Slow cookers are a trusty go-to for large pieces of meat like pot roast and pulled pork, but what’s not as known is the fact that they can make many a mean side dish, too. Forget the gloppy casserole ideas of the past, and behold these nine from-scratch sides that are guaranteed to please, whether you’re preparing a weeknight meal or a blowout Thanksgiving feast.

1. Baked Potatoes

There is absolutely no reason why you should be preheating your oven when you can make baked potatoes in the slow cooker instead.
Photo and recipe from The Kitchn

2. Kamut With Mushrooms and Blue Cheese

Kamut berries are beloved for their buttery flavor and chewy texture, but they often require a watchful eye as they simmer for hours. You’re much better throwing them in the crock pot with sautéed onions, cremini mushrooms, and garlic, then letting the appliance do all the work.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

3. Baked Beans

The best barbecue beans—with robust ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, and bacon—take hours to prepare. Make it easy on yourself and let your slow cooker keep watch over everything.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

4. Green Bean Casserole

If green bean casserole’s a must for your Thanksgiving table, consider making next year’s in the slow cooker to free up much-needed oven space.
Photo and recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen

5. Thyme Brussels Sprouts

If you’re short on kitchen time but not on your love of Brussels sprouts, this herb-studded recipe is sure to be a keeper. You don’t even have to pull out a kitchen knife!
Photo and recipe from Coconut & Lime

6. Creamed Corn

Creamed corn out of the can will be a thing of the past now that you’ve discovered you can make your own by dumping six ingredients into a ceramic insert.
Photo and recipe from Damn Delicious

7. Collard Greens

Sautéing the collards first is essential to this recipe’s success. But if you’re willing to take that extra step, you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate payoff: tender greens with a potlikker so satisfying you’ll dream of bathing in it.
Photo and recipe from CHOW

8. Mashed Potatoes

Dread the boiling, peeling, and smashing that go into preparing mashed potatoes from scratch? Consider this slow cooker version your solution. Bonus: It can be easily doubled.
Photo and recipe from Creme de la Crumb

9. Ranch-Style Pinto Beans

If you’re more about heat than sweet, these pintos infused with ancho chile, jalapeño, and tomatoes are for you. Serve them alongside cheesy enchiladas or beef fajitas.
Photo and recipe from CHOW; header image and recipe from Damn Delicious

Susannah Chen is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. When she’s not cooking or writing, she’s on the hunt to find the world’s best chilaquiles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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