Is anyone else beyond excited that IRL holiday parties are back in full swing? After two years of holiday happy hours on Zoom, I personally couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ll take any excuse to get dressed up and mingle, but there’s something extra special about holiday parties — whether it’s the twinkling lights, the yummy spiced drinks, or the warmth of huddling together all under one roof.
That being said, we all know that this time of year gets hectic – and figuring out what to bring to a party can be overwhelming, to say the least. That’s why I’m a big fan of no-fuss, easy-to-make holiday recipes. They may be quick and simple, but they’re still delicious and will make you an instant hit with your fellow partygoers. Here are some of my favorites. (I’m not sure about you, but I’ll be making the mulled wine and the deviled eggs this season!)
P.S. — many of these recipes include eggs, dairy, and meat products. Feel free to substitute ingredients as you see fit.
1. Mulled Wine
First up is my favorite: spiced mulled wine. I grew up in a German household, so a big pot of mulled wine was always simmering in the kitchen around the holidays. It warms you right up and cooking all the spices will make your home smell amazing. Here’s my recipe:
• You’ll need a bottle of inexpensive, dry red wine. I use Merlot or Zinfandel.
• Gather the rest of your ingredients: a couple of oranges (one large one for the wine, and the rest for garnish), orange juice, two whole cinnamon sticks, three star anise, and four whole cloves. Sometimes I add a little bit of brandy to the recipe, sometimes I leave it out. Up to you!
• Pour the wine and a splash of orange juice into a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir.
• Add your cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and a couple of orange rounds.
• Keep an eye on the mixture. Once it starts to bubble, reduce to low heat. Keep stirring and adding splashes of orange juice and spices to taste. I’m not huge on sweet drinks, which is why I keep the OJ to a minimum, but if you like yours sweet, I’d recommend adding a touch of honey or maple syrup.
• Once the mixture hits your desired level of spicy and sweet, serve and garnish with more cinnamon sticks and orange slices. Cheers!
2. Blood Orange Mocktails
Let’s be honest: as much as I love mulled wine, alcohol-free options are just as tasty (plus, they’re headache-free). Showing up with a delicious blood-orange-inspired mocktail is always a good idea. If you’d prefer to bring a warm drink, homemade chai is a great option, too!
Photo from DIANAEATINGRICHLY
These carrot latkes are a crispy twist on a beloved classic. Serve up with a dollop of sour cream and chopped scallions.
4. Cheese Fondue
Photo from Erin Clarke
It sounds fancy, but hear me out — fondue is actually really easy to prepare. Plus, it’s a delightful recipe to whip out for holiday parties, especially if you’re hosting. This recipe will show you how.
Photo from Joanne Ozug
Stuffed mushroom caps are the perfect party appetizer. Pro tip: add chipotle pepper for a warm, smoky flavor.
Photo from Emilie Raffa
Need I say more??
7. Snowman Cheese Board
Photo from The BakerMama
Ever created a little snowman made of cheese? Well, now you can. This is especially great for the kids. You could also craft your own winter wonderland scene by making a butter board.
8. Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are a classic crowd-pleaser. They’re low-effort and pack a savory punch.
9. Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Looking to bring some seasonal produce to the party? Brussels sprouts are winter veggies, and this recipe is fast and uses only five ingredients.
The crisp tartness of the green apples combined with the savory saltiness of the Parmesan really brings this salad together. Add some walnuts for some extra protein – and crunch!