Sloppy Taco Joes are the perfect set-it-and-forget it dish.  This family friend hybrid sandwich can cook for 8-10 hours allowing you to spend more time playing with the kids and less time over the stove!

3. Slow cooker food travels really well.

Many crockpot models come with locking lids making transportation super easy.  Heading out for a picnic?  Going to a BBQ and want to bring a ready made side dish?  Sweet Corn Spoonbread is always ready to travel!  Attending a backyard potluck? Crockpot Fajitas will be a guaranteed hit!

4. Slow cookers are great for camping.

Heading out to the middle of nowhere for some family time?   Bring your slow cooker along!  It is a great way to make a side dish to go with all the fish you plan to catch such as Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin (or a great main course like Chili dogs if you don’t catch any!). Also perfect if you need to cook in a hotel room. 

5. Slow cooker meals make great family projects.

Get the kids involved!  Making slow cooker Shredded Beef Tacos is a great family activity.  Slow cookers heat up very slowly and are generally not turned on until all ingredients are in and ready to go. This makes them safer for kids than a stove top or oven. Measuring, mixing, reading and following instructions….all make for great family fun and learning experiences!

Great Family Activities

Crockpots are for more than meals!  They are also great for making fun appetizers, desserts and gift-able homemade food treats.

Chocolate dipping:  Slow cookers are the perfect temperature for melting chocolate and keeping it just the right consistency for creating culinary works of art like these strawberries! (This project is better with older kids as the chocolate will get hot.) 

Hot Dog Pull-Apart: This fun dish is a hit both at home and for a party!

Strawberry Cheesecake French toast:  This is an especially fun dish if you have the opportunity to visit a farm and pick-your-own! 

So, dig out that crockpot and banish thoughts of the cold winter days. Instead, put it to work making some delicious meals and good old-fashioned fun during the summer slow cooker season!  

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First published August 2020, updated May 2021