christmas

Our 70 Best Christmas Dinner Ideas That’ll Get Everyone Into the Holiday Spirit

updated Nov 21, 2023
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Credit: Olive & Mango

Is anyone else in disbelief that it’s almost Christmas already? I say let this be the year that you mix up the menu a bit, or trade in your usual turkey or ham for something new, like a pork loin or a mushroom Wellington. I like the idea of this year’s meal having a festive start with a fast and fancy appetizer (I’m looking at you, bacon-wrapped dates!) and finishing off with an indulgent Christmas dessert, like eggnog custards or a cranberry tart.

The only rule is that there are no rules. Here are 70 of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your holiday home feel special.

Traditional Christmas Dinner

If you love sticking with tradition, you can’t go wrong with any of these classic Christmas dinner ideas.

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Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Here's why beef tenderloin is superb for the grill: you get tender meat inside plus browned deliciousness on the outside.
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2 / 16
Slow Cooker Roast Beef
It's special enough to serve as a main during the holidays or a date night at home, yet totally doable for a mid-week family dinner.
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3 / 16
Dorie Greenspan's Herb-Butter Chicken
There’s something so deeply satisfying about roasting a chicken. It's homey and comforting, but also feels special enough for a holiday meal.
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4 / 16
Brown Sugar & Mustard Glazed Ham
This spiral-cut ham shellacked in a sweet and tangy brown sugar-Dijon glaze is sure to be the star of the show. And the leftovers are even better.
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5 / 16
Sheet Pan Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts
Garlicky beef tenderloin roasted with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are a meal worthy of a special occasion. Best of all, it all comes together on a sheet pan.
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6 / 16
Roast Leg of Lamb
If a hearty roast is what you're after, but prefer to skip the turkey and ham, leg of lamb is a nice choice. Here's everything you need to know about cooking one.
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7 / 16
Roasted Rosemary and Garlic Pork Loin and Potatoes
A juicy pork loin doesn’t require a whole lot of fuss for it to be delicious, so we’re keeping things simple with a classic rub of garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
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8 / 16
Slow-Cooked Boeuf Bourguignon
Make boeuf bourguignon once and you’ll wonder why anyone ever bothers making anything else.
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9 / 16
Slow Cooker Maple & Dijon Pot Roast
Creamy stone-ground grits provide a perfect foil for the savory gravy, while maple-roasted carrots add just a hint of sweet.
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10 / 16
Standing Rib Roast
This standing rib roast will bring the wow factor to any special occasion.
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Classic Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker
Let’s talk about falling back in love with a classic dish. When is the last time you made a classic beef brisket?
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Bourbon-Glazed Roast Turkey
Want to go beyond basic roast turkey? Use a brown sugar and orange compound butter and a bourbon whiskey glaze.
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Black Pepper & Maple Roast Turkey
Spicy black pepper and sweet maple syrup mix together in a compound butter to flavor this easy roast turkey.
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Ina Garten's Cider-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Roasted Plum Chutney
While the big flavors of the pork can stand on their own, a roasted plum chutney complements the dish and gives it that extra-special touch.
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15 / 16
Balsamic and Brown Sugar Brisket
This holiday-worthy brisket recipe adds brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the braising liquid, resulting in deep flavor and caramelized edges.
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16 / 16
Beef Wellington Recipe
A showstopper entrée of tender beef wrapped in mushroom paste and crispy, buttery puff pastry.
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Christmas Dinner for Two

Just the two of you? Even better. Make something special and treat yourselves.

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Cornish Hen
Whether you’re looking for a festive main for your small Thanksgiving dinner, or want to have a date night in (including the kids), Cornish hens are just the thing.
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Individual Pot Roasts with Thyme-Glazed Carrots
Individual-sized pieces of beef cook much more quickly, but still have that melting, slow-cooked quality.
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Sage-Brined Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Glaze
These tender pork chops glazed with brown sugar are so easy and so simple.
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4 / 12
Instant Pot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
Cook up tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich gravy in less than hour with an Instant Pot.
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5 / 12
Duck Breast with Pomegranate Citrus Glaze
This duck recipe is all about the simple, quick glaze — a mix of intensely tangy pomegranate molasses, fresh citrus, and spices.
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6 / 12
Crispy, Cheesy Sheet Pan Pork Chops
Inspired by shake 'n bake pork chops, this nostalgic throwback is turned into a sheet pan supper will the help of Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs
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7 / 12
Baked Scallops
Buttery breadcrumbs turn simple baked scallops into a dinner that's extra special.
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8 / 12
Crispy Chicken Thighs & Warm Bread Salad
Remember, cooking a special holiday dinner does not have to be complicated. Here's your proof.
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9 / 12
Low-Tech Sous-Vide Salmon with Herb Butter
Do you have an oven, a thermometer, and a Dutch oven or roasting rack? Then you can make sous-vide salmon.
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10 / 12
Broiled Steak & Asparagus with Feta Cream Sauce
Meaty sirloin tip steak, asparagus, and a creamy feta and chives sauce make for a perfect dinner.
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11 / 12
One Pan Steelhead Trout with Lemon Garlic Angel Hair Pasta
A one-pan fish and pasta meal that's easy on the wallet and stuns on the table to boot.
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12 / 12
Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach & Cheese

Spinach, two kinds of cheese, and garlic come together here to stuff golden chicken breasts with a flavorful, cheesy filling.

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Easy Christmas Dinner

Here are some of our easiest dinner recipes that are Christmas-appropriate, and won’t have you on your feet all day.

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Instant Pot Roast Beef
For impeccably tender roast beef, skip the oven and go straight to the Instant Pot.
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2 / 12
Instant Pot Brisket
This classic sweet and tangy brisket cooks in a fraction of the time thanks to the electric pressure cooker.
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3 / 12
Juicy & Tender Roasted Pork Loin
When you don’t want turkey for another holiday dinner, hit the reset button with an easy-yet-stunning juicy roast pork loin.
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4 / 12
Honey-Glazed Ham in the Slow Cooker
Besides tasting much better than a ham baked in the oven, cooking the ham in the slow cooker eliminates some of the challenges of serving it alongside your holiday roast.
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5 / 12
Slow Cooker Smoky BBQ Turkey
Inspired by classic BBQ chicken, lean turkey breast is infused with deep smoky flavors, slow-cooked until juicy, & finished with a slick of tangy sauce.
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6 / 12
Sweet & Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket
Be sure to serve this meaty brisket with rice, couscous, or a thick chunk of bread on the side to mop the extra sauce and you will not be sorry.
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7 / 12
Salt-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Whether you know this technique as a salt dome or a salt crust, covering a tender cut of meat or fish with a paste of egg whites and kosher salt makes for perfect tenderloin.
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8 / 12
Tender and Juicy Instant Pot Pork Chops
If you’ve been on the hunt for a pork chop that is fork-tender, incredibly juicy, and full of flavor, stop right here.
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9 / 12
Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker
Slow-cooking turkey breast gives the perennially dry white meat time to soak up a rich herb butter, making for a juicy, tender slice.
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10 / 12
Sheet Pan Pork Loin with Herb Potatoes and Vegetables
Pork loin is rubbed with a garlicky compound butter, then roasted alongside herby potatoes, green beans, and wild mushrooms for an easy one-pan dinner.
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11 / 12
Instant Pot Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
It won't come out with a crispy, crackling skin like it would from the oven, but the convenience and speed make up for it.
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12 / 12
Instant Pot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
Cook up tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich gravy in less than hour with an Instant Pot.
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Vegetarian Christmas Dinner

No meat, no problem. From cauliflower to mushrooms, we’ve got recipes for your meat-free Christmas dinner.

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Vegan Risotto
A simple and flavorful risotto without the dairy.
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Mushroom Wellington
This vegetarian version of the classic beef Wellington will please everyone at the table, thanks to three kinds of earthy mushrooms and plenty of savory herbs.
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Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
This recipe has all the hallmarks of a good shepherd’s pie, but it’s completely vegan — and includes a secret ingredient that adds body and creaminess to the filling, without any cream.
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4 / 16
Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin Masterpiece
Stuff and bake a whole pumpkin with cornbread, mushrooms, and kale to serve as a vegetarian entrée for Thanksgiving and beyond.
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5 / 16
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
These weeknight-friendly vegetarian stuffed peppers are packed with protein in the form of black beans and brown rice.
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6 / 16
Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce
A rustic yet elegant dish that begs for some robust white bread and pita, and promises to feel like food heaven.
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7 / 16
Mixed Mushroom and Goat Cheese Popover Bake
Thyme-scented mushrooms, slivers of red onion, and goat cheese turn a light and airy popover into an impress holiday main.
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8 / 16
Stuffed & Roasted Squash
Take advantage of the abundance of winter squash and make it the star of dinner.
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9 / 16
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This vegan mac and "cheese" uses butternut squash as a substitute for cheese. It also gets a spicy kick from chipotles in adobo.
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10 / 16
Onion and Mushroom Tart
This vegetarian tart has vinegar-roasted onions, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese, making it a great appetizer for a group, or a dinner for two when served with a side salad.
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11 / 16
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Roasting a whole head of cauliflower is super easy to prepare, but looks so impressive. This holiday-worthy version is slathered in an herby butter and served with a rich onion gravy.
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12 / 16
Mushroom Stroganoff
This vegetarian version of classic stroganoff is just as meaty, rich, and comforting as the original.
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13 / 16
Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric, and Cumin
The humble cauliflower might not seem like the most exciting vegetable, but cut one into thick slabs and roast it with spices, and you can transform it into quite the fine dish.
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14 / 16
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese, the mushrooms are surprisingly filling.
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15 / 16
Classic Vegetarian Nut Loaf
Ah, nut loaf. Not the sexiest-sounding main dish, but that hardly matters once you’ve taken a bite. Rich, chewy, umami-loaded and very satisfying, nut loaf has won the hearts and palates of many people — even non-vegetarians.
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Goat Cheese Tart with Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Caramelized Onions
Goat cheese tarts are ubiquitous as the vegetarian option but this is no ordinary goat cheese tart.
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Christmas Dinner Side Dishes

It may be controversial, but sides dishes are just as important as the main dish. Here are some excellent side dishes to choose from.

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Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts
This vegetable side is a mash-up of cacio e pepe and crispy roasted Brussels sprouts.
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2 / 14
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans
Green beans with bacon get a glow-up.
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3 / 14
Classic Creamy Mac and Cheese
This decadent macaroni and cheese features four types of cheese and a buttery breadcrumb topping.
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4 / 14
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
Halfway through roasting Brussels sprouts how you normally would — high heat and on a preheated baking sheet for optimal caramelization — you’ll shower the pan with a whole cup of Parmesan cheese.
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The Best Mashed Potatoes
Here's our recipe for how to make the best classic mashed potatoes, with recommendations for potato type, dairy additions, and mashing methods.
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6 / 14
Roasted Delicata Squash
This basic recipe results in the very best roasted delicata squash that's perfectly tender and caramelized.
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7 / 14
10-Minute Miso Broccolini
Broccolini has an earthiness and sweet, grassy flavor making it an ideal candidate for getting tossed with savory, umami-rich miso paste.
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Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Side dishes shouldn't be too stressful to prepare. We love these hasselback sweet potatoes for their simplicity and ease.
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9 / 14
Roasted Garlic Butter Fingerling Potatoes
A mixture of olive oil and butter to gives these roasted potatoes a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth quality.
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10 / 14
Jiffy Corn Casserole
Thanks to a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, this corn casserole comes together quickly and is a perfect side dish for any meal.
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Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates
With a base of hearty red cabbage, shredded kale, and farro this salad can easily be made days in advance without wilting.
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Collard Greens
These collard greens are flavorful without being too salty. All you need is ham hock, two big bunches of collard greens, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes for heat.
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13 / 14
Blistered Green Beans with Pickled Shallots and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Fresh green beans are stir-fried until blistered, then tossed with tangy pickled shallots and topped with crunchy, salty breadcrumbs.
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14 / 14
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
Roasted asparagus is a quick and easy side dish for any night of the week. Add a little Parmesan and garlic to the mix and you have some crave-worthy veggies that take practically no time to whip up.
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