It's not just for weeknight dinners.

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Crockpot Slow Cooker
Credit: Crockpot

When it comes to preparing the Thanksgiving meal, making sure every dish is warm when you're ready to serve can be one of the trickier feats of a successful gathering. Between the turkey, the dressing, the mac and cheese, and more, there may not always be enough space in your oven to keep every dish warm. Luckily, this is where your trusty slow cooker comes in.

While the countertop appliance is known for making weeknight dinners a breeze, it can also lend a helping hand when you're getting ready to serve a holiday meal. Whether it be mashed potatoes, collard greens, or another side, the warm setting on your slow cooker can help take care of keeping one of your Thanksgiving side dishes warm to free up some space in your oven. The experts at Crockpot share, "Sides dishes, buns, dessert and more can be kept warm at your ideal temperature until it is ready to be served."

While a slow cooker can keep dishes warm, it is not recommended that food be reheated in a slow cooker. If you prepare a recipe ahead of time, it will need to be reheated before you add it to the crock of your slow cooker. According to the USDA, food should be brought to steaming using the stove or a microwave oven before it's place in the slow cooker. The slow cooker should be preheated, and you can use a thermometer to ensure that food is kept at 140 °F before serving.

Now that you know you'll be able to free up a little bit of oven space on Thanksgiving Day this year, you can add another recipe or two to your menu. We'd recommend Homemade Green Bean Casserole and Tee's Corn Pudding.