45 Christmas dinner ideas – easy starters, delicious mains, festive desserts and more

These delicious Christmas dinner ideas will bring all the festive cheer you could need to your home this year. From Christmas starters to mains, puddings and much more

cheering over a christmas dinner table drinking wine
(Image credit: Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash)

Christmas dinner is that meal that we look forward to all year, virtually from the moment we've finished the last one. It's simply everything you want in a holiday meal. Succulent meats, divine side dishes and veg, seasonal spiced flavors, rich gravies and all the other trimmings you could think of. So to inspire your Christmas dinner menu this year, we've created a mighty selection all of our favorite dishes that will make you feel merry, bright and full of cheer on Christmas Day.

From the best Christmas Day starters, to mains, Christmas side dishes – including the most modern take on roasted Brussels sprouts we've seen in a while – all the different types of Christmas desserts you can choose from, and the perfect drink pairings beyond wine, we have it all below.

Whether you're vegan, whether you are turkey through and through or if Christmas cake simply isn't your thing, keep scrolling for our mouthwatering Christmas dinner recipes below and quench your thirst with one of our tempting Christmas cocktails while you're at it. Sure, Christmas may be a little different this year, but your menu needn't be anything less than exceptional. 

The best Christmas dinner ideas for 2020

It has been one of those years, but Christmas is a time to celebrate. We've included both simple and more complex Christmas recipe ideas here so that you can find the perfect meals to suit not only your taste and the time you can dedicate to cooking, but also your Christmas budget too. From stylish spuds to hearty stews and absolutely stunning meals you can make in your a slow cooker – if you used to find cooking Christmas dinner a chore – think again! 

1. Creamy cauliflower velouté

spcied cauliflower soup with cheese puff on the side

(Image credit: Gousto)

A rich, creamy and indulgent Christmas dinner starter – it's cauliflower soup.

2. Festive French onion soup

French Onion Soup

(Image credit: Morphy Richards)

Gourmet, savory and simple to make using this MasterChef finalist's French onion soup recipe. Serve this up with a gruyère crouton and there will be smiles all around.

3. French 75

Hendricks gin cocktail

(Image credit: Hendricks)

And a stiff drink – with bubbles – makes the perfect accompaniment. A French 75 will also help those cracker jokes go down a bit better. 

4. Snowflake cocktails

full shot of festive snowball cocktail with Christmas deco

(Image credit: 58gin)

This is a festive take on the classic snowball cocktail is a delicious one and a such a treat to have on Christmas Day.

5. Vegan chestnut canapés 

vegan Christmas day canapés on a platter

(Image credit: Merchant Gourmet)

Chestnut anything is a sign of a good Christmas recipe and these vegan capanés created by Merchant Gourmet are complete with roasted grapes and cinnamon scent for a full on festive flavor that make the perfect Christmas day starter.

6. Beef bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

(Image credit: Aldi)

Sticking with the French theme, boeuf bourguignon as they would say makes a delicious winter supper on or around Christmas day.

7. Chicken à l'orange

chicken à l'orange

(Image credit: GettyImages)

We can't help ourselves and this retro chicken à l'orange recipe is a little recipe blast from the past (70s).

8. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

(Image credit: Getty)

We're in Italian territory now, and we too drink Aperol spritz all year long, but it feels even more special on Christmas. 

9. Mushroom stroganoff

mushroom stroganoff

(Image credit: Getty)

Creamy, delightful and vegetarian, mushroom stroganoff will keep the whole family happy.

10. Succulent rib of beef with horseradish

How to cook rib beef

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

And plenty of it, if you prefer a rich meat on your Christmas menu then a tasty rib of beef with all the trimmings will do the trick.

11. The classic Christmas turkey

Christmas food - Turkey

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When you know how to cook turkey perfectly, for the most sublime results, then who can blame you for putting this bird on your Christmas dinner menu every year.

12. Festive cranberry pithivier

festive pithivier on a christmas dinner table

(Image credit: Aldi)

A festive and vegan version of another classic French dish, this pithivier is stuffed with roasted squash, cranberries and lots more deliciousness. 

13. Bacon cauliflower cheese

bacon cauliflower cheese

(Image credit: Getty)

What makes cauliflower cheese even more mouthwatering? Bacon. Well, it is a Jamie Oliver-inspired recipe...

14. Waldorf salad with sprouts

Waldorf salad

(Image credit: Getty)

Green salad on your Christmas dinner spread you say? This Waldorf salad actually features Brussels sprouts so makes a great Christmas side dish to cut through the turkey, roasties and the like.

15. Red cabbage with caramelized chestnuts

red cabbage on festive Christmas dinner table

(Image credit: Merchant Gourmet)

Fresh, sweet and gourmet, this festive salad is a deliciously colorful addition for every Christmas dinner table.

16. Yuletide nut roast

Vegan nut roast recipe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wholesome, flavorsome and super festive, nut roast makes an incredible vegan main for Christmas dinner while meat eaters are almost guaranteed to pinch some as an extra rich stuffing.

17. Too many roasties

Roast potatoes

(Image credit: Aldi)

But. you can't really have too many roast potatoes now, can you? Find your favorite recipe.

18. Succulent pork belly

pork belly

(Image credit: Getty)

A delicious roast dinner idea all year round, and if you're not into turkey, pork belly – complete with crackling of course – on Christmas is not to be sniffed at.

19. Black garlic roasted Brussels sprouts

roasted brussel sprouts on christmas table

(Image credit: www.heinztohome.co.uk )

There's more to Brussels sprouts than meets the eye, try this exotic roasted brussel sprouts recipe for something a little more interesting.

20. Vegan chestnut and mushroom tart

mushroom and chestnut tart

(Image credit: Merchant Gourmet)

Filling, warming and delicious, this recipe from Merchant Gourmet makes the perfect main or Christmas Day starter recipe – not just for vegans... 

21. All the chestnut stuffing

stuffing

(Image credit: Getty)

It's not a Christmas dinner without a good serving of classic chestnut stuffing – homemade of course.

22. Maple glazed bird

Waitrose turkey recipe

(Image credit: Waitrose)

Maple glazed turkey is one of the finest types of turkey. Try this simple marinade for Christmas Day dinner and make a real impact on your guests, no matter how small your party. And if you happen to have heaps on leftovers, there are so many delicious turkey leftover recipes to try so you will not be stuck for ideas.

23. Festive glazed ham

Festive glazed ham

(Image credit: Miele)

Glazed ham is often served up on Boxing Day, but that's not to say that you can't have it on Christmas Day too. Succulent and so full of flavor, our glazed ham recipe is complete with maple and more Christmas flavors for a sublime result.

24. Buttery mash

mashed potato

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fluffy mashed potato makes every meal that little bit more special and comforting. Plus, if you have leftovers, it's great for bubble and squeak on Boxing Day.

25. Sweet potato mash

Sweet potato mash

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to complement your Christmas table decor with your spread? Opt for sweet potato mash instead.

26. Slow cooker gammon

Gammon

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Slow cooker anything is always a dream but slow cooker gammon is another level of Christmas dinner greatness. 

27. Perfectly puffed Yorkshire puddings

Yorkshire puddings - and how to freeze them

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where else will your gravy go if not in your Yorkshire puddings? Try our failsafe recipe and you will not be dissapointed.

28. Festive beetroot Wellington

festive vegan beetroot wellington on Christmas table

(Image credit: Merchant Gourmet and The Little Plantation.)

A Christmas dinner recipe fit for a King, try this gourmet and gorgeously traditional looking vegan Wellington this year.

29. Sweet roasted parsnips

Roasted parnsips

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sweet, tender and very seasonal, make roasted parsnips one of your Christmas side dishes and let this complementary veg brighten up your dinner plate.

30. Slow cooker turkey crown

slow cooker turkey crown

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Slow cooker turkey crown is the perfect way to ensure this meat stays extra juicy and tender. It's also pretty faff-free which simply means more wine for you!

31. Gratin Dauphinois

dauphinois potatoes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back to our French friends for this all time comforting and luxurious Dauphinoise potatoes recipe. Creamy, cheese, it's hard to beat!

32. Spiced roasted carrots 

Roast carrots

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A favorite savory side that is still naturally oh so sweet, slow roasted carrots will lift your Christmas dinner menu.

33. Vegan pigs in blankets

vegan pigs in blanket on a plate

(Image credit: Merchant Gourmet)

It wouldn't be Christmas without pigs in blanket, but the recipe for these ones is completely vegan, created with lentils and the most delicious blend of spices for a really authentic and festive taste.

34. Smashed potatoes

smashed potatoes

(Image credit: Getty)

Soft, buttery and a little crunchy too, smashed potatoes are a family favorite type of potato and even more tasty when sprinkled with chopped chives or parsley. 

35. Christmas cookies

snow globe cookies

(Image credit: Stephanie Merriman)

It wouldn't be Christmas without sugared treats in sight, everywhere. Take your pick from our roundup of the best Christmas cookies and whether you want tree cookies to decorate your spruce with (and eat too) or bauble cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve, you'll find your perfect festive biscuit.

36. Reindeer brownies

A batch of 9 reindeer Christmas brownies

(Image credit: The Protein Ball Co)

Every home needs a plate of Christmas brownies going round at regular intervals throughout the holidays. And, we love these reindeer brownies made with pretzels and protein bites – clever huh? – give them a whirl. Oh, they're vegan too.

37. A Christmas wonderland gingerbread tower

Cherry & Almond Cake with gingerbread on Anthropologie cake stand

(Image credit: Elizabeth Rose Photographer and Charlotte Bennett)

If you're into showstopper bakes, then we have the most incredible gingerbread house recipe to share with you, complete with expert decor tips. It doesn't get much more beautiful than this, and yes, you can eat it too.

38. The luxurious Christmas cake

Christmas cake

(Image credit: Miele)

Old as time but always one to please. The Christmas cake reveal is an embedded moment in family history, so make yours count this year.

39. Vegan mince pies

Caffe Latte Mince Pies on a tray

(Image credit: The Great British Porridge Co. )

Full of festive taste and gorgeous texture, these vegan mince pies really make the cut and are so much fun to make. Not vegan? Check out more regular mince pie making tips inspired by one of our favorite British Chefs...

40. White chocolate cranberry cheesecake

taking a piece of cranberry white chocolate cheesecake

(Image credit: Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova on Unsplash)

If you like to twist tradition, then you can still be festive with a modern favorite like white chocolate cheesecake for Christmas dessert. This recipe calls for Glögg compote – cranberry – and it's very special indeed.

41. St Nick's Christmas pud

A spoonful of traditional Christmas pudding

(Image credit: Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash)

A Real Homes' favorite – because we're into brandy – Christmas pudding is just so special and this one is filled with luxurious dried fruits and nuts for the most exquisite results.

42. Boozy Bûche de Noël

buche de noel decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: Grey Goose in partnership with Manon Lagrève)

You really can't go wrong with a Christmas yule log and while they are a little trickier to make, the end result is totally worth it. Especially with the chocolate yule log recipe by GBBO winner Manon Lagrève which features a little vodka to make it extra delightful.

43. Slow cooker Christmas pudding

Slow cooker Christmas pudding recipe

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another Real Homes' favorite – because we're into slow cookers too – and if you want to make light work of your Christmas dinner prep then this slow cooker Christmas pudding recipe is for you. Delicious, moist results are guaranteed.

44. Fluffy eggnog

egg nog recipe

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's Santa's favorite and we love it too. Try our festive fluffy eggonog recipe this year to bring all the merry and bright vibes to your Christmas dinner feast.

45. Baileys-infused Christmas bakes

Benjamina Ebuehi’s Baileys Original Irish Cream Gingerbread Trifle

(Image credit: Baileys)

Baileys and Christmas go hand in hand so it's a no brainer to bake with this delicious Irish liquor too. From tiramisu to trifle and more Christmas cookies, these are our favorite Baileys recipes we're baking this year.