46 Thanksgiving Slow-Cooker Recipes You Can Make In Your Crock-Pot

updated Oct 24, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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.

The slow-cooker 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 Crock-Pot 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 46 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 Smothered Turkey Wings

This is a great foolproof recipe for Thanksgiving if you’re feeding a smaller group and don’t want to commit to a whole turkey.

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Slow-Cooker Roast Beef

It's special enough to serve as a main during the holidays or a date night at home, yet totally doable for a mid-week family dinner.

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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 Chicken and Potatoes

Here's a two-for-one option that rewards you with a main plus buttery, chicken schmaltz-soaked potatoes for a side.

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Whole Citrus-Braised Chicken in the Slow Cooker

If you love lemon and herb roasted turkey, this is the slow-cooker main for you.

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Slow-Cooker Beef and Kabocha Squash Stew

This hearty beef and squash stew is chef and author Giada de Laurentiis' updated take on classic beef and potatoes. It's bright and hearty, and sure to be a new favorite.

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Slow-Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

This chili version is winning with its delicious, healthful mix of ground turkey, sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, and chipotles.

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Slow-Cooker Maple & Dijon Pot Roast

Buttery, falling-apart pieces of meat are cooked in Dijon mustard, maple, and balsamic — a melt-in-your-mouth delicious take on a classic.

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Slow-Cooker Lemon-Garlic Chicken Breast

With a handful of ingredients you are treated to tender chicken gilded with a velvety lemon sauce infused with a richness reminiscent of roasted garlic.

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How To Cook Slow-Cooker Pork Chops
Pork chops cook on top of a layer of vegetables in the slow cooker, resulting in an incredibly flavorful, hands-off meal.
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Slow-Cooker Pork Loin

This slow-cooker pork loin is cooked over a bed of thick-cut carrots and red potatoes with a sweet and tangy sauce to bring it all together.

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Crock-Pot Pork Roast
Fail-proof, tender, and moist pork loin roast with help from the slow cooker.
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How To Make Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker
Pile it onto buns, drape it over nachos, roll it into burritos, spoon it over rice, or simply eat it straight-up. You will be overjoyed.
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Sweet & Tangy Slow-Cooker Brisket

Meaty brisket is simmered in the slow cooker with a sweet and tangy tomatoey sauced laced with tender onions and just the right amount of spices.

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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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Crock-Pot Cheesy Potatoes

Frozen diced potatoes are the secret to ooey-gooey cheesy slow-cooker potatoes.

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Slow-Cooker Potato Leek Soup

With the arrival of warmer weather, switch from a heavier baked potato soup to a light and elegant potato leek soup.

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Slow-Cooker Cheesy Garlic Brussels Sprouts

These slow-cooked Brussels sprouts are deliciously tender and coated in a velvety garlic and Parmesan cream sauce.

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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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Slow-Cooker Buttery Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Nothing quite encapsulates everything we love about comfort food more than smooth, creamy, buttery garlic mashed potatoes.

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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 Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
A hearty root vegetable soup that's incredibly versatile — and perfect for meal preppers.
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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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Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese

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 Hominy Squash Casserole

Plump and juicy hominy, Mexican squash, onions, diced tomatoes, oregano, crema, and plenty of cheddar cheese are cooked low and slow until the squash is tender and all the broth is absorbed.

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Slow-Cooker Cream of Mushroom Soup

This slow-cooker cream of mushroom soup is an ideal make-ahead addition to your dinner party menu.

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Slow-Cooker Bean Soup

A bag of blended beans, a smoked meaty bone, and a slow cooker turn into dinner.

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Slow-Cooker Cream of Chicken Soup

This creamy, dreamy slow-cooker soup has all the comforts of chicken pot pie without any of the effort.

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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 Crock-Pot, 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 Chocolate Lava Cake
Want something chocolatey for the dessert spread? This luxurious cake is guaranteed to be a hit.
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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. Guests 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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Slow-Cooker Wassail Punch

Slow-cook apple cider, orange juice, mulling spices, and spicy ginger together into a warming winter wassail punch.

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