Plan the Perfect Christmas Dinner: Recipes, Tips, and Techniques

Welcome to your guide to the best Christmas recipes! Here, you’ll find everything you need for the festive season’s best meals. Our guide offers a range of traditional Christmas recipes, practical tips, and techniques for both seasoned cooks and beginners. Whether it’s a classic roast or something new, we’re here to help you have the most memorable Christmas dinner.

A christmas table setting with a plaid napkin and fork.

Looking for the Best Christmas Recipes?

Yes, you are in the right place for Christmas recipes! Our favorite holiday recipes, from appetizers to the perfect Christmas dinner, will make your holiday meal unforgettable. We’ve gathered classic Christmas recipes like roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and more to make preparing for Christmas dinner easy and that are sure to please a festive crowd.

To really wow your guests, try showstoppers like our smoked prime rib, butter-poached lobster, or decadent porchetta. Our detailed Christmas recipes walk you through how to prepare each dish so your holiday meal is delicious and mistake-free. With this incredible assortment, planning an incredible Christmas menu has never been easier. Keep reading for our best-loved, crowd-pleasing recipes that will make it a very merry Christmas!

Recipes for Christmas Dinner

Whether you serve Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve or your family gathers around to celebrate on Christmas Day, everyone will love these recipes.

Our Favorite Christmas Dinner Recipes

When it comes to celebrating the holidays, these are our favorite meals to prepare for our friends and family.

Helpful Tips for Planning Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is the centerpiece of the festive season, bringing family and friends together to celebrate and indulge in delicious food. To ensure your holiday meal goes off without a hitch, we have compiled a list of seven essential tips that will make your Christmas dinner unforgettable.

  1. Plan ahead:
    Avoid any last-minute stress by planning your Christmas dinner well in advance. Create a detailed menu, taking into account dietary restrictions or preferences of your guests. Make a shopping list and buy non-perishable items early to avoid crowded stores closer to the holidays.
  2. Delegate tasks:
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Assign specific responsibilities like setting the table, preparing appetizers, or baking desserts to different family members or friends attending the gathering. Sharing the workload not only eases your burden but also allows everyone to contribute their unique touch to the feast.
  3. Try new recipes cautiously:
    While it’s tempting to experiment with new dishes during the holiday season, it’s crucial not to overwhelm yourself with untested recipes on Christmas day. Opt for one or two new additions alongside traditional favorites that you know will be crowd-pleasers.
  4. Prepare some dishes in advance:
    To reduce stress on the big day, choose recipes that can be partially prepared ahead of time without compromising taste and freshness. Many side dishes, such as casseroles or mashed potatoes, can be assembled beforehand and simply baked just before serving.
  5. Don’t underestimate timing:
    Create a schedule for cooking various components of your meal so everything is ready at once and you can sit and actually enjoy Christmas dinner with your loved ones.

Holiday Roasts

Beef tenderloin is perfect for Christmas Roasts. They come out fork-tender and loaded with flavor.

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Christmas Prime Rib Dinner

The turkey may be the star of the show, but we do love the indulgence of side dishes on Thanksgiving. And tehse are the recipes our table won’t be without.

Christmas Turkey Recipes

Girl Carnivore Pro Tip

Depending on how many guests you’re planning for, you may want to cook two turkeys just to have leftovers. If this is the case, it’s 100% ok to cook a turkey the day before.

What is served for a traditional Christmas dinner?

Here are some of the traditional dishes served at Christmas dinners in the United States:

  • Roast Turkey, Ham, Beef or Duck
  • Dressing/Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Roasted Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes
  • Cookies, Trifles, and Cakes
  • Mulled wine, Eggnog, and so many Cocktails
  • Charcuterie boards, Finger foods, and other appetizers

Christmas Appetizer Recipes


Plan for holiday wine pairings. Plan for 1 bottle of wine per person if serving throughout the multi-course meal. For just the main dinner, plan for 1 bottle per 3 guests. Or more, depending on your lively relatives.

  • Offer a mix of red and white wines to complement different dishes. Popular Christmas dinner wine varieties include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Chardonnay.
  • Provide a few extra bottles for pre-dinner signature cocktails and mulled wine, plus more wine to offer seconds during dinner.
  • Chill some sparkling wine or champagne for celebratory pre-dinner toasts.
  • Get an extra bottle of white wine for the gravy, holiday stuffing, and other recipes you may need it for.

When is it too early to bust out the eggnog and mulled wine?

  • As far as we’re concerned. the moment Mariah Carey is singing about all she wants for Christmas, all bets are off.

Our Favorite Christmas Cocktails:

Holiday Grilling

Take the feast outside and save room in the oven for pie (or smoke those too)

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A christmas table setting with a green napkin and forks.

How to Set a Christmas Table

Not as common as it once was, setting a formal table for Christmas dinner may be a little old-fashioned. But there’s something about it that makes the holiday seem a little more magic. Setting a beautiful Christmas table creates a welcoming atmosphere and provides guests with what they need in the right spot. It elevates an ordinary dinner to something special and makes the meal you worked hard on seem that much more festive. Oh, and the Instagrammer in your life will love taking pictures of your hard work.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Place the dinner plate in the center of the placemats. Nestle salad plate and soup bowl on top, if serving those courses.
  2. Put Christmas-themed napkins to the left of the plates.
  3. Arrange utensils on either side of the plates—forks on the left, knives/spoons on the right.
  4. Set water and wine glasses above and to the right of the knives.
  5. Add decorative touches like candles, festive holiday greenery, salt/pepper, and name cards.

Utensil Placement Tips

Remember “outside in” – start with the salad fork furthest out since the first course. “Right for knife,” – most use the knife in their dominant hand. Make sure you plan your courses ahead so you know what utensils are needed on the table.

Common Mistakes

Although we love looking at a beautiful table as much as the next person, we recommend sitting down in a chair to see what it will look like for your guests. Overcrowding can make the table cluttered and it hard for everyone to talk to one another (which may also be a strategy depending on who you’ve invited). Minimize the height/width of items so guests can see each other.

With a perfectly set Christmas table, you’re ready to serve a wonderful holiday feast!

Shop our Christmas Table

Check out all of our essenital tools, plates, and table settings.

Christmas Brunch Ideas

If Christmas brunch is more your style, here are some must try recipes!

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