Make Your Best Holiday Party a Casual Christmas Potluck

spinach and pomegranate salad in a glass bowl
Photo: Amanda

This Christmas, keep it casual and throw a holiday potluck party where everyone helps out by bringing food and drinks to share. You get to stay happy and relaxed while your guests serve themselves from a multitude of tasty options. Read on for Christmas potluck tips and top-rated potluck recipes to get you set for easy holiday entertaining.

01 of 17

How to Set Up an Easy Christmas Potluck

five people gathered around a Thanksgiving potluck spread
Getty Images
  • Set up one area for the food and another for the beverages. If you can, put them in separate places to prevent traffic jams.
  • Have non-alcoholic drinks available, like cranberry punch or hot apple cider.
  • No need to go crazy with elaborate magazine-style decorations. You can easily put guests in the holiday spirit with music, candles, and Christmas lights.
02 of 17

Baked Stuffed Brie with Cranberries & Walnuts

cranberry brie pastry appetizer on a cheese board
Chef John

Here's the ultimate party appetizer. You'll split a wheel of brie cheese, stuff it with walnuts and cranberries, and wrap it up in puff pastry. Freeze first, then bake until the crust is golden brown.

03 of 17

Cream Cheese, Havarti, and Parmesan Herbed Christmas Tree

a Christmas tree-shaped cheese ball coated with chopped parsley on a white plate with crackers
Kim's Cooking Now

"This delicious cream cheese-based appetizer is a great addition to any holiday party and is always a hit with guests due to its festive look," says Laura. "After the tree has reached desired firmness, set it on your serving platter and top the tree with lemon peel cut into the shape of a star. Serve with your choice of crackers."

04 of 17

Christmas Pizza Appetizer

pizza shaped like Christmas tree

Crescent rolls create a quick and simple Christmas tree appetizer topped with cream cheese, sour cream, chopped broccoli, diced red bell peppers, and shredded Cheddar cheese. "This cold, pizza-style appetizer is a refreshing change from heavier Christmas fare," says JENHA.

05 of 17

Stuffed Hasselback Turkey Breast

Stuffed Hasselback Turkey Breast
Photo by Chef John.

"Much easier than a traditional roast turkey, this sliced and stuffed turkey breast takes far less time than a whole bird, and it's perfect for an everyday or holiday dinner for a smaller group," says Chef John.

06 of 17

Hot Tamale Pie

slice of Hot Tamale Pie topped with sour cream and cheese

Tamales are a classic, if worky, Christmas treat. This casserole version is much, much easier to make. It's perfect for Christmas potlucks. The secret ingredient is boxed cornbread mix, which makes quick work of things. Between layers of cornbread batter, you'll add shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, frozen corn, and ground beef seasoned with salsa and poblano peppers. So simple.

07 of 17

Tangy Honey Glazed Ham

glazed ham with pineapple rings on top

Baked ham is a terrific idea for holiday potlucks. This one preps in about 15 minutes. Just brush and bake! The flavorful glaze features brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and ground cloves. "I made this for a Christmas potluck dinner, and it was a hit," says LOTTIENJ. "The glaze had the right amount of tanginess from the Dijon mustard and the citrus-ness from the orange and zest was just perfect, not too overpowering."

08 of 17

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Like a chicken enchilada pie, this casserole features cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups, sour cream, diced chilies and tomatoes, bell peppers, spices, and Cheddar. You'll layer a casserole dish with tortillas, chicken, sauce, and cheese. It's a great recipe for using up leftover or rotisserie chicken.

09 of 17

Holiday Chicken Salad

chicken salad with cranberries and parsley garnish in a white dish

And we can't forget Holiday Chicken Salad. With cranberries and pecans mixed in, it's flavorful on its own or sandwiched between a flaky, buttery croissant.

10 of 17

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes in a red dish

"A delicious alternative to regular mashed potato recipes," says Chef John. "It's a very user-friendly way to serve your potato side dish. They're really decadent: not too rich, but just rich enough, and perfect for any special occasion."

11 of 17

Spinach Pomegranate Salad

spinach and pomegranate salad in a glass bowl

This fresh salad flies the colors of Christmas. "This was a huge hit a Christmas," says Lisa. "It looks lovely and tastes divine." Discover the quickest, easiest, no-mess way to deseed a pomegranate here.

12 of 17

Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese

crumb-topped macaroni and cheese on a white and blue plate with meat
Rebekah Rose Hills

Recipe creator MRSO notes that you can easily double this recipe for a potluck. Cottage cheese and sour cream and richness and subtle tang.

13 of 17

Sweet Potato Casserole II

sweet potato casserole with marshmallows in a glass dish

Always a favorite, these sweet potatoes will pair beautifully with either the ham or the turkey breast. "Fluffy sweet potatoes mixed with butter, sugar, and vanilla, and baked with a crunchy pecan streusel topping," says Mary48.

14 of 17

Merritt's Butternut Squash Gratin

butternut squash gratin with rosemary garnish

Parmesan, Gruyere, sharp Cheddar, rosemary, and thyme give butternut squash restaurant-worthy flavor.

15 of 17

Roasted Carrot Salad

salad topped with roasted carrots and slivered almonds

"This was a huge success at our dinner party last night. I used Gorgonzola (husband doesn't like blue cheese). Doubled the garlic because we are big fans and used spring mix for arugula," Ann Persons says.

16 of 17

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

cupcakes with Christmas tree frosting

"Need a festive Christmas cupcake in a hurry? Pipe green frosting on your favorite cupcakes in the shape of a Christmas tree and decorate with an array of sweets and sprinkles as Christmas ornaments," says Kris. Watch how to make these festive Christmas cupcakes using green frosting and a piping bag, trimming the trees with your favorite edible decorations.

17 of 17

Double-Decker Marshmallow Fudge

pieces of marshmallow and chocolate fudge
Mackenzie Schieck

"A layer of homemade marshmallow batter is poured over a pan of fudge to make a truly decadent version of this holiday favorite," recipe creator Mackenzie Schieck says.

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