My very favorite thing about the holiday season is potlucks. Not the big holidays or the fancy work parties — it's the low-key get togethers with friends that involve bringing one special dish that are worth looking forward to the most. To me, these types of holiday get togethers are the most personal, the most festive, and the best opportunities to try out new holiday recipe ideas, as well as to share the ones you know and love most with the people you know and love most. Every year, I'll challenge myself to try out a new dish (usually some sort of holiday Crock-Pot recipe), because there's no better way to test out a dish than with an honest group of friends over a potluck dinner.
Crock-Pot recipes work well for a few reasons, but the biggest is that it promotes time management. The only problem with making the perfect holiday dish is often finding the time to make the perfect holiday dish. With stacked parties, late work nights, and too many plans and gatherings to keep up with, it can be difficult to find the time to make something really great. That's why I'm all about that Crock-Pot life. Having the opportunity to throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot and let them cook while I'm not even in the kitchen is a serious blessing. Just place your ingredients into the pot before work, set the heat and the timer, and go on with your day. By the time you get home you'll have a meal that's ready to share with your friends. Easy peas!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few of my favorite holiday-themed Crock-Pot recipes for you to try this holiday season:
Slow-Cook Mashed Potatoes
Don't be overwhelmed by mashed potatoes, they don't have to be as difficult as you think they do. It's super easy to make them in a Crock-Pot, plus way less messy. Check out the recipe on The Kitchn.
Tomato Basil Soup
Soup doesn't have to be a side dish. This fully loaded, extremely flavorful soup makes the perfect addition to any potluck spread. Check out the recipe on Big Girls, Small Kitchen.
Cranberry Apple Stuffing
Stuffing doesn't have to be a pain in the butt to make. Just throw all of your ingredients in a slow-cooker and follow this festive recipe from House of Yumm.
I know this might sound crazy, but consider bringing slow-cooked oats for a holiday dessert dish. You can add as much brown sugar and seasonal dried fruit as you want, and you might want to consider some cranberries to really bring out the holiday in the dish. Check out the recipe on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
Want to win the appetizer game? This slow-cook applebutter with baked brie is some next level adult stuff. It's creamy, it's sweet, it's the perfect combination. Check out the recipe on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
Try a new spin on the old Thanksgiving turkey dish. This is a great recipe for leftovers, too. Turkey doesn't always need gravy to be tender. Check out this recipe from House of Yumm.
French Onion Soup
During the holiday season, people want food that's familiar, and food that's warm. French onion soup is definitely both of those things. Make a big pot and let your guests serve themselves out of the Crock-Pot to keep it warm and gooey. Check out the recipe on Averie Cooks.
I typically shy away from cooking big birds during the holidays, because people are very particular how they like them, and they don't seem very easy to make. But this roast chicken Crock-Pot recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker is beyond simple.
Mac & Cheese
Every holiday table needs a side of mac and cheese. This Crock-Pot recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker is super cheesy, super tender, and oh-so-flavorful.
Yes, this is a real thing, and yes, your holiday table needs it. The sauce to noodle ratio is perfect, and it's to most cozy, filling meal you'll have all holiday season. Check out the recipe on A Farm Girl's Dabbles.
This broth is a must have for your holiday kitchen. You can use this to create the base for any soup, and add it to any dish for intense flavoring. Plus, it's great on your own when you're coming down with a holiday cold. Check out the Asian-inspired recipe on Steamy Kitchen.
Honey Glazed Ham
This sweet ham, slow-cooked in honey mustard marmalade is a legit delicacy. There's no better place for it than on the holiday table. Check out the recipe on Good Life Eats.
Bet you never realized you could make mulled wine like this. #Lifechanging. Check out this super simple and spicy recipe on Good Life Eats.
Yes, you read that right. This slow-cooked beef tenderloin is wrapped in bacon and dressed in a balsamic glaze. Check out the easy-but-fancy recipe on A Spicy Perspective.
Shake up your holiday table with a spicy and bright take on the classic meatloaf dish. Check out the recipe on A Spicy Perspective.
When you make a peach cobbler in a slow cooker, it gets incredibly tender, juicy and intensely flavorful. Honestly you'll never make it in the oven again. Check out the recipe on A Spicy Perspective.
While these are great for breakfast or for dessert, I think they're the perfect dinner bread for the holiday season. Check out the easy slow-cooker recipe on A Spicy Perspective.