7 Last-Minute Holiday Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes

Sure, volunteering to bring a dish to your office potluck or annual family dinner seemed like a good idea at the time. But now it’s the night before, and you just don’t have the time or the energy to whip up an elaborate and impressive dish.

Don’t head to grocery store for a bakery pie or box of Stove Top stuffing just yet, though. There are plenty of delicious homemade holiday recipes that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. Here are seven party-perfect dishes that take 15 minutes or less to prepare.

1. Simple Cranberry Sauce

Dish of Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce | iStock.com

There’s simply no comparing homemade cranberry sauce with the gelatinous canned variety (though the latter is certainly a tempting alternative when you’re in a rush). Fortunately, you can make you own sauce with fresh cranberries in just 15 minutes. Recipe from Savory Sweet Life.


  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2 ounces gold rum (optional)

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium-high and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the cranberries have popped. Serve warm or at room temperature.

2. 10-Minute Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes | iStock.com

So you volunteered to bring potatoes to your friend’s holiday party, but you’re running short on time. The microwave is your friend in this situation. Nuking the spuds means you can get creamy, delicious potatoes ready in a matter of minutes. This recipe from What’s Cooking America yields 4 to 6 servings but can easily be doubled if you’re cooking for a crowd.


  • 4 medium Yukon gold, russet, or white potatoes
  • Milk to taste
  • Butter to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Wash and peel the potatoes. Place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 8 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. (If using plastic wrap to cover potatoes, cut a small hole for steam to vent.)

Remove potatoes from microwave and uncover (be careful, the steam will be very hot). Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a potato ricer. Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper and continue to mash until your potatoes reach your preferred consistency and taste (don’t overwork the potatoes or they will turn gluey). Transfer to a dish and serve.

3. Sriracha Ranch Dill Dip

Vegetable tray, broccoli, dip

Vegetables and dip | iStock.com

Holiday tables are usually laden with sweet foods, which can leave those who prefer spicier flavors feeling a bit left out. This spicy, creamy dip will be a hit with anyone who’s craving something with a bit of kick. It pairs well with veggies or chips and takes just 5 minutes to prepare. Recipe from Sugar Dish Me.


  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or minced green onions
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sriracha sauce (more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix together all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. Crockpot Sausage Stuffing


Stuffing | iStock.com

Making a scrumptious stuffing for Thanksgiving or another holiday meal takes just minutes with this recipe. Just mix together all the ingredients the night before and cook in the slow cooker overnight. You’ll have a perfect side ready to go in the morning. Recipe from I Wash You Dry.


  • 12 ounces ground sausage
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups diced onion
  • 1½ cups diced celery
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 12 cups cubed French bread, dried out and crusty
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions: Cook the sausage in a large skillet until browned. Transfer meat to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Put the cubed bread in a large bowl and add the cooked sausage and the celery, onion, and mushroom mixture. Stir in the poultry seasoning, dry thyme, salt, and pepper, then add 1 cup of the chicken broth and eggs. (Add more broth if you prefer a less-dry stuffing, but keep in mind that not much of the broth will cook off because the crockpot will covered.)

Lightly grease the crock of a slow cooker. Transfer the stuffing to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

5. Kale Salad with Sesame Dressing


Kale | iStock.com

Hearty, in-season greens like kale are perfect for winter meals. This no-fuss kale salad recipe is both easy to prepare and delicious, which makes for a healthy side people will actually want to eat. Recipe from O Magazine.


  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 pound kale, preferably Tuscan, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 5 large Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions: In a small skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium-high heat, shaking, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and set aside to let cool.

In a large bowl, toss kale with salt and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and rub into kale to soften. Add Brussels sprouts and toss well.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and remaining tablespoon vegetable oil. Pour dressing over greens, add reserved sesame seeds, and toss well. Garnish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and scallion and serve.

6. Vegetable Dill Frittata Bianca

Broccoli, bacon, spinach and mushroom frittata

Frittata | iStock.com

A frittata is the perfect dish for a casual holiday brunch. This recipe from Self calls for egg whites only, so it’s lower in calories, while fresh mushrooms and asparagus up the nutritional content.


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ¾ cup chopped asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat egg whites with the chopped fresh dill, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a medium oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced button or cremini mushrooms and cook until brown, about 4 minutes.

Stir in chopped asparagus. Pour the egg-white mixture into skillet; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

Bake until eggs are set, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh dill. Serve.

7. Apple Pie Bites

Chopped Apples

Apples | iStock.com

Nothing compares to a fresh-out-of-oven apple pie., but these mini apple pie bites will certainly do in a pinch. You’ll save time by using a store-bought pie crust rather than making your own, and the individual bites will look perfect on the dessert table at your family party or office potluck. Recipe by Clinton Kelly for ABC.


  • 1 store-bought pie crust
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon, and stir to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, unwrap the pie crust and lay flat. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the crust into 3-inch squares. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, brush the pie crust with half of melted butter. Reserving 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, sprinkle the remaining of the mixture evenly over the buttered pie crust.

Working with one square at a time, place a few teaspoons of apple into the center of each square. Bring the corners of each square together to form a pyramid-shaped dumpling. Press together the edges to seal.  Brush outside of dumpling with the remaining butter and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place in the oven to bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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