20 Secret Last-Minute Holiday Recipes From Grandma’s Recipe Box

Saltine Cracker Toffee - Southern Living
PHOTO: CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

While Christmas is a truly beautiful time of year to come together, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stress-free. With holiday decorating, gift shopping, traveling, and more, creating an elaborate holiday feast isn’t always an option during the season. That’s why Grandma learned long ago to take advantage of quick additions to the Christmas menu. With these last-minute holiday recipes, you don’t need to write off a whole day to cook a meal that will leave your loved ones satisfied. Check out these simple, delicious last-minute holiday recipes that are Southern grandma-approved.

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Party Potatoes

Party Potatoes - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Everyone loves a potato dish, and these party potatoes make for a simple and delicious side that all will enjoy. With just 15 minutes of active time and less than 10 ingredients total, this recipe is sure to be a keeper.

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Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

Southern Living Cream Cheese Sausage Balls in a bowl to serve
VICTOR PROTASIO; FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

Sausage balls are a Southern holiday classic, and this recipe uses cream cheese to make them delectably fluffy and tangy for your guests to enjoy.

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Cornbread Casserole

Southern Living Cornbread Casserole with a serving scooped out into a bowl
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Cornbread casserole is a warm and fluffy dish that Southerners look forward to every holiday, and this recipe simplifies it for an easy and quick addition to your Christmas spread.

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Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating in the South, you’re sure to find a plate of deviled eggs. This recipe is a tried-and-true classic that will absolutely be a hit this season.

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Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies

Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

There’s nothing easier than a no-bake dessert, and these peanut butter cornflake cookies are a sweet, crunchy, gooey confection that take little effort to concoct.

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Puppy Chow Snack Mix

southern living puppy chow snack mix
ROBBY LOZANO; FOOD STYLIST: CALEB CLARKE

This human-only snack will be gone fast when it hits the table. This tasty treat involves Chex mix covered in chocolate and peanut butter and topped with powdered sugar for a simply sweet side.

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Ham Delights

Ham Delights
PHOTOGRAPHER: JENNIFER CAUSEY; FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER

Ham is associated with the holidays, and these ham and cheese sliders are an easy way to add it in to your holiday spread. Toasted and seasoned to perfection, these sandwiches will go quick.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Southern Living Roasted Brussels Sprouts on a platter to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

While Brussels sprouts tend to be a hit or miss, these crispy roasted Brussels sprouts are a perfect way to win over anyone at your holiday party. With just five ingredients and 15 minutes of active time, these are great for a last-minute side dish.

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Ham and Potato Soup

Southern Living Potato and Ham Soup in bowls to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

This warm and customizable soup is the perfect side to serve on a chilly holiday evening, and the leftovers keep well in the fridge (if you happen to have extra by the end of the night!).

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Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

With a little olive oil, a baking sheet, and a sturdy chef knife, you can make a winning dish on the holiday spread this year. These roasted butternut squashes are as simple as they are delicious.

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Herbed Potato Stacks

Herbed Potato Stacks - Southern Living
HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; PROP STYLING: BUFFY HARGETT MILLER; FOOD STYLING: WILLIAM SMITH

Potatoes are a standard ingredient at any holiday meal, and these herbed potato stacks are a great way to elevate your typical mashed potatoes. Made with only six ingredients (including salt and pepper!), these can be made quick without a grocery trip needed.

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Southern Living Pumpkin Whoopie Pies on a black platter
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Elevate your typical Christmas cookie by making these surprisingly easy pumpkin whoopie pies. With just 20 minutes of active time, your guests will be thoroughly impressed by your baking prowess.

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Southern Fried Cabbage

Southern Fried Cabbage served in a dish
ALISON MIKSCH; FOOD STYLIST: MELISSA GRAY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN

This humble dish has been loved by Southerners for generations and is a perfect, inexpensive addition to any holiday spread.

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Buttery Toasted Pecans

Butter Toasted Pecans - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

The hardest part of making this addicting appetizer is waiting for these buttery pecans to come out of the oven. This recipe is a simple way to elevate the classic Christmassy nut.

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Caramel Apple Dump Cake

Southern Living Caramel Apple Dump Cake in the pan with a serving scooped out
MORGAN HUNT GLAZE, FOOD STYLIST: JENNIFER WENDORF, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS

Dump cakes are among the easiest desserts to make, and this caramel apple dump cake adds a delicious flavor perfect for a chilly day.

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Saltine Cracker Toffee

Saltine Cracker Toffee - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Saltines are staple in plenty of Southern recipes, and this toffee recipe truly lets them shine. The saltine crackers provide a perfect base for the delectable chocolate-and-sugar concoction.

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Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Southern Living Homemade Mashed Potatoes in a bowl to serve
ROBBY LOZANO, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL

A fan-favorite holiday side, mashed potatoes are an unspoken requirement on any holiday spread. This recipe is a simple classic that takes less than 25 minutes of active time to make.

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Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots

Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
IAIN BAGWELL

While sweet potatoes are the more common orange root veggie on a holiday spread, these spiced carrots might just take spot number two. With only five minutes of active time, you’ll have a quick and delicious side dish ready to go with little effort.

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Chocolate Trifle Recipe

Chocolate Trifle Recipe
HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ

Trick your guests into thinking you spent all day on this stunning, rich dessert. This chocolate trifle uses all store-bought ingredients to make a delightful dish for any chocolate lover.

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Rum Balls

Rum Balls - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Straight from the Southern Living December 1993 issue, these rum balls are a holiday classic that provide a nice (and boozy!) change of pace to a holiday cookie platter.