The holidays often spin quickly out of control. The added pressure of tending to work, friends, and family means that planning and cooking your Christmas menu can get pushed to the side, but this year don't get bogged down in the details. Instead, rely on a lazy cook's greatest asset - the slow-cooker - to get you through holiday cooking with ease.
Appetizers, drinks, sides, entrées, and desserts can all be executed beautifully using only your slow cooker or Dutch oven. To make this no-fuss dinner run smoothly, plan out what dishes you want to cook. Then compile all the ingredients you will need in an organized grocery list.
While slow cookers free up time by unchaining you from the stove, they do require more minutes cook, so head to grocery store early to beat the crowds and ensure that you have plenty of time to allow your slow cooker recipes to develop plenty of delicious holiday flavor and spices. These recipes will take you from cocktail hour and appetizers to sides and the dessert table without so much as an extra pan, so don't wait a minute longer - read on for 21 great slow cooker recipes for Christmas. Thinkstock
Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage
Start your meal with this delicious fall soup. The recipe includes a mix of Italian herbs and tomato sauce to give the final product more body and a smooth mouthfeel.
For the Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup With Sausage recipe, click here.
If you've ever gotten in line for a cone full of street vendor nuts during Christmas, this recipe is for you. You can use any nuts you want, but the subtle sweetness of pecans and the rich flavor of almonds make for a perfect combo.
For the Slow Cooker Candied Nuts recipe, click here.
Sure, you could buy Chex Mix, or just mix together dry cereal and call it a day. This recipe, however, will take your savory snacking to a new level. Store it in snack-sized resealable bags for on-the-go eating. Add coated candies like M&M's for a bit of sweetness.
For the Slow Cooker Chex Mix recipe, click here.
Cranberry Citrus Meatballs
These meatballs are the perfect party food. Throw them in the slow cooker and they're ready when you are. Make-ahead tips: Make the meatballs and brown them ahead of time. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Mix up the sauce ahead as well and store in refrigerator. A few hours before your shower or party, put the meatballs and sauce in the Crock-Pot.
For the Slow Cooker Cranberry Citrus Meatballs recipe, click here.
Apple Cranberry Cider
Warm up this holiday season with spiced apple cider. Just add the ingredients to your slow cooker and your cider will stay warm for the whole party.
For the Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Cider recipe, click here.
Hot toddies are the perfect antidote to a cold day, so nothing could be more welcoming than greeting guests with a slow cooker full of hot toddies for them to enjoy. This recipe will completely chase any and all cold weather blues away; partly because of the enticing aroma and partly because of the alcohol.
For the Slow Cooker Hot Toddy recipe, click here.
This recipe, which has a little kick of brandy in it, is perfect for a wine drinker who loves a little bit of sweet aroma and flavor in their wine bouquet. Just set the slow cooker up and enjoy!
For the Slow-Cooker Mulled Wine recipe, click here.
Spicy Hot Chocolate
This spicy hot chocolate recipe will add a kick to your cold day that regular hot chocolate just can't. You can adjust the heat to your liking and if you want to make it even more adult friendly, a few shots of cinnamon schnapps will really heat things up.
For the Slow Cooker Spicy Hot Chocolate recipe, click here.
Enjoy the simplicity of cooking brisket in a slow cooker, and reap the flavorful benefits at the dinner table. This recipe is simple to execute and will impress holiday guests.
For the Slow Cooker Brisket recipe, click here.
Brown Sugar and Honey Ham
The secret to this traditional honey ham is the addition of ground cloves to the sweet sauce. The warm spices and sugar combine to make one delicious and stress-free Christmas dinner.
For the Slow Cooker Brown Sugar and Honey Ham recipe, click here.
Enjoy the ease of this tender pork shoulder you can make ahead to simplify Christmas cooking. Serve with a side of rice, pasta, or potatoes to complete the meal.
For the Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder recipe, click here.
Want to make a wholesome whole roasted chicken for Christmas dinner, but don't have the time to hang out basting the bird? Use your slow cooker for a delicious roasted chicken without the hassle.
For the Slow Cooker Roast Chicken recipe, click here.
Wondering what to do with all of those apples you picked up at the farmers market? Turn them into a delicious and simple side for your Christmas dinner with this recipe for apple sauce.
For the Slow Cooker Apple Sauce recipe, click here.
These flavorful greens are a Southern tradition. Enjoy the ease of cooking them in your slow cooker or Dutch oven and devour them alongside your hearty Christmas dinner this year.
For the Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe, click here.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is one food that we can't get enough of all year long. Add seasonal touches to your holiday side dish by adding sweet dried cranberries or creamy butternut squash.
For the Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese recipe, click here.
Serve this slow cooker pumpkin bread alongside your meal with cinnamon whipped butter. Your guests will love the autumnal touch added to their bread plate this holiday season.
For the Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread recipe, click here.
Serve this rich cake with a homemade peppermint ice cream to add a little festivity and color to your Christmas dessert plate.
For the Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake recipe, click here.
Embrace seasonality with this cranberry and orange dessert. Your guests will love the bright and refreshing fruit flavors.
For the Slow Cooker Cranberry-Orange Cake recipe, click here.
Coconut-Nutella Pudding Cake
What better way to end your Christmas dinner than with a traditional Christmas pudding made simple with your slow cooker. Who can say no to creamy chocolate and hazelnut?
For the Slow Cooker Coconut-Nutella Pudding Cake recipe, click here.
Peanut Butter Fudge
Indulge a little this Christmas with this recipe for an easy peanut butter fudge. Wrap the fudge in wax paper and send this DIY food gift home with your guest for after-dinner treats.
For the Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Fudge recipe, click here.
Turtle Monkey Bread
Top this gooey warm turtle bread with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate for an over-the-top ending to your Christmas dinner. Or, if you are feeling particularly indulgent, why not make this easy and delicious recipe for a decadent Christmas morning breakfast?
For the Slow Cooker Turtle Monkey Bread recipe, click here.
More From The Daily Meal:
Every Recipe You'll Need to Get You Through the Holidays
33 Slow Cooker Soups and Stews for Winter
Christmas Cookies That Are Better Than Grandma's
30 Slow-Cooker Recipes That Aren't Soup or Stew
Why Dieting Before the Holidays Is Actually a Really Bad Idea Thinkstock