12 Easy, Slow-Cooker Recipes Perfect for Holiday Gatherings
And football parties. And Netflix binge sessions.
With the holiday season around the corner, you may have already started planning the details of your upcoming get-togethers. But there's one kitchen tool you might be overlooking during your cocktail party-planning — your slow cooker.
With a little prep and planning, your slow cooker could actually become the star of your cocktail party.
We found 12 of our favorite slow-cooker recipes from our sister brand, FoodNetwork.com, for a fun and festive holiday gathering:
1: Spiced Nuts
You could serve these slow-cooker spiced nuts at almost any gathering you might host over the holiday season. You could even prepare a couple of batches, keep them in an airtight container, and then you’ll always have a treat on hand should any guests stop by.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Spiced Nuts
2: Moroccan Turkey Meatballs
These turkey meatballs would make a great addition to your menu for a Mediterranean-themed holiday party. They would work perfectly with hummus or baba ganoush and pita chips, pickled vegetables and olives.
3: Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders
These delicious pulled pork sliders are a great choice if you’re looking for a heartier dish to serve. They almost work as a light dinner. Just make sure to have plenty of napkins and extra plates on hand.
4: Deep-Dish Pizza
This deep-dish pizza can be prepared entirely in a slow cooker, making prep easy as can be. Try pairing the pizza with a tomato and mozzarella salad, a big antipasto plate or some homemade garlic breadsticks.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Deep-Dish Pizza
5: Chicken Chili Bowls
If you want to go for a Mexican-themed cocktail party, these chicken chili bowls should be on your menu. You can serve it up in small bowls or even coffee mugs. Pair with chips, salsa and guacamole to go all in on the theme. And don’t forget to include some extras, such as cheese, mild chili peppers and onions.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
6: Chicken Noodle Soup
This chicken noodle soup would warm up your guests in a snap. To make it a bit more elegant, try serving the soup in martini or champagne glasses.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
7: Macaroni + Cheese
This slow-cooker recipe can definitely feed a crowd, so make enough so that people can grab seconds. Serve the macaroni and cheese in small ramekins with little spoons, and offer up some hot sauce for any guests who might like to spice things up.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
8: Spiced Apple + Pear Butter
This fall-inspired apple and pear butter would taste delicious on a pumpernickel/raisin bread or on a sweet roll. In addition to freshly-baked bread, you can serve a big cheese board with a variety of different types of hard and soft cheeses.
9: Chocolate Candy
These chocolate slow-cooker candies are a great addition to have on hand, no matter what type of menu you serve at your gathering. You can keep them out on the table as your guests arrive or save them for the end of the evening and serve them with dessert wine. You could even package up a few candies in small plastic bags and give them to your guests as a little favor when they leave.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Chocolate Candy
10: Gooey Brownie Cake
Similar to lava cakes, these treats would be a wonderful surprise at the end of your cocktail hour. These can get messy, too; however, so make sure you’re stocked up on napkins.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake
11: Hot Chocolate
Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut
Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut
This slow-cooker hot chocolate recipe would work with almost any cocktail party theme. It works well for a dessert-themed party or at the end of the evening served with your designated dessert item. You could even add some booze to the hot chocolate to turn it into a true cocktail.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Hot Chocolate
12: Chocolate Fondue
One of the most versatile treats you can make in your slow cooker is chocolate fondue. This is the perfect choice for a dessert-themed party or a sweet treat at the end of a meal. Chocolate fondue also gives you the flexibility to use whatever you have on hand for dipping: vanilla cookies, seasonal fruit or even a salty treat, like pretzels.
Make It: Slow-Cooker Chocolate Fondue
This ooey-gooey recipe looks impressive but it really couldn't be easier to make. Your family and guests won't be able to get enough of the warm, flavorful cheese topped with decadent caramel sauce and crunchy pecans. Get the recipe.
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits With Honey Ham
Comfort food has never tasted so good. Bake up a batch of from-scratch biscuits, then fill them with thinly sliced honey or country ham for a hearty bite to tide guests over till dinner is served. Get the recipe.
Smoked Gouda and Herb Puffs
These bite-sized balls of smoked, cheesy, herby goodness are the perfect appetizer for a dinner or cocktail party. Just be careful: They're so addictive that it's impossible to eat just one or two (or three)! Get the recipe.
Homemade Pimento Cheese
Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a Southern-style recipe for spicy pimento cheese. Serve chilled, straight from the fridge, or place in a casserole dish and heat in the oven till bubbly warm. Get the recipe.
Braised Pork Belly on Homemade Biscuits
Succulent braised pork belly on fresh, from-scratch buttermilk biscuits is sure to tempt guests. The biscuit's scaled-down size ensures everyone can enjoy this homey comfort food without ruining their appetite. Get the recipe.
Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins
Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos
With two types of chiles, these spicy steak mouthfuls are sure to warm up guests coming in from the cold. Cut down on prep time by making the tasty filling ingredients a day or two ahead of time then stuffing mini taco shells right before guests arrive. Get the recipe.
Take gooey fried cheese to the next level with Camembert and truffles. Sophisticated and oh so yummy, this quick and easy starter is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes. Get the recipe.
Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Whipping up bruschetta appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette then top the slices with a soft cheese, like chevre, and any combination of savory ingredients like caramelized dates, spicy red pepper jelly, finely chopped pistachios or crumbled bacon. Get the recipe.
Southern Fried Stuffing Balls
HGTV's Meg Caswell, host of Meg's Great Rooms, shares this recipe that can be made with or without sausage. To kick up the flavor, Meg recommends adding crumbled bacon and serving them with cranberry dipping sauce made by pureeing a can of cranberry sauce with a splash of orange juice until creamy. Get the recipe.
Maple Chili Popcorn
Food Network's Jeff Mauro of The Sandwich King shares this endlessly munchable spicy-meets-sweet recipe that's great as both a light snack before a big holiday meal and for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later. Make several batches a day or two before your get-together then store the popcorn in an airtight container. Get the recipe.
Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey
These tasty crostini can be prepared in a flash with only a few simple ingredients. They're a healthy, light starter for holiday guests to enjoy while dinner is prepared. Get the recipe.