Thanksgiving crockpot recipes are an easy way to add some of your favorite dishes to the table during the holiday season. Crockpot meals cook slower than on the stovetop or in the oven, so you can start one overnight or in the background while you focus on other food preparation.
Best Meats to Cook in the Crockpot
Stew is one of the most common crockpot meals. Beef stew is usually made from chuck steak, which makes for very tender meat after marinating in the crockpot.
Ribs are a BBQ favorite, often eaten during the warmer months of the year. You can add some ribs to your meal plan during Thanksgiving by cooking them in a batch of BBQ sauce in the crockpot.
The brisket is made up of the crow’s chest. Brisket meat is soft and tender and makes for a savory meal. Cooking brisket in a crockpot helps it maintain its moisture, which is needed as it’s prone to drying out.
Pork shoulder is one of the most common ways to eat pig. Because this meat can be tough, it’s recommended to cook it beforehand before adding it to your slow cooker to help break down the meat and allow it to tenderize.
Buttery chicken thighs are often a dinner favorite and easy to make in a crockpot. Thigh meat is very tender, making it a great choice for slow cooking.
What Not to Cook in the Crockpot
- Soft vegetables – vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, squash, and eggplant will become overcooked and lose their shape quickly
- Dairy – cream, milk, yogurts, and sour cream can become separated and curdled
- Seafood – the cooking time for seafood like shrimp, salmon, scallops, and more is much shorter than for other meats and they will become overcooked quickly
- Pasta – can only be in liquid for so long before it loses shape and becomes soggy
- Rice – you’ll end up with unevenly cooked rice from the hard overcooked edges to the undercooked center
20 Thanksgiving Crockpot Recipes
1. French Onion Soup
A great addition to a Thanksgiving meal is French onion soup. Made with onions, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and even Brandy, this crockpot recipe is simple and flavorful.
2. Pinto Bean
There’s nothing better than warm beans and cornbread on Thanksgiving. Life Family and Fun offers a southern favorite slow cooker recipe for pinto beans, made with celery, onion, and cayenne.
3. Pulled Chicken
Pulled chicken can be made into many different snacks or meals for a holiday. By making this recipe, you can make sure your guests have plenty of food options this holiday.
4. Potato Soup
Life Family and Fun has a recipe for potato soup that’s simple and easy enough for just about anyone to make. Made with tater tots and a slow cooker, this recipe is effortless.
5. Mac and Cheese
You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal without Mac and Cheese. When you make this macaroni and cheese in the crock pot, you’re putting the pasta in raw so that the noodles and cheese mold into an elevated version of this tasty dish.
6. Overnight Apple and Cranberry Oatmeal
Looking for a creative way to make a Thanksgiving breakfast? Try the overnight crockpot oats recipe found on Nutrition in the Kitchen.
7. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a necessity this holiday, and it can’t get any easier than making them in the crockpot. With just 15 minutes of prep time, you’ll be able to set these potatoes to cook, and in two hours you’ll have a deliciously creamy side everyone will love.
8. Corned Beef and Cabbage
If you’re looking to sophisticate your Thanksgiving, corned beef and cabbage are a great way to enhance your spread. Life Family and Fun have a crockpot recipe for this meal, made with brisket, carrots, red potatoes, and cabbage.
9. Pulled Pork and Shredded Chicken Brunswick Stew
Some meats pair well together, like chicken and pork. This Brunswick stew is a southern recipe made with pulled pork and shredded chicken that makes a delicious main dish or one you can serve on the side.
Nutrition in the Kitchen has a recipe that you can make right in your crockpot. Paella is a hearty combination of chicken, sausage, seafood medley, brown rice, and vegetables. It can also make a great dish for Thanksgiving.
11. Shredded Chicken
Shredded chicken is a versatile dish that can be made into sliders, added to your favorite appetizer dip, or even eaten on its own. For a crockpot dish with an Asian twist, this delicious recipe for slow cooker chicken is topped with toasted sesame seeds.
12. Dairy Free Butter Chicken
Don’t feel like making a traditional Thanksgiving meal? Indian food can be just as delicious and enjoyable this holiday. Nutrition in the Kitchen has a recipe for Butter Chicken to help spice up your holiday meal.
13. Oxtail Stew
Oxtail is made from the rump of a cow. This simple Oxtail stew is great for a slow-cooker meal that can be enjoyed during Thanksgiving.
14. Carne Asada
Carne asada made in the crockpot is a convenient way to prepare for the holiday without having to spend time cooking it in the oven on the big day. Nutrition in the Kitchen has an easy and delicious recipe for you to enjoy.
15. Ham and Pineapples
Ham is one of the longest parts to cook for a Thanksgiving meal. You can start it beforehand by using a crockpot and allow your ham to cook in the background before you start the rest of your dishes. Life Family and Fun have a recipe made with pineapple and brown sugar.
16. Fall-off-the-bone Ribs
You don’t have to save ribs for the summertime; you can have them for Thanksgiving! The recipe on Lively Table is made with honey, mustard, and a very tender meat option for your holiday.
17. Chicken Noodle Soup
Soup is an easy way to satisfy your guests this holiday. The chicken noodle soup crockpot recipe from Life Family and Fun pairs well with fresh bread or crackers.
18. Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs can be paired with mashed potatoes and vegetables or eaten on their own. Made with a balsamic dressing, Lively Table has a ribs recipe that will impress your holiday guests.
19. Simple Slow Cooker Chicken
If you don’t like turkey or ham, adding a dish of slow-cooker chicken is a great way to add protein to your Thanksgiving meal. After the holiday, you can use the remaining chicken for salads or soups. You can find the recipe at Nutrition in the Kitchen.
There’s nothing more inconvenient than trying to make stuffing at the last minute. With the All Recipes slow cooker stuffing, you can start this dish early on and allow all of its flavors to blend together completely.
Tips for Making Crockpot Recipes for Thanksgiving
- Set a Timer – it can be easy to forget about your crockpot meal. Allowing your dish, especially meat, to cook too long can cause it to dry out.
- Thaw your ingredients – you shouldn’t place frozen ingredients in your crock pot, as they will cook too slowly, allowing bacteria to be more prevalent.
- Don’t overfill – depending on what you’re making, additional liquid or juices can occur once it’s cooked for a period of time, causing your crockpot to overfill.
- Don’t add dairy – while cooking, don’t add dairy, as it will separate. Always add your dairy minutes before you’re ready to serve your meal.
- Freshness – add your fresh ingredients last to prevent them from breaking down too much.
Thanksgiving Crockpot Recipes FAQ
Can You Put Raw Meat in the Crockpot?
Yes, you can put raw meat in the crockpot. However, cooking your meat a little beforehand will help it cook faster in the crockpot.
Should You Flip Meat in the Crockpot?
Flipping your meat in the crockpot can help it cook evenly. If you plan to cook your meat for 6 hours, flip it at the three-hour mark to ensure that it cooks all the way through.
Do You Put Water in a Crockpot?
You can add a little bit of water to your crockpot, but it’s not normally needed. The low temperatures and enclosed pot retain moisture and help keep your meat or vegetables hydrated as they cook.
Should Meat or Vegetables Go in the Crockpot First?
Your meat should go into the crockpot first because it will take more time to cook. You want your meat to be tender, which requires cooking for long periods of time.
Vegetables are less dense than meat and require less cooking time. Adding vegetables last prevents them from becoming too mushy, maintaining their shape and sustenance.
If you’re short on time or need to start your holiday cooking early this year, consider making a warm, slow-cooked meal that your guests will surely enjoy. Try any of these Thanksgiving crockpot recipes to help give you some free time while cooking your main feast.