Your kitchen has limited real estate, and the price is high when holidays roll around. Every Thanksgiving, we hear the same complaint: There’s not enough space in the oven. And we concede that between roasting vegetables, baking pies, and cooking the hours-long turkey, it can seem nearly impossible for everything to arrive hot to the table, all at the same time. That’s why we’re introducing a new idea: the concept that you can cook your entire Thanksgiving meal in the slow cooker.
You heard us right—everything from a party mix to the turkey to the sweet pumpkin finish. So get inspired, grab a Crock-Pot (or 10), and give that oven a little breather already. We’ve rounded up the best Thanksgiving crock pot recipes we could find.
If you’re of the stuff-the-turkey-itself persuasion, you won’t be doing this. But if you like to keep it separate, or you’re not cooking a whole turkey this year (just the turkey breast), this is a great way to have the stuff your oven with other dishes and your Crock-Pot with the stuffing. Get the recipe.
2. Collard Greens
Being a native of the South isn’t required to appreciate the deep flavor of collards, which you can flavor with ham hock or a turkey leg, which is quite convenient for this dinner, wouldn’t you say? You have to have some greens to balance out all the carbs and turkey. Get our Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe.
3. Party Mix
Your guests have all arrived prepared and hungry, but you’re still adding the final touches to your 10-course meal. Tame the hungry revelers by serving them a holiday favorite, Chex party mix, to go along with their cocktails. Get our Slow Cooker Party Mix recipe.
4. Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
Whet guests’ palates by starting off the big meal with a red pepper and butternut squash soup that’s light yet packs plenty of flavor and texture. Get our Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup recipe.
5. Turkey Breast with No-Fuss Gravy
It’d be unrealistic to think a traditional whole roasted turkey could be made in a crock pot; most consumer slow cookers aren’t big enough to fit a whole bird. But you can use the slow cooker to braise bone-in turkey breast (then strain the braising liquid to create a fast and easy gravy). The result is impressively tender. Get Mel’s Kitchen Cafe recipe.
6. Slow Cooker Cinnamon Spice Pear-Applesauce
Get all those warming fall spices and fruits in this sauce that has no added sugar by Sarah Galla, the creator, recipe developer, writer, photographer behind The Nourished Seedling and a Chowhound contributor. Get our feature writer’s Slow Cooker Cinnamon Spice Pear-Applesauce recipe.
7. Slow Cooker Spiked Wassail
Wassail (from the Norse for “good health”) is an ancient drink for celebrating. It was originally ale or wine, sweetened and spiced, and often served warm. Here it gets an American makeover with cider and a bit of Calvados, warmed in the slow cooker. We think the ancient Norse would approve. Get our Slow Cooker Spiked Wassail recipe.
8. Slow Cooker Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
If you’re not one yourself, knowing what to cook for vegetarians and vegans who show up at Thanksgiving is always a challenge. Here, a delicious quinoa salad seasoned with feta, scallions, and white beans is stuffed into sweet red peppers, then cooked slowly in the crockpot until luscious. It’s tasty and celebratory. Get our Slow Cooker Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe.
9. Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Here’s proof that you only need a crock pot and a hand-held mixer to make swoon-worthy mashed potatoes—no oven, potato masher, or extra bowls required. Get Damn Delicious’s Slow Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe.
10. Green Bean Casserole
Even that old favorite, the green bean casserole with the crispy onions on top, can be made in a slow cooker insert. The key to success is building the sauce from scratch (no Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom here!), and to sprinkle the fried onions on at the end to preserve their crispiness. Get Center Cut Cook’s Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole recipe.
11. Dinner Rolls
Zoë François, coauthor of the “Bread in Five Minutes a Day” series, has a superb method for making herbed dinner rolls that utilizes brioche dough and a slow cooker. Get BreadIn5’s Slow Cooker Dinner Rolls recipe.
12. Cranberry Sauce
Cooking fresh cranberries with softened, rehydrated dried cranberries in the crock pot gives this cranberry relish a memorable texture. Honey, cinnamon, apple, and orange zest add layers of dimension. Get Emily Bites’ Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce recipe.
13. Sweet Potato Casserole
This sweet potato casserole gracefully plays the dual role of side and dessert, thanks to its brown sugar, pecan, and butter topping. Get I Wash… You Dry’s Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.
Slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and totally cheesy, this is how Brussels sprouts should taste. Chungah Rhee, creator of Damn Delicious, makes her healthy and easy recipe look, well, you-know-what delicious. Get the recipe.
15. Pumpkin Cobbler
Pie crust won’t really bake properly in the crock pot, but you can still end your slow cooker Thanksgiving meal with a pumpkin and butter pecan cobbler that will satisfy all your pumpkin pie needs. Get The Gunny Sack’s Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cobbler recipe.
16. Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake
Little ones are the perfect sous chefs to help make this rich, simple, and satisfying crockpot cake recipe that’s ideal to serve at the kids’ table. You mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and chocolate chips, blend with butter, milk, and eggs before mixing and turning on the slow cooker. Two hours later (maybe a little more), you’ve got fresh, tender cake. Get our Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake recipe.
17. Mulled Wine
Top off the evening with a cozy mug full of cranberry- and orange-scented wine that’s been steeped with warming spices like clove and cinnamon. It’s a nightcap that family and friends will want to linger over into the night. Get Kitchen Treaty’s Slow Cooker Mulled Wine recipe.
For more Thanksgiving tips, hacks, and recipes, check out our Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide.
— Header image: The Recipe Rebel.