Cooking for a Thanksgiving crowd is so much work, and it can be so intimidating. Your turkey is the star of the show, but the meal isn't complete without an array of delicious side dishes. When your oven is occupied by your turkey for the most day, finding the time and space to whip up those sides can get a little hectic. That's where a slow cooker can be a huge help. There are so many classic Thanksgiving sides to make in your Crock-Pot that will have your guests salivating.
I myself am a devoted Crock-Pot user, largely because so many slow cooker recipes have extremely simple directions: dump everything in, and hit the ON switch. Despite my lack of culinary skills, even I can manage that. If you're not a slow cooker devotee like me, you might be surprised by the huge variety of food you can make in the countertop appliance. Everything from bread to veggies to sides of meats can go in it, saving you the trouble of having to make a cooking schedule to get everything heated up in the oven.
Here are 15 yummy side dishes you can set-and-forget in your Crock-Pot on Thanksgiving day.
1. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a must for Thanksgiving dinner, but they're a decent amount of work. Mom Foodie's recipe calls for red potatoes with the skin on, so there's no need to peel the spuds (which is the absolute worst)
2. Candied Sweet Potatoes
Candied sweet potatoes with lots of marshmallows on top is my personal Thanksgiving favorite. This recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking makes them simple.
3. Cinnamon Butternut Squash
This Crock-Pot butternut squash recipe from The Magical Slowcooker is sweet and buttery. You can save even more time by buying your butternut squash pre-chopped.
4. Butternut Squash Macaroni And Cheese
Macaroni and cheese gets a healthy twist (sort of) with the addition of butternut squash in this recipe from Healthy Slow Cooking.
There's no tedious chopping of bread in this slow cooker stuffing recipe from One Sweet Appetite. It calls for store brought bread cubes, and your guests won't know the difference.
6. Green Beans
Fresh or frozen green beans will work for this slow cooker recipe from Six Sisters Stuff. Either one will add some healthy and delicious greens to your spread.
7. Glazed Carrots
Cooking up these Crock-Pot carrots from Who Needs a Cape couldn't be easier. Besides carrots, you only need two other ingredients: butter and brown sugar.
8. Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
You don't need a second oven to cook a show-stopping ham in addition to your turkey. You can whip up a delicious glazed ham in the slow cooker with this recipe from Number 2 Pencil.
9. Dinner Rolls
These slow cooker dinner rolls from I Heart Eating are ready in about an hour and a half in your Crock-Pot and won't hog any precious oven space.
10. Potatoes Au Gratin
While mashed potatoes seems to be the most popular spud dish this time of year, au gratin potatoes can be equally delish and even more impressive. Chelsea's Messy Apron shows you how to achieve this cheesy potato goodness in the Crock-Pot.
11. Glazed Root Vegetables
Why pick just one yummy fall veggie when you can have a whole bunch? Family Style Food's recipe for slow cooker root vegetables finishes them off with an apple cider glaze.
12. Cranberry Sauce
As easy as it is to open up a can of cranberry sauce and plop it on the table, it's really not that much more effort to make some fresh with this Crock-Pot recipe from The Frugal Girls, and will taste way better than the jelly stuff.
13. Mashed Sweet Potato
If marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes aren't your thing, this slow cooker recipe from Creme de La Crumb might be more your speed. The pecan garnish it calls for makes it look extra fancy.
14. Corn Bread
This yummy Crock-Pot corn bread recipe from This Old Gal pulls double duty. It can also be prepared in an Instant Pot.
15. Cheesy Corn
Everything is better with cheese, in my opinion, so this slow cooker corn recipe from Plain Chicken looks amazing.