57 Classic Dishes to Add to Your Christmas Dinner Menu

Tis the Season for Delicious Traditions

Prime Rib Roast

The Spruce

 

Christmas is when family and friends gather together to celebrate the holidays, share quality time, and eat special dishes that are not ordinarily cooked in other seasons. That's why planning your menu is so important, because you can plan ahead and make nostalgic comfort food that is meaningful to you and your family.

From recipes that you grew up eating, to more modern sides and salads, to classic desserts and meaty main dishes, our collection of Christmas ideas has it all. The recipes are organized in descending order: appetizers, mains, side dishes, rolls and biscuits, desserts, and finally beverages and cocktails.

For twists on oldies but goodies, try these alternatives.

  • 01 of 57

    Smoked Salmon Crostini

    Smoked Salmon Crostini

    Leah Maroney

    Smoked salmon crostini is a fantastic appetizer at Christmas celebrations, but can also be a dish you serve during the morning-after brunch. Use baguette, ricotta, herbs, and good quality smoked salmon to make these open-faced bites.

    Ready in 25 minutes, use cream cheese if you can't find ricotta, or go for a less traditional mascarpone. Decorate with extra dill and serve with lemon wedges.

  • 02 of 57

    Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    Leah Maroney

    This warm dip is a great option to occupy your guests' appetites while you're finishing up dinner. Tangy and creamy, our dip has cream cheese, mayo, Cheddar and Parmesan – it's a really decadent appetizer. Soft onion and aromatic garlic go into the filling, and vibrant green spinach and artichoke give texture and color.

    Serve it in a bowl surrounded by crackers, warm naan, mini pitas, or tortilla chips for dipping. Use it to make open-face sandwiches adding a slice of brie on top and broiling it for 5 minutes. Ready in 40 minutes.

  • 03 of 57

    Duck Liver Pâté

    Duck Liver Pâté

    Tony Briscoe/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    Duck liver pâté is an elegant addition to your holiday table, and its richness and creaminess go really well with wine and liquors during cocktail hour. Use duck liver in place of foie gras, or go for chicken liver if that's what you can easily get. Use cooked livers and soak them in milk, process with seasonings, and be sure to allow time for chilling the pâté at least 24 hours before serving.

    Serve it with crostini or crackers, make it part of a cheese and charcuterie spread, or use it as the filling of mini sandwiches. Ready in 23 minutes, plus 1 day of refrigeration.

  • 04 of 57

    Stuffed Dates with Bacon

    Bacon-Wrapped Parmesan-Stuffed Dates

    A.M.P.A.S.

    Bacon-wrapped dates are a great appetizer for a Christmas party. Sweet and savory, fatty and filling, these little morsels are easy to make and have just three ingredients: dates, cheese, and bacon. Stuff pitted soft dates with a piece of salty Parmesan, wrap them in bacon and bake for 5 minutes on each side.

    Use prosciutto for a cold version, or pancetta for an earthier taste. Prep in the morning and bake at the last minute. Serve at cocktail hour while you're finishing up your Christmas feast.

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    Cheese Ball with Pecans

    Festive Cheese Ball with Pecans

    Lauri Patterson-Getty Images

     

    Cheddar and cream cheese are the base for this decorative – and tasty – party appetizer. Plan ahead, as this cheese ball needs at least 24 hours in the fridge to set. Replace Cheddar with a different cheese in the same proportions and experiment with other flavors if you're into sharper types of cheeses. Goat or blue cheese are other great choices.

    Grated onion, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce add a lot of earthiness and the saltiness you'd want in an appetizer to offer at cocktail hour. Roll the chilled ball in chopped pecans and serve with your favorite crackers.

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    Cranberry Brie Bites

    Cranberry Brie Bites

    Elaine Lemm

    Bite-sized Brie and cranberry puffs are wonderful appetizers for your parties, and they can be easily transported if you need to contribute a dish to a Christmas party.

    Use store-bought puff pastry, and allow yourself 1 hour of prep and baking. Use good quality Brie and cranberry sauce to fill puff pastry squares. Make glazed walnuts to decorate each bite and serve.

  • 07 of 57

    Prime Rib Roast

    Prime Rib Roast

    The Spruce

     

    Serving prime rib is such a treat for your guests, and that's why nailing the right cooking method is always important. You don't want to ruin such a delicious and expensive cut of meat! Our close oven technique is the best way of guaranteeing a medium-rare, juicy inside and crusty outside.

    Plan ahead, as you need to refrigerate your meat overnight, unwrapped. Add salt and pepper and roast, fat up, in a 500 F oven, for five minutes per pound. When you turn the oven off, leave it inside for 2 whole hours without opening the door. Serve immediately once 2 hours have passed.

  • 08 of 57

    Roasted Rack of Lamb

    Traditional Roasted Rack of Lamb

    The Spruce Eats

    Roasted rack of lamb makes a stunning presentation on your holiday table and requires very little prep and cooking time. Ask your butcher to "French" the racks for you so you can simply come home, prep and sit down to a beautiful dinner in just 45 minutes.

    Simply season the meat, coat it with mustard, dredge it in herby, seasoned breadcrumbs to form a crust, and pop it into the oven to roast to perfection. If you have a Christmas dinner for a few guests, this easy dish is a great option.

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  • 09 of 57

    Goose Roast

    Roast goose recipe

    The Spruce / Anfisa Strizh

    Bring to life the world of Charles Dickens by making roast goose, as was the tradition during the Victorian era. Plan ahead, as the goose needs to brine for up to 24 hours and at least for 8. Make a mixture of water, salt, sugar, bay leaf, and peppercorns to brine the bird.

    Once it's ready, pat dry, stuff with apples, onions, and oranges, and roast for close to 3 hours. This beautiful whole bird will look stunning in your Christmas table, decorated with rosemary and orange slices.

  • 10 of 57

    Southern Pot Roast

    Perfect pot roast

    The Spruce

    Pot roast is a wonderful way to enjoy the rich and savory flavors of low-and-slow cooked beef for Christmas. Our perfect meaty entree—tender and delicious—can be served with or without gravy, and cooked with or without potatoes.

    We use chuck, a budget-friendly cut of beef. It's so flavorful and delicious, this easy preparation will become a family favorite, Christmas or not. Sautee onions and carrots, and make a wine and broth reduction to cook the meat in for 2 hours, 3 if you're adding potatoes to the recipe.

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    Honey-Glazed Ham

    Honey Glazed Ham

    Tastyart Ltd-Rob White-Photolibrary-Getty Images

     

    If you want a stunning Christmas dinner centerpiece, this classic honey-glazed ham is truly spectacular. Because you're using ham that's already cooked, this quick recipe requires just 1 hour and 30 minutes in the oven for the ham to heat up and for the glaze to work its magic.

    Mix corn syrup, pepper, orange juice, honey, brown sugar, and butter and start glazing the ham after 1 hour and 15 minutes of cooking time. The glaze will create a chewy outer crust and the final 5 minutes under the broiler will further cook the sugars. Rest the ham before serving for the juiciest results.

  • 12 of 57

    Roasted Duck

    Roasted Whole Duck

    Eising/Getty Images

    A whole roasted duck is a thing of beauty on the holiday table. Follow our clever recipe for oven-roasting this special, rich-tasting bird. Because duck is an extra fatty meat, simmering it with vegetables and spices helps get rid of some of the fat, while roasting it afterward creates a crispy outside while keeping the meat juicy and pink.

    Simmer for 45 minutes and let cool before roasting for 30 minutes at 500 F. Alternatively, you can simmer the duck, cool it, and refrigerate it overnight before roasting it.

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  • 13 of 57

    Roast Pheasant

    Roast Pheasant With Port Wine Marinade

    Steve Lupton/Corbis/Getty Images

    Roast pheasant is a sophisticated recipe reminiscent of those elegant Christmas Eve dinners of days gone by. Go old style and make this classic preparation. It's visually stunning and a great main for smaller parties. Cook and cool a mixture of onion quarters, garlic, bay leaf, port wine, salt, and pepper. Marinate the birds overnight in the mixture, drain, and roast for 45 minutes.

    Flavored with the aromatics of dried herbs, the marinade helps to tone down the gaminess of this wild bird, for a moist and flavorful roast.

  • 14 of 57

    New England Style Pot Roast

    New England Style Pot Roast

    grandriver/Getty Images

    Our classic recipe for New England-style pot roast with root vegetables makes a great Christmas dinner. Cooked in the crockpot for 7 to 9 hours, the roast tenderizes to perfection, while veggies, herbs, and seasoning flavor the meat. Prep in the morning and have it ready for dinner time without standing over the stove for hours.

    Make a sauce of butter, onions, beef broth, and horseradish to serve on the side of the roast. Serve with roasted potatoes.

  • 15 of 57

    Perfect Roast Turkey With Bacon

    Perfect roast turkey with bacon recipe

    ​​The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

    Layering plenty of bacon or pancetta over a simply seasoned whole turkey is a fantastic way to help the meat retain moistness as it cooks while infusing the bird with extra smoky, savory flavor. Plan ahead, as this recipe requires the turkey to sit in your fridge from 1 to 3 days, with plenty of salt on top, to help it retain its juices.

    Once ready to bake, butter up the bird, cover it in bacon and roast until the thickest part of the turkey breast reads 160 F. Save the crispy bacon to chop and add to a salad or to sprinkle on a potato casserole.

  • 16 of 57

    Orange Glazed Ham

    Orange Glazed Ham

    Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    Cooked ham is a must on a traditional Christmas table. Our special, gorgeous dish uses a fully cooked ham and a spiced-orange glaze to achieve a chewy and soft crust and juicy interior.

    Make a sauce of orange marmalade, mustard, cloves, and ginger and add half of it on top of the ham 1 hour after it has been in the oven. Cook for 30 more minutes. Add raisins to the remaining half of the orange mixture and serve as a side sauce.

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  • 17 of 57

    Instant Pot Coq au Vin

    Instant Pot Coq au Vin

    Diana Rattray

    Make this homey, French country-style dish for smaller holiday gatherings when you want to create a special atmosphere. The Instant Pot makes it easy to prepare coq au vin, in which chicken legs are braised with bacon, mushrooms, onion, and carrots in a rich, red wine sauce.

    Although original coq au vin is made with rooster, finding this type of poultry is hard and not everyone is keen on the gamey flavor and tough texture. That's why the classic preparation requires long cooking times, to break down the collagen in the meat and soften it so it's more palatable. Our recipe uses chicken and the Instant Pot makes it happen in 35 minutes, plus 20 minutes of prep.

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    Pork Tenderloin With Cranberry-Orange Sauce

    Pork Tenderloin With Cranberry-Orange Sauce

    James Baigrie/Getty Images

    Our tender roasted pork tenderloin makes a beautiful dish whenever you're hosting Christmas dinner. Pork tenderloin is mild in flavor and low in fat, so it's best when served with flavorful or heavy sauces. Rub the loin with garlic and herbs and roast for approximately 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads the lowest safe temperature for eating pork (145 F).

    A tangy cranberry-orange sauce filled with spices goes on top of the sliced tenderloin for a perfect meat course. Ready in 45 minutes.

  • 19 of 57

    Roasted Turkey Breast

    Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

    The Spruce Eats

    Brining a basic turkey breast overnight (or up to 24 hours) results in more juicy and flavorful meat. Once the meat has brined, rinse, pat dry with paper towels, season, and roast until the meat has reached a safe eating temperature, between 2 to 3 hours.

    Use apples, limes, lemons, or oranges, or a combination of all of them, to stuff the breast cavity and add flavor to the meat. This is a great dish for when you're hosting a small party and cooking a whole bird doesn't make sense.

  • 20 of 57

    Crockpot Oyster Stew

    Crockpot oyster stew recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Oyster stew is a traditional Christmas Eve meal in Ireland; many fish stews came into being when people abstained from meat in strict Catholic observance of the festivities. Oyster replaced the fish when Irish in America couldn't find dried ling. Our recipe recalls the classic stews, but it is made in the crockpot. Set it, go on with your day, and return at dinner time to a bowl of delicious, salty, and tender oysters and veggies.

    The recipe cooks in 4 hours after 20 minutes of preparation. Cook a milky base filled with veggies for an hour, then the oyster and butter go in the pot for a final 3 hours of cooking time.

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    Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

    Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

    Diana Rattray

    Place a tray of these saucy, tangy cocktail meatballs on your holiday buffet table and watch as they disappear. Cook up a big batch in 1 hour. Savory ground beef is seasoned with soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and onions. Breadcrumbs and eggs add texture to the meat to help it hold together in little meatballs.

    Coat the balls with a sauce of cranberries, pineapple, and a hint of chili before they bake for 45 minutes.

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    Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

    Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

    Diana Miller/Getty Images

    Scalloped potatoes are a fantastic side dish for the holidays because a little goes a long way, and feeding a crowd is easier with a heartier and filling side like this one. Layer thinly sliced potatoes with onions, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Cover with milk and bake for 1 hour until cooked and golden brown on top.

    Serve hot as a side to beef, chicken or game. Top with fresh parsley.

  • 23 of 57

    Parmesan-Ricotta Polenta

    Polenta With Parmesan and Ricotta

    Violeta Pasat/Getty Images

    Polenta is an Italian classic that is usually forgotten on American holiday tables, but with our recipe, this corn preparation will be a new family favorite. Creamy ricotta cheese adds richness and fluffy texture, while tangy Parmesan lends saltiness to a dish that you'll find goes well with all meats. Use fresh chopped basil to perfume the mixture.

    Serve polenta instead of potatoes or rice. Make it in only 30 minutes, multiplying the measurements as needed to feed a crowd.

  • 24 of 57

    Cheddar and Green Bean Casserole

    Southern green bean casserole

    ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Green bean casseroles are always on American tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are as many recipes for this dish as families, with each household adding or subtracting one or another ingredient.

    Our take on the classic Campbell's recipe includes a homemade cheddar cheese sauce made with sour cream and mushrooms that coats cooked and crispy beans. Top with generous amounts of Parmesan cheese and French fried onions and bake. Ready in 50 minutes.

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  • 25 of 57

    Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

    Roasted Potatoes With Parmesan Cheese

    Diana Rattray

     

    These savory potatoes come out nicely crisp on the outside and tender on the inside after 1 hour in the oven. Use a large resealable bag to coat the cubed potatoes with salt, oil, Parmesan cheese, herbs, and garlic powder. Our recipe is a great accompaniment to meats, fish or chicken.

    Terrific as a side dish, these potatoes can also be a good appetizer if you cubed them in bigger chunks, use small cocktail skewers, and add a hot dipping sauce.

  • 26 of 57

    Sage Butternut Squash

    Roasted Butternut Squash With Sage

    Diana Rattray

     

    Roasted butternut squash with sage makes a great holiday side dish. Sweet and tender squash, herbs and seasonings can accompany any meat or fish, but also could serve as the base for a heartier salad if you add arugula, chopped kale, nuts, and balsamic dressing.

    Our six-ingredient recipe is ready to eat in less than an hour, so it's a pretty convenient preparation for a holiday meal when the stove and oven are going to be busy all the time. Serve warm or hot.

  • 27 of 57

    Apple-Pecan Salad

    Apple Salad With Pecans and Raisins

    The Spruce Eats

    Ready in 10 minutes, this seasonal apple salad with pecans and raisins is similar to the creamy Waldorf salad and is so scrumptious and fresh that it makes a great side for meat mains. It can also double as a vegetarian option for guests who abstain from meat consumption.

    Use sweet but firm red apples, celery, grapes, mayo, lemon juice, pecans and raisins for an explosion of flavors and texture. Serve over lettuce or add baby spinach or baby kale for a touch of green.

  • 28 of 57

    Maple-Glazed Parsnips

    Maple-Glazed Roast Parsnips

    The Spruce Eats

    Maple-glazed parsnips are a great side to roast turkey, duck, or pork dishes. Ditch the classic roasted carrots and use these sweet root vegetables in an easy recipe instead. Quickly parboil the parsnips before glazing and oven-roasting them. Add sesame seeds for crunch and flavor.

    Replace the sesame seeds for pepitas or sunflower seeds if you're concerned about allergies. The result is equally flavorful. Ready in 50 minutes.

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  • 29 of 57

    Green Bean Amandine

    Green bean amandine recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

    Add something special to simple steamed green beans. Amandine is a culinary term that indicates that the dish is made with almonds. In this recipe, crunchy green beans are blanched and then tossed with buttery almonds and seasoning. Ready in barely 20 minutes, these beans make an excellent side for fish or chicken but could go well with red meats too.

    Make right when you're ready to eat them to avoid the beans becoming soggy and too soft.

  • 30 of 57

    Mashed Potatoes

    Homemade Mashed Potatoes

    The Spruce

    If you want to achieve the perfect mash to serve at Christmas dinner, this recipe has all the tips you need for choosing the right potatoes, cooking them until perfectly done, and adding in flavoring ingredients. Milk, butter, salt, and pepper are all that you need for a yummy side dish, but most importantly, mashing the potatoes in the right way is the first step to achieving an airy and fluffy texture.

    Using a hand masher, or a potato ricer first, you crush the potatoes without tearing the starch molecules. If you used a food processor, you'd do exactly that, releasing the starches to make your potatoes into a gooey mess. Stick with the classics and serve a delicious and soft mash. Ready in 40 minutes.

  • 31 of 57

    Acorn Squash Stuffing With Za'atar

    Crunchy acorn squash stuffing with zatar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    If you're looking for a holiday stuffing that can be cooked outside the bird, reach for this wonderful winter recipe. We stuffed acorn squashes with it but you can simply bake it in a dish. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice made out of sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, salt, oregano, and marjoram and it adds such a wonderful flavor to this stuffing that it might become your new favorite spice.

    Bake the halved acorn squashes and use the flesh as part of the stuffing. Combine it with bread, vegetables, herbs (dried and fresh) and chicken stock (or vegetable to keep the whole dish vegetarian). Ready in 1 hour and 10 minutes.

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    Duchess Mashed Potatoes

    Make-Ahead Duchess Mashed Potatoes

    Rita Maas/Getty Images

    Make these French-style dish potatoes ahead of time and freeze them for reheating when ready to serve. Beautiful, tasty, and easy to make, they go well with any meat and are ready in just 45 minutes.

    Make buttery mash potatoes with eggs and cream, pipe it onto a baking sheet, and bake until browned.

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    Broccoli Cheese Casserole

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole

    Diana Miller/Getty Images

    Vegetable gratins make excellent holiday side dishes, and our recipe for broccoli coated in a cheesy sauce is perfectly decadent and holiday-appropriate. Rich and buttery, with a touch of crunch from the almonds, the casserole is simple to make and super flavorful.

    The filling of condensed soups and Velveeta cheese also makes a creamy sauce that you could use on pasta bakes. Top your casserole with buttery breadcrumbs and bake at 375 F until the cheese is bubbling.

  • 34 of 57

    Easy Pea and Mint Soup

    Pea and Mint Soup

    taniche/Getty Images

    Green pea soup with a hint of fresh mint is elegant and utterly simple to make. It is an excellent, light starter before a heavy holiday dinner, but also makes a light lunch on the day of the big celebration.

    Simply cook onions and garlic in butter, add the peas, mint, veggie broth, and seasonings. Cook and blend, and then simmer again. This vegetarian alternative can be made vegan by using vegan margarine and skipping the optional Parmesan or using vegan cheese to top the soup. Ready in 40 minutes.

  • 35 of 57

    Vegetarian and Vegan Roasted Chestnut Soup

    Vegetarian and Vegan Roasted Chestnut Soup

    The Spruce Eats/Anastasiia Tretiak

    Roasted chestnut soup is a nutty, creamy dish that makes a great appetizer before a heavy dinner. It's also a fantastic light lunch on the day of the big feast. Because it is vegetarian and also suited for vegan diets, this dish should be in all holiday menus in case you have a vegetarian guest that needs a filling meal, besides a salad.

    Made with unsweetened soymilk and vegetable broth, it is also gluten-free in case you have other guests with dietary restrictions. Ready in 55 minutes.

  • 36 of 57

    Creamed Spinach

    Creamed Spinach

    magnez2/Getty Images

    This rich-tasting creamed spinach is an indulgent way to serve up a side of greens at Christmas dinner. Traditionally served with steak, these vegetables will have your guests asking for seconds. Rich cream, butter, and tangy Parmesan coat leaves of spinach and cook in just 30 minutes.

    For a different take, use baby kale instead, and enjoy a more pungent dish with these superfood greens.

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    Honey-Glazed Baby Carrots

    Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

    Miri Rotkovitz

    Honey-glazed baby carrots are a quick and easy recipe that will provide a nutritious and delicious side dish in 30 minutes. Quickly cook the carrots but leave them still firm. In a pan, coat the drained carrots with cinnamon, butter, honey, olive oil, and raisins.

    These veggies are loved by kids, but surely all the adults will want a serving. Use molasses instead of honey for a thicker coating, or maple syrup if you want to skip the honey. Add 1/3 cup of orange juice to the mixture to add some tang.

  • 38 of 57

    Cranberry Coulis

    Cranberry Coulis

    The Spruce Eats

    Sweet and tart cranberry coulis makes a tasty puréed accompaniment for roast turkey, duck, chicken, or game meats. Invest 30 minutes in making this special sauce and spruce up your traditional cranberry sauce.

    Cook cranberries, orange juice and its zest, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier. Reduce on medium heat and process in a blender. This sauce freezes well so you can make bigger batches and freeze for other special meals throughout the year.

  • 39 of 57

    Braised Cabbage With Apple and Onion

    Braised Cabbage With Apple and Onion

    Diana Rattray

    When roast pork or ham is on your Christmas dinner menu, offer up this buttery, braised cabbage as a side dish. Simply cook tangy apples, cabbage, onions, spices, and cider vinegar in a dutch oven for 1 to 1.5 hours until the cabbage is tender.

    Serve it while hot, but also use any cold leftovers to make morning-after turkey sandwiches, layering sliced turkey, mayo and cabbage on sourdough bread.

  • 40 of 57

    Guinness and Cheddar Biscuits

    Guinness and Cheddar Biscuits

    Diana Rattray

    Biscuits made from homemade, hearty cheese and stout beer make an excellent bread side for your Christmas dinner and are a tasty way to sop up the last bits of gravy and sauces from plates. For less intense beer flavor, choose a lighter beer variety, but if you're fond of stouts these biscuits are going to be your new favorite.

    Combine flour, butter, sugar, salt, Cheddar cheese, beer, and baking powder and make a dough without overmixing it. Roll out, cut, and bake the biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Ready in 25 minutes.

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    Buttery Pan Rolls

    Buttery Pan Rolls

    Tom Grill-Getty Images

     

    Homemade rolls are a wonderful accompaniment to a special meal, and our incredibly fluffy, buttery rounds are no exception. If you have family visiting over the holidays, an afternoon of baking is always good entertainment for the kids and teens, plus it'd be welcome to have them helping with sides and desserts.

    Plan ahead, because these rolls take just under 3 hours to be ready and need to prove twice to achieve their fluffy and airy texture.

  • 42 of 57

    Yorkshire Pudding

    Traditional Yorkshire Pudding

    The Spruce

     

    Yorkshire puddings are a classic British recipe and the traditional accompaniment for a prime rib or other roast beef dinners. What's not to love about puffed-up pastry puddings with beef drippings?

    Combine eggs, flour, milk, lard, and salt and make a batter that should rest for at least 30 minutes, ideally a few hours. In a very hot oven, heat up your pudding tins with vegetable oil until it is smoking. Add the batter and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

  • 43 of 57

    Roasted Chestnuts

    Roast Chestnuts

    The Spruce Eats

    Chestnuts are a traditional Christmas treat celebrated in popular holiday songs. Sold on street stands all over the world, these nuts keep people warm during hours of outdoor activities like skiing or snowshoeing. Our recipe roasts chestnuts in the oven, instead of over an open fire, for a festive holiday snack that you can serve in individual paper bags.

    Preheat your oven at 425 F and make an x-shaped indentation on each chestnut with a sharp knife. Roast for 20 minutes and serve.

  • 44 of 57

    English Trifle

    Traditional English Trifle

    The Spruce

     

    An English trifle is a traditional British dessert that has appeared on Christmas dinner menus for the last four centuries. Luscious layers of sponge cake soaked in sherry, fruit jelly, custard, and whipped cream make this a popular and beautiful treat at the holidays.

    Be sure to have a glass dessert bowl so your layers show. Skip the sherry if kids are eating this dessert, and add fresh sweet fruit both under the custard and on top of the whipped cream. Ready in 40 minutes plus setting time in the fridge.

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    Vanilla Sugar Cookies

    Vanilla Sugar Cookies

    David Bishop Inc.-Photolibrary-Getty Images

    These classic, buttery holiday cookies are kid favorites, and also provide a perfect kid's activity during the cold holiday days. Set a decoration station in your dining room with icing and sprinkles and let the kids make dessert.

    Mix butter, eggs, vanilla, evaporated milk, flour, salt, and baking powder, make a dough, and refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling. Cut and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool before decorating. This same dough can be the base for chocolate chip cookies by simply adding 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chips. Add coconut flakes, almonds, or any other cookie topping you'd like.

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    Bûche de Noël

    Traditional French buche de noel recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel 

    Create a showstopping dessert for your Christmas feast with this French-style recipe for yule log cake. Although it looks difficult, this cake is actually fairly easy to make.

    Make a fluffy and moist Genoise, flavor with Grand Marnier liqueur, and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool briefly and roll on a kitchen towel. A filling of sugar, chocolate, egg white, espresso powder, and butter covers the unrolled cake and then it's rolled again to achieve the log shape. Decorate with chocolate shavings. Ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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    Instant Pot Bread Pudding

    Instant Pot Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce

    Diana Rattray

    Your Instant Pot is the shortcut to producing a rich, silky, and smooth bread pudding that makes a perfect holiday dessert. The warming, nicely spiced mixture is finished with a stunning Bourbon sauce, perfumed with vanilla and made silky by adding cream and butter.

    Cook bread, raisins, pecans, eggs, spices and butter in the Instant Pot for 42 minutes. Let cool and serve the sauce on the side so guests all of ages can enjoy the dessert without necessarily have to eat the alcoholic sauce.

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    Quick Italian Panettone

    Classic Italian Panettone

    Elaine Lemm

    Celebrated Italian panettone is a buttery Christmas cake with a tall, loaf-like appearance, filled with candied and dried fruits. Making one from scratch takes some effort, but this straightforward recipe will help and yields beautiful results. More traditional recipes might take days to achieve, and although totally amazing, are less realistic for a home cook to work with, considering that the holidays aren't the best of times to take on on difficult recipes.

    Soak your fruit in liqueur for one night. Make a dough, preferably using a stand mixer, and refrigerate it overnight before putting together the panettone. Strain the fruit and mix with dough, kneading constantly. Shape and let prove for 3 hours. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

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    Pumpkin Pecan Pie

    Classic pumpkin pecan pie recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    If you love both pecan and pumpkin pie and can't decide what to make for dessert, go for this flavorful hybrid and enjoy the best of both flavors in one sweet slice of decadent goodness.

    Use a pre-made crust to save some time, and make a mixture of eggs, pumpkin, sugar, spices, butter, and pecans. Bake for 1 hour and let cool a little before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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    Eggnog Cookies

    Eggnog Cookies

    Diana Rattray

    If eggnog is one of your favorite Christmas traditions, you are sure to love this simple recipe for eggnog cookies. In just 30 minutes, bake up a big batch to leave on the kitchen counter for guests to nibble on while the hectic preparations for the big event are happening all around the house.

    The irresistible aroma of these cookies comes from vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and the eggnog flavor can be from purchased or homemade beverage. Mix with eggs, flour, and butter, make a dough, and bake for 25 minutes.

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    Caramel Meringue Pie

    Caramel Meringue Pie

    Diana Rattray

    A homemade buttery pie crust is the perfect way to start a holiday dessert. Take your time, make it from scratch, and indulge in a still-warm slice of this holiday dessert. A creamy caramel filling and a pillowy meringue topping make this stunning pie a wonderful ending to any Christmas meal.

    For a quicker preparation, use store-bought crust, but don't miss out on making the pie! Ready in 1 hour and 5 minutes.

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    Slow Cooker Christmas Fruitcake

    Slow Cooker Christmas Fruitcake

    Getty Images

    Forget those fruitcakes that take a month to make, and instead try this fabulously aromatic recipe in your crockpot. It's as flavorful as the traditional recipes but takes just 9 hours.

    Use yellow cake mix to save time and add eggs, spices, butter, cranberries, raisins, dates, candied citrus peel, and pecans. Cook for 6 hours in the crockpot and let rest with pot off for 2 more. Make a glaze of marmalade and lemon juice and add it on top of the cake. Leftover cake can be frozen up to 12 months, tightly wrapped in foil, and placed in a sealed freezer bag.

    Continue to 53 of 57 below.
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    Classic New York Cheesecake

    Classic New York Cheesecake

    Lew Robertson-Getty Images

     

    This recipe for wonderfully dense and velvety cheesecake is a wonderful way to wrap up your meal. Bake it the day before and refrigerate it overnight or up to 24 hours.

    Graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter make an irresistible crust, while the classic cream cheese, eggs, sour cream and sugar batter make a thick, creamy filling. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 2 different temperatures. Cool for 3 hours and decorate with fresh berries or fruit compote.

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    Merry Christmas Cocktail

    Merry Christmas cocktail

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Say "Merry Christmas!" with a sparkling holiday cocktail that's a festive, refreshing drink for your Christmas gatherings. Cranberry juice and soda are spiked with gin, for a simple, delightful seasonal beverage.

    For larger parties, make one pitcher at the time by multiplying the ingredients by 8, but be sure to use it all at once so the bubbles of the seltzer don't disappear.

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    White Christmas Cocktail

    White Christmas cocktail recipe

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    White chocolate liqueur, eggnog, and whiskey combine to create a fabulous cocktail in this naughty and nice holiday drink recipe. Not all people are fond of eggnog, but with the addition of a sweet liqueur and good quality whiskey, this cocktail will certainly please your guests.

    Use a cocktail shaker to make it, and serve an ice-cold drink in festive glasses decorated with chocolate flakes or edible gold. Ready in 3 minutes.

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    Traditional Mulled Wine

    Mulled Spiced Wine

    The Spruce

    Mulled wine is a traditional holiday beverage that makes a warming tipple for grown-ups at your winter parties. The secret to a good mulled wine is to use quality wine. The better the wine, the tastier its hot version.

    This fruity, well-spiced stovetop recipe needs 1 bottle of good Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Merlot, spices, orange, brandy, ginger, and honey. Let the ingredients develop their flavor on low heat without letting the mixture boil. Serve in festive glasses. Ready in 30 minutes.

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    Quick Brandy Eggnog

    Brandy Eggnog Cocktail Recipe

    The Spruce

    Eggnog is a holiday classic and a favorite party drink to enjoy at Christmas time. While there are many ways to make eggnog, few recipes are as traditional as this from-scratch version, which features brandy and fresh egg yolk, and is ready in a quick 3 minutes.

    In a cocktail shaker mix brandy, milk, egg yolk, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously and then add ice for a second shake. Strain and serve. If you want a non-alcoholic version, check our gingerbread eggnog, in which alcohol is optional.