14 Alternative Christmas Dinner Ideas

Bring some exciting new ideas to the table

Christmas dinner is a time for family, fun and, most importantly, food! But if you've served the same meal year after year after year, it can start to get a little old. Bring some excitement into your festivities this season with an alternative Christmas dinner menu. From new variations on old favorites to creative desserts and seafood or steak instead of the usual ham, this list of the best alternative Christmas dinner ideas is the place to discover unique new recipes.

  • 01 of 14

    Christmas Tacos

    Christmas Tacos

    The Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer 

    Everyone loves tacos, and Christmas tacos put a delicious seasonal spin on the meal. It all starts by cooking short ribs in a slow cooker along with pomegranate juice, chiles, and cinnamon for an intriguing flavor. You'll then use fresh pomegranate to make a lively pico. When everything's ready, build the tacos in corn tortillas and offer cilantro, lime, cotija cheese, and crema as toppings.

  • 02 of 14

    Easy Seafood Linguine

    Seafood linguini
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Pasta is an underrated holiday side dish, and so is seafood. Bring the two together for an unforgettable Christmas main, with shrimp, scallops, crab and lobster all mixed in. Garlic white wine sauce finishes this linguine off in style!

  • 03 of 14

    Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos

    Sweet potato nachos

    The Spruce / Sabrina Baksh

    Sweet potatoes are such a classic holiday meal, but the same old recipes get way too overused. If you're hosting an afternoon party or maybe a Christmas movie marathon, grilled sweet potato nachos are the dish for you!

  • 04 of 14

    Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

    Mac and cheese

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Whoever said macaroni and cheese wasn't a holiday dish? There's no reason not to incorporate your favorite meal into a holiday dinner, especially when you've got any picky eaters in the house. Mac and cheese is a great alternative holiday dish that won't break the bank. This recipe is the best we've seen–be sure not to forget the bread crumb topping.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Honey Glazed Moroccan Carrots

    Glazed Moroccan carrots

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    If your family loves maple sugar-glazed baby carrots, take this Christmas to the next level with these honey glazed Moroccan carrots. Serve with labneh yogurt dip and crumbled feta cheese for an authentic experience!

  • 06 of 14

    Shrimp and Crawfish Jambalaya

    Seafood jambalaya in a bowl
    Yvonne Duivenvoorden / Getty Images

    This shrimp and crawfish jambalaya can feed any number of guests, and gives the holidays a New Orleans twist! Use smoked paprika to season this dish and you have an instant Christmas hit.

  • 07 of 14

    Grilled Sea Bass With Garlic Butter

    Grilled sea bass

    The Spruce

    If tuna is chicken of the sea, then bass can be a great alternative to ham or roast beef! For the feel of Christmas by the ocean, try this incredible grilled sea bass with garlic butter. This fish is a show stopper and an awesome dish for a pescetarian holiday!

  • 08 of 14

    Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Donuts with Candied Bacon

    Sweet potato doghnnut

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    I donut think there is a better flavor combination than maple and bacon, do you? These maple glazed sweet potato donuts are absolutely to die for and bring all the delicious tastes of the holiday into one amazing dessert. These are perfect for after Christmas dinner or for Christmas morning brunch!

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

    Laurel Randolph

    For an unbelievably easy and off-the-beaten-path main dish, check out this sheet pan chicken, sweet potato, and broccoli roast. Skip the hours-long production of cooking a ham or roast beef and use this easy recipe for a stress-free holiday.

  • 10 of 14

    Mushroom Barley Soup

    Mushroom Barley Soup
    sbossert / Getty Images

    This mushroom barley soup is just as delicious as it is healthy. With great fiber and macrobiotic properties, this soup will be a hit at the dinner table. This recipe is vegan, but for meat lovers, chicken broth or other stock can easily be substituted in.

  • 11 of 14

    Dried Apricot Tart With Chocolate Tahini Ganache

    Fruit tart on a white tablecloth

    The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

    If you're sick of the same old Christmas desserts year after year, up your game with this dried apricot tart, complete with chocolate tahini ganache. The latticework pastry crust in the photo is a Star of David pattern, which also makes it perfect for Hanukkah!

  • 12 of 14

    Coconut Spice Rice Pudding

    Coconut rice pudding

    The Spruce / Robin Grose

    This recipe is naturally gluten-free and easy to make in large batches for big family gatherings. Rice pudding is a totally underrated dessert and is perfect for the holidays. Adding coconut and spice to the dish really takes the flavor to the next level, and gives your dessert a bit of a spicy twist!

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Toffee Eggnog

    Toffee eggnog

    S&C Design Studios

    For a fun twist on a classic Christmas beverage, add some toffee to the mix! Toffee is a delicious addition to regular or spiked eggnog. This recipe even details how to make your own toffee syrup, right at home!

  • 14 of 14

    Figgy Sparkler Cocktail

    Figgy Sparkler cocktail
    S&C Design Studios

    With a delicious selection of winter berries, the Figgy Sparkler cocktail is an exciting and flavorful holiday drink. Use your favorite prosecco or other sparkling wine, and top off with some cranberries and an orange peel and you're set for the evening!