15 Thanksgiving Side Dishes You Can Make in a Slow Cooker

  • A slow cooker or Crock-Pot can be an essential tool for preparing your meals Thanksgiving feast.

  • From stuffing to cranberry sauce, slow cookers can help you make classic Thanksgiving side dishes.

  • You may not know that you can also make rolls and rolls Mashed potatoes in a slow cooker.

Everyone knows that when it comes to this Thanksgiving mealthe pages are probably the standouts.

However, if your oven is busy cooking the turkey for hours, it can be difficult to figure out exactly where to prepare your side dishes. Enter: a Crock-Pot or Slow cooker.

Slow cookers can help you make a variety of easy Thanksgiving side dishes, from stuffing to cranberry sauce to delicious dips.

Here are 15 Thanksgiving side dishes you can make in a slow cooker.

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is easy to make in a slow cooker.

Sweet potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallowsSweet potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallows

Sweet potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallows.Sara Seaberry/Getty Images

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is a Thanksgiving favorite and there are numerous recipes that explain how to make it in a slow cooker.

A recipe from Damn delicious explains that the slow cooker’s residual heat is the perfect way to create gooey, melted marshmallows on top of your casserole.

“Making a side dish in a slow cooker saves space in the oven (where the turkey or ham is usually located).” Sarah Olson, the blogger behind it “The Magic Slow Cooker” Insider said. “Plus, if you travel to another house for the holidays, the slow cooker will keep your dish warm at the party.”

Meatballs make a great appetizer for guests while you’re cooking on the stove.

Meatballs in a slow cookerMeatballs in a slow cooker

Meatballs.anewlifephotostudio/Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than leaving hungry guests hanging around the kitchen waiting for dinner to be ready. Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for parties large and small and are easy to make in a slow cooker.

“Put your seasoned, raw meatballs in the slow cooker, cover them with sauce, and let the slow cooker cook them,” says one Recipe from Spend With Pennies.

You may be surprised to learn that you can make mashed potatoes in a slow cooker.

Mashed potatoes in slow cooker with wooden spoonMashed potatoes in slow cooker with wooden spoon

Mashed potatoes in the slow cooker.Erin McDowell/Insider

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple—the meal just wouldn’t be complete without them. However, mashed potatoes can be a big hassle, from pre-cooking them to pureeing them to finding a place for them on the stove.

No worries: Mashed potatoes are easy to make in a slow cooker. Just make sure you add water to your pot or you won’t get the consistency you want for pureeing.

“Mashed potatoes taste great in the slow cooker, but it takes a while for the potatoes to become soft. So plan ahead,” Olson said.

It may take about four hours for the potatoes to become tender. So take enough time.

Try making your stuffing in a slow cooker rather than the oven or turkey.

Pour into a baking dish for ThanksgivingPour into a baking dish for Thanksgiving

Filling.Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Everyone has their favorite way to make stuffing for Thanksgiving. While some opt for oven-baked or turkey-cooked stuffing, it’s also entirely possible to make it in a slow cooker.

Olson said you can use either preparation store-bought, packaged filling in the slow cooker or homemade filling, depending on your preference.

Some people swear by mac and cheese on Thanksgiving.

Macaroni and cheeseMacaroni and cheese

Mac and cheese in a slow cooker.Sarah Olson/The Magic Slow Cooker

While Olson’s recipe Since macaroni and cheese can be made regularly in the slow cooker, it is perfect for Thanksgiving. Olson uses cream cheese, milk, sharp cheddar and white sharp cheddar to make her pasta creamy and flavorful.

Other unique Thanksgiving dishes that can be made in a slow cooker include: Ham and cheese corn, Collard greensAnd Acorn squashOlson told Insider.

Turkey chili is an easy slow cooker recipe that you can make with leftovers on Thanksgiving or the next day.

Turkey chili in a white bowlTurkey chili in a white bowl

Turkey chili.vm2002/Shutterstock

If you’re looking to use up your turkey leftovers the next day or simply want a hearty appetizer for the Thanksgiving football game, look no further than delicious turkey chili.

Turkey chili, like this chipotle turkey chili from The Magical Slow CookerIt’s easy to make in a slow cooker and simmer all day until you’re ready to dig into it.

Butternut Squash Soup is a festive soup that you can make in a slow cooker.

Butternut squash soup in a bowlButternut squash soup in a bowl

Butternut squash soup.Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock

This butternut squash soup recipe from Delish recommends you purchase pre-cut cubes of butternut squash, sauté the vegetables first, and use a low-sodium broth. The soup should take about four hours to cook. So start early so that the first course is ready.

Candied yams are an easy Thanksgiving recipe to make in a slow cooker.

Candied yams with sesame seeds on a plateCandied yams with sesame seeds on a plate

Candied yams.sasaken/Shutterstock

“My husband loves Southern-style candied yams and I finally took the time to make them from scratch using fresh yams,” writes Olson the blog post with details of her recipe.

For Olson’s Southern-Inspired Candied Yams, you’ll need peeled, thick-cut red garnet yams, cornstarch, melted butter, cinnamon, cloves, salt, brown sugar, and molasses, among other ingredients.

Slow Cooked Glazed Carrots are delicious and incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker.

Glazed carrots in a white bowl with herbsGlazed carrots in a white bowl with herbs

Glazed carrots.Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make. Add the carrots to the slow cooker with a little salt, brown sugar or honey, and butter and let them sit until tender, four to six hours.

Green bean casserole is another Thanksgiving side dish that can be made in a slow cooker.

Green bean casserole in a baking dishGreen bean casserole in a baking dish

Green bean casserole.Elizaveta Korobkova/Shutterstock

“My family can’t live without green bean casserole. It’s pretty much the best side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Olson said.

A green bean casserole recipe from The magical slow cooker is perfect for a large group.

Buffalo Chicken Dip is a quick crowd pleaser.

Buffalo chicken dip in a baking dishBuffalo chicken dip in a baking dish

Buffalo chicken dip.AS Food Studio/Shutterstock

One of the benefits of making buffalo chicken dip in the slow cooker—or any side dish in a slow cooker—is that it can be made well in advance and reheated when you’re ready to eat.

Queso is another appetizer that can easily be made in a Crock-Pot.

Queso from the slow cookerQueso from the slow cooker

Queso in a slow cooker.Erin McDowell/Insider

Like many of Martha Stewart’s other slow cooker recipes, this dip required only a few ingredients, which is handy if you’re braving the supermarket during Thanksgiving week. Martha StewartThe slow cooker queso recipe includes pepper jack and American cheese, red onion and jalapeño.

Another one of Olson’s favorite slow cooker dishes around the holidays is cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce in a pot with a spoonCranberry sauce in a pot with a spoon

Cranberry sauce.EBMarketa/Getty Images

Canned cranberry sauce is undeniably nostalgic, but slow-cooked, homemade cranberry sauce is just as easy to make. Olson’s recipe Slow-cooked cranberry sauce only requires a few ingredients: fresh cranberries, jam, and brown sugar to taste.

For slow cooker beginners who may be using their pot for the first time this holiday season, Olson recommends being prepared.

“Plan ahead and stay on schedule. Slow cooker recipes need to be prepared and brought to a boil early in the day,” she said. “Don’t get up too late and don’t forget to start the recipe, otherwise you’ll have to recreate said recipe on the stove or in the oven.”

Rolls can also be made in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot.

Rolls for dinnerRolls for dinner

Rolls for dinner.AnnSal/Shutterstock

You might be shocked to discover that you can actually make warm, fluffy buns in a slow cooker. A recipe from I eat the heart Learn how to make the perfect roll dough and then bake it using only a slow cooker.

You can also make pumpkin pie in a slow cooker as a tasty side dish or after-meal dessert.

pumpkin piepumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie.Tetra Images/Getty Images

What Thanksgiving table would be complete without pumpkin pie? Olson’s recipe A slow-cooked brown sugar pumpkin pie without a crust uses pumpkin puree, condensed milk, eggs, brown sugar, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom.

Olson suggests either removing the cake from the slow cooker and serving warm with ice cream, or cooling the cake after cooking and serving in slices with whipped cream.

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