7 Slow-Cooker (or Instant Pot) Side Dishes for a Delicious Set-It-and-Forget-It Thanksgiving Meal


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Kells McPhillips

Everyone knows that a strategically-designed Thanksgiving plate leaves most of the square footage for sides. No matter how perfectly cooked that turkey may be, it’s simply not in the same league as stuffing. Sadly, those mouthwatering sides that make the third Thursday in November the tastiest day of the year won’t make themselves; but you can set it and forget it with these slow cooker side dishes for Thanksgiving.

To help you spend more time with family and less time with your stove on Thanksgiving, we rounded up the seven essential side dishes (all of which you can make in your slow cooker or Instant Pot). Here’s what’s on the menu, from mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce to green bean casserole and creamed corn.

7 easy slow cooker side dishes for Thanksgiving

1. Kristine’s Kitchen Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

slow cooker side dishes for thanksgiving
Photo: Kristine’s Kitchen

Thanksgiving is perhaps the only time each year when both sweet potatoes and ordinary potatoes are on the menu—and I’m grateful for it. Sweet potatoes add plenty of fiber and potassium to any meal. And this recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen adds apples and honey to bring out their natural sweetness.

Get the recipe: Kristine’s Kitchen Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

2. Pickled Plum Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Photo: Pickled Plum

Ah, green bean casserole. It’s not the prettiest dish on the Thanksgiving table, but the pairing of crunchy onions, plenty of butter, and green beans can’t be beat. This particular recipe swaps out chicken broth and other animal products for a vegan take that’s equally delicious. If you have plant-based eaters coming over for dinner, you’re going to want to bookmark this one as a crowd-pleaser.

Get the recipe: Pickled Plum Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

3. A Sweet Pea Chef Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Photo: A Sweet Pea Chef

Potatoes, round two! In this recipe, Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef shows you how to enlist a potato masher and a slow cooker for the creamiest, easiest puréed potatoes your guests have ever eaten. Normal white potatoes contain vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium—so you’re adding all those nutrients to your plate along with the gravy on top.

Get the recipe: A Sweet Pea Chef Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

4. Brooklyn Farm Girl Whole Wheat Slow Cooker Bread

Photo: Brooklyn Farm Girl

Speaking of gravy, you need something to sop up the dregs of everything delicious on your plate at the end of the meal. That’s where Brooklyn Farm Girl’s whole wheat slow cooker bread comes in. After a year that has very much been geared toward therapeutic loaf-baking, you should be a pro at this by now.

Get the recipe: Brooklyn Farm Girl Whole Wheat Slow Cooker Bread

5. Yummy Healthy Easy Crock Pot Stuffing

Photo: Yummy Healthy Easy

And now for the main event: stuffing. Alright, so I should clarify that this is the main event for me. But if you agree, you’ll want in on this veggie-packed recipe that practically makes itself in five hours in the Instant Pot.

Get the recipe: Yummy Healthy Easy Crock Pot Stuffing

6. Making Thyme for Health Easy Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Photo: Making Thyme for Health

Canned cranberry sauce is delicious, but its gelatinous texture may be off-putting to some. Making Thyme for Health’s simple take on the canned good calls for cranberries, water, orange juice, maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla and yields a more homemade texture. Cranberries also contain plenty of gut-healthy fiber and immune-boosting vitamin C, so there’s some fodder for the dinner conversation.

Get the recipe: Making Thyme for Health Easy Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

7. Well Plated By Erin Crockpot Creamed Corn

Another thing to love about Thanksgiving is that no one expects you to expend the extra effort it takes to eat corn on the cob. Who needs all that chewing? This extra-creamy dish lets you sit back, relax, and enjoy all that flavor with minimal effort.

Get the recipe: Well Plated By Erin Crockpot Creamed Corn

How a dietitian puts together a Thanksgiving plate: 

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