Whether you’re hosting the festivities, or carefully balancing your side dishes in the car on the way, for those who like to entertain, 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 the table?
Fortunately, for those of us who either lack skills or need the convenience, there are plenty of Crock-Pot recipes you can whip up for your Thanksgiving meal. While it may feel like cheating, don’t stress. 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 13 slow cooker Thanksgiving recipes.
Mushroom Mac and Cheese
The Recipe: Mushroom Mac and Cheese
Why We Love It: 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 complement the mushrooms.
Pro Tip: To ensure nutty mushroom flavor permeates the entire pot, "We’ve flipped the caps, filled them with butter and placed them along the top of the dish in the last hour of cooking," writes The Modern Proper team. "The butter melts, the drippings soak into that cheesy goodness."
Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
Why We Love It: This easy recipe from Making Thyme for Health only requires 3 ingredients! In a slow cooker, combine cranberries, orange juice, and maple syrup. Cook on high for 3 or 4 hours.
Pro Tip: "You can also cook it up to 2 days in advance if you want to free up time on Thanksgiving day," suggests Sarah, of Making Thyme for Health.
Keto Beef Stew
The Recipe: Keto Beef Stew
Why We Love It: Fall is soup season, and Thanksgiving is no exception. This beef potato stew recipe from Root + Revel is full of healthy vegetables (carrots, green beens, potatoes, wild mushrooms) and hearty, grass-fed beef. With only 15 minutes of prep involved, you’ll basically be rewarded for not trying as hard.
Pro Tip: Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Butternut Squash Soup
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup
Why We Love It: Maple roasted chickpeas gives Two Peas & Their Pod's butternut squash slow cooker recipe added crunch. "They are the perfect garnish for the creamy butternut squash soup since it has a touch of maple syrup," writes Maria, of Two Peas & Their Pod. You'll also need butternut squash, onion, carrots, vegetable broth, an apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup; and olive oil, brown sugar, and salt for the roasted chickpeas.
Pro Tip: Cook on low setting for 6 hours, or on high for 3–4 hours.
Crock-Pot Mashed Potatoes
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Mashed Potatoes
Why We Love It: Salt & Lavender's mashed potato recipe is no-boil, no-drain... so practically no work at all. In a slow cooker, combine broth, cubed potatoes, heavy whipping cream, butter, and minced garlic. Cook for 3–3.5 hours, or until potatoes are tender.
Pro Tip: "I recommend either using Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes," writes Natasha, of Salt & Lavender. "You can use red potatoes, just be sure not to over-mash them or they may end up gluey."
Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
The Recipe: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
Why We Love It: 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 traditional 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.
Pro Tip: In addition to being gluten-free, this dessert is "refined sugar free, vegetarian, dairy free and even Paleo friendly, with one little swap," writes Kate Kordsmeier, of Root + Revel.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Apple Cider
Why We Love It: A seasonal spread calls for a seasonal beverage to match, like Orchids + Sweet Tea's apple cider, made in a slow cooker. You'll need apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, all spice, and cloves; as well as brown sugar, or the sweetener of your choice.
Pro Tip: Garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick.
5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
The Recipe: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Why We Love It: Foodie Crush's slow cooker creamed corn recipe is as comforting as it is super simple to make. All you need is frozen corn, half and half, salt, sugar, cream cheese, and butter.
Pro Tip: Cook on your slow cooker's high setting for 1.5 hours, or on low for 3–4 hours. Garnish with fresh chives as an option.
Slow Cooker Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Why We Love It: Cornbread gives Melanie Makes's slow cooker stuffing recipe a hint of sweet to complement sausage, onions, and sage. Brown sausage first before adding to slow cooker pot along with prepared cornbread, onion, celery, lightly beaten eggs, chicken broth, and butter. Cook on high for 2 hours.
Pro Tip: "Gently stir to combine as to not completely break up all of the cornbread cubes," advises Melanie, of Melanie Makes.
Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Stuffing (Vegan)
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Stuffing
Why We Love It: For a vegan stuffing option that's savory and a little sweet, make Sweet Potato Soul's butternut squash stuffing. In a slow cooker, combine butternut squash, fresh herbs, vegan sausage, apple, and mushrooms with garlic onion, and stock. Cook on low for 30 minutes, then on high for 2 hours.
Pro Tip: Let stuffing cool and firm slightly before serving.
Slow Cooker Loaded Vegan Veggie Soup
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Loaded Vegan Veggie Soup
Why We Love It: A hearty bowl of soup is a great vessel to pack in a serving of veggies to balance out the rest of the Thanksgiving spread. In Orchids + Sweet Tea's slow cooker recipe, combine carrots, kale, sweet white corn, and vegetable broth with a host of seasonings (turmeric, parsley, thyme, to name a few).
Pro Tip: Cook for 2–3 hours, stirring occasionally. "If preferred, you can always substitute kale with spinach, collard greens, or bok choy," writes Shanika, of Orchids + Sweet Tea.
Slow Cooker Stuffing With Mushrooms
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Stuffing With Mushrooms
Why We Love It: This easy stuffing recipe from How Sweet Eats is chockfull of meaty cremini mushrooms that get infused with aromatics like rosemary, thyme, and sage when made in a slow cooker. Have eggs, onion, garlic, and chicken stock on hand, too, in addition to toasted bread cubes.
Pro Tip: "If you’re using fresh bread, cut it into cubes and heat your oven to 250 degrees F," writes How Sweet Eats. "Place the bread on the baking sheet (or two) and toast it until slightly golden and crunchy, about 1 hour."
Slow Cooker Turkey With No-Fuss Gravy
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey With No-Fuss Gravy
Why We Love It: For Thanksgiving's main event (turkey!), all you have to do is season the bird, and place it in a slow cooker with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and broth. With Mel's Kitchen Cafe recipe, you'll get turkey and gravy in one pot.
Pro Tip: Cook on low setting for 5–7 hours.