Christmas Dinner Ideas

Everything you need to know about pulling off a fabulous Christmas Dinner. With tips for planning and preparation, as well as ideas for every course, this collection has it all!

MORE COLLECTIONS: Christmas Appetizers, Christmas Cookies, Christmas Desserts, Mexican Christmas Food, Italian Christmas Food, Christmas Side Dishes

Collage of Christmas dinner ideas

the Perfect Christmas Dinner menu

In my family, we always gather together to enjoy dinner on Christmas Eve (Mexican food is always on the docket). All my siblings gather and we have a fun night with games and good food.

Christmas day is a little different – usually fewer people, but always a traditional Christmas dinner with meat (usually ham or steak), potatoes, rolls and more. I know everyone does things different, but today I’ve gathered together some of our traditional holiday recipes along with helpful dinner planning tips to help you out this season.

Here are some of our top tips:

PLAN YOUR MENU IN ADVANCE:

  • How many courses do you want to serve? 
  • Decide how many dishes in each course you’ll need?
  • You can mix store bought with homemade items
  • Think about what dishes can be made ahead of time. What can be cooked on the stove or crock pot, and how many dishes can you realistically cook in the oven? 
  • Decide what dishes you would let guests bring should they offer.
  • Don’t try NEW recipes the day of. Practice making them a couple of weeks before to work out any kinks. 

Garlic prime rib - Christmas dinner idea

Things to do ahead of time

Go shopping early: I once tried to buy ice the day before a holiday and had to go to 5, F-I-V-E, places! Use your menu as a shopping guide (be sure to print our the recipes in advance to help out with this). Also, be sure to check your spice rack, and other ingredients you normally have on hand. You don’t want to find an empty container during the middle of a recipe.

Plan a cooking schedule: Work backwards from your intended serving time. Make sure you are realistic about how long each dish will take to prepare and cook.

  • What order do the items need to be cooked?
  • Can anything go in the oven at the same time?
  • What can be cooked on the stove top? Crock pot?
  • What can be made ahead of time? Will it need to be reheated?

Do as much prep work ahead of time as you can. Chop any produce that will be used. Don’t forget to thaw your meat (some larger cuts take several days to thaw in the fridge). Gather all your table setting items, dishes, tablecloths, centerpieces in one place. If you can, go the extra step and set up your table the day before. 

Christmas Swedish meatballs in a white serving dish

more christmas dinner tips

  • For easier clean up use disposable baking dishes, or line pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil when possible. 
  • Ways to keep your food warm: crock pot set to low/warm, chafing dish, insulated cooler with a hot pad.  
  • Have a designated space for children to play in. If you can, have a spot set aside to accommodate babies and toddlers. A room with a pack n play for naps and a place to change diapers is very helpful for guests. 
  • Try not to stress when something doesn’t go right. Just remember the REASON for the party, whether it be religious or not, time with family and friends is a blessing. Also, having a secret stash of your favorite chocolate won’t hurt :o)

Here are some of our favorite Christmas Dinner dishes! Each of our recipes has helpful information such as different cooking methods, making ahead of time, variations, and storage methods. Also, there are links to similar recipes. If something listed here doesn’t wet your appetite, I know you’ll be able to find a recipe perfect for your Christmas dinner. 

Christmas Ham dinner

Christmas Ham Dinner

We know that Ham is a staple at many Christmas dinners, so we wanted to share with you the complete menu including appetizers, sides, salads, desserts and more to complete the ideal Christmas ham dinner. We are including a few of each course for you to pick and choose from, including 2 ham recipes and a festive Christmas Tree Veggie Platter 😉

Brown Sugar Ham Recipe
This crock pot ham is made entirely in the slow cooker, which makes for quick prep time and minimal effort. With a deliciously sweet brown sugar glaze, it's our favorite way to make a holiday ham!
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
5 from 14 votes
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Honey Glazed Ham Recipe
Simply place a spiral cut ham in the crock pot, cover with a 5-ingredient glaze, and 4 hours later you'll have a tender and juicy Honey Glazed Ham!
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
5 from 2 votes
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Deviled Egg Recipe
Nothing better than a smooth deviled egg appetizer! You'll be surprised with how easy these are to make. Tons of flavor, super delicious and perfect for parties and holidays.
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 15 votes
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Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe
This is the BEST Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe, and the ultimate dip for any get together! Filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and mayo - this easy spinach artichoke dip is sooo cheesy and flavorful, served perfectly with chips, bread pieces or veggies.
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 35 votes
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Tortellini Salad Recipe
Super YUMMY and easy Tortellini Salad filled with tortellini, salad, ranch, tomatoes and bacon bits - perfect for summer time!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.84 from 6 votes
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Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe
Delicious Homemade Caesar Salad dressing with crispy Homemade Croutons. This simple salad dressing will become your new go-to for salads!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Baked Potato Soup Recipe
This Baked Potato Soup is loaded with flavor and is filled with Russet and Red potatoes, carrots, bacon, cheese and more.
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
With garlic, basil, and other delicious seasonings, this creamy tomato basil soup has a bold flavor that you'll quickly fall in love with.
Total Time: 55 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Glazed Carrots Recipe
If you need a go-to side dish, these Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots are perfect for you! The tastiest candied carrots recipe!! Even better, it takes less than 10 minutes to make and only requires 4 ingredients!
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.97 from 33 votes
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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese - noodles in heavy cream and 3 kinds of cheeses along with chunks of ham. It's a recipe everyone will love!
Total Time: 50 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Dinner Rolls Recipe
These Are Our ALL-TIME FAVORITE Dinner Rolls! They Are Soft, Butter-Y And Always The Hit For Any Dinner Or Holiday Get Together. It’s So Hard To Eat Just One!
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.94 from 95 votes
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Frozen Peppermint Delight Recipe
Frozen Peppermint Delight - a simple, festive and delicious holiday dessert with an Oreo crust, peppermint ice cream filling and topped with cool whip, chocolate syrup and candy cane pieces.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Pistachio Dessert Recipe
Pistachio Shortbread Dessert - layered treat with a Sandies Cookies crust, cream cheese layer, pistachio pudding layer and topped with Cool whip! YUM!
Total Time: 18 minutes
4.6 from 5 votes
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Just pick from these popular recipes to make your complete Christmas ham dinner menu!

Christmas main dishes - roast chicken on a platter

MORE CHRISTMAS Main Dishes

Christmas Ham is a delicious and popular holiday dish, but really anything your family loves can be used. Just plan to serve 8-12 oz per person. Here are some other common main dishes served for Christmas Eve or day dinner.

Pot Roast Recipe
This Crock Pot Roast Recipe is one of our favorite Sunday dinners. It takes only 3 minutes of prep time and then the slow cooker does the rest! The chuck roast ends up being SO tender and full of flavor from the brown gravy, Italian, and ranch dressing mix! 
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
4.82 from 16 votes
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Roast Chicken Recipe
This simple and delicious roast chicken takes just a few minutes of prep time to make, but tastes like you spent all day cooking it - making it the perfect go-to dinner recipe.
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
5 from 11 votes
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Swiss Chicken Bake Recipe
Delicious Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake - a simple and delicious dinner recipe that includes Swiss and Parmesan cheese.
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
4.92 from 108 votes
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Creamy Lemon and Thyme Pork Chops
These creamy lemon and thyme pork chops are perfect for holiday entertaining or a cozy weekend meal.
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Parmesan Crusted Pork Chop Recipe
These Parmesan Pork Chops are so flavorful and easy to make. With less than 10 minutes of prep work, you can make the most delicious baked pork chops that everyone will love.
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.82 from 95 votes
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Easy Steak Marinade Recipe
This is Our All-Time Favorite Steak marinade! It requires only four ingredients, and makes our steak taste SO amazing! Everyone always asks for this Easy Steak Marinade recipe because it's just that good!!
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.79 from 14 votes
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Prime Rib Recipe
Perfect prime rib, seasoned with garlic and cooked in the oven. A secret trick will give you the most tender and juicy meat you've ever made!
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Perfect Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey Recipe
How to Roast the Perfect Turkey - so full of flavor and a hit any holiday or day of the year, but especially Thanksgiving!!
Total Time: 3 hours
5 from 15 votes
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Swedish Meatballs Recipe
Swedish meatballs made from both pork and beef, cooked to perfection, and smothered in a creamy gravy.
Total Time: 1 hour
5 from 10 votes
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We love all of these recipes for a main dish for Christmas and we think you will too!

Christmas salads - asparagus salad with tomatoes and mozzarella

MORE Soups + Salad options

When a soup or salad precedes a meal plan for about 1 cup per person.

Waldorf Salad Recipe
Everyone loves this Waldorf salad that is filled with grapes, apples, celery, walnuts, cheese and chicken. Toss it in a homemade poppyseed dressing and this salad is perfect for any lunch, dinner or appetizer.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 17 votes
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Tomato Mozzarella Salad Recipe
Fresh, light, and healthy tomato mozzarella salad! Perfect for lunches with friends or a side salad to dinner!
Total Time: 8 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Arugula Salad Recipe
You are going to LOVE this arugula salad that is loaded with healthy greens, juicy tomatoes, and shavings of parmesan cheese. Don't forget to top with pine nuts and a little avocado!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 3 votes
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Brussel Sprout Salad Recipe
Full of shredded Brussel sprouts, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, and a little bit of shaved parmesan, this colorful salad has the perfect amount of crunch!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 3 votes
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Asparagus Salad Recipe
Filled with mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes, seasoned with basil, and covered in a light balsamic vinaigrette, this asparagus salad is bursting with flavor! Best of all, it comes together in less than 10 minutes!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 2 votes
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Spinach Tortellini Salad Recipe
This cold tortellini salad is the ultimate side dish for bbq and potlucks! With tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and parmesan tossed in Italian dressing, this Tortellini Spinach Salad is packed with all the best flavors!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.88 from 8 votes
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Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Restaurant quality butternut squash soup that you can make and eat at home. Buttery smooth with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg makes for one delicious soup recipe.
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Chicken Dumpling Soup Recipe
Our all-time favorite version of one of the most classic soup recipes - Chicken and Dumplings! This simple, delicious soup is filled with chunks of chicken and pieces of biscuit, along with your favorite veggies!
Total Time: 30 minutes
4.87 from 15 votes
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Cheesy Potato Soup Recipe
The easiest and yummiest Cheesy Potato Soup - just throw it in the crock pot and you're set for a delicious, warm and cheesy soup everyone loves.
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
5 from 17 votes
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Author

Kristi Ritchey