The Low-Cost, High-Flavor Cuts You Need in Your Slow Cooker

Attention, serious taste seekers: Here's a guide to our favorite slow-cooker cuts. Silky, tender, and flavorful, these options make great low-maintenance meals.

Once you start counting on your slow cooker for delicious, almost no-effort dinners, it's tempting to throw just about any ingredient into this amazing appliance. But for the tastiest results, you need to know which meats do best in it. Delivering low, even heat over a long period of time, slow cookers break down the connective tissue in typically tough cuts of meat, making them meltingly tender. (Bonus: These cuts are often less expensive!) Here are our go-to choices.

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Slowly cooked brisket becomes incredibly tender. Look for marbling -- the white streaks of fat that add flavor-when shopping. Beef chuck is another favorite for long braises.


Cheaper and richer in flavor than white meat, dark meat -- thighs and drumsticks -- stands out in soups and stews. Brown or remove the skin before cooking for the best results.

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Cooked low and slow, lamb shanks become rich with complex flavors. Have your butcher slice them crosswise to fit more into your machine. Lamb shoulder is also a great choice for slow cooking.


Always a classic, pork shoulder is a tough cut that becomes silky and flavorful after hours spent simmering in its own juices.

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