124 Jingle Bell-Rockin’ Christmas Dinner Ideas
After the morning mayhem of gifts (and perhaps a mid-afternoon nap), there's just one more present left to open: Christmas dinner. Build the perfect holiday menu from these special recipes.
Healthier, better-tasting meals are easier than you think with help from Yummly! Try it free now.
Porchetta recipe above by Chef Daniel Holzman. Photograph by Olga Ivanova
(Want more Christmas recipes and tips? Check out our big Yummly Christmas page!)
For food-loving families across the globe, there's nothing like coming together around the table for a Christmas feast. Once you've snacked on your favorite appetizers, these holiday dinner ideas will make sure no one is left hungry. If anyone still has room, finish off your meal with one of these dazzling Christmas desserts or a plate of your favorite Christmas cookies. Then, when all is said and done (and eaten), go ahead and take that long winter's nap.
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This is the main event! Make your dinner menu special with one of these show-stopping entrees. And get perfect results with the Yummly Smart Thermometer.
Roast beef recipes:
You just can't go wrong with a prime rib for all the meat-eaters in your life. Dramatic, tender, and easy to cook, it's the perfect Christmas main dish. You can serve it with horseradish cream if you're looking for something a little extra. For more on how to cook roast beef, as well as recipes for beef tenderloin, standing rib roast, eye of round roast, and top of round roast, be sure to check out our article How To Cook A Perfect Roast Beef.
Beef tenderloin recipes:
Beef tenderloin is a classic Christmas cut that never fails to impress. Try this ultra-tender meat slow-roasted, with a mushroom sauce on the side. Or coat it with the chopped mushroom mixture known as duxelles, then wrap it in puff pastry to create the savory masterpiece, beef Wellington.
Beef short rib recipes:
Rich flavors of beer, soy, and beefy short ribs meld in a Dutch oven to create this first decadent dish. Serve tender, meaty short ribs with polenta, mashed potatoes, or pasta to soak up the flavorful juices.
Tropical pineapple and rum team up with tangy lemon juice, caramel-rich brown sugar, and allspice for depth in a memorable glaze for this ham. The recipe, which serves up to 14, calls for a bone-in, unsliced ham. In the next recipes, you have options for unsliced and spiral-cut hams.
Rack of lamb recipes:
A frenched rack of lamb makes a gorgeous dinner table display when decked out on a platter with pomegranates and chestnuts. The individual chops melt in your mouth for the ultimate Christmas treat.
Lamb shank recipes:
Long, slow braises are the secret to creating succulent, melt-in-the-mouth lamb shanks that fall off the bone. Be sure to get a nice thick balsamic vinegar for this first recipe, which includes red wine, rosemary, and garlic.
Pork roast recipes:
A pork roast makes an elegant centerpiece for your winter meal without the expense of a large roast beef. To create the easy-carve Italian dish called porchetta, you'll debone, butterfly, and season your roast with plenty of garlic and fennel, then roll and tie it. Follow along in the how-to video with chef Daniel Holzman!
Roast turkey recipes:
Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving; in fact, a roast turkey is traditional Christmas fare in many countries outside of the United States. And why not? Herb-butter roasted turkey tastes great, feeds a crowd, and brings a festive, bountiful look to your meal.
Turkey breast recipes:
Making a bone-in or boneless turkey breast saves you the hassle of roasting a whole bird, and it cooks faster, too. Try it with lemon, butter, garlic, and herbs, as in this first easy recipe. Or consider wrapping it in Italian bacon (pancetta), or seasoning in another style.
Cornish hen recipes:
Good things come in small Christmas packages, right? That's certainly true for these Cornish game hens, which are a great option for an intimate dinner. While they're as easy to make as a roast chicken, having a whole bird for each guest feels decidedly decadent.
Vegetarian and vegan main dishes
Whether you're vegetarian, on a special diet, or just love to mix things up, meat doesn't have to be the center of attention when you cook up one of these memorable main dishes. For more options, check out the pasta and rice main dishes below.
Nut loaf recipes:
If you want a meatless main that's special enough for Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve dinner), look no further than this nut loaf. Made with earthy mushrooms, roasted nuts, rich cheese, and brown rice, the recipe delivers with celebratory flavors as well as beautiful presentation.
While gnocchi are made from potatoes, they typically also include flour to bind the dumplings together, so be sure to buy a gluten-free brand if you're trying to accommodate any celiac diets (or make your own if you're feeling ambitious!).
Vegan centerpiece recipes:
This healthy seasonal dish is bursting with flavors (and cranberries). Hearty enough for a main and delightful as a side, this vegan dish fits right in at the Christmas table.
Savory galette recipes:
A stunning meatless main dish, the mushroom and ricotta galette is made with a flaky puff pastry and Gruyere, a rich Swiss cheese.
Roasted cauliflower recipes:
If you want a dramatic vegetarian centerpiece, this recipe will certainly do the trick. While veggie-based, it's decadent with dairy: The sauce features cream cheese, heavy cream, feta, and goat cheese. To serve, slice the cauliflower into steaks and top with the whipped cheese.
Stuffed squash recipes:
Acorn squash loaded up with savory quinoa, pecans, and vegetables add a festive flair to your table. This nutty, sweet, and savory dish makes a satisfying and delicious vegan main course, but you don't have to be vegan to love it.
Pasta and rice main dishes
When you start with pasta or rice and then add vegetables, cheese, meat, or seafood, you wind up with a Christmas dinner recipe (or Christmas Eve recipe!) that's fancy and comforting all at once. As a bonus, stretching the protein food with some tasty carbs is a less expensive way to serve a crowd than a roast, say.
Lasagna is a tradition at many holiday meals ... and with good reason! This spinach version sports Christmas colors, feeds 12 people, and is easy on both your waistline and your wallet.
Pasta pie (or cake!) recipes:
Once again, we prove that pasta can be anything but ordinary. Layered with a homemade red sauce with meat as well as golden brown cheese, this rigatoni pie baked in a springform pan is sure to let all your guests know that this is a special meal.
Creamy risotto never fails to please. This first version is vegan, with white wine and mushrooms. The next options add in a little bacon, seafood, or cheese.
Christmas dinner sides
When the side dishes are this satisfying, you might not need much room on your plate for the entree. The challenge, of course, is trying not to make too many side dishes.
Root vegetable recipes:
You can't help but eat this beautiful dish with your eyes. Luckily, you can also put it on your plate, where you get to eat the beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and Gruyere the old-fashioned way.
Green bean recipes:
Verdant green beans are always a welcome, cheery sight on a winter table. Lemon zest and juice add a delicate tang and livens up the crunchy dusting of buttery, garlicky panko breadcrumbs.
Brussels sprouts recipes:
Simple or sumptuous? You have options when it comes to Brussels sprouts for your green holiday dish! This first recipe is a great choice if you're looking for easy Christmas dinner recipes. Just toss the vegetables with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic, and roast. The next recipes add in some additional seasonings.
Roasted and mashed potato recipes:
Potatoes are always a crowd-pleaser. This year, will it be roasted potatoes with rosemary and olive oil; creamy, flavorful mashed potatoes; or both?
Blanketed in a creamy, cheesy sauce, gratins always feel festive. This potato gratin is topped with Manchego cheese for a sophisticated take on the traditional gratin — and an extra touch of elegance.
This pretty salad brings some exciting flavors and bright colors to your meal. Romanesco, a cruciferous vegetable that tastes like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, is seasoned simply with garlic, capers, and lemon. This dish gets better with marinating time, so consider it a perfect make-ahead recipe.
Pomegranates and pistachios bring the colors of Christmas to your holiday table in these maple-syrup-kissed carrots. Miso paste adds a depth of flavor that makes this dish a real stunner.
A light and refreshing spinach salad is always a welcome contrast to hearty roasts and heavy casseroles. Take advantage of holiday season flavors of pecans and cranberries for this easy and colorful addition to your Christmas menu.
White wine and Italian seasonings are the perfect accents for these elegant breadcrumb-studded beauties. Lovely to look at and tasty to eat, stuffed artichokes make any meal a little more special.
Holiday bread recipes
Christmas dinner wouldn't be complete without a feathery, soft bread roll or other carby side. Perfect for soaking up extra sauce on your plate or slathering with spiced or herby butter, these bread recipes add so much to a Christmas menu.
Savory pull-apart bread recipes:
Pull-apart breads are fun to make, fun to grab, and fun to eat! This stuffed and shaped version looks impressive, but features store-bought pizza dough and pesto sauce so you can focus on shaping. Our guided video recipe makes it easy.
Milk- or butter-rich bread recipes:
This Japanese bread is soft and light with the barest hint of sweetness on the top. Perfect for sopping up juices from a roast, with butter, or eaten just as-is, one thing is certain —these rolls won't stick around for long.
Favorite holiday cocktails
Treat yourself to a holiday cocktail for extra warm holiday vibes. And for a fun activity with guests, check out Yummly users' favorite cocktails state by state.
Festive cocktail recipes:
At the end of all that cooking, even Santa's star elf wants to kick back and join the family and guests for a treat! Pomegranate seeds, fresh pineapple, citrus, and apple bring Christmas cheer to this rum- and sparkling wine-based punch.
And for dessert?
What are some good desserts for Christmas dinner? Check out these holiday treat articles on Yummly: