12 Easy Holiday Recipes for Beginners, Busy Bees, and Last-Minute Hosts

Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Minimalist Baker

Easy holiday recipes you can whip up in a hurry that also happens to taste gourmet while capturing the warm, cozy energy of the occasion sound like they're too good to be true. But we assure you such recipes are out there—it just takes a little digging. We took it upon ourselves to sift through the noise and hone in on the best 12 options around.

So whether you're a beginner in the kitchen, a last-minute host, or simply want to minimize stress this holiday season, these dishes will make you (and everyone who enjoys them) very merry indeed. Let's start with a mood-setting concoction followed by festive cocktails and appetizers, and then move over to the mains and side dishes before finishing with dessert to make sure your menu tastes and feels memorable without stressing you out.


Easy Holiday Recipes
Half Baked Harvest

Okay, so technically this isn't a drinkable cocktail (though all the ingredients are edible if you insist on giving it a try)—it's more of a magical holiday aroma. This scrumptious combination of fruits and spices from Half Baked Harvest will make the whole house smell and feel like the holidays. And the good news is that this thoughtful, atmospheric touch only takes five minutes to brew.

Mezcal Punch

Holiday Cocktail Recipes
Hola Jalapeño

There's nothing like a homemade cocktail to impress guests and create a memorable holiday bash that stands out. Festive and unique, you'll definitely want to add this mezcal-based cocktail recipe from Hola Jalapeño to your holiday traditions. In total, it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, so you can throw it together while you're working on more time-consuming mains.

This sip is the perfect balance of citrusy, smokey, and tart courtesy of the fresh-squeezed orange juice, mezcal, and pineapple, among other ingredients.

Meyer Lemon Herbed Crab Bites

Holiday Appetizers
Salt & Wind

Though the pretty bright hues and fancy presentation make this dish from Salt & Wind look like it takes a ton of time to create, it actually only requires five minutes. Seriously. If you want to cook your own crab meat, it may take a little longer, but otherwise, you just have to assemble these Meyer lemon bites with the radishes and add a few garnishes. 

The Big Holiday Hummus Board With Roasted Root Veggie Chips

Easy Snack Recipes
Half Baked Harvest

A great charcuterie board or cheese plate becomes even better when there are also some delicious dips joining the lineup. Consider trying one of these recipes from Half Baked Harvest: spicy hummus, roasted garlic hummus with parmesan and pesto, or pumpkin and goat cheese hummus. Then just add market veggies and crackers or pita chips.

Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Holiday Salad Recipes
Minimalist Baker

The dressing for this kale salad is packed with garlicky goodness, and the warm roasted tandoori chickpeas are the perfect way to heat things up. The best news is that you can make this whole winter greens recipe from Minimalist Baker in about 30 minutes.

Whenever you are eating raw kale, it's always a good idea to massage the leaves before taking a bite. Massaging it breaks down some of the tough fibers that can be hard to digest. Before you dress the salad, move your hands through the kale, giving the leaves a little squeeze.

Butternut Squash, Andouille, and Herb Stuffing

Spoon Fork Bacon

Here's another delicious dish from Spoon Fork Bacon. This medley of cold weather flavors like butternut squash, sage, thyme, rosemary, and, of course, gruyere (or Swiss) cheese is a wholesome and healthy addition to your holiday dinner lineup. This super festive side will be just as good (if not better) in a leftovers sandwich the next day.

Ginger Carrot Bisque

Carrot Ginger Bisque
The First Mess

Nothing warms the soul like a sunny bowl of bisque. This creamy vegan carrot ginger soup from The First Mess is bright and beautiful while also being just decadent enough to comfort and soothe your dinner guests without being too heavy. 

Vegan Biscuits

Vegan Biscuits
Minimalist Baker

These perfectly golden, flaky biscuits taste just like as rich and buttery as the traditional recipes. However, this one from Minimalist Baker is dairy-free, so it'll satisfy your vegan guests too. Just make sure there are enough to go around, as everyone will want a second helping. 

Chicken in Red Wine, Grapes, and Caramelized Onion

Chicken dish made with wine
Playful Cooking

This chicken breast recipe from Playful Cooking will blow you away, and not just because it's simple enough to make even if you only have one hour to work with. Dunked in a caramelized onion wine sauce, it's packed with flavor and punctuated with beautiful colors to keep your plates looking vibrant and wholesome.

Baked meatballs
Half Baked Harvest

Taking one bite out of these simple baked Italian oregano meatballs brought to us by Half Baked Harvest will prove that your hard work in the kitchen paid off. Cheesy, satisfying, and full of spices, this dish only takes one hour total with only 10 minutes of prep. Add some spaghetti, or serve them on their own. Either way, your guests will be obsessed.

apple pies
Chelsea's Messy Apron

Rich, flaky crust dusted with cinnamon and doused with sweet icing, these caramel apple hand pies are about as good as it gets when it comes to desserts. And this recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron makes it easier to serve since you won't have to worry about messy slices. 

Yogurt loaf cake
Mitzy at Home

If you want to make a homemade dessert but don't have the time to bake an extravagant pie or cake, opt for this simple but delicious citrus loaf cake from Mitzy at Home. Give it a boost with fresh berries or a make-your-own-sundae station.

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