‘Tis the season for twinkly lights, evergreen everything, and some of the best eats you’ll have all year. You’ve got to admit, one of the most special parts of the holiday season is spending quality time in the kitchen, whipping up treats with family and friends. There are few things that compare to the cherished memories associated with the food we share this time of year (oh, and wine).
And like a weathered index card with grandma’s handwriting on it, holiday recipes are something we hold close to our hearts. But it’s also the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and try new things that have the potential to become your next annual tradition.
Need a little inspiration? Look no further than this list of some of our all-time favorite holiday recipes that (in our humble opinion) totally deserve a spot at your table this year.
Not one year has gone by since I found this recipe that I have not baked it for at least two holiday gatherings. The ingredient list makes the process look a lot more complicated than it actually is—it’s a pretty simple bake, and it gets even simpler if you opt for frozen pie crust over a homemade one (though, fair warning, it’s slightly less delicious). This will fill your pecan pie cravings for a lot less money and a lot less effort, and if you ask me, it tastes a lot better anyway. If you want to eat an oatmeal cookie in pie form, this is your recipe. — Caroline Olney, platforms editor
These are my absolute favorite country-style, skin-on, garlic mashed potatoes. This recipe honestly doesn’t taste like a downgrade from the classic butter-and-cream version I grew up with—I genuinely like the taste of this Greek yogurt version more (although I use 2-percent Greek yogurt instead of skim and throw in a handful of rosemary too). It’s a little tart, super garlic-y, and has this umami-bomb, creamy mouthfeel. Love. — Jess Novak, senior lifestyle and beauty editor
Buckeyes are an Ohio classic. You take a PB mixture and dip it in chocolate so it resembles a buckeye nut (from, shocker, the tree of the same name). There’s pretty much no nutritional value (protein maybe? love?), but it’s one of those regional foods that is absolutely essential in any Ohio holiday dessert spread—along with corn flake Christmas wreaths and, let’s be honest, ranch dressing. — Ashley Sepanski, branded content editor
I grew up in a mixed family (my dad is white and my mom is Chinese), so our holiday gatherings always included a healthy mix of traditional holiday fare and food fresh from my great-uncle’s restaurant in Oakland Chinatown. This classic Chinese sticky rice recipe transports me straight back to those rowdy dinners with the extended fam and makes me feel like I’m home again. Take a trip to the Asian market and pick up some Chinese sausage (“lap cheong” in Cantonese) to ensure the authentic taste of the dish, but don’t be afraid to modify other parts of the recipe—two types of soy sauce aren’t necessary, and to keep things simple, I use chicken thigh instead of dried shrimp. — Jenna Haufler, associate video producer
Ottolenghi can do no wrong in my book, and this recipe of his is no exception. Roasted in cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, and paprika, the butternut squash is delicious on its own but becomes something magical when you drizzle Sriracha yogurt and a cilantro-garlic sauce over top. The spicy-cool-garlicky combo is so good, you’ll wonder how you ever served squash (or any roasted vegetable, really) without. — Jay Blades, head of content development
I realize that Mexican sweet potato hash isn’t a dish that comes to mind when you think of the holiday classics. But when you’ve had more than your fill of turkey/ham/pie/baked Brie—and you will—there’s nothing more satisfying. It’s hearty enough to keep you from fridge raiding but requires minimal time away from the couch. Those Hallmark movies aren’t gonna watch themselves, after all. — Lauren Berger DuVilla, executive editor
Despite being a pretty polarizing vegetable, Brussels sprouts have always been a staple in my family’s meals, especially over the holidays. And while the recipes have evolved through the years depending on what’s trendy (remember when pine nuts were in everything?), there’s been one constant: My mother blackens the crap out of Brussels sprouts. This recipe is a delicious way to make them crispy, salty, and even a little sweet, so even the most sprout-resistant guest will try them. — Jamey Powell, associate fitness editor
I came across these bad boys pretty recently, and they haven’t left my dreams since. Like the recipe says, these cookies feel like fudge in all the right ways and taste especially wonderful warmed up. Maybe not the healthiest dessert out there, but nothing says it’s the holiday season like marshmallow and peppermint. I’ve never tried dunking them in actual hot chocolate, but I can guess how that would go (beautifully). — Brandon Doerrer, editorial intern
I know, I know, we’ve all had the Swedish meatballs at IKEA, but what most people don’t realize is that they’re actually a traditional Scandinavian holiday dish. My mom grew up in Sweden, and while I didn’t get to parade around with a crown of lit candles on my head for St. Lucia Day, my family still has a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner every year. These little morsels are seriously good, and I’m usually guilty of eating more than my fair share. They’re the ultimate Swedish comfort food, and I can attest that making them from scratch is a million times better than waiting in line at a furniture store. Just pick up a jar of lingonberry jam and you’re in business! — Kate Nelson, editorial intern
I’m not sure if my love for no-bake vegan desserts started because I convinced myself that eating a whole tray of “healthy treats” isn’t bad for me, or if I just can’t be bothered with turning on the oven when I want something sweet. All I know is that I started making these date bars six years ago for every holiday event between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and they haven’t steered me (or the guests) wrong since. With just five ingredients and two whirls in the food processor, you can have these babies ready in 30 minutes flat. Preparing them is the easy part, but trying not to eat the whole batch in one sitting is the real challenge. —Jamie Webber, senior food and nutrition editor
Banana bread is definitely my favorite breakfast food, especially around the holidays when guests are in town and I’m looking to feed a house full of people with one dish. This honey whole-wheat loaf is my favorite because it opts for a few healthier ingredients than more traditional recipes while maintaining that sweet fruit flavor that all great banana breads have. It’s easy to make, and people are going to be super impressed when they hear that it’s completely free of refined sugar and flour. — Suze Kaufman, assistant platforms editor