Whether you’re hosting or carefully balancing your side dishes in the car on the way, Thanksgiving requires effort. For a day set aside to eat and give thanks, cooking up the perfect dish can be a little stressful, especially when you’re short on time or cooking know-how. Even if your sweet potato casserole looks exactly like your mom’s, who’s to say the marshmallows will still hold their form and not turn into a layer of fluff on the way to your the table?
Fortunately for those of us who either lack skills or need the convenience, there are plenty of crockpot recipes you can use for your Thanksgiving meal. While it may feel like cheating, don’t stress. The food will be delicious, it will be kept warm while the last few things come out of the oven and, unless you trip and fall, it will arrive intact. Whether you’re tasked with bringing a classic mashed potato or cranberry sauce, or would like to show some flair with a mushroom mac and cheese or butternut squash soup, the answer is probably in your slow cooker.
Instead of using your oven this season, try these 10 crockpot Thanksgiving recipes.
Mushroom Mac and Cheese
It can be easy to let go of your dietary goals during the holidays. While Mac and Cheese might be a Thanksgiving staple, this recipe from The Modern Proper throws in mushrooms, too. The creamy gruyere, sharp cheddar, and parmesan cheese complementing the mushrooms are comforting, even though this dish trying to be a little healthier than the traditional mac and cheese.
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without cranberry sauce. Instead of the blob that comes from a can, this recipe from Gimme Some Oven starts with whole cranberries in your crockpot and ends with a viscous sauce. If you like your sauce lumpy, mashed, or even super sweet, making your own cranberry sauce is the way to go. Your dinner mates will be impressed with your skills.
Beef Potato Stew
Fall is soup season, and Thanksgiving is no exception. This beef potato stew recipe from Creme de la Crumb is full of healthy vegetables and hearty beef. With only 10 minutes of prep involved, you’ll basically be rewarded for not trying as hard.
Butternut Squash Soup
Squash might look cute alongside your gourd and pumpkin display, but it can also morph into a delicious, allergy-friendly soup. In this butternut squash soup recipe from Gimme Some Oven, multiple fruits and vegetables are combined with simple seasonings to deliver a colorful soup. Garnish with some extra veggies, coconut milk, or seasoning, and no one will know your Thanksgiving contribution came from a slow cooker.
Buttery Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes
A Thanksgiving meal would not be complete without mashed potatoes, and this buttery garlic herb mashed potatoes recipe from Creme de la Crumb will have your loved ones asking for you to bring the potatoes next year, too. In the recipe, creamy buttery garlic and herbs combine to boost the already perfectly starchy potato. By making the side dish in the crockpot, you won’t use up valuable oven or stovetop real estate.
When beef is so tender it melts in your mouth, the flavors are usually pretty good, too. In this beef stew recipe from The Modern Proper, the beef does just that. Combined with loads of fresh vegetables, this beef stew may eliminate some of your other needs for sides.
While you can snack on Chex mix year-round, eating it while it’s warm is a part of fall. If your Thanksgiving gathering needs an appetizer, make this slow cooker Chex mix recipe from Gimme Some Oven to share. The result is a salty, crunchy, and savory side dish perfect for the holiday lulls.
Beef Stroganoff Soup
In this beef stroganoff soup recipe from Creme de la Crumb, the classic comfort dish is re-created in soup form. Creamy and hearty, this soup will add some depth to your holiday spread. With only 15 minutes of prep involved, you can whip up this recipe, set your crockpot, and still have plenty of time to get ready.
Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
While we tend to throw caution to the wind when it comes to Thanksgiving nutrition, this gluten-free apple crisp from Root + Revel is a healthier alternative to apple pie. While the apples deliver a number of vitamins and nutrients, the crisp brings healthy fats and fiber. After a multi-course Thanksgiving dinner, we’ll take all the healthy food we can get.
Few things say fall like apple cider, but not all ciders are the same. In this recipe from Gimme Some Oven, Ali Martin will take you from whole apples to cider in a matter of four hours. Drinking out of a bottle might be easier, but with this recipe, you won’t want to take the easy way out.