55+ Christmas eve and Christmas dinner ideas to pull together a delicious and crowd-pleasing holiday menu. Including traditional and non-traditional (plus regular, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan) nibbles, appetizers, mains, sides, desserts, and even drinks to wow your guests!
No matter your intentions, planning the perfect Christmas dinner menu can easily become a month + long affair when juggling between that, finding/making Christmas gifts, preparing your annual gingerbread house, decorating, and reveling in all the holiday spirit! Luckily, I’ve compiled this list of the best Christmas dinner recipes (and previously, one for Christmas breakfast/brunch) to give you a head start!
Whether you want to put together a traditional Christmas dinner, vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner, looking for unique Christmas dinner ideas, or even Christmas buffet ideas, this list of Christmas dishes ideas has plenty to choose from, including all my favorite traditional and non-traditional holiday crowd-pleasers!
With a list of holiday menu ideas to fit every course (desserts and drinks included) and multiple dietary requirements, keep reading to pull together a delicious Christmas menu. Not only are most of the below recipes easy to prepare, but many of them can, partially or in full, be made ahead of time and reheated on the day to minimize the holiday stress!
Plus, if you’re looking for meal top tips on how to host a stress-free holiday, check out my post on Thanksgiving dinner ideas!
Whether you’re hosting a Christmas party food buffet or just need nibbles to keep tummies happy while waiting for Christmas dinner, here are some simple and crowd-pleasing sweet and savory snacks and Christmas party food ideas.
You might also enjoy these candied walnuts.
Prefer your garlic bread minus the cheese? Check out this recipe for roasted garlic bread instead!
While some people love to jump right to the main event, you may prefer setting out several courses over the day. First up, the perfect easy Christmas appetizers, like soups and salads, that will impress your guests without weighing them down.
If you plan to make a soup starter, note that most soups will taste even better on day two, so it’s a wonderful dish to prep in advance and reheat for your Christmas dinner and Christmas eve dinner.
Arugula Pomegranate Salad (Vegan Optional)
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (Vegan Optional)
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for non-traditional Christmas dinner recipes (aka ideas for Christmas dinner other than turkey), so while my list of Christmas food recipes may not contain turkey, beef, or pork, and it’s not a Christmas ham dinner menu, you might enjoy chicken, salmon, or even a vegan/vegetarians Christmas dinner main or Christmas Eve dinner ideas.
For your plant-based guests, they may also enjoy these roasted cabbage steaks.
Christmas Side Dishes
This list simply wouldn’t be complete without plenty of delicious Christmas dinner sides. From homemade gravy (with or without drippings) to mashed potato, and other favorite holiday vegetable dishes, the only struggle will be trying not to choose too many of these top sides for Christmas dinner to prepare!
Want to try a more non-traditional Christmas dinner offering? Give this mashed sweet potato a try or even mashed purple potatoes. They’re usually fairly healthy, paleo, easy to turn vegan, ready in under 30 minutes, etc. And they are also great Christmas ham dinner sides.
If you’re looking for a meat-free version, check out this recipe for vegan gravy recipe instead!
Want your spuds to be as crispy as possible? Try this recipe for smashed potatoes, which are a great addition to a non-traditional Christmas dinner menu.
If you’re looking for more of an “individual-serve” style potato side for a non-traditional Christmas dinner, you might enjoy these parmesan potato stacks (aka muffin tin potatoes). They’re super crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, with plenty of flavor variations.
Speaking of crossover Thanksgiving dishes, you might also love these candied yams with sweet brown sugar and a wonderfully tender texture.
When pulling together your list of easy Christmas dinner menu ideas, it’s easy to forget about the “other side” of the meal, aka the drinks! However, here are a few of my favorite options to keep adults and children happy, all non-alcoholic (though many contain optional alcoholic twists!).
As delicious as hot cocoa is anyway, enhance them even more with super simple flavored syrups, like vanilla, coffee, and lavender syrup, or even a few drops of rose water for a “Turkish delight” flavor.
Make a quick pomegranate or cranberry cocktail by combining the juice with white wine (or sparkling water for a mocktail version) and extra pomegranate seeds.
I don’t know about you, but I’m never able to eat Christmas desserts directly after the main course. Give me just an hour, though, and I’m ready to dig into something sweet. Luckily, most of the below easy Christmas dessert and after-dinner snack ideas can be prepared in advance, too, for minimal fuss on the day.
Want to engage in a group activity, or just enjoy the spoils or your hard labor? Well, why not also check out my post on how to design, make, and build the best gingerbread house!
If you try any of these Christmas dinner ideas, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I would also love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!