7 Best Thanksgiving Slow Cooker Recipes

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Discover this collection of the 7 Best Thanksgiving Slow Cooker Recipes including turkey and all the classic sides. Free up oven and stove top space when you need it most by cooking one (or more!) Thanksgiving recipes in a crockpot.

A cooked turkey breast in a crockpot.


Once you’ve finalized your Thanksgiving dinner menu, you’ll want to take a look at the schedule for your kitchen appliances. Does everything belong in the oven at the same time but different temperatures? Sounds like a recipe for a disaster!

Choose one (or more!) of the classic Thanksgiving recipes below to lighten your oven workload. Sometimes you trade speed for convenience (like with Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce), but you can easily make it ahead and have it ready in advance, anyway.

In other cases, like small feasts, the crockpot version just makes more sense (you don’t need a giant turkey for 4 people, so a turkey breast is a great swap). And for side dish recipes, like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole, the end result is almost exactly the same and nobody would ever know the difference. Unless you serve it from the slow cooker, of course, which is an added benefit and convenience for all of these recipes.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Slow cooker turkey breast slices in a crockpot.

This butter-rubbed turkey breast is flavored with plenty of fresh sage leaves and is perfect for small feasts and dinner parties. Add some water to the bottom of the crockpot and slow-cook to delicious turkey perfection.

My Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe is designed for a 7-pound bird which will feed about 6 people (about 1 ½ cups turkey per person or 9 cups total). You can also make a Roasted Turkey Breast. For bigger feasts, try my Perfect Roast Turkey.

A turkey breast in a crock pot.


Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Whether you're planning a cozy meal or a small holiday feast, this Slow Cooker Turkey Breast recipe delivers a delicious, tender bird without taking up any oven space.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

A crockpot full of mashed potatoes with chives on top.

I took my favorite 3-ingredient mashed potatoes recipe and converted it to a crockpot version worthy of your Thanksgiving table.

You can easily boil potatoes in a crockpot, but I wanted to boil them in milk. This way, the final dish is infused with flavor, not water. I love copious amounts of butter, too, so we add that here. Finally, I stirred in sour cream at the end. It adds a welcome tangy flavor that just suits these mashed potatoes well. A handful of chives is good too!

Slow cooker mashed potatoes with chives on top.


Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

For the best-tasting Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, choose a high-starch potato like Russets. Slow-cook them in butter, milk, and salt, then stir in sour cream at the end for a punch of extra flavor and creaminess.

Crockpot Stuffing

A crockpot full of stuffing.

When oven space is in short supply, it’s nice to pull out your crock-pot for an assist. You’ll still start the recipe like a standard bread stuffing: sauté onions and celery in butter, toss with lots of fresh herbs, eggs, and chicken broth, then mix it with a pile of toasty-dry bread cubes.

Instead of firing up the oven (or probably because it’s already fired up and in use), transfer the bread mixture to your nearest slow cooker. Cover and cook, and look forward to chewy bread chunks, plenty of flavor, and even crispy edges! Looking for a smaller batch? Try my Bread Stuffing for Two.

A crockpot full of stuffing.


Crockpot Stuffing

An easy Crockpot Stuffing made with all the classic flavors like onion, celery, and sage. Dry your bread the night before on the counter or in a 300-degree oven for 40 minutes.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Vegan green bean casserole in a black slow cooker.

This version of Green Bean Casserole is made with frozen green beans, not canned, with an option to substitute fresh green beans if you prefer.

The Cream of Mushroom sauce takes about 10 minutes or so, and it’s worth every second. The flavor here is so much better than canned: Rich, savory mushrooms, heavy cream, and fresh garlic.

Toss the green beans in the sauce, then transfer the whole thing to your slow cooker. Just before serving, top the Green Bean Casserole with crispy French fried onions. Yes, those classic crunchy ones from a can. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Slow cooker green bean casserole on a patterned platter.


Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

This Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole is a great mix of convenience and from-scratch cooking and won't take up any oven space.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

A slow cooker full of cranberry sauce.

I love freshly-squeezed orange juice in homemade cranberry sauce. The orange juice tastes sweet against the tartness of the cranberries, but the contrast is expected and welcome.

Standard cranberry sauce only takes 10 minutes on the stove, but if you don’t have space on your stove, crockpot cranberry sauce is a great idea. This is especially helpful if you need to transport it somewhere and intend to serve the sauce warm.

For a sweeter twist on the classic, try my Cranberry Sauce with Apples.

A slow cooker filled with cranberry sauce.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

When stove-top and oven space are in high demand, Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce is a no-brainer. This classic recipe uses fresh or frozen cranberries and orange juice for extra sweetness and flavor.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

An cooked rotisserie chicken in a black crock pot.

Not everyone wants turkey on Thanksgiving, and chicken can be a delicious alternative. Based on my wildly popular Rotisserie-Style Chicken Recipe, this version has the same Rotisserie Chicken spice blend combined with the ease and convenience of a crock pot.

This really does simplify things. I love the Rotisserie Chicken version (especially making it in the oven), but a slow cooker removes even more obstacles on the busiest food day of the year.

A rotisserie chicken in a black crock pot.


Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Combine the delicious flavor of Rotisserie Chicken with the convenience of your crockpot. This Slow Cooker Whole Chicken has the same spice blend as the store-bought chickens, but they are fresh and made by you, with love.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a crockpot.

In my house, cinnamon and clove-spiced cranberry apple cider is THE beverage for the fall, winter, and through the holidays.

Thankfully, it’s quick to make and only needs 5 ingredients; all you have to do is mix everything together in a pot or crockpot and heat it up. Apple slices and cranberries make it even merrier.

You can also slow cook (and keep warm) Apple Cider, Mulled Cider, and Mulled Wine.

Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider is simple to make, sweet, and delicious. This welcoming, spiced hot beverage makes the whole house smell amazing, too.

More to Explore

More for Your Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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