3 Southern slow-cooker side dishes for Thanksgiving

Southern sides made in a crock-pot

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If you're from the South, you know food is one of the most important parts of a family get-together, especially Thanksgiving. However, many of the traditional Southern favorites, like collard greens, grits and soup can take hours to prepare in the oven. Save the oven space for your turkey and cut hours off your Thanksgiving meal prep time by making these Southern side dishes in your slow cooker!

These cheesy grits with sausage, balsamic roasted carrots and stuffing taste just like the kind your mama made, but in half the time. Save yourself the hassle this year and still impress your snooty Southern mother-in-law!

Cheesy grits with sausage

Recipe serves about 3.

Recipe adapted from Oxmoor House

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked grits
  • 1 can (14 ounces) of chicken broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 pound chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Cheddar cheese

Directions: 

  1. Mix the grits, chicken broth, light cream, cream of mushroom soup, salt, butter and hot sauce together in the slow cooker. Add the chicken sausage.
  2. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours, or until thick. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and serve warm.

Balsamic glazed carrotsBalsamic glazed carrots

Serves about 5.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds carrots, quartered
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Directions: 

  1. Place the carrots, onion and cranberries into the banister of a crock-pot. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the vegetables. Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until the vegetables are soft.

Slow cooker stuffingSlow cooker stuffing

Serves about 8.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups stuffing mix
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Dash of salt
  • 2-1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Walnuts for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until soft.
  2. Spoon the mixture over the stuffing mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the seasoning, broth, egg and salt. Pour the mixture into the banister of a slow cooker and heat for 5 hours on low, or until soft.

More Southern-inspired recipes

Sweet potato pie — A Southern favorite
Old-fashioned Southern banana pudding
Southern comfort recipes: Macaroni and cheese

Claire is an aspiring nutritionist (and soon to be culinary student) with a serious addiction to bacon, goat cheese and online shopping. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. In addition to writing for the Food section of SheKnows, she is a full-time recipe creator (and taste tester), a writer for FabulousFoods.com and a contributing writer for the Home and Gardening section of SheKnows. You can also follow her musings and find delicious healthy recipes on her food blog, The Realistic Nutritionist.

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