Ina Garten's Holiday Menu Is Packed with Mouthwatering Appetizers We Can't Wait to Try

Plus, a big-batch cocktail we'll be mixing up ASAP.

Ina Garten on a designed background
Photo: Getty Images

It's the holiday season, which means it's time to haul out the holly, hang up the stockings and figure out what, exactly, you're bringing to the potluck. Maybe there's a tried and true finger food you bring every year or a cocktail you're planning to stir up for everyone—or maybe you're in the market for a change of pace this holiday season.

For folks in the market for a new holiday recipe, you can't go wrong looking to the authority in entertaining herself, Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa always has the most luxe and delicious holiday menus, whether they include a cheesy, savory bread pudding on Thanksgiving or a fruity dessert for Valentine's Day—and the winter holiday season is no exception. If, like the rest of us, you don't anticipate getting an invite to one of Ina's holiday soirées, you can at least bring a little bit of her style to your own get-together. The Food Network host took over the TODAY show's second hour on Thursday to unveil her go-to recipes for holiday hosting, and we've rounded up all the dishes in question so you can replicate them on your own.

Ina Garten's Holiday Menu

Fig and Goat Cheese Toasts

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These glamorous little crostini come from Garten's Modern Comfort Food, and they tend to show up whenever Ina's throwing a bash. They even starred in Ina's Thanksgiving menu for this year. They're an easy addition to any spread, since all you need is six ingredients and a pretty serving dish to make them sing. These toasts get double the fig flavor from fresh figs and a slathering of fig spread, which Garten recommends over fig jam or preserves, since it usually has less sugar. No matter what you pick, be sure to follow her expert advice and aim for something thick, so it's easy to spread the goat cheese or cream cheese on top off it.

Croissants with Smoked Salmon

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Here's something a little heartier for an evening of heavy hors d'oeuvres. This recipe was inspired by one of Ina's favorite restaurant dishes, a smoked salmon and mascarpone croissant from La Mercerie in New York. Ina says the stuffed pastry is "like a bagel and lox that took a trip to Paris," which is more than enough to make us want to dig in. The croissant also includes minced chives, capers, baby arugula and optional sliced red onion. If there are other bagel toppings you love—like scallions, sliced avocado, cucumber or even tomato slices—you could always add them to the mix, or leave them in bowls on the side for guests to add whatever they want.

Chipotle Cheddar Crackers

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We've heard about keeping slice-and-bake cookie dough on hand for a sweet treat—it's the go-to dessert that our nutrition editor always has on hand—but slice-and-bake crackers are a game-changer. The dough has just five ingredients: butter, cheddar, flour, chipotle powder and sea salt. Use plain ol' kosher salt in the dough and sprinkle sea salt on the crackers before they go into the oven for an extra pinch of flavor. Ina says she likes to make the dough ahead and keep it in the refrigerator for any unexpected guests. Once the crackers are sliced and on a lined baking sheet, they're done and ready to eat in as little as 15 minutes.

Cranberry Martinis

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We can always count on Ina for a simple, richly colored cocktail to make our days merry and bright. This pretty option includes a simple syrup made with orange zest and fresh cranberries to add a tart-sweet seasonal twist to an old favorite. It's a big-batch option that's perfect for hands-off serving, so there's no need to put someone on shaker duty. And to make matters even simpler, Ina says you can mix up a pitcher of this drink and keep it in the fridge for three days—that's especially delicious news if you end up with leftovers. For a full chorus of ruby-colored beverages, add Ina's Pomegranate Gimlets to your menu and get the party started.

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