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35 Holiday Entertaining Recipes - Dinner at the Zoo

A collection of amazing holiday entertaining recipes that will bring cheer to all your festivities, including honey baked ham, cranberry relish and rum balls.

Make entertaining fun and delicious with these fantastic dishes that are sure to be crowd-pleasers!

A group of images of holiday entertaining recipes like honey roasted carrots, slow cooker hot chocolate and cranberry relish.

The holidays are near! I get excited about trying new recipes, but I worry about finding the perfect dishes that will please both the kids and adults at the table. To make your life a little easier, I’ve created this list of foolproof holiday favorites. I have developed these recipes over the years to give fantastic results, even for new cooks! These are the best party and holiday dinner dishes to make your season a little more merry.

The key to any holiday meal is an amazing main course. I have some fabulous entree options like smoked turkey, honey baked ham and prime rib.

Everyone loves a good side dish. My favorites are classic comfort foods such as stovetop mac and cheese and sweet potato souffle. There are some flavorful veggie dishes that even the kids will enjoy like honey roasted carrots, sauteed green beans and crispy brussels sprouts. I know what you are thinking, brussels sprouts!? But yeah, try these hot, crispy and delicious bites!

Make sure you don’t forget the dessert. Satisfy sweet lovers with some of my absolute favorite desserts like chocolate truffles, Christmas tree brownies and peppermint bark. Just for fun, make some classic Christmas sugar cookies. My family loves to see who can come up with the fanciest cookie decorations.

If you want something fun to drink, make my famous slow cooker hot chocolate. The chocolate blend is perfect and the condensed milk makes it creamy and indulgent. You have to try it!

These recipes have everything you need for an amazing holiday season!

35 Holiday Entertaining Recipes

Images in a collage of holiday entertaining recipes including cheesy potatoes, chocolate covered pretzels and carrot souffle.
Air Fryer Asparagus

This air fryer asparagus is tender stalks of asparagus coated in olive oil, garlic and an assortment of herbs and seasonings, then cooked to tender and browned perfection. A 10 minute side dish that’s the perfect accompaniment to almost any main course option.

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A plate of air fryer asparagus garnished with lemon and parsley.
Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These bacon roasted brussels sprouts are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and full of smoky flavor. An easy side dish that will convert even the most staunch brussels sprouts haters!

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A dish of bacon roasted brussels sprouts with parsley.
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

This broccoli and cheese casserole is loaded with broccoli and rice in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, all finished off with a crunchy topping. The ultimate make-ahead side dish!

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A spoonful of cheesy broccoli casserole
Carrot Souffle

This carrot souffle is made with pureed carrots, sugar, butter and eggs, all cooked together to golden brown perfection. A light and fluffy side dish option that pairs well with chicken and beef, but can also be served as a dessert offering!

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A spoon serving up a portion of carrot souffle.
Chocolate Covered Cherries

These chocolate covered cherries are made with maraschino cherries, a creamy center and plenty of dark chocolate. A homemade version of the classic treat that’s impossible to resist!

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Chocolate covered cherries dipped in dark chocolate with a decorative drizzle.
Cheesy Potatoes

These cheesy potatoes are diced potatoes tossed in a creamy blend of sour cream, butter and cheese, then baked to golden brown perfection. A quick and easy casserole that’s perfect for feeding a crowd and pairs perfectly with chicken, pork and beef.

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A spoon serving up a portion of cheesy potatoes topped with chopped parsley.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels

These chocolate covered pretzels are made with pretzel twists or pretzel rods coated in dark and white chocolate and topped with sprinkles. A super easy candy that’s perfect for parties and gift giving and can be customized for any occasion.

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Chocolate covered pretzels in a bowl with Christmas sprinkles.
Chocolate Truffles

These chocolate truffles are made with a dark chocolate ganache that’s shaped into balls and rolled in an assortment of toppings. Homemade truffles are easy to prepare and make for a super impressive dessert option for any event.

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Chocolate truffles coated in nuts, sprinkles and cocoa powder.
Christmas Sugar Cookies

These Christmas sugar cookies are roll out cookies that are frosted with an easy vanilla buttercream and decorated with sprinkles. A fun and classic holiday cookie that’s perfect for school parties and gift giving!

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A serving plate of Christmas sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkles.
Cranberry Relish

This cranberry relish is a blend of fresh cranberries, apple, orange and sugar, all mixed together to form a sweet and tart condiment. Cranberry relish is a unique and welcome addition to any holiday meal!

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A bowl of cranberry relish topped with whole cranberries, orange zest and mint.
Images of festive recipes like Christmas tree brownies, creamed corn and molasses cookies.
Christmas Tree Brownies

These Christmas tree brownies are an easy and adorable treat that’s the perfect addition to any holiday gathering. Kids and adults alike will love these Christmas brownies!

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Christmas Tree Brownies
Creamed Corn

This creamed corn recipe consists of corn kernels simmered in cream sauce, then topped with crispy bacon and fresh herbs. A classic side dish that’s easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, yet elegant enough to serve for a holiday meal.

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A spoonful of creamed corn topped with bacon and fresh herbs.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts

These crispy Brussels sprouts are coated in olive oil, garlic and seasonings, then roasted at high heat until tender and golden brown. The absolute best way to enjoy Brussels sprouts!

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Crispy Brussels sprouts garnished with lemon slices and parsley.
Creamed Spinach

This creamed spinach is fresh sauteed spinach leaves in a flavorful cream sauce with parmesan cheese. A classic side dish that’s easy to make and pairs perfectly with chicken, beef and pork.

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A pan of creamed spinach.
Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

These crock pot baked potatoes are seasoned Russet potatoes that cook all day in the slow cooker to become perfectly tender and fluffy. A super easy side dish that pairs perfectly with seafood, chicken and beef.

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Crock pot baked potatoes topped with sour cream and bacon.
Crock Pot Candy

This easy crock pot candy is creamy chocolate peanut clusters, all made with the help of a slow cooker! The perfect treat for the holidays that serves a crowd.

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Crock Pot Candy
Honey Baked Ham Recipe

This honey baked ham recipe is a copycat of the super popular HoneyBaked Ham Store version. It’s a tender ham baked to perfection and coated in a crispy spiced sugar glaze. The ultimate holiday ham!

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A spiral cut honey baked ham on a serving platter garnished with fresh herbs.
Honey Roasted Carrots

This recipe for honey roasted carrots is whole carrots, bathed in honey and seasonings, then roasted over high heat until tender and caramelized. A super easy yet elegant side dish!

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Honey roasted carrots in a baking dish, garnished with chopped parsley.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

These make ahead mashed potatoes are Russet potatoes that are boiled until tender, then combined with butter, garlic, cream cheese and seasonings to make the ultimate side dish. The perfect recipe to make before a big holiday when you don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen!

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A bowl of make ahead mashed potatoes topped with butter and herbs.
Molasses Cookies

These molasses cookies are chewy brown sugar cookies infused with plenty of aromatic spices, then baked to golden brown perfection. A classic holiday cookie that’s easy to make and is sure to get rave reviews!

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Molasses cookies coated in sugar, surrounded by holiday decorations.
A collection of images of holiday dishes like smoked prime rib, peppermint bark and pecan pie bars.
Oreo Balls

This recipe for Oreo balls is Oreo cookie filled truffles dipped in chocolate, then decorated in a variety of sprinkles. Oreo balls are perfect for gift giving around the holidays and also make great party favors.

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Dark and white chocolate Oreo balls in a gift tin.
Oven Roasted Potatoes

These oven roasted potatoes are baby potatoes coated in olive oil, garlic, herbs and parmesan cheese, then baked until golden brown and crispy. A simple yet totally satisfying side dish that pairs well with roasted chicken, grilled steak or baked salmon.

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Oven roasted potatoes coated in garlic and herbs, then garnished with parsley.
Pecan Pie Bars

These pecan pie bars are a brown sugar shortbread crust topped with plenty of gooey pecan filling. An alternative to the traditional pecan pie that’s perfect for feeding a crowd!

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A serving platter full of pecan pie bars.
Peppermint Bark Recipe

This recipe for classic peppermint bark is layers of white and dark chocolate topped with crushed candy canes. A holiday favorite that’s quick to make and perfect for parties and gift giving.

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A gift tin full of peppermint bark made with crushed candy canes.
Rolo Pretzels

These Rolo pretzels are 3 ingredient sweet and salty treats that are the perfect snack or dessert. They take just minutes to put together and can be customized for any occasion.

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A gift tin full of Christmas colored Rolo pretzels.
Sauteed Green Beans

These sauteed green beans are cooked in butter, garlic and an assortment of fresh and dried herbs. A ten minute side dish that pairs perfectly with roasted chicken, steak, pork chops and seafood.

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A plate of sauteed green beans with fresh parsley.
Peppermint Brownies

This recipe for peppermint brownies is fudgy chocolate squares topped with cream cheese frosting, a layer of chocolate and crushed candy canes. The perfect holiday treat!

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These easy peppermint brownies are the perfect holiday treat.
Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

This rich and creamy slow cooker hot chocolate is perfect for any party or special occasion. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

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A ladle full of slow cooker hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
Smoked Prime Rib

This smoked prime rib is a beef roast coated in garlic and herb butter, then slow smoked to tender, melt-in-your mouth perfection. The ultimate meal for a special occasion.

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A smoked prime rib roast cooked to medium rare on a serving platter.
Rum Balls

These rum balls are a blend of liquor, chocolate, pecans and cookie crumbs, all rolled together and coated with sprinkles. The perfect dessert or gift option for the holidays that’s sure to be a hit with family and friends.

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Rum balls coated with sprinkles in a holiday tin.
A group of images of holiday entertaining recipes including stovetop mac and cheese, turkey gravy and smoked turkey.
Spatchcock Turkey

This spatchcock turkey recipe is a whole turkey that’s been brined, then flattened and roasted until golden brown. A spatchcocked turkey cooks significantly faster than a traditional roast turkey, and comes out tender and juicy every time!

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Spatchcock turkey garnished with grapes and fresh herbs.
Sweet Potato Souffle

This sweet potato souffle is a creamy blend of sweet potatoes and spices topped with a brown sugar and pecan streusel. An easy and elegant side dish that’s perfect for the holidays and always gets rave reviews!

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A spoon serving up a portion of sweet potato souffle.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese is a one pot dish of tender macaroni in an ultra creamy cheese sauce. The best macaroni and cheese recipe!

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A pot of stovetop mac and cheese with a serving spoon in it.
Smoked Turkey Recipe

This smoked turkey recipe is a whole turkey that’s coated in homemade spice rub then slow smoked to tender and juicy perfection. A super easy and impressive holiday main course that won’t take up any oven space!

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A whole smoked turkey on a large serving platter, garnished with herbs and small apples.
Turkey Gravy

This is the best turkey gravy you’ll ever have – it’s smooth, creamy and full of savory flavors. Homemade gravy is a must have for any holiday meal, and my version is so simple to make. 

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Turkey gravy being poured over sliced turkey breast.

Make your holidays merry and bright with these recipes. They are some of my favorites and I bet you will love them too. Let me know which ones you try in the comments below.

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