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Easy Crockpot Side Dishes

Columbine 2 

     In trying to make the most of what I have, I am wanting to use my crockpot more. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with it. I do love the ease of the crockpot but find everything I cook in it has the same texture. Stews do not have the crisp edges and deep, rich sauces like when I braise them in the oven, I find chicken can be gummy, plus so many recipes depend on canned soups and such. Still it is a useful tool, so I have been pressing forward and experimenting. I start thinking more than just a main course, there is dessert, breakfast, I have written about make chicken broth, also side dishes, etc.

     Two side dishes I have found that work really well is roasted baby potatoes and polenta. They are simple recipes, rely on pantry, are cheap.I actually perfect this method of coking polenta, to the stovetop method. It makes the creamiest (not mushy) polenta. If your family is not use to eatting polenta, try adding some good, grated cheese at the end. I add a cup or so    :- 0       It gives it flavor and richness. It is sort of like the brown rice thing, the more you eat it, the more use to get to the flavor and the less you need to bling it up xoxox

Crockpot Polenta

6 cups broth or water

2 cups polenta

2 tsp salt

½ stick of butter cup into cubes

Coat the inside liner of your crockpot with a non-stick cooking spray or oil. Add all ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on high 1 ½ -2 hours, until polenta is smooth and creamy. 

You can add cheese or fresh herbs at this point if you like. I love chopped rosemary and smoked provolone!!


Crockpot Roasted Baby Potatoes

About 20 or so small potatoes, enough to cover the bottom. I love fingerlings for this.

½ cup olive oil

1 TBL salt, or to your taste

1 tsp pepper, or to your taste

5 garlic cloves finely chopped or sliced

(you can also add some chopped fresh herbs)


Pour all ingredients in a crockpot and stir. Turn crockpot high. Cook four hours, stirring each hour, until potatoes are soft and crisp on the outside!!



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Molly Evert

Your polenta recipe looks like the exact same proportions I use to make "popcorn grits" on the stovetop. I throw some popcorn in the wheat grinder, and come to think of it, it does taste a lot like polenta (but maybe not quite as firm, depending on how much water you add).

Anyway, I am making this right now in the crock pot. Hadn't thought of doing it that way, and when we get home from the pool tonight it will be ready, with hopefully enough left over for breakfast (I doubled your recipe). Thanks!

Tracey McBride~Frugal Luxuries™

These are great ideas Clarice! I've used the crockpot for baking potatoes in the summer (when I don't want to heat up the house) and it works great. I've also cooked small winter squash in them with great success~~once it's soft we just scoop it out and add our butter or coconut oil and sea salt...to die for and so easy. Even still, your potato recipe sounds like a delicious change and the polenta idea is so clever! I'm wondering if quinoa would cook up in the crock too?! Thanks so much for all the ideas and inspiration my sweet friend!


Gumbo Lily

I've never liked polenta. I'll have to come try it at your house. The taters sound yummy!



Yum! I love polenta - and I would never have thought to cook potatoes in the crock pot. I can always trust you to dish up some yummy recipes for us to try. Thanks, Clarice! xoxo Theresa


I love using my crockpot (especially when it get's too hot to turn the oven on). I've never tried potatoes in one - gotta try that. Thanks!


Yum...both of the recipes sound delicious and simple...thank you for sharing!
Have a great weekend!



I have an orange beef stew in the crockpot right now! The polenta idea sounds amazing.

Emily Fay

Oh yum! Thank you for sharing these! Can't wait to try them!!!!


I love the garlicky roasted potatoes, but never thought to try them in the crockpot ~ I will definitely have to try it.
Thanks Clarice!


Dear Clarice, Happy Spring!
I have a question about using the crockpot, particularly concerning the potatoes...
All the instruction booklets that I have read state clearly that crockpots must be used with a good deal of liquid (ie food submersed) and yet online and in American cookbooks I see that, like you, people use their crockpot for almost dry cooking and even baking. I had to import my large oval crockpot in my carry-on hand luggage (!) and so am nervous about it cracking. Am I being over-cautious? Gill xxx


Thanks for these! I would never have thought of these for the crockpot -- I'll definitely be trying them out soon!

Here in the south the crockpot is helpful in not heating up the kitchen so much in the summer, like the oven does. Even grilling outside when it's 95 degrees is not much fun -- but setting the crockpot out in the screen porch to do its thing . . . sweet!


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