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63 Classic Christmas Buffet Ideas

With variety, flavor and a touch of class, these great Christmas buffet ideas will get you through your holiday party in style.

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Appetizers & Small Plates: Tortilla Pinwheels

A friend gave me this recipe, and whenever I serve these tortilla roll ups, people ask me for the recipe, too! The cream cheese pinwheels can be made ahead of time and sliced just before serving, leaving you time for other last-minute party preparations. —Pat Waymire, Yellow Springs, Ohio

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More pinwheel recipes that are ready for your next party.

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Appetizers & Small Plates: Festive Wreath

I have lots of fun with this festive appetizer wreath. I often place a bowl of stuffed olives in the center. —Shirley Privratsky, Dickinson, North Dakota
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Creole Scallop Cakes

Experimenting in the kitchen is a passion of mine...a passion I hope to pass along to my daughter. One day I had some scallops and decided to concoct a scallop cake instead of a crab cake. This scrumptious appetizer can be prepared ahead of time. The cakes and aioli sauce can both be made the day before, and you can cook the cakes just before serving. Not only does this simplify last-minute prep, it allows the flavors to blend, making the dish even more yummy. My family and friends love my specialty scallop cakes.—Iisha Leftrdige-Brooks, Sacramento, California

These seafood appetizers steal the spotlight. 

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Appetizers & Small Plates: Festive Holiday Sliders

Turkey sliders with ginger, horseradish and cranberry sauce refrigerate well, so I keep them ready for get-togethers when we bake gifts and wrap presents. —Pamela Miller, Big Rapids, Michigan

We love these holiday slider recipes. 

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Appetizers & Small Plates: Camembert & Cranberry Pizzas

Appetizer pizza takes several steps up in elegance with creamy Camembert cheese. The bright red color and tangy flavor of the cranberries make this a welcome addition to any holiday party. —Sue Sans, Buckeye, Arizona
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Bacon-Wrapped Blue Cheese Shrimp

Blue cheese, bacon and basil pack big flavor into a couple of bites. To save time, you can assemble the skewers the night before and then serve them hot from the broiler on the day. —Vivi Taylor, Middleburg, Florida
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Baked Baby Potatoes with Olive Pesto

These little cuties pack all the appeal of a dinner baked potato into the perfect bite-sized appetizer. I top off each one with a dollop of sour cream and coarsely ground pepper. —Sarah Shaikh, Mumbai, India
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Steak & Blue Cheese Bruschetta with Onion & Roasted Tomato Jam

An appetizer bursting with flavor from bleu cheese, caramelized onion, jam and balsamic vinegar—tasty bites that vanish in a hurry. —Debbie Reid, Clearwater, Florida
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Cranberry Meatballs

Lots of people have asked me for this recipe, but I knew I had a real winner when my grandmother asked me for it! —Tammy Neubauer, Ida Grove, Iowa
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels

These quick appetizers are irresistible. The flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto balance beautifully. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

I first tried these bubbly treats at my sister-in-law's house. The tender mushroom caps and creamy filling were so fabulous that I had to get the recipe. It's hard to believe how simple, fast and easy they are. —Angela Coffman, Kansas City, Missouri
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Ricotta Puffs

Roasted red peppers and ricotta cheese give these pastry puffs delicious flavor, while parsley and oregano add a little spark. —Maria Regakis, Somerville, Massachusetts
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Mini Sausage Quiches

These bite-sized quiches are loaded with sausage and cheese—and all nestled into easy crescent roll dough. Serve the cute muffinettes at any brunch or potluck gathering. —Jan Mead, Milford, Connecticut
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Shrimp in Phyllo Cups

I almost didn’t make these appetizers for last year’s Christmas party because I was running out of time, but I knew they’d be a tasty hit. Simple to make, the cups have few ingredients and look beautiful on the plate—very gourmet! This turned out to be one of the night’s favorites, and they just flew off the plate. —Terri Edmunds, Naperville, Illinois
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Curried Mushroom Empanadas

A rich mushroom filling is spiced with mild curry and wrapped in flaky pastry. These two-bite treats cross Indian flavor with classic Mexican empanadas for an appetizer that will disappear like magic! —Pat Cronin, Cotuit, Massachusetts
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Appetizers & Small Plates: Goat Cheese & Onion Pastries

A flaky puff pastry crust holds sweet caramelized onions and creamy goat cheese for an easy yet upscale appetizer. The recipe is a must on all our entertaining menus. —Heidi Ellis, Monument, Colorado
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Spreads & Breads: Parmesan-Bacon Bubble Bread

When I needed to put some leftover bread dough to good use, I started with a recipe I often use for bubble bread and substituted savory ingredients for the sweet. —Lori McLain, Denton, Texas
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Spreads & Breads: Makeover Cheddar Biscuits

Here's our crack at the never-ending biscuits from Red Lobster. Made from scratch with lighter ingredients, they're just as cheesy and buttery as the original. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Spreads & Breads: Warm Feta Cheese Dip

We’re big on appetizers, so this dip is a mashup of our favorite tastes, like cream cheese, feta, basil and sweet peppers. Serve with bread or chips. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Spreads & Breads: Curried Crab Spread

At holiday time, I always have cream cheese and crabmeat on hand. In case of drop-ins, I just mix up an easy spread by adding mango chutney and spices. —Jennifer Phillips, Goffstown, New Hampshire
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Spreads & Breads: Mediterranean Eggplant Dip

I love Mediterranean food, and the flavors in this dip are so vibrant. We make our own mini sandwiches once this platter is complete. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon
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Spreads & Breads: Chive-and-Cheese Breadsticks

No Italian supper would be complete without bread. With two types of cheese, garlic and minced chives, these tasty twists go above and beyond. —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas
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Spreads & Breads: Soft Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

Warm, buttery dinner rolls are absolutely irresistible. I save time and use a stand mixer to make my dough. —Jennifer Patterson, Shoshone, Idaho
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Spreads & Breads: Appetizer Tomato-Cheese Bread

I found this recipe a few years ago in a dairy cookbook, and it has become a family favorite. My husband, Wayne, and our two children are mostly meat-and-potato eaters, but I don't hear any complaints when I make this bread! —Penney Kester, Springville, New York
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Mains: Pepper-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Spicy stuffing balances the delicate flavor of pork in this dish that looks great on the plate—and tastes even better! —Margaret Allen, Abingdon, Virginia
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Mains: New England Lamb Bake

This dish is hearty and perfect for warming up on a chilly winter evening. The aroma is almost as delightful as the dish itself. —Frank Grady, Fort Kent, Maine
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Mains: Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms

My dad, an incredible person and cook, taught me to make this tenderloin. Whenever I want to make a special, memorable meal to celebrate with our friends, I choose this. —Cindi Breazeale, Granbury, Texas
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Mains: Shrimp & Crab Casserole

This quick, easy recipe is truly delicious. The succulent, melt-in-your-mouth seafood flavors and textures make for elegant comfort food. To make ahead, just assemble, cover and refrigerate, then bake when ready. —Jan Bartley, Evergreen, North Carolina
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Mains: Epiphany Ham

I wanted to cook a ham but didn't have the ingredients for my usual glaze recipe, so I made substitutions. You can, too! Instead of black cherry, try another flavored soda, or use sweet-and-sour sauce in place of duck sauce. —Edith Griffith, Havre de Grace, Maryland
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Mains: Potluck Sausage Casserole

Whenever my husband digs in to this pasta casserole full of Italian sausage and veggies, he gets a big smile on his face. I love that! —Jane Davis, Marion, Indiana
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Mains: Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak Roll

Mains: Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak Roll

My daughter and her family, who live in Hong Kong, love to make my flank steak becuase it reminds them of home. —Ethel Klyasheff, Granite City, Illinois
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Mains: Louisiana Jambalaya

My husband helped add a little spice to my life. He grew up on Cajun cooking , while I ate mostly meat-and-potato meals. —Sandi Pichon, Memphis, Tennessee
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Mains: Holiday Chicken & Sausage Wreath

Hearty enough to cut into larger slices as a main dish, this golden wreath brims with a delicious, ooey-gooey meat filling. You'll want to make this one year-round! —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
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Mains: Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Apple Chutney

The zingy-sweet fruit compote complements the spices in the rub in this juicy pork roast that can be your holiday headliner. —Teresa Ralston, New Albany, Ohio
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Salads: Antipasto Appetizer Salad

Use a slotted spoon to serve this as an appetizer with baguette toasts, or ladle it over romaine lettuce to enjoy as a salad. —Tamra Duncan, Decatur, Arkansas
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Salads: Easy Orange and Red Onion Salad

Here's an unusual salad that’s easy to prepare when holiday obligations have you short on time. The combination of red onions and oranges may seem unusual, but it's surprisingly delightful. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Salads: Brussels Sprouts & Kale Saute

In an effort to add more greens to our meals, I created this dish—and my kids eat it up. The crispy salami is the "hook." —Jennifer Mcnabb, Brentwood, Tennessee
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Salads: Fluffed Fruit Salad

I like this recipe since I can prepare it in advance when entertaining. Even people who don't care for cranberries usually like this treat.—Christine Halandras, Meeker, Colorado
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Salads: Perfect Winter Salad

This is my most-requested salad recipe. Serve it as a side salad along with your holiday meal, or enjoy it for lunch the next day with cubed turkey or chicken on top. —DeNae Shewmake, Burnsville, Minnesota
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Sides: Slow Cooker Pineapple Sweet Potatoes

Pineapple and pecans make a pretty topping for this no-fuss side dish. It's light, tasty and not too sweet. Making it in the slow cooker leaves extra space in the oven when preparing a holiday turkey and other dishes. —Bette Filcher, Lexington, Texas
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Sides: Apple Brown-Sugar Glazed Carrots

Carrots seem so simple, but this recipe is something special. Sweet and buttery, it was a favorite my mother always used to serve around the holidays. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin
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Sides: Make-Ahead Creamy Potatoes

For the holidays, I usually serve the traditional foods with a new spin or two on family favorites. I put together these creamy potatoes the night before and simply bake the day of to save precious holiday time. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan
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Sides: Italian Artichoke Green Bean Casserole

My mother and I made a few small changes to a recipe we found in a cookbook to create this comforting side dish. We increased the vegetable count and tossed in some seasonings to take the flavor up a notch. It's definitely not your average green bean casserole. —Denise Klibert, Shreveport, Louisiana
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Sides: Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

This recipe is a great example of Midwest food! Its ingredients, including the wild rice, can all be found in Minnesota. The dish is good for larger groups since the cook doesn't need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. —Suzanne Greenslit, Merrifield, Minnesota
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Sides: Pomegranate-Hazelnut Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I converted many people to Brussels sprouts with this recipe, and it has since become my most requested dish. The richness of the hazelnuts and the sweetness of pomegranate and orange elevate the sprouts to a new level. —Melanie Stevenson, Reading, Pennsylvania
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Sides: Potluck Macaroni & Cheese

You'll always have a winner at the potluck when you bring macaroni and cheese. Here's an extra-rich, creamy version for the slow cooker. —Jennifer Blondek, Chicopee, Massachusetts
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Sides: Hash Brown Broccoli Bake

Here's a perfect dish for a potluck or holiday buffet. It goes well with fish, poultry, pork or beef. Cheddar cheese can be substituted for Swiss. Often, I double the recipe to serve a crowd. —Jeanette Volker, Walton, Nebraska
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Sides: Sausage & Apple Overnight Casserole

For many years I’ve hosted Mother’s Day brunch. One year I didn’t make this delightfully spicy casserole and thought the family would toss me from my own house! —Dawn Vance, Geneva, Illinois
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Sides: Roasted Herbed Squash with Goat Cheese

Cooking is a hobby I'm so happy to share with my toddler. She (and all our Christmas Eve party guests) heartily approved of this new potluck favorite. Any type of winter squash works here. —Lindsay Oberhausen, Lexington, Kentucky
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Desserts: Sweet Potato Coconut Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

My grandmother's sweet potato casserole contains coconut and marshmallows. I thought it would be even better as a pie. —Simone Bazos, Baltimore, Maryland
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Desserts: Red Velvet Cake Roll

Get ready for oohs and aahs when you set this on the table. A creamy white chocolate filling rolls up beautifully inside a layer of fluffy red velvet cake. To make it extra festive, dust stripes of confectioners' sugar for a candy cane look. —Tonya Forsyth, Waurika, Oklahoma
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Desserts: Candy Cane Shortbread Bars

I created these bars for my daughter, who loves peppermint. The buttery shortbread texture just melts in your mouth. It’s a hit wherever I take it. —Susan Ciuffreda, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Desserts: Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why this cherished recipe was handed down to me by a relative. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Desserts: Flourless Chocolate Torte

Here's the perfect dessert for chocoholics—like me! I bake this melt-in-your-mouth torte all the time for special occasions. For an elegant finish, dust it with confectioners' sugar. —Kayla Albrecht, Freeport, Illinois
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Desserts: White Chocolate Christmas Torte

Talk about a scene-stealer! This raspberry-filled cake, an exceptional dessert for any meal, is an especially lovely ending for a holiday feast. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Desserts: Cranberry Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

My family loves everything cheesecake. These bars combine tart cranberries and rich cream cheese, and taste even better when chilled overnight! —Carmell Childs, Ferron, Utah
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Desserts: Hazelnut-Pear Cake

From the hazelnuts to the yummy browned butter glaze, this dessert is a little different from an everyday pound cake. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Desserts: Honey-Pecan Triangles

After stirring up batches of these tasty bar cookies for many years, I know to include plenty on cookie trays. They have all the goodness of pecan pie and are so easy to serve to a crowd. —Debbie Fogel, East Berne, New York
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Desserts: Eggnog Bread Pudding with Cranberries

My parents love this bread pudding loaded with cranberries and pecans – and it uses up leftover dinner rolls. For eggnog lovers, it makes a divine dessert. —Emily Hobbs, Springfield, Missouri
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Desserts: Maple-Glazed Cinnamon-Chip Bars

When I make these, the kitchen smells like Christmas. Cinnamon chips add fabulous flavor to the bars, and the maple glaze fancies them up a bit. —Lyndi Pilch, Springfield, Missouri
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Desserts: Pistachio Brownie Toffee Bars

These coveted brownie bars are homey and chocolaty awesome. They've been a sought-after staple on Christmas cookie trays for years. —Troy Shaw, Warrenton, Oregon
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Desserts: Mocha Fondue

At our friends’ 25th anniversary celebration, several couples had fun concocting this chocolate fondue. With fresh fruit, marshmallows, pretzels and vanilla wafers as dippers, everyone will want to dive into dessert! —Karen Boehner, Glen Elder, Kansas

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.

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