50+ Best Christmas Dinner Ideas


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Ready to give your Christmas dinner some oomph? I’ve rounded up festive finger foods, the best veggie-heavy sides, and unique sweets and drinks to get you in that joyful mood. I’ve also got a few ideas for the most satisfying mains that also present as beautiful centerpieces on your holiday dinner table.

Cooked prime rib standing in pan.

For me, Christmas day itself is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a day full of family, friends and memorable nostalgic feelings. But come Christmas dinner – we’re all looking forward to a night filled with the best holiday foods. I’m talking slices of meltingly tender prime rib, cheesy stuffed mushrooms, honey-glazed carrots, and festive drinks to keep the party going.

Aside from the classics though, these Christmas dinner ideas will veer you into some new, exciting directions. Not a turkey or prime rib fan? Swap your main for juicy pork chops or spatchcock chicken. Want to give side dishes an upgrade? Get creative with different mashed, roasted, and sauteed veggies. Looking for a new dessert to impress the crowd? There’s plenty of that here. However you envision your Christmas dinner – plan for the best with a selection from the recipes below!

Slices of beef tenderloin on a plate.

The Best Classic Christmas Dinner Ideas

There’s no better feeling than cooking up succulent, meaty mains for the holidays. And while they seem intimidating, I’ll show you step-by-step just how easy they are to make with helpful tips within each recipe. Now the question is – which one will you be making this year?

  • Prime Rib: This garlic-crusted prime rib drizzled with a red wine au jus will satisfy all the beefy lovers around the table. Better yet, this no-fail recipe will ensure crazy good results to impress your guests.
  • Beef Tenderloin: Not gonna lie, this may be the most tender meat you will ever have. Oh, and don’t forget the horseradish sauce – it makes all the difference.
  • Easy Roasted Turkey: Believe it or not, this roasted turkey doesn’t need any basting or covering. It’s super simple and you’ll end up with the juiciest, most perfectly cooked turkey ever.
  • Honey Baked Ham: Skip the store-bought ham and make it at home! As long as you’ve got the temperature, time, and this insanely good glaze down – it’s a foolproof holiday centerpiece.
  • Maple Orange Glazed Spatchcock Turkey: Switch up your turkey routine with the new spatchcock trend. It ensures even cooking every time, plus the maple orange glaze gives the turkey a sweet and savory touch.
Apple cider sage pork chops in a skillet

Unique Christmas Dinner Ideas (That Aren’t Turkey or Prime Rib)

Turkey and prime rib are the classics that you can expect every year. So why not have some fun and switch up the traditions? Opt for juicy pork chops cooked with apples, or turkey meatballs doused in a heavenly maple mustard sauce.

  • Pork Tenderloin: If you’re not making beef tenderloin, this pork version is runner-up with that delicious honey garlic glaze!
  • Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops: This is for all the pork lovers at Christmas dinner. The pork chops are brined in apple cider, and seared to a crusty brown with apples and sage. Now that’s how you make pork chops shine!
  • Slow Cooker Pot Roast: If you’re limited on time but need a bangin’ main, this pot roast recipe does it all. It serves up the most tender chuck roast and perfectly cooked, chunky vegetables.
  • Easy Roast Chicken: Nail the perfect roasted chicken with this simple, but oh so delicious recipe!
  • Filet Mignon: This foolproof recipe makes dinner at home extra special, and the results are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
  • Beef Brisket: This easy oven-braised brisket is infused with sweet and smoky flavor.
Turkey meatballs in a pan with maple mustard sauce with a spoon.
  • Braised Short Ribs: This easy “set it and forget it” short ribs recipe results in insanely succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat. .
  • Turkey Meatballs: These meatballs simmered in a maple mustard sauce are a new reader favorite! Tons of people made this for Thanksgiving and absolutely loved it. So, of course I had to add it to this list of Christmas dinner ideas.
  • Shrimp Scampi: For lighter fare, it’s hard to beat seafood and this shrimp scampi recipe for a quick-and-easy Christmas dinner.
  • Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken: This spatchcock chicken gives your average roast chicken a whole new vibe with delicious lemon garlic flavor, juicy insides, and perfectly browned skin.
A white plate of stuffed mushrooms next to cilantro.

Festive Holiday Appetizers Everyone Will Love

Finger foods are a must for the holidays. From rich and creamy dips to deviled eggs every which way, there are a lot of options to choose from. But here are a few favorites that are a hit every Christmas.

  • Deviled Eggs (Every Which Way): You can never go wrong with a platter of these classic deviled eggs. But if you want to switch it up, try my smoked salmon deviled eggs, spicy deviled eggs, or bacon deviled eggs!
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: It’s always a good idea to make two batches of these because they disappear fast! They’re the perfect bite filled with a cheesy, herby, nutty, and garlicky mixture.
  • Pomegranate Guacamole: Give my best ever guacamole recipe a festive twist with pomegranate seeds! It adds a pop of sweetness and a vibrant red touch (aka the perfect red and green combo).
  • Shrimp Cocktail: Skip the store-bought version. This recipe is so easy and tastes extra fresh with the homemade cocktail sauce.
  • Smoked Salmon Cheese Ball: Of course, I had to share my mom’s signature recipe here, because it’s that good. This cheeseball has hints of smoked salmon, while covered in a nutty, herby coating for extra crunch and fresh flavors
Smoked salmon deviled eggs on a plate.
  • Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip: Don’t be fooled by the word healthy because this vegan version tastes just like the real thing!
  • Guacamole Stuffed Tomatoes: Think of this as a deconstructed guacamole, in bite-sized form. Creamy avocado on the inside, with juicy tomatoes on the outside… perfect for popping into your mouth!
  • Fennel Pork Meatballs: Pop each meatball on a toothpick and serve on a platter for a juicy, savory bite!
Parmesan herb roasted acorn squash on a platter with a fork

All The Side Dishes To Complete Your Christmas Dinner Menu

A holiday dinner is never complete without a selection of the best sides. There’s the classics like creamy mashed potatoes or honey glazed carrots. But when it comes to vegetables, there’s endless ways they can be prepared and served. So here’s a few ideas to give your winter vegetables a new look for Christmas dinner!

Balsamic bacon brussels sprouts on a serving platter.
  • Baked Sweet Potato: This might be one of the easiest sides, since all you need to do is plop the potatoes on a sheet pan and bake away. Once you cut them open, slather some butter and sprinkled herbs, it’s quite sensational.
  • Smashed Potatoes: They’re crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and roasted with garlic parmesan goodness.
  • Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower: Give roasted cauliflower a Middle Eastern twist with za’atar spice, sweet dates, and pine nuts!
  • Roasted Butternut Squash: Similar to roasted sweet potatoes, just dice up some butternut squash, season the cubes, and roast away. It’s simple – but oh so good.
Mashed butternut squash in a white bowl.
Broccoli salad in a bowl.

Winter Salads For Christmas Dinner

Let’s not forget about bountiful winter salads to cleanse the palette in between bites. You can keep it simple or add various textures and flavors for a stunning, wow-worthy salad. Either way – I think one of these salads deserves a place on your Christmas dinner table.

  • Waldorf Salad: This classic symphony of crisp apples, celery, grapes, and crunchy walnuts, tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing is always a hit.
  • Crab Salad: We love this crab salad for Christmas dinner because it looks and sounds fancy, but it’s actually incredibly easy to make!
  • Broccoli Salad: A giant bowl of this broccoli salad is always welcome – no matter what holiday it is.
  • Tomato Avocado Salad: Add some Christmas colors to the table with this super fresh tomato salad. Bonus – it’s as easy as layering all the ingredients on top of each other. No tossing required!
Waldorf salad in a large white bowl.
  • Massaged Kale Salad: Make the most of in-season kale and give it a little massage for a super tender salad. Oh, and the garlic infused oil really makes this salad shine.
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad: Oh yeah, this salad tossed with apples, cranberries, and a lemon vinaigrette may just be the best winter salad ever.
  • Roasted Beet and Kale Salad: The vibrant red beets and deep green kale look like Christmas salad in a bowl.
Bowls of split pea soup

Colorful, Cozy Soup Recipes

Add extra comfort to your Christmas menu with a big pot of soup! Not only will these options add more vegetables to the table, but they’ll warm you up from the inside out.

  • Split Pea Soup: It’s the classic recipe you know and love with meaty chunks of ham.
  • Butternut Squash Soup: Butternut Squash soup is always a winter favorite. And this version is velvety smooth and perfectly spiced.
  • Cabbage Soup: This light and healthy soup is perfect for sipping on throughout dinner. But if you want to beef it up – there’s options for adding extra proteins.
  • Vegetable Soup: This recipe is packed with flavor and uses simple, everyday vegetables to their full potential.
Roasted Cauliflower soup in a bowl, topped with cauliflower, almonds and thyme.
  • Lentil Soup: This Mediterranean-inspired lentil soup ought to be on your menu if you’re having a vegetarian Christmas (or not). The combination of mirepoix vegetables, tomatoes, kale, herbs, and lemon is SO delicious.
  • Sweet Potato Soup: When you blend creamy sweet potatoes with carrots, fresh ginger, and a hint of spice – it makes for a sensational side soup.
  • Roasted Cauliflower Soup: If you’re not serving up roasted cauliflower as a side yet – turn it into a soup! Just add loads of garlic and herbs to give it a punch of savoriness.
No bake cookies on a marble counter top.

Can’t Do Christmas Without Christmas Cookies!

Plates and plates of cookies are a given when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Plus, these cookie recipes are super easy to whip up!

  • No Bake Cookies: Yep, no flour or eggs needed to make these chewy, oat-y, chocolatey cookies!
  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: If you’re gluten-free, I’ve tested and tested to create the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies. They’ve got chewy insides with perfectly golden edges.
  • Banana Oatmeal Cookies: This 3-ingredient cookie recipe is irresistibly chewy and the perfect chocolate banana flavor combo.
Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies spread out on a baking sheet.
A white plate of panna cotta

More Holiday Desserts for Christmas Dinner

There’s always room for desserts, especially when you’ve got so many easy and delicious options to choose from. From decadent cakes to chocolate mousses there’s something for everyone on this list.

  • Apple Crisp: There’s just something special about bites of warm cinnamon apples, with a crumbly oat crisp topping.
  • Rice Pudding: This is hands down the most comforting dessert to enjoy on a chilly Christmas day!
  • Custard: Serve it up warm, drizzled over cake or a fruit crisp, or chill it and top with berries. 
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake: A deliciously elegant cake with a lightly crackled top, deep chocolate flavor, and fluffy moist texture.
  • Panna Cotta: A classic Italian custard dessert with macerated strawberries. It’s foolproof and super easy to make!
  • Chocolate Pots de Creme: This is the most luxurious dessert. Each spoonful is decadently rich and oh, so chocolatey!
A bowl of creamy rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins
Glass of pomegranate chia pudding parfait
  • Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake: Pumpkin season is still not over with this moist and fluffy cake topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting.
  • Homemade Nutella: Once you make this homemade version, you’ll never go back to store-bought jars. And for serving, it makes the perfect dip with fresh fruit or spread on crackers!
  • Spiced Pear Souffle: Make the best of pear season with this soft and airy souffle recipe! It’s a lot easier to make than you think.
  • Pomegranate Chia Pudding Parfait: Sometimes, a light and fresh dessert is just what you need after a heavy dinner. This one is layered with chia pudding, yogurt, pomegranates, and sliced almonds!
Homemade eggnog in 2 glasses on a table with a napkin.

Holiday Cocktails & Cozy Drinks

A festive cocktail or drink certainly keeps the merry holiday vibes going! Here are some solid ideas that everyone will love.

  • Homemade Eggnog: This holiday favorite is made easy with a blender! It’s super easy, not to mention how deliciously creamy and spiced it is.
  • Pomegranate Margarita: For the tequila lovers, this pomegranate cocktail is just what you need.
  • White Christmas Sangria: Put a festive spin on your favorite white wine sangria combo with this recipe!
  • Classic Red Sangria: A pitcher of sweet red sangria is always a party favorite. Plus, it makes for a beautiful presentation with this pitcher.
  • Classic Margarita: While holidays cocktails come in a variety of flavors and colors, a classic margarita is not to be forgotten either.
A white mug of hot chocolate and whipped cream.
  • Best Hot Chocolate: Oh yeah, a cup of this warm and rich hot chocolate will surely hit the spot. And if you’ve got some leftover Nutella, give this Nutella hot chocolate a try!
  • Easy Chai Latte: Tis the season for warm chai drinks! This one is simmered on the stovetop with black tea, creamy milk, warming spices, and a hint of sweetness. And if you’re looking for a caffeine-free option, you’ll love this chai spiced coconut milk!
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate: The perfect hot chocolate choice for a luscious drink that’s not overly sweet and perfectly spiced with cinnamon and chili powder.

I hope this list gives you some delicious inspiration with the best Christmas dinner ideas. If some of these recipes make it to your dinner table, I’d love to hear which ones were your favorites below!

Best Christmas dinner ideas

50+ Best Christmas Dinner Ideas

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


The best Christmas dinner ideas include festive finger foods, veggie-heavy sides, unique sweets, joyful drinks, and succulent mains. One of my favorite non-traditional mains are these turkey meatballs!


For The Meatballs

  • pound ground turkey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For The Sauce


  • To a large bowl, add the turkey, egg, onion, almond flour, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together, until fully combined.
    Mixing turkey meatball ingredients in a bowl
  • Measure out 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of mixture (or use a medium cookie scoop) and roll the mixture between your hands, forming approximately 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a plate.
    Raw turkey meatballs on a white plate
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add half of the meatballs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the first batch of meatballs to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and repeat with the remaining half of meatballs. Once the second meatballs are cooked, remove them to the plate as well.
    Cooking turkey meatballs in a large pan
  • Deglaze the pan by adding the chicken broth, and use a spatula to scrape up any bits off the bottom. Then add the Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and mayonnaise. Whisk everything together and let the sauce simmer until it's creamy. Add the meatballs back to the pan and warm through. Garnish with additional fresh chopped herbs before serving.
    A large pan filled with turkey meatballs in a maple mustard sauce


Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 617mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Dinner Ideas
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally published December 2021, but updated to include new recipes and information for your benefit!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Thanks for this list Lisa! Prime rib and beef tenderloin are always our favorite mains for Christmas. And of course, we love your deviled eggs to snack on!5 stars

  2. I completely agree with what you have written. I hope this post could reach more people as this was truly an interesting post.

  3. Stuffed mushrooms are terrific – easy and delicious!
    Lentil soup/fantastic
    Pot Roast – another winner

    I love the way you explain each and every thing and every recipe is a keeper!
    Keep up the delicious work!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!!