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28 Essential Thanksgiving Crock-Pot Recipes for an Easier Meal

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Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is no small feat. There is a way to make it easier, though, and it comes in the form of your slow cooker. When you’re vying for precious space in the oven, wishing you had another burner on the stovetop (or another pair of hands), or you just want to keep food warm, this trusty appliance is your best bet. It turns Thanksgiving sides, like mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing into a mostly hands-off affair, plus it keeps the food warm until it’s time to eat. When it comes to the main course, your crockpot isn’t quite large enough for a whole turkey, though it can certainly manage turkey breasts, a ham, whole chicken, and pork chops for a memorable holiday main. And if you don’t have space in the oven for bake your holiday dessert, there are some delicious slow-cooked options that are just right for the occasion.

From the main course to dessert, these are the 20 Thanksgiving crock-pot recipes that make preparing your holiday dinner easier.

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Mains

From turkey breast to tender, juicy chicken to honey-glazed ham to short ribs, there’s quite a variety of totally delectable, holiday-worthy mains that can be made in your slow cooker. You’ll never miss the whole bird, trust me.

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Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Slow-cooking turkey breast gives the perennially dry white meat time to soak up a rich herb butter, making for a juicy, tender slice.

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Slow Cooker Smoky BBQ Turkey

If your goal this Thanksgiving is to step away from the traditional turkey and sides for a simple meal with a bold, flavor-packed twist, you’re going to want to pull out your slow cooker and your favorite BBQ sauce.

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Slow Cooker Honey-Glazed Ham

Turkey’s not the only game in town on Thanksgiving. Whether you want another main to supplement your bird, or something else entirely, a spiral ham is an easy and delicious slow cooker option.

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Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Skipping the big turkey in favor of chicken this Thanksgiving? With minimal work and no extra ingredients, you can cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker that delivers tender, juicy meat.

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Chops

If you’re looking for an alternative to turkey this year, these tender, saucy pork chops are an impressive main worthy of your holiday table.

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Slow Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

If you’re looking for an alternative to turkey for your main course, short ribs are totally impressive, holiday-worthy pick. The slow cooker (which does most of the heavy lifting here) yields tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs swimming in a savory broth, made deeper and richer thanks to several glugs of Cabernet.

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Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sides

Not only does your slow cooker make easy work of a side dish, but it will also keep it warm until dinner is served.

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Slow Cooker Stuffing

Breaking out the slow cooker makes this version of classic stuffing even easier, and you won’t be taking up precious oven space. This is the way to go if you like tender, softer stuffings.

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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Your slow cooker and mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven. Not only does it take some of the work out of this must-have side, but it’s also the perfect way to keep potatoes warm until they hit the table.

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Cheesy Panade with Swiss Chard, Beans & Sausage

This alternative to classic stuffing, filled with sausage, melted cheese, and beans, is best made in the slow cooker, as it has quite a lengthy cook time. Start it the night before to get a head start on the meal while you sleep.

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

The sweet-tart bite of cranberry sauce is a must on Thanksgiving, and this dump-and-go recipe is the easiest way to bring it to the table.

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Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Making this hands-off crowd-pleaser in the slow cooker lets you keep the stovetop free for other sides that require more attention.

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Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Hearty collards benefit from a long, slow, and gentle braise. Tuck them away in the slow cooker early in the morning and station it in a far corner of the counter to keep your workspace free for other tasks.

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Slow Cooker Bread

If you want to bring fresh, homemade bread to the table this Thanksgiving, your slow cooker is the easiest way to make it happen.

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How To Make Mac and Cheese in the Slow Cooker

If mac and cheese isn’t a part of your Thanksgiving spread, let this be the year you add it. Making it in the slow cooker is a nice choice if you’re short on oven space.

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Slow Cooker “Baked” Potatoes

Whether you’re baking up Russets or sweet potatoes, there is no easier way to make it happen than with the slow cooker. Serve the cooked baked potatoes with a big pat of butter, or mash into a classic meringue-topped wonder.

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Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Desserts and Drinks

A warm drink is always such a fun idea for holiday dinners, especially since guests can fill their mugs as they please.

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Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp

If you’re in need of a fuss-free dessert, trade the apple pie for a much easier slow cooker apple crisp. Keep the ice cream handy because the only thing better than making it in the slow cooker is serving it a la mode.

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3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Pie

Slow cooker apple pie dump cake is everything you love about warm apple filling with a gooey, cake-like topping, and it comes together with 3 ingredients.

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Slow Cooker Cheesecake by Martha Stewart

Yes, you can make a cheesecake in your crockpot, and it’s amazing. The low, steady heat yields cheesecake with a perfectly creamy, silky, almost custard-like texture.

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Slow-Cooker Mulled Cider

Not only will your slow cooker mull this non-alcoholic cider and keep it warm all day, but it will also make your house smell amazing. Guest will love to serve themselves while enjoying their slices of pumpkin pie.

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Slow-Cooker Spiked Mulled Cider

Make a boozy version of the classic mulled cider and let the slow cooker man the drinks station so you can manage dinner.

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Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

There’s no need to stand behind the bar shaking up individual cocktails when, with the help of a slow cooker and a ladle, everyone can serve themselves.

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Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Spice Lattes

This pumpkin spice latte recipe keeps warm in the slow cooker and doesn’t even require an espresso machine, so you can cozy up and stay inside instead.

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