Holiday and Party Snacks Cooked Low and Slow

tex mex taco sliders with beef and cheese
Diana Rattray

If you are not a regular user of your crockpot or slow cooker for meals, you probably take it out of hiding for the holidays. When it comes to entertaining, the crockpot is an essential helper--you can use it to cook or finish cooking some snacks and appetizers or use it as a chafing dish to keep hot appetizers at an even heat for serving.

When using a slow cooker for party food, you do need to plan your time well; if you keep a dip or other appetizer warm in a covered slow cooker for more than 4...MORE or 5 hours, it will begin to become somewhat watery or soggy. If the party doesn't start for several hours, keep freshly cooked appetizers refrigerated in the crockpot or in a storage container, then begin to warm them 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Keep the food on the low-temperature setting when serving.

Here are ten favorite recipes to try in your slow cooker next time you have guests coming over.

  • 01 of 12
    crock pot party meatballs
    Diana Rattray

    Baked in the oven and then finished in the slow cooker, these meatballs are the perfect party food. The flavorful meatballs are covered with a homemade sweet and sour sauce made of ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and cayenne pepper.

  • 02 of 12
    pecan halves
    Diana Rattray

    Your guests will go nuts for these pecans with a kick! Tossed with melted butter, dried herbs, onion, garlic and chili powders and a bit of cayenne pepper, these nuts will add a little spice to your parties--or you can package up for the perfect little gift. Just a couple hours in the slow cooker are all they need.

  • 03 of 12
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    What could be better than a slow-cooked creamy spinach dip? Just combine the ingredients in the crockpot and you've got a warm and delicious dip that is perfect to bring to a potluck--just plug it in at the party. The host will thank you!

  • 04 of 12
    chicken wings
    Photodisc/Getty Images

    Imagine saucy flavorful chicken wings without all the mess! Honey, garlic, ginger and soy sauce are combined and then poured over the chicken wings in the slow cooker. After seven hours or so you are left with an appetizer that is sure to be the first to go at the party! 

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    Cheese Fondue
    Norio Nakayama

    When we hear the word fondue we tend to think of something that requires time and attention. Not here! This recipe for cheese fondue lets the slow cooker do all of the work for you. A creamy combination of cheese, beer, and hot sauce this fondue is ideal with crusty bread or cooked potato wedges.

  • 06 of 12
    appetizer hot dogs with barbecue sauce
    Paul Poplis/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    A perennial party time favorite, mini hot dogs in a tangy barbecue sauce are a great go-to appetizer. This homemade sauce calls for mustard, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and ketchup. Serve in the slow cooker to keep these little doggies warm.

  • 07 of 12
    Hamburger Dip With Cream Cheese
    Diana Rattray

    Like a deconstructed cheeseburger, this creamy flavorful dip will be a big hit at the next tailgate. After browning the meat, you place it in the slow cooker with garlic, seasonings, chili peppers and cheeses and let cook until melted and delicious. Perfect with tortilla chips.

  • 08 of 12
    tex mex taco sliders with beef and cheese
    Diana Rattray

    Wow, your guests with these easy slider sandwiches.  The beef is cooked in the slow cooker and then the sandwiches are assembled in buns and baked.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12
    grape jelly meatballs
    Diana Rattray

    These grape jelly meatballs are always in demand. The "secret" ingredient of grape jelly sweetens the tangy 3-ingredient sauce perfectly.

  • 10 of 12
    Beef and Bean Dip
    Diana Rattray

    Three ingredients team up in this easy beef and cheese dip. Canned chili gives it flavor, but feel free to add your own special touches. Some taco seasoning, chopped peppers and onions, and minced hot peppers are just a few ideas.

  • 11 of 12
    Chili Cheese Dip Recipe
    Diana Rattray

    Browned spicy sausage and chili get together in this cheesy dip. This is always a hit! Take it along to the party or tailgating event.

  • 12 of 12
    Teriyaki Wings, Slow Cooker
    Diana Rattray

    These broiled chicken wings are slow cooked in a tasty Asian-style sauce. Add some spicy chili garlic paste or crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat.