Put a question to Bridget Phillipson, Shadow Education Minister

My feed

Best slow cooker recipe books for delicious, fuss-free family meals

From tasty stews and slow cooked roasts to delicious desserts and freshly baked bread, check out these recipe books for cooking up a storm in your slow cooker.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Aug 18, 2023

Selection of the best slow cooker recipe books

Is there anything better than coming home to the smell of your dinner already cooking? Even better if you’ve only had to spend ten minutes in the morning throwing some ingredients into your slow cooker. 

Perfect for busy families, the best slow cooker can provide a tasty home cooked meal with minimal mess and fuss. What’s not to love? While stews and soups are the most common recipes for slow cookers, there’s loads you can do with them – from slow cooked meat and tasty sauces to desserts and even bread. 

If you don’t know where to start, there are loads of great slow cooker recipe books around to inspire you in the kitchen. From vegetarian-friendly dishes to tasty curries, there’s a cookbook to cater for every kind of taste.

To help you choose the best slow cooker recipe book for whipping up a feast in your kitchen, we've scoured the Mumsnet forums – home to the largest online network of parents in the UK – for tried-and-tested recommendations. We then collated Mumsnetters' favourites and investigated authentic customer reviews to whittle them down to a shortlist of the very best.

Best slow cooker recipe book 2023: at a glance

  • Best overall: Bored of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker, £8

  • Best for budget meals: Slow Cooked, £10

  • Best for experimental chefs: Whole Food Slow Cooked, £9

  • Best vegan: The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook, £12

  • Best vegetarian: Slow Cooker Vegetarian, £9

  • Best for versatility: Pinch of Nom Comfort Food, £10

  • Best healthy: The Skinny Slow Cooker Recipe Book, £5

  • Best with pictures: The Slow Cook Book, £18

  • Best for ease of use: Good Food: Ultimate Slow Cooker Recipes, £9

1. Best overall slow cooker recipe book: Bored of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker by Nathan Anthony

Price on writing: From £8 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Healthy recipes

  • No hard-to-find ingredients 

  • Includes family favourites

What we don’t like

  • Vegetarian options are quite limited

What Mumsnet users say

The Bored of Lunch cookbook is really good. Only bought it last month and it’s already one of my favourites (and I’m a cookbook addict and have way too many!!).” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Sammysquiz)

Would also recommend Bored of Lunch! We’ve made a few from there this week and can definitely recommend the honey chicken and the chorizo stew!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MAY324

Our verdict

With this number one bestselling book, Nathan Anthony has proven that you can eat healthily and still enjoy gorgeous home cooked meals at the end of a busy day. The book came from Nathan’s popular blog, Bored of Lunch and he now has over 1.2m followers, plus a companion book focusing on air fryers.

In this book, he has created 80 home-style recipes, inspired by family favourites and takeaways, including Honey Chilli Beef Noodles, Garlic Mac and Cheese and Lemon Butter Chicken. All the ingredients are easy to source and the meals are calorie counted, which will help if you’re trying to watch what you eat. If you’re vegetarian, this might not be the book for you, however, as readers say there aren’t many veggie options.

2. Best for slow cooker recipes on a budget: Slow Cooked by Miss South

Price on writing: From £10 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Affordable meals

  • Over 200 recipes

What we don’t like

  • Hardback is quite pricey

What Mumsnet users say

Slow Cooked, by Miss South. Based on an excellent blog, that's sadly now unavailable.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user DogInATent

Our verdict

A self-taught cook, Miss South enjoys the challenge of creating recipes on a budget. Slow Cooked was her first cookbook, and it's packed with over 200 recipes for the slow cooker that can make a little go a long way. Meals include Pulled Pork, Sausage Ragu and Spicy Gumbo, with vegetarian options including Beetroot Orzo.

She’s created a range of hearty stews, soups, curries, braises, and pasta dishes, as well as recipes for desserts, jams, bread and cakes. Miss South even includes ideas for using up your leftovers, so you can keep your family filled up with tasty meals even on a tighter budget – just stock up on Tupperware to keep your scran safe and fresh.

Related: Discover the best bread makers according to Mumsnetters

3. Best slow cooker recipe book for experimental cooks: Whole Food Slow Cooked by Olivia Andrews

Price on writing: From £9 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Good variety of meals 

  • Nice illustrations and pictures

  • Choice of cooking methods

What we don’t like

  • Some recipes need starting off on the hob

What Mumsnet users say

Whole Food Slow Cooked by Olivia Andrews is good. Has a whole section of veggie recipes and definitely goes beyond variations on a tomato-based theme. Also has the benefit of giving instructions for using both the slow cooker or oven for every recipe!” (Reviewed by Mumsnet user Whine0Clock)

Our verdict

If your family likes to try new things, this could be the book for you. With a mixture of family favourites and dishes that are a bit more adventurous, Whole Food Slow Cooked helps you put delicious meals on the table with different options for cooking, depending on how much time you have.

The dishes are hearty and delicious, including the breakfast curry for when you fancy something a bit different on the weekend. There’s also the tasty sounding Southern Indian Chicken and Persian Lamb Shank, which go beyond some of the standard slow cooker recipes you can find in other books. There are plenty of meat-free options and puddings to finish off the meal, too.

4. Best vegan slow cooker recipe book: The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook by Toni Okamoto

Price on writing: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Quick preparation

  • Over 100 recipes

  • Great for a plant-based diet

What we don’t like

  • Not all the recipes are for the slow cooker

Our verdict

Looking for some inspiration for a vegan diet? Founder of the blog Plant-Based on a Budget, Toni Okamoto created The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook to help families eat a vegan diet without breaking their budget or spending too much time in the kitchen.

The recipes can be easily prepared in 15 minutes or less and include the likes of Sweet and Sour Tempeh and Lazy Lentils, with nutritional information, cooking tips and even suggestions for leftovers. The only thing to note is that some of the 100+ recipes are salads and side dishes, so they are not all meals that can be cooked in a slow cooker or multi-cooker.

Related: The best food processor for blending, chopping and dicing

5. Best vegetarian slow cooker recipe book: Slow Cooker Vegetarian by Katy Holder

Price on writing: From £9 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Great vegetarian recipes

  • Healthy meals

  • Good pictures

What we don’t like

  • Meat eaters may want a cookbook with more variety

Our verdict

Whether you’re trying to cut back on how much meat you eat or a vegetarian looking for some tasty yet easy recipes for your slow cooker or Instant Pot, this book will provide plenty of inspiration. Slow Cooker Vegetarian was written by Katy Holder, who worked for many years as a food writer and stylist. As a mum, she knows how hard it is to make a healthy home cooked meal for a family. 

Embracing the slow cooker, Katy has compiled over 100 recipes for meat-free meals, including soups, pastas, salads and desserts. Some of the delicious sounding meals include the Indian Curried Yellow Split Pea and Coconut Soup and the Sri Lankan Butternut Pumpkin and Cauliflower Curry. With nice pictures, short preparation time and easy-to-follow instructions, this book will have you eating healthy, tasty meals every day.

6. Best versatile slow cooker recipe book: Pinch of Nom Comfort Food by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Tasty, healthy meals

  • Part of a series of books

  • Offers alternative ways to cook

What we don’t like

  • Not specifically a slow cooker recipe book

What Mumsnet users say

BBC Good Food Slow Cooker Favourites, Pinch of Nom Comfort Food, and 200 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes by Kate Bishop.” (Books loved by Mumsnet user Skyeheather)

Our verdict

Whilst this book isn’t specifically a slow cooker recipe book, it comes recommended on our Mumsnet forums due to the variety of ways the meals can be cooked. Written by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, Pinch of Nom Comfort Food is part of their bestselling series of books.

It has been designed to help people eat healthy, delicious comfort food, with many of the 100 plus recipes offering alternative ways of cooking, including in the oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker. There’s a recipe for every part of the day, from breakfast and fakeaways to puddings and snacks, such as the mouthwatering Slow Cooker Stroganoff.

Related: The best lunch boxes for school or the office

7. Best healthy slow cooker recipe book: The Skinny Slow Cooker Recipe Book by CookNation

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Easy recipes

  • Low calorie dishes

What we don’t like

  • No pictures

  • Small size

  • Very focused on calorie counting

Our verdict

Another book written to make calorie counting easier, The Skinny Slow Cooker Recipe Book offers up plenty of slimming yet easy recipes. These include dinners, snacks and breakfast options that can be quickly prepared – no more than 15 minutes – and cooked while you’re at work or out with the kids. 

Delicious, healthy recipes include Rustic Chicken Stew (Cacciatore), Aromatic Kicking Pork Ribs and Tuna and Noodle Cattia. They’re all low calorie – less than 300, 400 or 500 – so can be included as part of a diet or just to help spice up your healthy recipe options. Something to note is that readers complain that the only pictures are very small and black and white so they’re not useful for seeing how a recipe should look.

8. Best slow cooker recipe book with pictures: The Slow Cook Book by Heather Whinney

Price on writing: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Over 200 recipes

  • Tips for reducing food waste

  • Good pictures

What we don’t like

  • Recipes need pre-cooking before the slow cooker

  • Hardback is expensive

What Mumsnet users say

I got this book a while ago and it’s bloody brilliant, have got lots of recipes bookmarked. I bought a second-hand copy which was in good condition.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Furries

Our verdict

Packed with over 200 winter warmer recipes, The Slow Cook Book offers up wholesome soups, stews, curries, risotto and much more. The dishes can be cooked in the oven or in the slow cooker, so you can still get plenty of use out of the book if you’re short on time in the morning.

There are photographic guides for helping you prepare the meals, with tips on how to use up cheaper and leftover cuts of meat to help you cook on a budget and reduce waste. It also provides advice on different cooking methods, so this will be a great book for someone who wants to broaden their cooking skills. Readers note that some ingredients need pre-cooking in a frying pan or a saucepan though, which requires more effort than just throwing it all in the slow cooker and leaving it to cook.

Related: Make indulgent treats with the best deep fat fryer

9. Best easy-to-use slow cooker recipe book: Good Food: Ultimate Slow Cooker Recipes 

Price on writing: From £9 | Buy now from Amazon

What we like

  • Over 150 recipes

  • Mix of fish, meat and vegetarian meals

  • Standard ingredients

What we don’t like

  • Some of the recipes require oven cooking too

What Mumsnet users say

"I have the BBC [Good] Food Slow Cooker Recipe Book, which has some nice and simple recipes in it.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Pilot12

Our verdict

There’s nothing worse than opening a cookbook and finding that you don’t have half of the ingredients you need for the recipes. Taken from the BBC Good Food website, these recipes are short and easy to follow with lovely photos of the food and, most importantly, don’t require hunting down obscure ingredients.

There’s over 150 of the website’s best recipes which have been tried and tested so you can trust that you are serving up a delicious dish for your family. The meals do tend to involve some cooking beforehand, so it’s not a case of chucking it all in and going to work. However, for the effort, you can come home to the smell of your dinner cooking as you walk through the door. 

Related: The best sandwich toasters, as recommended by Mumsnetters

Can you leave a slow cooker on all day? 

Slow cookers are designed to cook for a long time so you can keep it on low overnight or all day while you’re out as long as you follow the directions and the manufacturer's instructions. However, consider what it is you’re cooking. Most recipes suggest six to eight hours on low, so if you want it on for longer, it is best to keep an eye on it to ensure you get the best out of your recipe.

Do you need to brown meat before slow cooking?

You don’t have to brown your meat first, so if you're in a hurry, you can throw your ingredients in and you’ll still get a tasty meal out of it. However, if you have time, browning is better for adding more depth to your dish. You will get more rich, complex flavours from frying off your meat before cooking it in the slow cooker. 

Are slow cookers energy efficient? 

Slow cookers are one of the most energy efficient kitchen appliances as they are designed to cook slowly and over a long period of time. In fact, they use only a bit more energy than a traditional light bulb.

What is the best slow cooker recipe book in the UK?

The number one bestselling book, Bored of Lunch: The Healthy Slow Cooker by Nathan Anthony is packed with 80 home-style recipes inspired by family favourites and takeaways. Thanks to easy-to-source ingredients for each meal, you can make up these delicious, healthy dishes with minimal fuss.

How we chose our recommendations 

Recommendations from real parents

With lots of busy parents on our forums, we knew this would be a great place to start our research for the best slow cooker recipe books. We have over seven million users, so we know any products that come recommended will have been tried and tested at home and will cater for different diets and budgets. 

Authentic reviews

We also considered experts and consumers' reviews, on websites like Amazon, when compiling our list of the best slow cooker recipe books. This helps us work out what features are important, such as pictures and easy-to-follow instructions. We always take into account both negative and positive feedback to make sure we’re recommending the best products.

Celebrated best products 

Finally, we look at products that have received awards. This, combined with real parent recommendations, reviews and expert advice, helped us recommend a variety of slow cooker recipe books for fuss-free and tasty meals the whole family will love.

About the author

Gemma Wilcock is a freelance writer and copywriter. At Mumsnet, she creates content providing useful parenting advice, information and top products to make life easier – as a mother of two children herself, Gemma knows how important it is to get the right advice.

After working on women’s weekly magazines for nine years, Gemma turned to freelance writing to fit around family life, writing for a range of online and print publications, charities and small businesses. She loves writing about subjects that will be helpful to the reader – and herself! - including recommending top products on Mumsnet that help parents in their day-to-day life. Whether it’s a purchase for herself or her family, she knows how important online reviews are when it comes to buying online, so she always makes sure to thoroughly research every product so we recommend the best ones on the market. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

As a slow cooker fan herself, our writer Gemma is always on the lookout for family friendly meals so spent time hunting down the best slow cooker recipe books currently available, making sure to cater for all tastes, needs and budgets.

Read next: Best bento box according to Mumsnetters