Slow cooker recipes are some of the most popular on BBC Good Food, so we’ve created easy festive feasts to make December entertaining an absolute breeze…
We know you love slow cooker recipes, and that Christmas is one of the busiest times of year, so we put two and two together to bring you a selection of hassle-free feasts for December. To the uninitiated, slow cookers allow you to bung ingredients into a pot, plug it into the wall and let the gadget slowly but surely make light work of ingredients. Slow cookers are energy efficient, space-saving and often require minimum prep, so if don't already have one, you know what to add to your Christmas wishlist this year...
Christmas recipes you can make in a slow cooker…
The trick with mulled wine is not to let it get too hot as you’ll boil away the alcohol content (a culinary crime if ever there was one), so making it in a slow cooker is an easy way to moderate the temperature. Slow cookers usually have a warm function too, so your wine can stay toasty during your party.
Furiously pre-boiling a gammon uses up hob space and energy, so buying a joint that nestles neatly into your slow cooker means you can bypass the hassle. Once the ham is cooked through, finish it off in the oven with a glaze – our recipe uses ginger preserve, but marmalade, treacle or membrillo would all work instead.
We spoke to Tom Kerridge to get his advice for porky success and 10 ideas for glazes – read all about it here.
For another inventive flavour twist, try our sticky slow cooker gammon in cola. The sweet treacle flavour of the cola balances out the saltiness of the ham and festive spices.
If you’re catering for a smaller crowd this Christmas, you can actually cook your bird in a slow cooker, freeing up crucial oven space. Our recipe uses turkey breasts bound into a parcel with string. The meaty bundle is then poached in a wine, bay and porcini liquor, which is used to make a turkey gravy to serve. You need to brown the meat first, so a slow cooker with a pot you can use on the hob would be handy here, but not essential.
Fill your kitchen with the festive aromas of delicately spiced, fruity red cabbage. Braising the cabbage for 4-5 hours gives it a beautifully tender consistency, which is perfect for accompanying meats or nut roasts.
We’re all about homemade Christmas gifts and we always spend November saving up our glass jars to house batches of jam and chutney come December. Our slow cooker onion chutney couldn’t be simpler to make, and it uses one of the cheapest vegetables so it’s a great gift option if you’re on a budget. Remember to thoroughly sterilise your jars, whether recycled or not.
Festive pulled pork
A batch of pulled pork is a good thing to have on standby when people are dropping in for a festive toast, not to mention when you have a hungry family to feed. This ingenious recipe allows the pork to cook at a glacial pace, which results in an extra-pulled, melting finish. Instead of apple and fennel, serve the pork with our Christmas coleslaw to act as a crunchy foil for all that tender meat.
For another succulent festive dish, try our herby slow cooker pork loin recipe, accompanied by roasties, veg and a boozy honey-mustard gravy.
Wintery duck tagine
Looking for something to serve on Christmas Eve? One-pot recipes require minimum effort for maximum gain, allowing you to get on with important tasks like sprout-prepping and potato-peeling. This deluxe duck tagine is packed with festive flavours like cinnamon, dates and citrus. Serve with a simple couscous, then kick back and cruise into the feasting.
Muscovado cheesecake with hazelnuts & blackberries
Treat your guests to this sensational slow cooker cheesecake. With an oaty biscuit base, a velvety centre and zingy blackberry syrup, this dazzling dessert has all the makings of a celebratory showstopper.
Relax at the end of the big day with a warming mug of hot chocolate. This slow cooker special is made from a mix of luxurious double cream and dark and milk chocolate. Top with marshmallows and chocolate gratings for an indulgent twist. For a boozy kick, add a splash of your favourite liqueur or spirit to each mug – it is Christmas, after all!
Leftover turkey soup
By the time the main event is over, we often crave hearty, nourishing dishes, and there’s nothing as nourishing as soup. This traditional recipe uses leftover roast chicken, but turkey works just as well. You can even throw a cooked carcass in (if it’ll fit) and pull the meat off after. The bones will impart flavour, acting as a kind of instant stock.
More on slow cookers
Are you a slow cooker devotee? We’d love to hear what you cook in yours…