The 31 Best Recipes to Cook This December

published Dec 1, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

December is a month marked by festive and cozy food, and we’re here with some serious recipe hits to help ensure the weeks ahead are no exception for you.

It’s a month for holiday cookies (for gifting and for yourself!), make-ahead breakfast casseroles for festive brunches (try a Brie and mushroom strata for something savory or overnight French toast if you prefer something sweet), fast and fancy appetizers (like make-ahead gougères, impressive holiday-worthy dinners (think: balsamic and brown sugar brisket and herby slow-roasted salmon), and of course, easy weeknight dinners (like Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup). Oh, and if you need a last-minute homemade gift, you can never go wrong with sweet and salty chocolate Sprankles.

Beyond the cookies and festive dinners, it’s a month for cozying up with hearty pots of soup, simple skillet dinners, and make-ahead breakfasts. We have all of that and so much more. Because we want you to have a positively delicious December, here are 31 our favorite ideas to inspire your cooking (and baking!) all month long.

1 / 31
Pork and Green Chile Tamales

At the top of Executive Editor, Adriana's, must-make list this month are these pork and salsa verde tamales from Lesley Téllez. And if you're new to making tamales at home, this step-by-step guide walks you through everything (including instructions for freezing and reheating).

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2 / 31
Ricotta Cookies

Ricotta cookies are fluffy, lightly sweet, and full of Italian American bakery vibes.

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3 / 31
Brie & Mushroom Breakfast Strata

This breakfast casserole feels a little extra, and is perfect for Christmas brunch or a New Year's breakfast. Stratas are best when made a day ahead, so the bread has ample time to soak up the savory custard, which means all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven.

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4 / 31
Make-Ahead Gougères

The secret to being the hostess with the mostest? Gougères in your freezer. These are Senior Contributing Editor Kelli's go-to whenever she has people over. "I plan to make a batch this weekend, then I can pull them out whenever friends pop over. And if I'm feeling extra fancy, I might just fill them with a little béchamel."

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5 / 31

December is a great time for a hot bowl of gumbo, and Senior Food Editor, Megan, is excited to dig into this warming pot.

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6 / 31
Gingerbread Blondies

"I know I developed these spiced, white chocolate-studed blondies myself," Senior Contributing Editor Sheela tells me, "but I am just very excited to bake them again!"

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7 / 31
Air Fryer Latkes

These super-simple air fryer latkes — made with grated potatoes, onion, matzo meal, and eggs — are just as crispy and delicious as traditional fried latkes.

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8 / 31
Sweet and Salty Chocolate Sprinkle Mix

If you're looking for a last-minute homemade gift, these sweet and salty chocolate sprinkles are beloved by many and beyond easy.

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9 / 31
Chocolate Trifle

After it was such a hit with her family last year, Production Editor, Tracey, cannot wait to make this trifle for the holidays again this year. "The hardest part about it was making sure we had enough room in fridge to store it!"

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10 / 31
Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Buttery shortbread and sticky-sweet caramel collide in one irresistible thumprint cookie.
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11 / 31
Raspberry Cookie Butter Baked Oatmeal

After sampling Biscoff-infused donuts, cookies, and other treats at various cafes in Korea, Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine, is ready to get cooking with Biscoff at home. "For a cozy breakfast, I can't wait to make this raspberry cookie butter baked oatmeal."

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12 / 31
Grilled Beef Tenderloin

If beef tenderloin is your go-to main for Christmas dinner, take it to the grill this year! You get tender meat inside, plus browned deliciousness on the outside.

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13 / 31
Christmas Funfetti Bar Cookies

If you have a sprinkle-lover in your house, these easy bars are a fun holiday baking project to make with kids.

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14 / 31
Wild Mushroom Tart

Serving savory puff pastry tarts as an appetizer is a no-brainer this time of year.

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15 / 31
Overnight French Toast Recipe
Prep the night before and once you wake up and bake, be rewarded by thickly sliced brioche bread soaked in luscious custard and topped with a crunchy, spice-kissed streusel topping.
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16 / 31
Oven-Cooked Bacon

A tray of bacon is a good idea on Christmas morning. This foolproof method is simple, hands-off, and yields extra-crispy bacon every time.

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17 / 31
Persian Eggs

During this time of year, in between the holiday madness, Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela craves simple meals that skirt the line between wholesome and decadent — and these Persian eggs check off all those boxes, and then some. While it's traditionally a breakfast dish, she loves it most for dinner.

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18 / 31
Teddy's Black Bean Soup
This classic Cuban soup is rich with garlic, oregano, and cumin, and brightened with a few generous splashes of cider vinegar.
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19 / 31
Cranberry-Glazed Chewy Almond Cookies

Naturally gluten-free (100% almond flour) and wildly easy to make (just stir, roll, and bake), these chewy cookies are scented with cardamom and lemon zest, and topped with the most delicious and stunning sweet-tart glaze.

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20 / 31
Pomegranate Molasses-Roasted Skillet Chicken

Executive Food Director, Nina, is really excited to make this pomegranate molasses glazed chicken with potatoes. "It's quick and easy, and also impressive ... so a triple-threat!"

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21 / 31
Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil & Herbs

Herby slow-roasted salmon is easy enough to pull off on a weeknight and impressive enough for a holiday celebration.

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22 / 31
Brussels Sprout Melts

If you're like Lifestyle Editor, Mara, and looking for something unexpected to do with Brussels sprouts, follow her lead and try this riff on the melt.

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23 / 31
Easy Lasagna

This lasagna is about as low-lift as you can get while still achieving cheesy, crowd-pleasing results.

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24 / 31
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This classic Mexican chicken soup, with plenty of colorful topping options to choose from, is the perfect way to warm up on a cold December day.

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25 / 31
Balsamic and Brown Sugar Brisket

This holiday-worthy brisket recipe, from Leah Koenig's Little Book of Jewish Feasts, adds brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the braising liquid, resulting in deep flavor and caramelized edges.

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26 / 31
Cranberry Orange Muffins

'Tis the season for all things cranberry. This is what to make with that bag of cranberries that's still sitting in your fridge.

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27 / 31
Antipasto Platter

This abundant Italian spread of cured meat, cheese, marinated vegetables, and more is the ultimate way to kick off a meal.

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28 / 31
Pummelo, Fennel, and Radish Salad

This bright and crunchy salad is a stunner on any holiday table, and easy enough to pull together for weeknight dinner. Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli loves it spooned it over a bed of farro or quinoa for a feel-good lunch.

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29 / 31
French Onion Skillet Gnocchi
Savory caramelized onions meet melty Gruyère cheese and crispy pan-fried gnocchi in this ultra-cozy skillet dinner.
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30 / 31
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
These decadent double chocolate chip cookies are soft, chewy, and abundantly chocolate-y.
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31 / 31
Blood Orange French 75
This twist on the classic French 75 is refreshing and lightly fizzy with a hint of sweetness. You’ll get about 8 to 10 drinks in this pitcher, so depending on how many people you’ve got coming over, you can easily double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd. 
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