12 Easy, Slow-Cooker Recipes Perfect for Holiday Gatherings

And football parties. And Netflix binge sessions.

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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

SLOWCOOKER SPICED NUTS Food Network Kitchen Food Network Maple Syrup, Unsalted Butter, Cinnamon, Orange Zest, Kosher Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Pecans, Cashews

Photo by: Matt Armendariz via Food Network

Matt Armendariz via Food Network

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.

2: Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

MEATBALLS_097.tif

MEATBALLS_097.tif

Photo by: Andrew Purcell via Food Network

Andrew Purcell via Food Network

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

Pulled Pork Sandwich, as seen on Food Network's Trisha's Southern Kitchen.

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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.

5: Chicken Chili Bowls

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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.

6: Chicken Noodle Soup

FNK SLOW COOKER CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (comfort food) Food Network Kitchen Food Network Carrots, Celery, Onion, Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Chicken Thighs, Egg Noodles, Lemons

Photo by: Matt Armendariz via Food Network

Matt Armendariz via Food Network

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.

7: Macaroni + Cheese

FN_Slow_Cooker_Macaroni_Cheese

FN_Slow_Cooker_Macaroni_Cheese

Slow cooker macaroni cheese served in a blue bowl.

Photo by: Marshall Troy via Food Network

Marshall Troy via Food Network

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.

8: Spiced Apple + Pear Butter

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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.

10: Gooey Brownie Cake

Photo by: Brian Kennedy via Food Network

Brian Kennedy via Food Network

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.

11: Hot Chocolate

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.

12: Chocolate Fondue

Photo by: Food Network

Food Network

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.

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Toast to the Holidays With This Colorful Cranberry Margarita

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