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!


a slow cooker with wild rice stuffing being stirred

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.

Crock Pot stuffing being stirred with a spoon

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.

slow cooker full of gluten free wild rice stuffing with cranberries

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.
Crock Pot Stuffing with Wild Rice

Crockpot Stuffing with Wild Rice, Cranberries and Almonds

5 from 5 votes
Crockpot Stuffing with wild rice, cranberries, and almonds. An easy, DELICIOUS twist on classic Thanksgiving stuffing that everyone can enjoy!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins

Servings: 12 servings


  • 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.


Serving: 1(of about twelve), about 1 cupCalories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 7gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 248mgFiber: 7gSugar: 3g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. WOW so much incredible flavor in here!  I normally surpass the stuffing on Thanksgiving because it looks no where near as good as yours!

    1. Hi Anne! I haven’t tested the recipe this way, so I can’t say for certain. I would recommend checking early to see if it’s done since it probably will cook faster in a bigger crock pot.

    2. I used a 6 at and was over cooked at 4 hours.  Never thought it would not take as long. Still was done in less than 4.   Some okay but on mushy side.  It will be even worse when reheating?

      1. Linda, I’m sorry this didn’t turn out! The recipe was, however, designed for a 3-quart crockpot. Generally if you take a recipe designed for a smaller crockpot and put it in a bigger one, it will cook more quickly. I hope reheating goes better than expected!

    1. Hi Deb, I personally prefer the sweeter flavor of dried cranberries. Fresh would be more tart, but if you don’t mind the tartness, you can definitely make the substitution!

      1. Is there any change in the recipe I should make if I substitute fresh cranberries? Add them at a different time? Add a little sweetener? Thanks!

        1. Hi Jen! I actually don’t recommend fresh cranberries for this recipe (and I LOVE fresh cranberries), because they will be very, very tart and throw off the flavor of the dish. Adding more sugar will give the dish a strange flavor, so I wouldn’t go that route either. I also think fresh cranberries risking making the casserole too moist. If you are looking for a fresh cranberry recipe, this cranberry chicken is delicious:

  2. I am thrilled wiith the recipes on here. Simple yet sophisticated. I can’t print them out so I am hand writing them. I never do that, Consider this a compliment! ?

    1. Hi Randi, if you wanted to make a quinoa substitution, the liquid ratio will need to be adjusted. I’d suggest comparing it with other quinoa-based crock pot recipes and make the liquid and cooking time adjustments based on what you see in those!

    1. Hi CJ! I actually would not do this, because quinoa and wild rice have different cooking times, so the quinoa will be done before the rice. If you really want to try quinoa, I’d see if you can find a slow cooker quinoa recipe online, follow its guidance for the liquid ratio and cooking time, then add in the other stuffing ingredients (mushrooms, cranberries, etc.) from this recipe. Use your best judgement, and if you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it comes out!

  3. Made this recipe in a 6qt crockpot and it was perfect!  It was done in about 2 hours on high.  The smell of it alone was enough to make me salivate! And it was a HIT for our thanksgiving dinner last night.  It provided a gluten and dairy free altenative for my celiac mother, too!
     Not only that, but it’s gorgeous to look at!  We stuffed the turkey with it AND had some left over as a side.  I couldn’t find a wild rice blend at my grocery store so I ended up with Uncle Ben’s boxed rice mix and left the flavoring pack out.  It worked perfectly.  Thank you for sharing this!  

  4. Thank you so much for this recipe, it was such s cool addition to Thanksgiving this year. I made the following changes and it was AMAZING:
    -Omitted the mushrooms
    -Used pine nuts instead of almonds
    – After it was cooked and slightly cooled, I added fresh pomegranate seeds and diced green apples for some color, texture, and sweetness
    Super yummy, Thank you again!

    1. Hi Elnaz, adding pomegranate and diced apples sounds delicious! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for leaving such a nice review.

  5. Made this easy and delicious dish for my son who’s a vegan for Thanksgiving. He loved it and at this moment I’m about to make him another crockpot of it for the week! Thanks for  a simple, easy and delicious dish…

    1. Hi Emily, I think the recipe would halve well! I haven’t tried baking this in an oven before, so I’m afraid I can’t offer specifics. Similar wild rice stuffing recipes I found online suggest baking at 350*F and start at 40 minutes or so of cooking time. It’d be an experiment, but if you decide to give it a try, I would love to know how it goes!

    1. Hi April, I would reheat it covered in a casserole dish in the oven at 350 degrees until hot! I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  6. Hi Erin,

    I’ve made this casserole before and am in love with it. I’m hosting a smaller group this year and would want to halve the rice portion only, along with the liquid. Do you think that would work out with the same success? 

    1. Hi Isabelle, I think that should work! You’ll want to check for doneness on the earlier side, as it may cook faster since the slow cooker won’t be as full.

  7. So…my “smaller” crock pot is 2.5 quart. I think that would be easier to use than my big one. Any thoughts on how to scale it down easily? 

    1. Hi Heidi, I would start by scaling the recipe down by half. In a different size crock pot, you’ll want to watch the cooking time as it may be done in a different time than listed in the recipe. I hope that helps!

  8. This recipe sounds perfect for all my allergies without making everyone else suffer on flavour because of me.
    Just wondering, could I use the juices from the turkey to cook the rice? Or maybe mix it with some vegetable broth if I don’t have enough?
    I am also assuming a crock pot is a slow cooker? (I am in Australia so terms are different).
    Thank you so so much.

    1. Hi Mel! I think your suggestions sound great. (FYI, the rice goes into the slow cooker, which is a crock pot UNCOOKED, so you don’t need to cook it first). Just make sure the total liquid amount you add (be it a mix of turkey juices and veggie broth or just the juices) matches the recipe. Also, if your juices are salty or your broth isn’t low sodium, I’d hold back on the amount of salt in the recipe to make sure it doesn’t get too salty. You can always season the final dish later.

  9. Hey Erin, I have a 6 quart and over 20 people coming. Think this would work if I double it? What would you suggest for cooking time?

    1. Hi Shirlene, I haven’t tried doubling the recipe, but you could give it a try. Since I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t have a specific time to recommend for cooking, but I would check it according to the listed time here and keep cooking as needed. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  10. So excited to make this!! I struggle with food allergies along with my grandson. He has 28 allergens and I have 29. Along with being gluten and dairy free!

  11. This was a dinner saver for my sister in law and niece who were both diagnosed with gluten allergies last year right before Thanksgiving and another sister in law who is a vegetarian. I have also made it for meal prep and added sausage to it. I will say I added the cranberries and almonds early by mistake and it still turned out great.5 stars

  12. Hi Erin, I am wondering on this and other slow cooker recipes whether you have ever tried the Instant Pot on slow cook, with the glass lid. Granted it makes sense to use a dedicated device if you have it, but seeing how IP is supposed to be a “multi cooker,” I’d like to know how well it works for this type of cooking… (we’re planning to get one). Thanks!

    1. Hi Kip, I’ve actually never tried using my Instant Pot as a slow cooker yet. I bet there are some tips if you do an online search!

    1. Hi Faith, I have not attempted this recipe in the Instant Pot, and I’m guessing there would need to be some modifications. If you do decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes. You could also try a stovetop version as well if you have a large pot or dutch oven. I hope you enjoy it!

  13. Hi,
    After cooking, could I stuff it in a turkey or Cornish hens? do you think baking further would dry it out too much? It looks amazing!

    1. Hi Bernadette, I would recommend leaving this as a side dish. I haven’t tried stuffing this myself, but if you decide to experiment, I would love to hear how it goes.

  14. Hi! I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the 4th time this year. My mom has celiac, so I wanted to do this for her, and I’m already using my crockpot for something else. I’m tempted to buy another one but before I do, is there a way to make this on the stovetop?

    1. Hi Jen, I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could adapt this to the stovetop. Use a large pot or dutch oven, and for cook time once you stir in the rice and chicken broth, I’d follow the cooking timing on your package of rice.

  15. Made the mistake of using a 6 qt size crock pot. I didn’t know the size of the crock pot would alter the cooking time. I added sausage and it would have been good prior to it turning into wall paper paste.  I will try again by either altering the cook time (I did 5 hours on low) or purchasing a smaller crockpot.  It ended up in the trash can.

    1. Hi Shannon, the size definitely affects the cook time, and I’m sorry you found that out firsthand! I hope you enjoy it when you give it another try.

  16. I would like to double this recipe for my vegan friends potluck luncheon/baby shower. It will be a large group of people. Anyone have any suggestions about larger crock pot and doubling the recipe? cook time?If I make it in the morning, Would it be done by lunchtime as a side dish?

    1. Hi Joan, I haven’t tried doubling the recipe, but you could give it a try. Since I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t have a specific time to recommend for cooking, but I would check it according to the listed time here and keep cooking as needed. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  17. I’ve made this recipe several years in a row now and cook up the breast of a wild grouse with the mix of mushrooms and onions.  
    Its amazing and adds a unique spin on the dish.  I also throw in one Granny Smith apple, cut into small pieces.   YUM!5 stars

  18. Delicious!!! Comfort food!!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe! My husband was recently put on a Vegan diet by his doctor. He was a “meat and potatoes” man, so I have been trying to research and find creative dishes that are pleasing to his taste-buds. We both really loved this dish! It was easy to make and cooked quickly in my crock-pot. My husband gave it a “10”! He said it was a nice, warm and satisfying dinner! I loved it as well, it was so, so good! Hive five and thanks again!5 stars

  19. I am about to make this for a dinner,and want to make sure I have the timing down right as I will bring using a 5qt. Crockpot. Would about 2.5 to 3 hours be about the time it should cook on low?

    1. Hi Marcie! Since I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t have a specific time to recommend for cooking, but I would check it according to the listed time here and keep cooking as needed. I hope you enjoy the recipe!