Christmas Dinner Ideas: 13 Popular Foods Eaten on Christmas

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The holiday season is fast approaching, so it's time to get some inspiration for Christmas dinner! There's nothing quite like enjoying a festive meal with the people you love most on the happiest day of the year, and these creative recipes are sure to make your holiday feast taste better than ever.

1. Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Roast chicken is one of the Christmas dinner classics, and there's a reason why enjoying this dish has become a tradition when the holidays come around. As far as Christmas dinner ideas go, serving a roast chicken with some potatoes and sweet potatoes is about as crowd-pleasing as it gets. 

This dish is traditionally prepared by cooking the chicken in the oven with the rest of your ingredients. Roasting the chicken, the potatoes, and some shallots together, topped with fresh herbs, allows all of the meal’s flavors to blend together in perfect harmony. 

One pro tip for making a delicious roast chicken is to make a bouquet garni. This bundle of fresh herbs can provide your chicken with a huge boost of flavor, thanks to the combination of fresh parsley, bay leaves, and thyme. These herbs will make your chicken and potatoes even more festive. 

Add in a glaze made of butter and olive oil, and you'll be left with an unforgettable main course for your Christmas dinner menu.

In addition, you can level up your roast chicken by pairing it with any roasted vegetables of your choosing. We recommend adding brussels sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli, butternut squash, or carrots to the baking sheet and roasting them with the chicken. These roasted veggies make a delicious side dish when served on their own, and they're always a perfect addition to any holiday menu.

We've got a simple and delicious recipe for roast chicken and potatoes for you to try this Christmas. 

2. Pancakes

Need a festive breakfast to start the holidays off right? Pancakes are the way to go. Making pancakes on Christmas morning is a tradition for many families, and it's easy to see why – they're delicious! 

When making pancakes for your Christmas breakfast, we recommend going all-out. That means serving each plate with breakfast staples like bacon, ham, fruit, grits, and anything else you'd find at your local diner. After all, it's Christmas, the perfect time of year to get a little extravagant.

Making pancakes is incredibly easy, especially thanks to our simple recipe. You can whip up a delicious batch using your favorite frying pan. Try sprinkling some brown sugar on top and adding a drizzle of maple syrup – you won't regret it.

3. Apple Tarte Tatin

A classic apple pie is always a hit with Christmas dinner guests, but you can really blow your friends and family away by making an apple tarte tatin. 

Tarte tatin is an upside-down dessert that is traditionally made with just a few simple ingredients. In the apple version of the classic dessert, you'll get some extra-festive flavors from homemade caramel, which you can make by mixing butter, sugar, and vanilla bean in a pan. You'll use your caramel to brown the apples and coat them in sweet, syrupy goodness, making every bite of this classic dessert taste like heaven.

Our recipe for apple tarte tatin is simple enough for newcomers to baking, but it'll satisfy even the most experienced cooks and bakers. The dessert makes a perfect addition to your Christmas dinner table, and it's sure to be one of the most talked-about dishes of the whole holiday season. 

4. Potatoes Au Gratin

This irresistibly creamy dish has Christmas dinner written all over it. Using yellow russet potatoes is the way to go when you're making potatoes au gratin, as they're some of the softest spuds, which makes them especially easy to bake. 

Our recipe for potatoes au gratin gets an extra boost of flavor from the addition of two unlikely spices – garlic and nutmeg. While you might not often hear about these two spices being used together, they're an ideal pairing for festive dishes like this one. Nutmeg is typically used in sweet dishes and desserts, but it's right at home when paired with the creamy potatoes in this recipe. Garlic, of course, makes any savory dish taste better.

Serve these potatoes alongside a pork roast or beef tenderloin, and let the festivities begin! 

5. Vegetable Tian

Vegetarians don't always have a lot of options to choose from on typical Christmas menus. However, this delicious layered casserole is a meat-free holiday treat that makes an excellent appetizer, side dish, or even a main course. 

Tian is made by layering vegetables in a circular dish and roasting them in the oven. The addition of fresh thyme and garlic cloves makes the flavors of the veggies pop, especially when paired with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper. 

Even if you're a meat-lover, you're going to want to give this veggie dish a try. Our vegetable tian recipe gives you an easy opportunity to add a bit more color to your Christmas dinner, all thanks to tasty, nutritious veggies like tomatoes, onions, and eggplant.

6. Bowtie Pasta Salad

Pasta salad makes a great addition to your holiday dinner menu, and it's easy to make! Farfalle, better known as bow-tie noodles, are the ideal base for your pasta salad thanks to their distinct shape and texture. These noodles aren't necessarily what you'd typically expect to see on the table at Christmas, but they pair perfectly with other festive dishes when used to make a salad. 

One of the key ingredients that will make your pasta salad stand out is some fresh goat cheese. The rich, creamy taste of goat cheese makes it a perfect festive topping for savory dishes like pasta salad. Pair goat cheese with some sliced almonds, and your pasta salad will taste even better.

7. Hot Chocolate

There's nothing like a steaming cup of hot chocolate to warm you up on Christmas morning. Pair a mug with some Christmas cookies, and you've got a picture-perfect dessert no one can resist. 

While it might be tempting to use a packet of pre-made hot chocolate, the Christmas season is a time to go the extra mile and make your treats from scratch. Plus, making your own hot cocoa isn't as hard as you might think. Simply heat some milk in a saucepan and use a whisk to add cocoa powder and sugar. You can perfect your hot cocoa recipe by trying different types of milk and adding more or less sugar or cocoa.

Serve every cup of homemade hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream – there's no other way.

8. Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is a fantastic dish to cook any time of year, but it's especially tasty during the colder months. While this Italian classic has a reputation for being difficult to make, it's one of those meals you'll love to make over and over again once you master it. 

Made like a casserole, the dish gets its signature flavor from a blend of tomato sauce and thin slices of oven-roasted eggplant. Mix those ingredients with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and you're left with the perfect entree for Christmas dinner. 

9.  Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is one of those instant pot recipes you can cook in less than half an hour and is guaranteed to please. In other words, it's our favorite kind of recipe! The blend of cheddar cheese, fresh broccoli, and a few other simple ingredients is absolutely iconic, and it's hard to find anyone who can resist a bowl of it. 

Our broccoli cheddar soup is an excellent side dish to add to your Christmas dinner menu. It’s warm, comforting, rich, creamy, and easy to make. What’s not to love?

10.  Smashed Potatoes

You’ve tried mashed potatoes, but have you had smashed potatoes? 

This unique twist on the classic holiday side dish has enough elegance and gourmet ingredients to impress even the stingiest foodie out there. Made with just four simple ingredients, it has a refreshing flavor profile thanks to the combination of natural yogurt and crumbled feta cheese. While these ingredients are typically used in Greek cuisine, they’re right at home in this potato dish.

Mashed potatoes are always guaranteed to please as a holiday side dish, but why not spice things up a bit and try a creative alternative to a classic recipe? After all, you’ve probably had mashed potatoes with Christmas dinner every year since you were born – why not try something different?

10.  Festive Sangria

Who doesn’t love a cocktail on Christmas night? 

We’re big fans of sangria here at JOW, and we think a festive spin on a classic wine-based cocktail is the perfect beverage for the holiday season. You can make your own festive sangria with ingredients like cinnamon, oranges, lime juice, and pears, along with dry red wine and a bit of brandy.

Sangria is typically made with help from reds like Pinot Noir, Merlot, or a good Cab Sauv, along with flavorful fruits that won’t dissolve as they soak in the flavors from the wine. Your sangria should also get a bit of extra sweetness from some added sugar. However, you can also turn to an alternative sweetener like honey or agave nectar if you prefer. 

The best way to make festive sangria is to mix wine, brandy, some orange juice, and fruits of your choice with some sugar or an alternative sweetener. The mixture of ingredients should be refrigerated for several hours before it’s ready to serve. This time spent in the fridge allows all of the ingredients to be properly mixed before they’re poured into a glass. 

11.  Chicken, Chorizo, and Roasted Veggies

If you need a simple, one-pan Christmas dinner to serve this year, look no further than our recipe for chicken, chorizo, and roasted veggies. It’s not your typical Christmas dinner, but it has everything you’d want out of a holiday meal – it’s warm, comforting, and full of flavor. 

We formulated this recipe for busy families who just want something simple and tasty to enjoy at any time of year. It just so happens to be a great addition to your holiday menu. The flavors from the chorizo and the fresh garlic blend perfectly, and you can enhance the savoriness of the dish by adding other fresh herbs like thyme, sage, and rosemary.


12.  Honey-Roasted Carrots

These oven-roasted carrots are a fantastic side dish to serve alongside a festive entree. They get their unique flavor profile from a combination of honey and fresh mint leaves, along with some ground cumin. The natural sweetness of the carrots is complemented by the rich, sweet taste of the honey, and those flavors get even better when the oven works its magic. 

13. Rustic Cherry Tart

If you’re trying to boost your confidence as a baker this holiday season, you simply must try your hand at making our rustic cherry tart recipe. The natural sweetness and tartness of the cherries is the perfect set of flavors for the holidays, and those flavors are made even better when they’re wrapped in a sweet little envelope of dough. 

We opted to blend almond flour and all-purpose flour for this recipe, which gives the tart a light, nutty taste. Add butter and sugar to your dough, and you’re left with a festive treat that is guaranteed to please.

Whip Up Some Festive Goodness This Holiday Season

With the help of these recipes, your Christmas dinner is sure to be a hit this year. When visions of cranberries and roast beef start to dance in your head, it’s time to start planning the perfect holiday meal. 

Visit our cooking page to get more inspiration for your holiday meals, as well as recipes to try year-round.