Photograph by Isa Zapata, Food Styling by Thu Buser, Prop Styling Tim Ferro
Maybe this year’s holiday meal calls for a grand entrée like a succulent prime rib roast. Or maybe the move is a Christmas dinner menu loaded with snacks: Gruyère-filled onion dip, classic aioli destined for crunchy crudités, or pimento cheese crackers. Or how about a samosa tart paired with creamy soup? Or maybe you want to go full-on comfort food and make lasagna or spinach-stuffed meatloaf? These are all very good ideas for Christmas dinner.
Spicy Maple-Glazed Ham
This Christmas dinner idea is the ham recipe to end all other ham recipes—and that’s not just because it’s from legendary French chef Jacques Pépin. It’s also because it’s tender and juicy, you can make it ahead, and it requires only four ingredients.
Salt Cod Brandade
Called brandade de morue in Provence, the cheesy, garlicky French mashed potato dip uses inexpensive dried salt cod—a perfect pairing for a glass of Champagne or vermouth on the rocks.
Asian Pear Salad With Peanut-Lime Dressing
This sweet and tart salad gets its satisfyingly crunchy texture from floral Asian pears and raw cauliflower. It gets its style from famed fashion designer Peter Som, who moonlights as a recipe developer.
Spinach Pilaf Pie
The dough component of this pie is a simple yogurt-based mixture that rests at room temperature while you make the spinach-packed filling, studded with salty feta, sliced almonds, and sweet golden raisins.
BA’s Best Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp cocktail is all about the shrimp: big, fat, perfectly cooked, gorgeous shrimp. We prefer the jumbo kind (it’s a holiday appetizer, not just any appetizer), but this method works for any size.
Inarguably the best way to cook a well-seasoned, juicy turkey is to break it down into parts, dry-brine it, and roast it on a wire rack in a baking sheet. That’s all there is to say!
Harissa Sweet Potato Tarte Tatin
This semi-homemade (thanks, frozen puff pastry dough) savory tart makes for a great side to a meaty main dish such as red wine–braised short ribs or coriander-roast pork.
Cheesy Mushroom Galette
Umami lovers rejoice: This savory vegetarian galette features mushrooms in two ways, a rich duxelles-style spread and scattered over the top. Oh, and there’s lots of cheddar cheese.
Recast as an impressive centerpiece bursting with creamy, cheesy spinach and slathered in glossy ketchup, this usually humble main dish will compete with the Christmas tree for everyone’s attention.
Prime Rib Roast With Habanero Crema
This Christmas dinner idea is inspired by the braised oxtails that actor and cookbook author Ayesha Curry’s mom served at Sunday dinners, but repackaged into a prime rib roast. Just add some cornbread and you’re good.
Potato-Tomato Gratin With Horseradish
This unconventional (and dairy-free) take on potato gratin strikes the perfect balance of rich and bright thanks to jammy tomatoes and a generous dusting of zingy fresh horseradish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Gochujang Brown Butter
If you haven’t ever tried tossing roasted brussels sprouts in gochujang, brown butter, and maple syrup, then we urge you to give it a go. We’re confident you’ll be cooking all of your vegetables this way for the rest of winter.
Parker House Rolls
Fun fact: Created for the Parker House Hotel in Boston soon after it opened in 1855, these classic yeast rolls are sometimes called pocketbook rolls because of their shape, which resembles a purse.
Creamy French Onion Dip
Think of this crowd-pleaser as the love child of French onion soup and French onion dip: an ooey-gooey, salty, tangy dip with jammy caramelized onions.
Kale Salad With Pecan Vinaigrette
A Christmas salad should have enough flavor and heft to hold its own and enough strength to withstand being dressed ahead of time. This one checks both of those boxes.
Rice Pilaf With Lemony Brown-Butter Mushrooms
Fresh herbs, toasted angel hair pasta, and a glorious amount of brown butter make this mushroom-topped rice pilaf worthy of a holiday main course.
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
This Christmas dinner idea is not necessarily the classic Italian porchetta (seasoned and deboned pork roast), but it sure is delicious—and relatively easy.
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Look at those short ribs, happily bobbing in glossy red liquid. Looks like a delicious place to be, no? A place of onions, carrots, red wine, and garlic.
Char Siu Wellington
This Christmas centerpiece recipe combines the flavors of Cantonese sticky-sweet char siu with those of British beef Wellington.
Classic Potatoes au Gratin
This recipe is mostly potatoes, cream, and cheese (plus garlic and thyme). What requires your attention is the placement of the potato slices: fanning them out a handful at a time and at an angle is not only beautiful, it will also ensure that every scoop will have tender potatoes at the bottom and crisp edges at the top.
Sweet-and-Saucy Pork Chops
For succulent pork chops, we turn to an unexpected ingredient: sugar. A pinch sprinkled over the surface helps the meat stay moist while the chops develop a golden brown crust.
Tangy Brisket With Fennel and Herbs
This brisket is seasoned heavily with salt and pepper, seared until deeply browned, strewn with caramelized savory aromatics, and braised until fall-apart tender. Need to know anything else?
Burnt Orange and Coriander Roast Pork
This is one of the most leftovers-friendly but still showstopping Christmas dinner ideas. All week, this slow-roasted pork can be repurposed into sandwiches, stir-fries, tacos, and more.
Pimento Cheese Crackers
These sensational, melt-in-your-mouth cheddar crackers are all grown up thanks to a little heat from the cayenne and a hint of sweet pepper from the pimento.
Low-and-Slow Rib Roast
The secret ingredient in this rib roast recipe: anchovy fillets. Ten of them. Combined with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil, the punchy mixture takes this already delicious Christmas dinner idea to the next level.
Harissa-Roasted Eggplant With Fried Capers
Think of capers as plant-based anchovies: They’re salty with a unique acidity, and they’re also the secret weapon in this savory-sweet roasted eggplant dish.
Seared Radicchio and Roasted Beets
This festive vegetarian side dish is a study in ruby: red beets, radicchio, red wine vinegar, and pomegranate seeds. This is the most delicious way to break up all of that brown and beige on the table.
Slow Roast Beef
We’ve adapted the classic roast into a buffet-style, serve-yourself dish, with options: Make a sandwich with cornichons and horseradish sauce, or eat it up as distinct components if that’s more your thing.
Burnished Potato Nuggets
Behold, your new standard for roasted potatoes: puck-size oven fries with creamy insides and unimaginably crunchy exteriors. Seat yourself close to the serving bowl—these are going to go fast.
Garam Masala Short Rib Roast With Pistachio Crust
The secret to this seriously flavorful crust is the trifecta of garam masala, salt, brown sugar, and MSG. Bonus: You can scale this dish to suit your needs. It’s a Christmas for-two-or-maybe-for-eight recipe.
Reverse Sear Rib-Eye Roast With Fennel and Rosemary
Cutting the meat into two smaller pieces reduces cooking time, but it’s the roast first, brown later reverse sear that’s game-changing in this recipe.
Rosemary-Sizzled Salami, Dates, and Pecans
Forget the charcuterie board, just toss the cured meat, earthy-sweet dates, and nuts together in a pan with rosemary for a festive spin on a party staple. Imagine this snack with an ice-cold extra-dry martini. Chef’s kiss.
Garlic Confit Toast
You’ve had garlic toast, and you’ve probably had something confited (slow-cooked in fat)—but have you had garlic confit toast? It’s time to live large then.
Candied Mandarin Oranges With Cranberries
You already had plenty of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. This dish is almost the reverse: Instead of cranberry compote flavored with a small amount of orange zest, it involves broiled mandarin oranges finished with a little bit of cranberry reduction.
Hasselback Butternut Squash With Bay Leaves
For this Christmas dinner idea, roasting the butternut with several bay leaves slipped between the slices results in a subtle, aromatic backdrop for the chile glaze.
Bitter Greens With Cranberry Dressing
Sprinkled with crunchy candied pecans and salty shavings of Manchego cheese, this fresh and lively salad is the dream complement to what can otherwise be a rather heavy spread.
Spiced with nutmeg and allspice, whole ducks are slow-roasted for five hours, then served with your pick of cabbage, scallion, ginger, serrano chiles, mint, and cilantro.
Squash and Caramelized Onion Tart
Arranging thin slices of butternut and delicata squashes, sweet potato, and red onion in concentric circles, starting from the outside edge and working your way inward, takes this tart to centerpiece status.
Charred Brussels Sprouts With Warm Honey Glaze
This side dish hits all the right notes with charred veg dressed in sticky-sweet honey, tangy red wine vinegar, bright lemon zest, spicy chile flakes, and a good dose of butter.
BA’s Best Lasagna
If you’re short on time, you can make both the bechamel and the ragù earlier in the week and pop them in the fridge. You can also make a full tray of this lasagna in advance and freeze it unbaked.
Buttery Roasted Chestnuts in Foil
Chestnuts roasting on an…well, you might not have an open fire, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have this cozy Christmas classic. Follow this recipe.
Shallot Tarte Tartin
This buttery shallot pastry will flip everything you know about tarte Tatin on its head—including the fact that you can make it ahead. Let the tart cool in the pan, then reheat over medium to soften the glaze before inverting.
You’ve never met a better, brighter riff on the classic Caesar than this raw broccoli twist. The crunchy, punchy side is a tasty way to make sure you eat your vegetables on Christmas night.
Onion-Dip Potato Chips
Grind onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt in spice mill. Sprinkle the mixture over store-bought potato chips and add fresh dill. Thank us later.
It takes some extra effort to cook some of the vegetables in this chopped salad, but the eventual mix of earthy and fresh, caramelized and crunchy is worth it.
Braised Short Ribs With Onions and Curry Leaves
Two ingredients make these braised short ribs stand out: fresh coconut, which doesn’t need to be toasted to bring out its natural nutty and sweet flavors, and citrusy, nutty curry leaves.
When spiced nuts won’t cut it for your crowd and they need a more substantial cocktail-hour snack, turn to the grand aioli platter. Everything on it—green beans, radishes, lettuce wedges, boiled eggs, poached shrimp—is meant to be dipped into garlicky mayonnaise.
Glazed Shallots With Chile and Thyme
These sweet and saucy shallots are your best answer to a plan-way-ahead side: They can hold for a day or two, and then go straight from the fridge to the microwave to the table.
Set-It-and-Forget-It Roast Pork Shoulder
Its skin scored and rubbed with a mixture of finely ground peppercorns, juniper berries, and coriander seeds, this roast pork shoulder is so gorgeous we had to photograph it like a still life work of art.
Radicchio Salad With Sour Cream Ranch
With salty, sweet, and creamy components, this recipe is more than just a salad: It’s a fully realized Christmas side dish.
Parsnip Confit With Pickled Currants
You’ll never look at root vegetables the same way again. These sturdy parsnips soften in a warm bath of olive oil, then get seared and bejeweled with pickled currants.
Salty and sweet, these sugary, buttery, Parmesan-y rolls work just as well for Christmas dinner as they do for Christmas morning breakfast. Either way, they should become a holiday mainstay in your household.
Broccoli and Garlic-Ricotta Toasts With Hot Honey
Extra-Buttery Mashed Potatoes
There’s a lesson to be learned from one important step in this mashed potato recipe: Dry the cooked potatoes in the pan and they’ll absorb that much more flavor from your herb-infused dairy.Alex Lau64/79
Potato-Leek Soup with Toasted Nuts and Seeds
Cheesy Sausage and Sage Stuffing
This holiday-worthy recipe was inspired by bread pudding and ended up somewhere between a strata, a gratin, and a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. We say there’s no reason why you can’t have it at Christmas too.Photo by Chelsie Craig, food styling by Claire Saffitz66/79
Slow-Cooked Green Beans With Harissa and Cumin
Impossibly soft and caramelized green beans that only ask one thing of you: patience while they roast. Surrender them to your oven for an hour or two and you will be rewarded.Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott67/79
Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls
We realize, there are a lot of steps in this recipe, but if you follow them closely, you’ll end up with the softest dinner rolls you’ve ever made.Photo by Chelsie Craig, Food Styling by Dana Bonagura68/79
Greens With Braised Pancetta and Garlic
This satisfying vegetable-forward dish proves that sometimes the role for meat is as a supporting actor, helping to make green things shine. If you can’t find pancetta, slab bacon can be used in its place.Photograph by Julian Cousins, Food styling by Adriana Paschen69/79
Radicchio, Bean, and Feta Salad
This sweet and sour twist on cranberry sauce is ready to be spooned over turkey, baked Brie, or directly into your mouth. We won’t judge.Marcus Nilsson71/79
Lobster Fra Diavolo
Fra diavolo is defined by the use of onions, olive oil, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, garlic, seafood. In this case, the seafood is 1¼-pound lobsters. Because it’s Christmas.Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski72/79
Shaved Carrots With Charred Dates
At least two kinds of citrus juices and some rice vinegar give this holiday side—already tangy and fresh from raw carrots, and soft and sweet from Medjool dates—some extra energy.Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott73/79
Chicory Salad With Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
This sweet-sharp vinaigrette pairs well with the bitter escarole and radicchio, which help balance what we assume will be a meaty, buttery meal. If Dijon mustard is all you’ve got, feel free to use that in place of whole-grain.Photo by Chelsie Craig, styling by Judy Mancini74/79
Shawarma-Spiced Braised Leg of Lamb
A boneless leg of lamb is a bit more manageable and cooks more quickly, but this is a Christmas dinner recipe, remember? We say go (Flinstonian-sized) bone-in or go home.Photograph by Isa Zapata, Food Styling by Sean Dooley, Prop Styling by JoJo Li77/79
Butter-Roasted Turkey Breasts
If your dinner table is set for a smaller crowd, these bone-in turkey breasts might be the move. They’re easy to find and just as impressive as a whole bird when you roast them in butter and herbs.Ditte Isager79/79
Candied Nuts With Smoked Almonds
Don’t forget snacks when you’re dreaming up Christmas dinner ideas. This sweet and savory nut mix is as good to nibble on with festive cocktails as it is for wrapping and gifting. ’Tis the holiday season, after all.Explore Bon AppétitChristmasDinnerEntertaining