34 Slow-Cooker Christmas Recipes for the Busy Holiday Season

Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Pear Butter
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

It's no secret that Southerners cherish the holiday season. We embellish our homes with Christmas lights, break out our best passed-down recipes, and spend time with family and friends who travel from near and far to spend quality time with loved ones.

Even if Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, it's also one of the busiest as we book our calendars with events. Our schedules fill up months in advance with holiday parties, church potlucks, and community service projects, but the list goes on and on. How can we keep up with our ever-growing agendas and find the time to prepare praiseworthy meals for guests? The answer is easy: break out the slow-cooker.

That's right! Slow-cooker Christmas recipes are going to be your holiday superheroes. Whether you're looking for a hearty beef soup, flavorful casserole, or indulgent breakfast treat, there's something here for everyone. Give these Christmas crockpot meals a try next time you're in a pinch for time.

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Peppered Beef Soup

Peppered Beef Soup
Southern Living

Peppered beef soup is the ideal recipe to make ahead. Freeze up to three months before your Christmas occasion for an already-prepared meal. Pair this soup with toasted bread bowls for a delightfully warm meal.

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Crawfish Dip

Crawfish Dip
Greg DuPree

With only 15 minutes of hands-on time, you'll instantly be out of the kitchen and visiting with friends and family. Jalapeno chile, green bell peppers, cayenne pepper, Creole mustard, and other ingredients combine to create this flavorful dip.

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Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Nothing says Christmas like a casserole. And green bean casserole has never been easier than with this dump-it-and-forget-it method. Alfredo sauce and Parmesan cheese melt into this creamy, savory side dish.

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Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Crock Pot Cinnamon Roll Casserole
Caitlin Bensel

Are you hosting holiday guests overnight this year? Or perhaps your guest might arrive just as the sun is coming up. Serve them an early morning treat. This cinnamon roll casserole is a foolproof crowd-pleaser. Toss your ingredients into the slow-cooker and give yourself the time to enjoy a cup of coffee before the day's remaining chaos ensues.

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Beer-Braised Pot Roast

Beer-Braised Pot Roast
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Stout beer and dark roast coffee come together in this holiday recipe to create a deliciously tender pot roast with a rich gravy topping. There is some prep work required to set up this dish, so plan to make it on a day when your mornings are free and activity picks up later in the evening. Smells from the fresh herbs and marinated mixture will fill your home during slow-roasting cook time.

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Tomato and Feta Dip

Tomato Feta Dip
Jennifer Davick

Serve this creamy starter recipe with any bread you have on hand at your Christmas dinner. It's the perfect addition to a festive meal. Use it as a stand-alone dip or as a topping for a meal as in this recipe.

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Slow-Cooker Barbacoa Brisket

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Brisket
Photo: Jennifer Causey

Let the slow-cooker prepare an incredibly tender brisket for your next holiday taco party. Add fresh spices and herbs to simmer on this slow-cooker brisket. Cooking is complete if you can shred the meat with two forks.

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Chipotle-Barbecue Meatballs

Chipotle-Barbecue Meatballs
Jennifer Davick

Searching for a quick and easy holiday appetizer? Frozen meatballs and bottled barbecue sauce are the shining stars of this potluck-style recipe. It only takes five ingredients to whip up this dish.

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Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili
Skyler Burt

This hearty and comforting sweet potato-black bean chili is an excellent choice for a chilly winter night. This simple dish does not require many ingredients, and cooking is as easy as mixing everything in the slow-cooker. Add spices and flavorings to your taste.

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Fresh Corn and Potato Soup with Sautéed Shrimp

Fresh Corn and Potato Soup with Sautéed Shrimp
Jennifer Causey

Rich potato soup is a fan favorite for the holiday season. Complete this slow-cooker dish by adding fresh corn and sautéed shrimp. You'll want to make this recipe again and again.

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Artichoke and Crabmeat Dip

Artichoke and Crabmeat Dip
Jennifer Davick

There's nothing quite like a timeless artichoke and crabmeat dip to kick off a Christmas party. This mouthwatering recipe includes a touch of hot sauce for extra fiery flavor. Eight ingredients in a slow-cooker for an easy crab dip? Yes, please.

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Herbed Beef Ragu

Herbed Beef Ragu
Southern Living

Top this mouthwatering pasta dish off with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for a simply outstanding Christmas dinner recipe. Enjoy a hearty dish in 30 minutes.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Slow Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Jennifer Causey Styling: Lindsey Lower

Garlic lovers, rejoice! This lemony chicken dinner is complete with slow-cooked potatoes and an abundance of garlic. It's a flavorful recipe fit for a crowd.

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Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs

Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

These tasty whiskey short ribs deserve a spot on your holiday dining table. These short ribs, made with ginger and sweet tea, have a spectacular flavor.

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Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Throw a fiesta this holiday season with slow-cooker pork tacos and fresh tomato salsa. Add herbs after removing them from the slow-cooker to help preserve their flavors. This dish is sure to be a hit.

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Corn and Jalapeño Dip

Corn and Jalapeño Dip
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Sweet corn and spicy jalapeños come together in this crowd-pleasing dip to create an appetizer worthy of all your holiday parties. Top this already flavorful dip with crumbly bacon once ready for an extra crunch. Serve with corn chips.

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Meatball Sliders with Tomato Sauce

Meatball Sliders with Tomato Sauce
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Meatball sliders are a go-to recipe you should always have on hand to feed a crowd. When hearty meals like pot roast and baked chicken sound too heavy, whip out this kid-friendly cuisine to start the holiday party.

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Baked Pimiento Cheese Dip

Baked Pimiento Cheese Dip
Photo Jennifer Davick, Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford, Food stylist: Toni Brogan

Every Southerner knows the beauty of pimiento cheese, and this tasty dip takes the classic cuisine up a notch. Adding Worcestershire sauce and crumbled bacon will make this dip a new holiday favorite. You can even leave this dip in the slow-cooker when presenting to guests as a way to keep it warm.

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Soulful Chicken Soup

Soulful Chicken Soup
Iain Bagwell

With Christmas comes chilly weather, and there's nothing cozier than a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup when the temperature drops. This soup is great to have on hand because a bowl of soup can warm guests from their long travels, accompany your prepared dinner, or be a soothing remedy for winter colds.

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Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks

Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Get your greens the easiest way possible this holiday season with this recipe. Ham hock, a part of the pig, will add a salty flavor to the collard greens. Start the slow-cooker in the morning and allow your side dish to simmer all day for maximum flavor.

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Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

This old-school appetizer is always the first thing to disappear at a Christmas party. It's a classic for a reason, which is because it's delicious. Buy some frozen meatballs and add mixture ingredients, probably already in your refrigerator, to the slow-cooker to create this fan-favorite appetizer.

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Uncle Jack's Mac-and-Cheese

Uncle Jack’s Mac-and-Cheese
Hector M Sanchez

Instead of stirring at the stovetop, make this favorite holiday side dish in the slow-cooker. This recipe makes quite a large serving, but you can always double it if you want to freeze some for later. Mix ingredients and let the cheesy goodness cook all day.

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Slow-Cooker Green Beans

Slow-Cooker Green Beans Recipe
Iain Bagwell

Green beans and bacon are a perfect pair in this side dish recipe. Add chicken broth, green beans, onion, and bacon. This recipe couldn't be more straightforward and will free up your oven for more time-sensitive entrees.

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Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Oxmoor House

Bring the festive flavor of cranberries to your holiday table with a sweet treat from the slow-cooker. Upside-down cakes might seem intimidating, but this recipe will make them more straightforward than you ever expected. As one of the traditional holiday foods, the cranberries in this dessert will instantly make things more festive.

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Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Mary-Claire Britton

When you're unsure what to serve for guests during a holiday visit or need a recipe for an ordinary Tuesday night, you can always rely on a pot roast. Winter months call for more comfort food, which pot roast delivers. Place this meal in the slow-cooker on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy watching your favorite football team play rather than watching over things in the kitchen.

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Herbed Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Herbed Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Jennifer Davick

This layered breakfast casserole is a beautiful centerpiece for your Christmas brunch. Hosting a large breakfast party always comes with challenges because many foods require too much attention to serve guests properly—flipping pancakes or omelets won't work for the holidays. Try a breakfast casserole created with all your favorite breakfast staples.

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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie with Potato Crust
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Our version of this traditional comfort food recipe starts with tender lamb from the slow-cooker. Beginning this recipe with a slow-cooker allows you more time to prepare the final entree later—Cook lamb on low under its tender.

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Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

The best part about this sauce (aside from being incredibly delicious) is you can make it well in advance to help during the holiday hustle and bustle. This hearty meat sauce feeds many people, so it's perfect for an evening when you don't know who will stop by for a visit. Plus, when frozen in an airtight container, it can stay for up to three months.

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Slow-Cooker Hot Chocolate

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
Caitlin Bensel

Take a break from microwaveable mixes and treat yourself to something rich. The batch makes enough for the whole family and will make your kitchen smell wonderful. It's ultra-creamy and great served with crushed peppermint or marshmallows.

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Cinnamon-Pecan Breakfast Bread Pudding

Cinnamon-Pecan Breakfast Bread Pudding
Southern Living

When the kids wake up on Christmas morning, they'll be almost as excited about this deliciously sweet breakfast as they are for presents from Santa. Cinnamon and nutmeg in a slow-cooker is an irresistible combination. Enjoy a fresh toast-style breakfast without the hassle.

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Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Pear Butter

Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Pear Butter
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Not only is this festive homemade condiment the perfect addition to your Christmas breakfast spread, but it also makes an adorable gift for friends and neighbors. Make this spread ahead of time and save it for all your holiday dinner parties and events.

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Sausage and Squash Lasagna

Sausage and Squash Lasagna
Iain Bagwell

Lasagna is one of our favorites for Christmas Eve dinner, but it's also a great option to have in the freezer for busy winter nights. A slow-cooker might not be your first thought when deciding to cook lasagna, but it works well when using the right ingredients. The added sausage and vegetables make this an excellent one-dish meal.

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Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake

Chocolate-Cinnamon Latte Cake
Jennifer Davick; Food Styling: Vanessa Rocchio; Prop Styling: Missie Crawford

Finish your holiday meal with an easy, decadent dessert straight from the slow cooker. For a rich recipe, use a pre-packaged white cake and add unsweetened cocoa, ground cinnamon, and hot brewed coffee. Make sure to let the cake sit once it's finished baking in the slow-cooker before serving.

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits

Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Last-minute holiday dinner guests? No one will realize this elegant dinner came from the slow cooker. Cook on low under the lamb is tender.

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