Christmas is easily the most difficult holiday to plan and arrange. There are presents to be opened, desperate jaunts to Walgreens to get batteries, a fancy breakfast to prepare, and a big meal to plan in the evening. It's a lot to take on. Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true shortcuts you can take when planning your big day that will make it go a lot more smoothly. Little plan-aheads, like preparing foods or drinks in the slow cooker can dramatically lessen the burden of the day. However, finding the best crock pot recipes for Christmas can be a daunting task. There are thousands of recipes posted online, and it's nearly impossible to determine which will work and which will end up a Pinterest fail.
So here's a list of slow cooker meals from cooks I know and trust. When it comes to Christmas, I'm especially particular about balancing classic flavors with new and interesting recipes that will leave everyone talking — and wanting more, and these recipes do just that. Some are extremely traditional, a tip of the hat to Christmases past, but some are new, innovative, and just plain fun. All of them are scrumptious and will leave your guests, family — even yourself — wanting more.
1. Thai Curry Spiced Snack Mix
For as long as I can remember, my aunt has made homemade Chex mix as a part of our Christmas celebrations. It's really delicious stuff, but it's full of the carbs I cannot have. This superfood laden nut mix by Lindsay Cotter of Cotter's Crunch is packed full of not only spicy curry goodness, but also dense nutrition. It's hard to believe it's made in the slow cooker!
2. Lamb With Stewed Fruits
I make this slow cooker lamb all the time since I first wrote the recipe six years ago. I'm actually making it this Sunday for Sunday roast. I love prunes, but it can easily be made with craisins, apricots, currants, and even dried apples or pears. As long as it's a dried fruit, it will work beautifully. When you make this, your whole house smells wonderful. It's full of warm spices and red wine. Don't be shy with the salt on this one. Lamb loves salt.
3. Sweet And Sour Meatballs
These are a real crowd pleaser. Meatballs are one of my favorite foods to make in the crock pot because everyone loves them, you can make a ton of the balls ahead of time and have them in your freezer ready to go. This sweet and sour slow cooker meatball recipe from Food Meanderings reminds me of the sweet and sour meatballs my mom made when I was growing up. It's great as a main dish, served with rice or mashed potatoes, or it's great alone as a starter.
4. Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine
Brandy at Nutmeg Nanny is my go-to for many things, but her booze is always out-of-this-world amazing. Her slow cooker spiced mulled wine will have you forgetting you even worried about Christmas at all. And if everyone has a glass or two, they won't care either.
5. Vegan White Bean Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
You may have a vegan in your family, or someone with food sensitivity, and you're unsure what to make for them. This slow cooker white bean mashed potatoes recipe from Cotter Crunch is perfect. It's delicious for everyone, but it's also packed with protein and fiber, making it a hearty dish.
6. Slow Cooker Turkey Stuffing
Did you know you can make traditional turkey stuffing in the slow cooker? Wonders never cease. This is actually a very simple recipe, made by Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead. It's got all the flavors and textures you're looking for, and it makes enough to feed a crowd.
7. Dairy-Free Corn Chowder
I can just picture my brother taking a giant bowl of this to the sofa to watch the big game. He would absolutely inhale its chickeny-corny goodness and come back for seconds and thirds. This slow cooker chicken corn chowder from Miss Allie's Kitchen would vanish in no time at all.
8. Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup With Ham
What is more Christmassy than parsnips and ham? Nothing. (Don't say peppermint, because I will vehemently disagree.) This pureed vegetable soup from Lindsay Cotter has those great homey flavors of the season that make you feel all warm and cozy. This would be really cute served in individual crocks, topped with more ham or parsnip chips.
9. Cranberry Butter
What a wonderful and interesting addition to my slow cooker repertoire. This sweet and tart cranberry butter from A Baker's House would be divine on fresh yeast rolls, or a biscuit. I kind of want to try it with goats cheese and crackers. Or, because of the tartness of the cranberries, it would probably go great with brie or camembert.
10. Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce
This could be a dessert, a spread, a side dish, or something so delicious you end up hiding it from your family and eating it alone in the bathroom. Trust me, you want to make SpaBettie's slow cooker pumpkin coconut caramel sauce for your Christmas Day shenanigans.
11. Pineapple Teriyaki Crock-Pot Ham
A Christmas ham is usually honey-baked, not smothered in teriyaki sauce and left to cook in a Crock-Pot, but you’ll love this option if you love rich, flavorful foods. If you’re willing to shy away from the traditional method of cooking a ham, follow Meatloaf and Melodrama’s pineapple teriyaki Crock-Pot ham recipe. The slow cooker will keep your ham nice and juicy.
12. Slow Cooker Green Beans and Bacon
Update your go-to green beans and slivered almonds side dish by adding potatoes and bacon for a saltier, more heartier rendition of this holiday staple. It only takes ten minutes to prep this slow cooker green beans and bacon recipe. Mom On Timeout uses the countertop appliance to allow the green beans to soak in all of the flavors of the bacon and potatoes.
13. Crock-Pot Baked Apples
This dessert will become your family’s new favorite if they love the combination of apple pie and ice cream. Princess Pinky Girl’s Crock-Pot baked apples are filled with a cinnamon and sugar crumble on the inside and topped off with ice cream (or whipped cream) and any other delectable toppings you prefer. You get all the traditional apple pie flavors but get to cut out the multiple steps that go into making an entire pie.
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