7 Easy Thanksgiving Sides You Can Cook in Your Crockpot
This Thanksgiving, avoid pesky culinary time crunches and oven space shortages with one simple solution: crockpot cooking. While the turkey sits in the oven you’ll save precious space and prep time by letting your side dishes slow cook to perfection until dinner.
Say good riddance to last-minute holiday panic! Try these seven recipes for delectable side dishes to whip up in the crockpot this year.
1. Traditional Holiday Stuffing
No Thanksgiving spread is complete without stuffing. The Chic Site’s variation incorporates all the staple ingredients of the dish, relying on notes of thyme and sage for a distinct and subtle finish. This stuffing requires about 4 to 5 hours in the crockpot before dinner, so try to finish your preparation by around lunchtime on Thanksgiving Day (depending on when your guests plan to eat, of course). The addition of a foil ring to your crockpot will help prevent burning (details on this below). Recipe yields 5 to 6 servings and can be doubled easily.
- 1 pound white sandwich bread, cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 (8-ounce) breakfast sausage, removed from casing
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- ¾ cups celery ribs, split down the middle and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
- 1½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- Chopped chives, thyme, and sage, as garnish
Head to The Chic Site for the full recipe.
2. Butternut Squash Risotto
Risotto is traditionally made stovetop, but slow-cooking Crockpot Gourmet’s version of the dish will free up that valuable space for other last-minute prep work. Mild spices are mixed in with arborio, savory broth, butter, and Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses for a warm, soothing blend of textures and tastes. Crockpot Gourmet’s recipe takes 2½ hours to complete and yields 4 to 6 servings. Note: Keep in mind that a crockpot risotto will have a slightly softer texture than the traditionally prepared dish.
- 1¼ cups arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen butternut squash (or 1½ cups fresh diced squash)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
Head to Crockpot Gourmet for the full recipe.
3. Garlic Whipped Potatoes
Most people love mashed potatoes, but preparing this dish at home is a daunting task. The peeling, the boiling, the smashing — it all sounds a little too labor-intensive for our liking. That’s where Le Creme de la Crumb comes in with these perfectly creamy, no-fuss crockpot mashed potatoes. Requiring just 7 minutes of preparation, these potatoes can be left to cook for several hours, at which point you’ll whip them up in a flash. This recipe yields 6 servings — it can easily be doubled by increasing cook time by 1 to 2 hours — and takes 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete.
- 2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (peeled or unpeeled, according to preference)
- ½ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Head to Le Creme de la Crumb for the full recipe.
4. Cranberry Sauce
Tart, palate-cleansing cranberry sauce is a must-have for any holiday dinner. Once you try this fresh, zesty recipe for the dish from What the Fork Food Blog, we doubt you’ll ever return to the processed version. Recipe takes 5 minutes to prepare, plus another 3 hours to cook, and yields 2 cups. Note: Keep in mind that the sauce will firm up when you chill it.
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
Head to What the Fork Food Blog for the full recipe.
5. Macaroni and Cheese
When it comes to comfort food, nothing beats gooey macaroni and cheese. This dish reaches exceptional levels of melty goodness in the slow cooker, resulting in a rich, mouthwatering side dish for your holiday feast. Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe combines butter and cream — hallmarks of a truly indulgent holiday meal — with luscious melted cheeses for a side dish your family and friends will savor. The recipe takes 3½ hours to complete (including cook time) and yields 6 to 8 servings.
- 12 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1½ cups half-and-half
- 12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces American or Velveeta cheese, shredded or cubed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Head to Brown Eyed Baker for the full recipe.
6. Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is delicious, but not entirely fascinating to make. Luckily, there’s a crockpot for that! Spicy Southern Kitchen’s recipe notes that even after these beans slow cook for 6 hours, they retain some of their juicy and satisfying crunch. Just be sure to use fresh green beans for optimal texture. The dish can be cooked well in advance, but Spicy Southern Kitchen recommends waiting to add the topping until the last minute before serving. Recipe takes 5 to 6 hours, depending on how long you should choose to cook it, and yields 10 servings.
- 1 cup pre-fried onions
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 slices hearty white bread, torn into pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups pre-fried onions
Head to Spicy Southern Kitchen for the full recipe.
7. Mashed and Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Six Sisters Stuff offers this delicate and smooth sweet potato mash recipe for a taste of Thanksgiving’s sweeter side. Cinnamon and nutmeg give the dish a seasonally spiced taste, while apple juice adds a bit of tartness to the blend. If so desired, top it off with pecans for an extra holiday crunch. The recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare and should be cooked on low for 4 to 5 hours. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- Pecans (optional)
Head to Six Sisters Stuff for the full recipe.