I made 5 Super Bowl appetizers in my slow cooker, and I’d make them all again

I made 5 Super Bowl appetizers in my slow cooker, and I’d make them all again

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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Buffalo chicken dip is a classic game-day food you can make in a slow cooker.

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  • Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect time to use your slow cooker for easy, hands-off recipes.
  • I made five game-day foods in my own Crock-Pot, including creamy queso dip and mac and cheese.
  • I loved every recipe, but the crispy and juicy Buffalo wings really impressed me.
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In a bid to find simple Super Bowl party foods that didn’t require hours in the kitchen, I decided to test out five slow-cooker recipes.

While I’ve made classics like Buffalo-chicken dip countless times in my Crock-Pot, I decided to try some other recipes like spicy wings, meatballs, and mac and cheese. 

All of the dishes impressed me, but the wings were my favorite of the bunch. 

Here’s how I made the game-day appetizers in a slow cooker.

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The first game-day recipe I made was classic Italian meatballs.

slow cooker meatballs

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The ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl.

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These meatballs by Chef Savvy are super versatile: You can serve them on their own with tomato sauce, in a roll for a delicious meatball sub, or with pasta. The ingredients for the meatballs are pretty standard — I used a meatball mix from the grocery store that included beef and pork.

It’s really best to mix the ingredients in the bowl by hand to make sure the eggs, breadcrumbs, and meat are well incorporated. 

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I formed the mixture into medium-sized balls and placed them on a lightly greased sheet pan so they could brown in the oven briefly.

slow cooker meatballs

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The meatballs on a sheet pan.

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I could see the chopped onion and parsley peeking through the meat mixture. The recipe that I followed said you should have about 24 meatballs — I had that exact number, so I was confident that my meatballs were the right size.

Next, I broiled the meatballs in the oven for about four minutes on each side, careful not to burn them.

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Once the meatballs were perfectly browned, I took them out of the oven.

slow cooker meatballs

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The meatballs on a sheet pan.

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I then started gathering the ingredients for the tomato sauce: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.

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The meatballs fit in a single layer inside the slow cooker. I then added the ingredients for the tomato sauce and let it all cook on low for four hours.

slow cooker meatballs

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The meatballs in the slow cooker.

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It’s OK if the meatballs are placed on top of each other if your slow cooker is slightly smaller.

After adding my tomato sauce ingredients, I set the slow cooker on low for four hours, as per the recipe. However, when I pulled out my first meatball at the four-hour mark, I thought it looked a little underdone. It’s important to check your meatballs before eating them, as there can be variations in the cooking time depending on the size of your meatballs or even your slow cooker.

I let mine continue cooking for another half-hour on high to make sure everything was done for dinner time. 

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Finally, the meatballs were done — they were delicious. If you have any leftovers from your game-day party, they’re tasty the next day, too.

slow cooker meatballs

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The finished meatball on a fork.

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I thought the meatballs were perfectly juicy and well-seasoned, while the tomato sauce tasted like homemade marinara that had been cooking on the stove for hours.

I enjoyed the meatballs on their own as an appetizer. However, later in the week, I served some of the leftover meatballs and sauce with pasta for dinner, which really impressed me as well.

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The next slow-cooker appetizer I made was a personal favorite for game days: Buffalo chicken wings.

slow cooker buffalo wings

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The Buffalo sauce ingredients in a bowl.

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I started by mixing together Buffalo sauce, minced garlic, chopped yellow onion, and brown sugar. 

While I had heard you could make Buffalo wings in a slow cooker, I was admittedly skeptical. I was nervous that the wings wouldn’t turn out crispy enough, since that’s usually done in a traditional oven or a fryer.

However, Spend With Pennies‘ recipe called for putting the wings under the broiler after making them in the slow cooker, which would allow them to crisp up in just a few minutes. 

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After adding the chicken wings to the slow cooker, I poured the sauce mixture over the top.

slow cooker wings

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The Buffalo wings in the slow cooker.

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The chicken wings that I bought didn’t have the drumsticks and flats separated, which added a bit of time to my preparation.

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I cooked the Buffalo wings in the slow cooker for three hours on low.

slow cooker buffalo wings

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The Buffalo chicken wings on a sheet pan.

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After they were fully cooked, I removed them from the slow cooker and placed them on a sheet pan with foil.

I then brushed some of the Buffalo sauce still in the slow cooker over the wings. I then put them under the broiler for about three minutes on each side until they were crispy and slightly blackened.

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I decided to serve the wings with blue-cheese dressing, but you can also choose ranch or any dipping sauce of your choice.

slow cooker buffalo wings

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The finished Buffalo chicken wings.

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I was pleasantly surprised by how easy these wings were to make, and loved how the slow cooker made the wings extremely tender.

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I was really impressed by this Buffalo-wings recipe.

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The finished Buffalo chicken wings.

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The wings were crispy on the outside, while the meat inside was tender, juicy, and moist. I also thought they were the perfect spice level — they had a kick but didn’t set my mouth on fire. 

I thought these would fit in well at any game-day or Super Bowl party. 

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The next slow-cooker recipe I tried was Martha Stewart’s queso dip, which only called for a few ingredients.

slow cooker queso

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The ingredients for the queso in the slow cooker.

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I’ve tried a number of Martha Stewart’s slow-cooker recipes in the past, and I’ve enjoyed a majority of them. I was excited to see how Stewart’s queso dip recipe would turn out.

Like a lot of her slow-cooker recipes, this dip only required a few ingredients, which I really appreciated when it came to braving the grocery store a week before Super Bowl Sunday. 

I started by adding American cheese and pepper jack cheese to the slow cooker and mixed it with a small amount of cornstarch.

After putting cheese in the slow cooker, I added a can of evaporated milk and a can of diced tomatoes with chilies.

slow cooker queso

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The ingredients for the queso in the slow cooker.

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I mixed it until it was creamy and then seasoned it with salt.

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The queso continued cooking for two hours on the low setting.

slow cooker queso

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The cooked queso.

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You’ll know it’s done when the dip is bubbling and slightly thickened. 

After giving the dip a stir, I then added my toppings.

slow cooker queso

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The cooked queso with toppings.

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I added sliced jalapeños, red onion, and cilantro. 

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I thought this dip was absolutely delicious. I also loved how easy it would be to make for a large group of people.

slow cooker queso

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Eating the queso dip with a chip.

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I thought the pepper jack and American cheeses meshed well together, while the tomatoes and green chilies added a lot of flavor. I really liked the texture of the dip — it wasn’t too thick or too watery. 

I also really liked how this dip only called for a few ingredients. It would definitely make life a lot easier when cooking for a group of people on Super Bowl Sunday.

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I also made Martha Stewart’s indulgent three-cheese slow-cooker macaroni and cheese.

shredded cheese in slow cooker

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The cheeses inside the slow cooker.

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The celebrity chef shared her recipe for slow-cooker macaroni and cheese in her cookbook, “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker.”

The recipe calls for three cups of white sharp cheddar cheese and one cup of Gruyere which creates the sauce. The third and final cheese in this recipe, Parmigiano Reggiano, is added later to the breadcrumb mixture.

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I sautéed the onion until it softened, then added it to the slow cooker along with the cheese.

chopped white onions sauteed in pan

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White onion sauteed in a pan.

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I softened the chopped onion with a tablespoon of butter.

In addition to the grated cheese and chopped onion, I added two cans of evaporated milk, two cups of milk, and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

uncooked macaroni and cheese slow cooker

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Macaroni-and-cheese ingredients in the slow cooker.

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After mixing the ingredients with the uncooked macaroni, simply leave the slow cooker to cook on high.

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I also made homemade breadcrumbs to top the mac and cheese with.

homemade breadcrumbs toasting in stainless steel pan

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Homemade breadcrumbs toasting in a stainless steel pan.

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To make the breadcrumbs, the recipe instructed me to pulse two slices of bread in a food processor. I then toasted the breadcrumb pieces on the stove for a few minutes until they were golden brown.

The mac and cheese took an hour and a half on high to finish cooking.

cooked mac and cheese in slow cooker topped with breadcrumbs

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Cooked mac and cheese in the slow cooker topped with breadcrumbs.

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I thought that the three different kinds of cheese, especially the smoked Gruyere, made for a complex flavor profile, while the onions added a savory flavor to the dish.

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The last slow-cooker appetizer I made was Buffalo chicken dip.

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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The cream cheese mixture in the slow cooker.

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The base for the Buffalo chicken dip by Taste of Home calls for crumbled blue cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing.

I mixed those ingredients in a medium-sized bowl before spreading the dip in a single layer in the bottom of my slow cooker.

I then added a layer of shredded chicken to the slow cooker.

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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The cream cheese mixture and chicken in the slow cooker.

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You can use rotisserie chicken or simply boil up some chicken breasts and shred them yourself with a fork, like I did.

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Next, I poured Buffalo wing sauce over the chicken-and-dip mixture and added a layer of shredded American cheese.

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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The Buffalo chicken dip ingredients in the slow cooker.

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I could already tell this dip was going to be delicious.

After cooking on low for three hours, the dip was hot and bubbling in the slow cooker.

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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The cooked Buffalo chicken dip.

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I set the slow cooker to warm and began prepping my toppings. I added another layer of American cheese and put the lid on the slow cooker to allow the cheese to melt. Then, I chopped up one green onion and added it to the top.

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The dip was perfectly creamy, spicy, and cheesy — another successful slow-cooker recipe that’s perfect for game day.

slow cooker buffalo chicken dip

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Eating the Buffalo-chicken dip with a chip.

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The layers of the dip were perfectly proportioned. With each bite, I got a delicious mouthful of cheese, hot sauce, and chicken. This recipe really impressed me, and I would definitely make it again.

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This post was originally published on Insider

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