Thanksgiving sides, all made in a slow cooker! Time saving and delicious recipes for side dishes that will give you one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!

There's a few things in life I am grateful for, and since this is the week of Thanksgiving, we should probably talk about them. I can think of three things in particular - my two small crock-pots and my one large one. There's not much you can't take on in a kitchen with three crock-pots running on high. So, when Pillsbury sent me an e-mail saying they could streamline some Thanksgiving sides by making them in the crock-pot, I rewrote this week’s menu of posts, and ran to the grocery store.

But does making any of the classic Thanksgiving sides in a slow cooker really cut down on any of the prep time, stress, or hassle?

At first I figured, keep it simple and go with those Pillsbury recipes. Lord knows, that little doughboy gets it right sometimes. But ultimately, I decided that if this is going to be true experiment to make your Thanksgiving better, I should stick with the experts. To America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution it was. And darned if they didn't have exactly the recipes I was looking for.

Keeping with the classics, I stuck with green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. What Thanksgiving spread is complete without them? I'll be honest though... 30 min. of prep to get the crock-pot going, then to cook for another four hours, doesn't seem like streamlining to me. And then there's a footnote stating that the recipe for green bean casserole does not keep well on warm, so you can't even make it ahead of time and let it sit until company arrives.

Now as for the mashed potatoes, the prep work was pretty quick, but not unlike traditional mashed potatoes. Slice, cover with water, and let it hang out until mashable.

But hey, these Thanksgiving sides are still delicious!

Recipes for Thanksgiving Sides for a Slow Cooker \\


Slow Cooker Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution


  • 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ buttermilk, warmed, plus extra as needed
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin


Combine potatoes, water, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and 1 teas salt in slow cooker. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

Drain potatoes, discarding garlic cloves and bay leaf, then return to slow cooker. Mash potatoes thoroughly with potato masher. Fold in butter, then buttermilk and sour cream. Add more buttermilk as needed to adjust consistency. Fold in scallions, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

This dish can be held on warm setting for 1 to 2 hours before serving; loosen with additional warm buttermilk as needed before serving.


 Thanksgiving sides don't get more classic than green bean casserole!


Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution


  • 3 cups canned fried onions
  • 2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teas minced fresh thyme, or ½ teas dried
  • ¾ teas salt
  • ½ teas pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch length


Pulse 1 cup fried onions in food processor until finely ground, about 10 pulses; set aside. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Melt 2 tbs butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and remaining 2 cups fried onion and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes; set aside for serving.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Melt remaining 3 tbs butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in processed fried onions and flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and cream, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add beans to slow cooker and coat evenly with sauce. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low. Sprinkle with reserved bread-crumb mixture before serving.

This dish does not hold well on warm setting.


Both dishes turned out fantastically. I am not sure either streamlined or would make your Thanksgiving preparation any easier, but it certainly is a way to mix up the traditional this year.



  1. kimberly (unrivaledkitch) says:

    interesting! I need too much counter space to wait for that stuff to be done. But I'm sure you get some delicious flavors developing in those green beans. lovely photos

    happy thanksgiving Kita! I'm grateful and thankful for you blog and your writing and photos and you 🙂 cheers

  2. Yum, garlic and scallions in mashed potatoes. Beats plain old mashed potatoes any day!

  3. Parsley Sage says:

    Your crockpot love makes me so happy. That green bean casserole looks delicious. Too bad it doesn't hold over so well although, I bet i wouldn't be able to control myself from instant eating anyway. That inner fat kid of mine...

  4. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I'm all about the slow cooker - sitting on my counter getting ready for this week. I like this one.....

  5. Mi Vida en un Dulce says:

    The mash potatoes looks delicious. All the food you prepared for Thanksgiving are so nice...

  6. hmm. I guess when you only have one oven and 4 burners, maybe it just gets them off of the cook top? Your photos turned out beautifully and they look delicious!

  7. I love things that can be made in the crockpot! Even though I don't have to cook for Thanksgiving, I'm totally bookmarking these for another time. Any green bean casserole that doesn't used condensed soup is a winner in my book!

  8. I tend to prefer my green beans a little crunchy in my casserole, but these mashed potatoes!? Holy crap, I bet slow cooked they are to die for.

  9. Janet@FCTC says:

    These both look amazing Kita! I love green bean casserole the nasty old fashioned way so I can only guess how good it would be made with REAL mushrooms and heavy cream. Delicious!

  10. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    I love the crockpot, but I've never thought about pulling it out for Thanksgiving. The potatoes look really tasty!

  11. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) says:


    Both of these dishes are mouth watering. You made green bean casserole tasty. It's a miracle!

  12. We are trying the stuffing in the slow cooker this year...I'm anxious to see how it turns out. I'm a big fan of crispy stuffing. The green bean casserole looks amazing!

  13. RavieNomNoms says:

    I normally don't do much of Thanksgiving in a slow cooker. Most of it goes in the oven to be honest. I think I might try to do the mashed potatoes though, that is interesting!

    Have a great Thanksgiving Kita!

  14. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    slow cooker items may not cut down on prep but it'll definitely help cook more at once unless you happen to have a full test kitchen in your house w/multiple ovens! 🙂

  15. Steph@stephsbitebybite says:

    Love this post!! I was waiting for the "normal" answer of being thankful for family/friends, pets, you can imagine my reaction when I saw crockpots...and not only, but three!! So funny!! Made me start to think of what kitchen appliances I am thankful for.

    These side dishes look super tasty!

  16. Megan @ Pip and Ebby says:

    LOVE this idea! This all looks and sounds fabulous, too! I adore my crock pots, and am also thankful for them this week. 🙂

  17. I love America's Test Kitchen but I know exactly what you mean. The best crockpot recipes always require so much advanced prep, it's hardly any easier!

  18. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    A wonderful idea to make these dishes in the slow cooker and leave more time for baking;)Your potatoes look amazing. Thank you for sharing these recipes. Happy Thanksgiving. xo

  19. How much sour cream should be added to the mashed potatoes? I don't see it in the ingredient list.

    1. I will have to look this up for you when I get home! I will email you and update the recipe as soon as I get home. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    2. Its 1/2 cup, at room temp. Sorry about that!

  20. Kita, these would both be devoured on our Thanksgiving table!!! Excellent sides...and I love that they don't take up oven space! Hope you have a fabulous holiday, my friend~

  21. Thanks Kita,
    I've got the potatoes in the slow cooker right now.

  22. This is fantastic Kita. Love both the recipes. I love buttermilk in my mashed potatoes. Yours look so fluffy and moist. I'd just want to eat those and forget the turkey. The casserole is also delicious. The picture of it dripping down the side is killer.

  23. Foodness Gracious says:

    Oh yeah, mash with loads of butter is making me excited for Thursday! Good post 🙂

  24. Dionne Baldwin says:

    I don't use my slow cooker enough and I wish I knew why that is? The mashed potatoes especially! Who knows what I would end up with. When something is cooking in the slow cooker, people tend to add spices and suggestions so we always get an altered version of what was intended. 🙂 It's always good though! Thank goodness for basic spice knowledge! Now would you turn around so I can sneak that butter off the top of your potatoes? 🙂 YUM!

  25. Kita, the potatoes are delicious! I did add some onion powder to them once mashed but that is a personal preference. I can't wait to serve them tomorrow. I've made slow cooker mashed potatoes before but never cooked the potatoes themselves in the slow-cooker. This is a brilliant idea. Thanks again and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  26. These potatoes sound delicious! What are your thoughts on making this the night before, and heating them up before a potluck? Would chilling them in the fridge overnight change the flavor or consistency?

    1. Hi Emily, I don't see why these couldn't be made ahead of time. I think you may need to add a bit of liquid (milk or more butter), if they start to dry out - but otherwise - go for it! I reheat mashed potatoes all the time.

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