Never have I thought about my oven and refrigerator more than the last 48 hours. On Sunday, I’m hosting Friendsgiving for 30 (our biggest turn out yet!), and as I strategized how to negotiate the placement and cooking of two 18-pound turkeys, accompanying sides, desserts, and my pitcher of survival sangria, I came to one and only one conclusion: I need to outsource. The oven is maxed, so it’s Crockpot Stuffing to the rescue!
If your oven will be similarly stuffed during the upcoming holiday festivities, let the crockpot be your faithful friend. Make this Crockpot Stuffing for Thanksgiving or anytime you need a stellar dinner party side but don’t have space in your oven.
This slow cooker stuffing can be cooked in advance and is made with cozy, feel-good holiday ingredients like wild rice, cranberries, and thyme.
It is also naturally gluten free, dairy free, and vegan (the creaminess of the stuffing comes from the starches in the rice, so it’s unique as a slow cooker stuffing without eggs). If you have guests with different dietary restrictions or are bringing the stuffing to a party and aren’t sure of everyone’s preferences, this Crockpot Stuffing recipe is an ideal choice to make sure everyone can enjoy a serving.
Even if you don’t have guests with dietary restrictions, I highly encourage you to try this wild rice-based Crockpot Stuffing anyway.
Every forkful delivers the euphoric feelings of carby indulgence that make Thanksgiving great *but* it won’t weigh you down nearly as much as classic bread-based stuffings. (Translation: more tummy space for Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes.) It’s part rice pilaf, part classic Stove Top, and entirely scrumptious.
About this Crockpot Stuffing Recipe
The nutty wild rice and cranberries taste of everything autumn, the almonds add a pleasing crunch, and the mushrooms give the stuffing savoriness and depth. If the flavor alone doesn’t convince you, let the simplicity of the prep. This is quite possibly the easiest Thanksgiving stuffing you will ever make!
How Do You Cook Stuffing in a Slow Cooker?
- Although the majority of the cooking happens in the crockpot, you’ll want to start this recipe by sauting the mushrooms with the celery and onion. This allows the juices of the mushrooms to release and deepens their flavor.
- From here, it’s dump and go: veggies in the slow cooker; wild rice in the slow cooker; broth in the slow cooker; set it and let your crockpot do the cooking.
- Once the stuffing is cooked, it’s time to sprinkle! Dried cranberries, fresh thyme, and slivered almonds are the move. (If you have a guest who is allergic to nuts, you can simply omit the almonds. The Crockpot Stuffing will still be delish.)
How Do You Make Crockpot Stuffing in Advance?
- If you’d like to make this recipe ahead, you can prepare the sautéed veggies (Step 1), then store them in the refrigerator for up to two days. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
- You can also make this entire recipe one full day in advance. Rewarm it in the crockpot or covered in the oven with a splash of additional chicken or vegetable broth to keep it from drying out.
How Do you Make Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing?
- How to Make Traditional Stuffing: While I would argue that “traditional” means something different to everyone, if you are looking for the most delicious way to make bread stuffing in the oven, try my Rosemary Bacon Mushroom Stuffing. SO GOOD.
- How to Make Slow Cooker Stove Top Stuffing: And by “stove top” I mean the infamous box, which two of my friends swear are their families’ standard. While I don’t use a mix myself (I love making and eating Thanksgiving stuffing from scratch), this recipe for Slow Cooker Stuffing with Apples will give you a similar experience, with an amped up flavor and superior texture.
- How to Make Crockpot Stuffing with Sausage: For those who can’t have their stuffing without it (and sausage stuffing is certainly delicious), begin this recipe by sautéing 1 pound of ground turkey or pork sausage in a skillet. Remove it with a slotted spoon, then use the same skillet to sauté the mushrooms, onions, and celery in Step 1. Transfer the cooked sausage to the slow cooker with the other ingredients and cook as directed.
What Other Thanksgiving Sides Can be Made in a Slow Cooker?
In addition to the Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes and Slow Cooker Stuffing with Apples I mentioned above, there are a number of sides that are super crockpot friendly, giving you even more day-of oven flexibility, including:
What Thanksgiving Sides Can be Made in the Instant Pot?
The slow cooker isn’t the only way to free up oven space. Try using your Instant Pot too. Three of my favorite holiday-appropriate side dish recipes:
If you’re looking for other holiday side dishes, this dish is just one of the many healthy Thanksgiving sides on my site.
Final Crock Pot Stuffing Recipe Notes
- If you use a 3-quart slow cooker (as I did), it will be VERY full. Don’t panic—everything fits, you just need to stir gently.
- The crock pot stuffing freezes beautifully, so in addition to being an easy holiday option for a crowd, you can also make it on a regular weeknight and freeze leftovers.
Crockpot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries and Almonds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 2 ribs celery - finely sliced
- 16 ounces cremini baby bella mushrooms, - sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked brown and wild rice blend - rinsed and drained
- 5 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth - or vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds - toasted
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and celery and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high, then add the mushrooms. Let cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a 3 or 4-quart slow cooker, stir together the wild rice blend and sautéed vegetables. Carefully pour in the chicken broth (if using a 3 quart slow cooker, it will be full nearly to the top). Gently stir, then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until the rice is tender. Turn off the slow cooker, then stir in the cranberries, sage, and thyme. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper as desired. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top. Serve warm.
- Leftover Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to two months.
- Make it ahead: the celery, mushrooms, and onions can be sautéed up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Add all the ingredients to the crock pot just before cooking.
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