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61 Make-Ahead Holiday Potluck Recipes

The holidays can be stressful enough! These fuss-free, make-ahead recipes are here to help.

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Sweet Potato and Pesto Slow-Cooker BreadTaste of Home

Sweet Potato and Pesto Slow-Cooker Bread

I like to bake fresh bread, both as a way to offer my family a delicious accompaniment to dinner and just because I enjoy the process. Baking bread in the slow cooker allows you to achieve a tender, perfectly baked loaf without turning on the oven, especially helpful in the summer. —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah

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Baby Swiss Appetizer CheesecakeTaste of Home

Baby Swiss Appetizer Cheesecake

This beautiful cheesecake appetizer can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before serving, so it's the perfect make-ahead recipe for holidays, game days or special occasions. —Marilyn Edelman, Sabetha, Kansas

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Creamy Pumpkin HummusTaste of Home

Creamy Pumpkin Hummus

I love to serve this pumpkin hummus with sliced apples, pears and pita chips. Top it with toasted pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of pumpkin oil and even fried sage leaves. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor

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Fig and Goat Cheese MeatballsTaste of Home

Fig and Goat Cheese Meatballs

Around the holidays, saucy cocktail meatballs are always the first appetizer to go. In this dish, the sweet flavor of the fig glaze goes perfectly with the pork and tangy goat cheese. Serve hot from the skillet or gently reheat them for a make-ahead appetizer. —Kim Banick, Turner, Oregon

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Pomegranate Ginger SpritzerTaste of Home

Pomegranate Ginger Spritzer

Conveniently, a pitcher of this non-alcoholic beverage can be made hours before holiday guests arrive. Add the club soda just before serving. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Mixed Nut ClustersTaste of Home

Mixed Nut Clusters

Serve these with hot chocolate to keep everyone happy and warm. They also make great gifts—box them up with each cluster in a foil or paper candy cup. —Ida Tuey, South Lyon, Michigan

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Mini FruitcakesTaste of Home

Mini Fruitcakes

Fruitcake always looked so festive to me but I did not like the hard citron fruit so I came up with my own recipe using dried fruits and nuts. I place these in Christmas themed petit fours paper cups and give them to neighbors and friends along with the many other cookies and candies I bake. These keep well in the freezer in an airtight container. Just thaw to room temperature and they taste fresh baked and moist. —Lisa McDermith, Highland, California

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Spiced Cranberry Crisp CakeTaste of Home

Spiced Cranberry Crisp Cake

This cake is a cross between a fruit crisp and a moist cake. We love the festive cranberry filling with its sweet-tangy flavor and the combination of soft cake, tender fruit and crunchy topping. —Priscilla Yee, Concord, California

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Cozy Hot ChocolateTaste of Home

Cozy Hot Chocolate

Steaming mugs of these smooth beverages are a nice anytime treat with my husband, Ken.—Marie Hattrup, Sonoma, California

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White Candy BarkTaste of Home

White Candy Bark

This speedy candy recipe can be varied depending on the type of fruit or nuts you have on hand. Since we have a walnut tree, I use walnuts, but pecans could also be substituted as well as dried cherries for the cranberries. —Marcia Snyder, Grand Junction, Colorado

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Shrimp & Crab CasseroleTaste of Home

Shrimp & Crab Casserole

This quick, easy recipe is truly delicious. The succulent, melt-in-your-mouth seafood flavors and textures make for elegant comfort food. To make ahead, just assemble, cover and refrigerate, then bake when ready. —Jan Bartley, Evergreen, North Carolina

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Christmas Party PinwheelsTaste of Home

Christmas Party Pinwheels

'Tis the season for easy make-ahead appetizers like these. They look so special and pretty that folks can't resist them! The refreshing flavor of ranch dressing and crisp colorful vegetables makes these pinwheels a pleasure to serve. —Janis Plourde, Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario

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Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti

Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti

When I invite people to dinner, many have started requesting this pasta bake ahead of time because it's that good. Plus, the manicotti is stuffed before it's cooked, making it even more convenient. —Christy Freeman, Central Point, Oregon

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Slow-Cooker Beef Tips BurgundyTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Beef Tips Burgundy

Here's a heartwarming classic that's so simple in the slow cooker. Mushrooms, red wine and tender beef make for an easy, elegant supper. —Deanna Zewen, Union Grove, Wisconsin

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Spiced Rum and Pear CakeTaste of Home

Spiced Rum and Pear Cake

The flavors in this cake really make it stand out as a special occasion cake—with raisins, fresh sweet pear chunks, rich spices, crunchy walnuts and rum, it's a fine finale for your holiday spread. If you don't cook with alcohol, try substituting apple juice for the rum—it will still be delicious! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

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Smoked Trout PateTaste of Home

Smoked Trout Pate

This tasty spread is easy to make in a food processor, and it’s a guaranteed winner at any party. The recipe is versatile, so feel free to substitute other favorite smoked fish.—Judy Walle, Toledo, Ohio

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Slow-Cooker Marinated MushroomsTaste of Home

Slow-Cooker Marinated Mushrooms

Here's a healthy and delicious addition to any buffet spread. Mushrooms and pearl onions seasoned with herbs, balsamic and red wine are terrific on their own or alongside a tenderloin roast. —Courtney Wilson, Fresno, California

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Make-Ahead Creamy Potatoes

Make-Ahead Creamy Potatoes

For the holidays, I usually serve the traditional foods with a new spin or two on family favorites. I put together these creamy potatoes the night before and simply bake the day of to save precious holiday time. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan

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Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Swirl CheesecakeTaste of Home

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Swirl Cheesecake

I make a sweet potato souffle that I’ve always thought tastes like a dessert. I finally decided to use that idea for an actual dessert, and the result was a smooth, rich cheesecake.

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Ricotta Sausage TrianglesTaste of Home

Ricotta Sausage Triangles

Savory pockets filled with cheese, sausage and seasonings...what's not to like? This recipe makes a lot so it's ideal for parties or potlucks. If you don't need the entire amount, they do freeze well. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida

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Potluck Cordon Bleu CasseroleTaste of Home

Potluck Cordon Bleu Casserole

People usually ask me to bring this tempting casserole whenever I'm invited to attend a potluck. The turkey, ham and cheese are delectable combined with the crunchy topping. And when I bake a turkey, I prepare the leftovers for this dish, knowing I'll be making it again soon. —Joyce Paul, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog

Once, I asked my mother how to make eggnog, and she showed me this recipe. After just one taste, folks will know this homemade holiday treat came from the kitchen, not from the store. —Pat Waymire, Yellow Springs, Ohio

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Homemade Chocolate ShortbreadTaste of Home

Homemade Chocolate Shortbread

This recipe has been in my files for a long time...probably from when I first learned to bake. Any chocolate lover will like these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I make them year-round with variations. They're even richer with a thin coat of icing or as a sandwich cookie with frosting in the middle. —Sarah Bueckert, Austin, Manitoba

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Taco Tater SkinsTaste of Home

Taco Tater Skins

I wanted to make a version of these with ingredients most people have on hand. We make a meal out of these skins, but they're also great for parties as appetizers. —Phyllis Douglas, Fairview, Michigan

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Christmas Morning Sweet RollsTaste of Home

Christmas Morning Sweet Rolls

These make-ahead rolls have been a holiday tradition for years. The eggnog in the frosting makes them extra special on Christmas morning. —Kimberly Williams, Brownsburg, Indiana

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Double Chocolate Almond CheesecakeTaste of Home

Double Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

This cheesecake is easy to make—but it's definitely not easy to wait till the next day to eat it! The recipe is from a friend I used to work with. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

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Potluck German Apple CakeTaste of Home

Potluck German Apple Cake

My mother made this German apple cake for my brothers and me when we were kids. It's an excellent choice for a Christmas potluck or actually any time of year. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah

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Spicy Mixed NutsTaste of Home

Spicy Mixed Nuts

Cumin and chili powder give extra oomph to the classic homemade nut mix. It's a smart solution for holiday snacking and gift giving. —Delores Hill, Helena, Montana

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Crinkle-Top Chocolate CookiesTaste of Home

Crinkle-Top Chocolate Cookies

When I baked these moist, fudgy cookies for the first time, my three preschool children went wild over them! But I like them because they're lower in fat and easy to mix and bake. —Maria Groff, Ephrata, Pennsylvania

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Homemade Hot CocoaTaste of Home

Homemade Hot Cocoa

This homemade hot chocolate recipe will make people think you fussed but it is so simple. —Hershey Food Corporation, Cheryl Reitz, Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Christmas MeatballsTaste of Home

Christmas Meatballs

Cranberry sauce and brown sugar create a tangy glaze for moist meatballs that are good Christmas appetizers or Christmas dinner ideas. We love them so much, I prepare them year-round. —Joyce Bentley, Redlands, California

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Peanut Butter Graham BarsTaste of Home

Peanut Butter Graham Bars

I rely on my microwave to hurry along the assembly of these yummy peanut butter bars with graham crackers. With their pleasant flavor, they're sure to disappear quickly. —Mina Dyck, Boissevain, Manitoba

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Favorite Hamburger StewTaste of Home

Favorite Hamburger Stew

I got this hamburger stew recipe from a woman at our church, Lois Henry, when I needed a way to use up our bounty of home-canned tomatoes. My husband loves it, and I like that it's easy to warm up for a carefree dinner in the winter months. —Marcia Clay, Truman, Minnesota

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Holiday Sugar CookiesTaste of Home

Holiday Sugar Cookies

I add a hint of lemon to these delightful sugar cookies. For make-ahead convenience, freeze the dough up to three months, then thaw in the fridge before baking and decorating them. —Katie Koziolek, Hartland, Minnesota

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Ham 'n' Cheese Biscuit StacksTaste of Home

Ham 'n' Cheese Biscuit Stacks

These finger sandwiches are filling enough to satisfy hearty appetites. I've served the fun little stacks at every event, including holiday gatherings, showers and tailgate parties. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey

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Gimlet Bars

Gimlet Bars

I love a tangy gimlet when the weather turns steamy—but these bars are just the thing when the craving hits and summer seems too far away. Add more lime zest if you want these a bit tangier. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

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Mulled WineTaste of Home

Mulled Wine

This mulled wine is soothing and satisfying with a delightful blend of spices warmed to perfection. Refrigerating the wine mixture overnight allows the flavors to blend, so don't omit this essential step. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Holiday White Chocolate FudgeTaste of Home

Holiday White Chocolate Fudge

When December arrives, friends and family eagerly await my creamy white fudge. It's a little something different from the traditional chocolate. —Gioviana Buser, Riverside, California

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Potluck Macaroni and CheeseTaste of Home

Potluck Macaroni and Cheese

You'll always have a winner at the potluck when you bring macaroni and cheese. Here's an extra-rich, creamy version for the slow cooker. —Jennifer Blondek, Chicopee, Massachusetts

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Smoked Salmon & Dill Deviled EggsTaste of Home

Smoked Salmon & Dill Deviled Eggs

Take this perennial party food and give it an upscale twist with smoked salmon. Your guests will be delighted with the results. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

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Sweet Potato CrispTaste of Home

Sweet Potato Crisp

My not-too-sweet potato crisp features a wonderful buttery crumb topping. This is a welcome change from candied sweet potatoes.—Kathy Hamsher, Moon Township, Pennsylvania

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Hot Holiday CiderTaste of Home

Hot Holiday Cider

This slightly tart apple cider is perfect for a holiday open house. It fills the room with a wonderful aroma. —Cindy Tobin, West Bend, Wisconsin

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Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry TomatoesTaste of Home

Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Besides being tasty, these little tomato poppers are extra awesome because you can make them ahead of time. At parties, I often triple the recipe because they disappear fast. —Christi Martin, Elko, Nevada

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Make-Ahead Lasagna

Make-Ahead Lasagna

This is an old standby when time's limited and guests are expected for dinner. It's a combination of several easy lasagna recipes I have tried over the years. —Mary Grimm, Williamsburg, Iowa

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Warm Feta Cheese DipTaste of Home

Warm Feta Cheese Dip

We’re big on appetizers, so this dip is a mashup of our favorite tastes, like cream cheese, feta, basil and sweet peppers. Serve with bread or chips. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Potato Chip ClustersTaste of Home

Potato Chip Clusters

Just three offbeat ingredients add up to one unique, delectable, no-bake treat. These super-easy, sweet-and-salty candy clusters make for merry munching during holiday trips or parties. They travel well in containers without melting or getting soft. —Donna Brockett, Kingfisher, Oklahoma

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Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed PotatoesTaste of Home

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

With five different dairy products, you know this make-ahead mashed potato casserole is going to be super rich and, of course, delicious. It gets even better topped with onions and bacon! —JoAnn Koerkenmeier, Damiansville, Illinois

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Easy Elephant EarsTaste of Home

Easy Elephant Ears

You’ll love the classic cinnamon-sugar flavor of these crispy bite-size treats. Even more, you’ll love that they call for just three ingredients and are so simple to assemble. —Bob Rose, Waukesha, Wisconsin

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Parmesan Potatoes Au GratinTaste of Home

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin

This recipe represents my philosophy of cooking to its best - cooking with love. A good test to see if you have enough cream in the recipe is to gently press on the top of the layers (once finished). If there is enough cream, you should see it coming out on the sides, but not overflowing. Letting the au gratin rest is very important . . . even though it is so delicious that you would want to jump right in. If you like onions, slice thinly and add in between the layers. —Theresa Danos, Hyde Park, New York

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Slow-Cooked Ham with Pineapple SauceTaste of Home

Slow-Cooked Ham with Pineapple Sauce

We serve this dish during the holidays because everyone is crazy about it. But it makes it to the table all year long because it’s super simple to prepare. —Terry Roberts, Yorktown, Virginia

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Potluck Pumpkin TorteTaste of Home

Potluck Pumpkin Torte

A local newspaper featured this potluck-friendly recipe years ago. A creamy alternative to pumpkin pie, it quickly became one of my favorites. —Peggy Shea, Lowell, Indiana

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Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini PeppersTaste of Home

Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Mini peppers are so colorful and are the perfect size for a two-bite appetizer. They have all the crunch of pita chips but without the extra calories. —Christine Hanover, Lewiston, California

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Spiced Pumpkin Warm-UpTaste of Home

Spiced Pumpkin Warm-Up

Make this drink your own! You can add coffee or even alcohol if you want an extra kick. I’ve also chilled this mixture and blended it with vanilla ice cream to make it a pumpkin shake. —Andrea Heyart, Aubrey, Texas

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Mom's Vegetable DipTaste of Home

Mom's Vegetable Dip

This is one dip my mother brought along to potluck dinners and made when guests came over. Every time I make it I am reminded of her and her love of cooking. —Jill Olofson, Woodbury, Minnesota

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Potluck Sausage CasseroleTaste of Home

Potluck Sausage Casserole

Whenever my husband digs in to this pasta casserole full of Italian sausage and veggies, he gets a big smile on his face. I love that! —Jane Davis, Marion, Indiana

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Make-Ahead Maple & Sage GravyTaste of Home

Make-Ahead Maple & Sage Gravy

Save those turkey wings! Then use this richly flavored stock in my pour-it-on-everything herbed gravy. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas

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Bacon-Ranch Spinach DipTaste of Home

Bacon-Ranch Spinach Dip

During the hectic holiday season, my slow cooker works overtime. I fill it with a savory bacon dip and watch everyone line up for a helping. Keep the recipe in mind for tailgating, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

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Make-Ahead Sausage PinwheelsTaste of Home

Make-Ahead Sausage Pinwheels

Filled with sausage, sweet pepper and cream cheese, these roll-ups are excellent for unexpected visitors, a cocktail party or a halftime snack. Besides being easy to make, they can be done way ahead and kept in the freezer. All you have to do is pop them into a hot oven! —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan

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Toffee Turtle SquaresTaste of Home

Toffee Turtle Squares

Here's an easy way to make turtle candies for a big group. These bars are very rich, so a little square will do ya. —Glenna Tooman, Boise, Idaho

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Parmesan-Pretzel CrispsTaste of Home

Parmesan-Pretzel Crisps

I usually have the ingredients on hand and it is so easy to make, guest's really think you have gone the extra mile. —Pauline Porterfield, Roxboro, North Carolina

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Chocolate Croissant PuddingTaste of Home

Chocolate Croissant Pudding

This new twist on traditional bread pudding is a decadent and delicious family favorite! —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California

Rashanda Cobbins
When Rashanda’s not tasting and perfecting Taste of Home’s recipes, you’ll find this food editor sifting through our recipe collection, curating digital content or tracking the latest culinary trends. While studying for her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, Rashanda interned in Southern Living’s test kitchen and later spent nearly a decade developing recipes and food content at ConAgra Brands. In her spare time, she loves scoping out local farmers markets and having picnics in the park.

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