The season of Thanksgiving is here, and you’ve likely got a mile long grocery list of things to grab before the big day. While most of us set aside a full day to cook and bake anywhere from 6-12 side dishes and desserts, that doesn’t mean we have to be in the kitchen all day!
Slow cookers and crockpots are a great way to shortcut several classic Thankgiving dishes, offering an easy way to “Set it and forget it.” Rather than slaving over the stove with boiling pots and bubbling pans, why not tap into a few of our favorite slow cooker Thanksgiving tricks and turn your day into a relaxing affair that has you hardly lifting a finger?
Here’s 5 of the easiest ways to shortcut your Thanksgiving cooking in the crockpot. If you have a Slow Cooker Secret of your own, leave a comment! We’d love to hear how you make quick work of Thanksgiving day….by adding in a little slow cooking genius!
- Make Mashed Potatoes
Wash red potatoes, toss them in a crockpot with two cups of broth, and set them on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-7 hours. You’ll get incredibly tender potatoes, ready for mashing. And even more ready for making into our original recipe for Twice-Baked Garlic Smashed Potatoes.
- Slow Cook Your Stuffing
Boxed stuffing mix can be stirred together, stuffed into a crockpot, and set aside. No baking needed! You’ll get a tender, moist stuffing without needing to steal the oven from the turkey. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the box, then place in a crocpot, cover, and cook for 2 hours on high, or 3-4 hours on low. For a slightly crispier crust, remove the crockpot lid 1 hour before serving, and let the stuffing cook with the top open to the air.
- Prep your gravy.
If you pull your turkey from the oven a half-hour or more before dinner, it’s easy to drain the hot juices into a crockpot, whisk in some cornstarch, and allow your gravy to thicken in a slow cooker while you finished prepping your final meal. Follow your favorite gravy recipe, just whisk it all together, pour it into your crockpot, then cover and set on high for 30+ minutes and you’ll have hot, steamy gravy ready to serve in no time at all!
- Cook Your Cranberry Sauce
Homemade cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving menu. And, making it fresh in your slow cooker is so simple! Find a recipe online for homemade cranberry sauce (there are dozens of versions!) then mix it all together, cover, and cook in a small crockpot on high for 3-4 hours (or on low 4-5 hours). Stir every hour or so, and add a bit of water if the mixture seems to be sticking or burning on the bottom. Unplug up to an hour before serving and keep covered until ready to dish up at Thanksgiving dinner!
- Make Simple Sweet Potatoes
Whether your family loves marshmallow-topped Sweet Potato casserole, or begs for brown-sugar cooked Sweet Potato pie, you can prep yams with no muss and no fuss right in the crockpot! Simply peel and dice into 1” pieces. Place in the crockpot with a ½ cup or so of orange juice, apple juice, OR veggie broth, and cook on low for 5-6 hours (or high 2-4) until they’re tender. Remove, mash into your favorite recipe, and enjoy! For quick and delicious Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes, peel, dice, and place 3-4 sweet potatoes in a slow cooker with 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup orange juice, and ½ tablespoon of cinnamon. Cover and cook 5-6 hours on low (or 2-4 hours on high) until tender. Spoon, serve, and enjoy!
How do you use your crockpot over the holidays? Chime in the comments section below and tell us your Slow Cooker Sneaks! Or, if you used one of our secrets, let us know. We love to hear how you’re Good Cooking at home!