A Menu for a Beef Tenderloin Holiday Dinner

updated Dec 22, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman)

Every Christmas my family of four skips the big holiday dinner with extended family and instead opts for a small, extravagant dinner at home. A salt-domed beef tenderloin is always the centerpiece of this meal. A roast of this size gives our family of four generous leftovers, but it would also be perfect for serving a small holiday gathering of six to eight people at home. Here’s what to eat, drink, and enjoy with a beef tenderloin dinner.

The Menu + A Few Tips

Keeping this holiday dinner small means that dinner can be extra luxe. Keep pre-dinner drinks and snacks light and leave guests plenty of room for dinner and dessert. You can buy most of your dinner ingredients a week or more in advance, save for the tenderloin itself.

(Image credit: Tara Donne)

What to Drink

These smoky puff pastry stars are incredibly light and crispy. They pair well with either a simple glass of Champagne or an Arnaud’s French 75. You can mix up the lemon juice and gin for the cocktails in advance and top with Champagne as needed.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Beef tenderloin is one of the most expensive cuts of meat you can buy, and that certainly creates some fear around “messing it up.” Our beef tenderloin in a salt crust does several things to take the fear out of the most common beef tenderloin mistakes and creates a safety net of salt to protect against overcooking and under-seasoning. Plus, it’s damn impressive at the table.

(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

What to Eat: The Sides

I personally believe that beef tenderloin dinner is not complete without potatoes of some kind. You can certainly serve mashed or bake potatoes, but scalloped potatoes have a special-occasion quality about them, plus they can be assembled in advance and baked along side the roast. Creamed spinach does double duty here as both a decadently creamy side and also as a sauce of sorts for the beef. To add a punch of color to the table and balance all the richness of cream and beef, make this shredded cabbage and sweet potato slaw, which can also be made well in advance of dinner.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)


When planning this menu, I tend to waffle between keeping dessert simple with a plate of meringues or chocolate truffles to enjoy leisurely after dinner, and springing for something more decadent. So if you’re looking for a real show-stopping end to a rich dinner, chocolate pudding from scratch is near perfection. Make the pudding several days in advance and chill it in individual ramekins or cups and top with lightly sweetened whipped cream just before serving. Both kids and those young at heart at the table will enjoy every cold, creamy bite.