Too often during the holidays, we miss out on spending time with our families because we’re too busy trying to feed them. No more! We’re not settling for missing quality Christmas-time anymore, and neither should you. Instead, we’re turning to that kitchen appliance that has saved us time and our sanity more times than we can count: our slow cookers! It turns out, if you look hard enough, there’s a crock pot version of the most classic holiday recipes somewhere on the Internet. You could go searching for your own, but why do that when we’ve gathered the best together for you right here? These recipes are the best seasonal slow cooker recipes we could find— everything from breakfast to dinner to dessert, and beyond.
Merry Mornings: Breakfast
The best Christmas mornings are spent in front of the tree watching your kids unwrap Santa’s gifts, not stressing in the kitchen. Rather than resorting to cold cereal, use your slow cooker to make this light and cheesy strata.
Prep this one on Christmas Eve before you set out cookies for Santa, and wake up to the smells of cinnamon and apple.
This variation is so sweet and delicious, it’s almost like a (gluten-free!) oatmeal raisin cookie, so consider it an opportunity for a healthier dessert, too!
Is it breakfast? Is it dessert? Is it BOTH? It doesn’t matter when you eat this delightful dish, because it’ll instantly transport you to a holiday celebration straight out of A Christmas Carol.
When I was a kid, Christmas morning meant cinnamon rolls. Now that I’m an adult starting traditions of my own, I’m turning to this fun idea that can bake safely while my family opens presents.
And while we’re on the subject of cinnamon rolls, what about this CASSEROLE version? It might sound crazy, but it’s also crazy delicious and totally possible through the magic of crock pots.
What other breakfast says “special occasion” more than French toast? A caramel apple version you can cook overnight, that’s what!
Stocking Stuffers: Appetizers, Beverages & More
Apples aren’t just for autumn dishes. This long-lasting apple butter is perfect for dressing up your holiday breads, and with notes of nutmeg and cinnamon, it tastes just like Christmas.
Not a fan of apple butter? Try this pumpkin version instead and spread it all over your favorite carbs.
Make the guests at your next party feel like they’re indulging in the fanciest of snacks with this slow-cooker take on Chex Mix that is really something special.
One of the most popular dips is also one of the easiest once you get the slow cooker involved.
Whether you make them as an appetizer or the main event, these meatballs capture all the classic tastes of the season and – since they’re made of turkey – are a little healthier than traditional meatballs.
The Big Gift: Main Courses
I mean, does it get more special and satisfying?! This dish would also be fabulous to serve during Chanukah.
This tender and tasty chicken only takes ten minutes to prep, freeing you up for family fun time instead of chaining you in the kitchen all day. Put it together, leave it alone, and go hang by the tree!
Yes, even this holiday classic can be made in your crock pot! Traditional taste doesn’t have to mean a traditional time-suck, after all.
On the second day of Christmas, use that leftover hambone to make this hearty and healthy stew.
The Grinch himself would love this roast beef recipe, and it’ll come out so juicy and tender, you won’t even need to carve it. Plus, you can use whatever vegetables you want— including leftovers!
Love roast beef but want to shake up tradition a little this year? Try this southwestern-style stew that only needs FIVE ingredients.
This recipe might have been imagined as a fall classic, but it’s special enough – and tasty enough! – to be the centerpiece of any holiday meal.
Santa-Approved Side Dishes
Nothing says “holiday meal” like a sweet potato side. Nothing says “simple” like a slow cooker. Put them together and what do you get? The easiest Christmas side dish ever.
Mashed potatoes will never cool too quickly or turn into clumpy paste again when you follow this fool-proof slow cooker method of making them.
This recipe serves 15 to 18 people, perfect for when the extended family comes to stay. The smoky, slight-southwestern taste makes these beans taste great even to those guests who would normally pass them up, including the kiddos.
This crock pot green bean casserole is not only easier-than-ever, it’s tastier-than-ever, thanks to the edition of Alfredo sauce, water chestnuts, toasted pecans and Parmesan cheese.
Who says cranberry sauce is just for Thanksgiving? It’s the perfect Christmas color, after all! Set it to cook in your slow cooker one night while you’re baking cookies, then let it cool in your refrigerator, and you’ll be able to enjoy it for up to two weeks— long enough to take you through all 12 days of Christmas!
Everybody loves baked potatoes, so whip up a delicious bunch all at once the most foolproof way possible.
A side dish so perfect, it might even overshadow the main course! This one also works great for breakfast, too.
Dreams of Sugarplums: Desserts
Not only can you bake a cake in your crock pot, you can make one that explodes with chocolaty goodness.
Homemade candy is an incredible and incredibly impressive holiday gift, but it’s always difficult to make enough to satisfy everybody with a sweet tooth. Or at least it was, until this large-batch, slow-cooker version came along!
Imagine the family gathered around the fire roasting marshmallows. Now imagine that experience captured in an easy-to-make cake. Are you running toward the kitchen yet?
No, don’t stick ice cream in your crock pot. But if you want hot fudge melted to the perfect temperature and consistency for a homemade sundae bar, your slow cooker is your best friend! Plus, the method works for all kinds of chocolate – dark, milk, semisweet – along with other things like peanut butter, butterscotch, or vanilla.
Christmas is going to be so simple this year! I love how much time with my family these recipes are going to give back to me. What about you? Do you depend on your slow cooker during the holidays? Which one of these recipes will you try first?