Skip to main content

These easy recipes will give you the traditional Christmas dinner you crave

The best tried-and-true holiday recipes for a traditional Christmas dinner

The holiday season is a magical time, but it also gets pretty hectic. Between shopping, wrapping, baking, and going to parties, some of the most beloved traditions can get lost in the shuffle. Trying new ways to decorate your home for the holidays or experimenting with trendy Christmas recipes is always fun, but there’s something so comforting about returning to some classic Christmas dishes.

If you’re hosting this year’s holiday celebration and looking for some fresh ideas for dinner, why not look to the past? We’ve compiled some of our favorite traditional Christmas dinner ideas to make this your most merry and bright gathering ever.

Christmas eggnog

Christmas cocktails and appetizers


When it comes to holiday beverages, you can’t get much more traditional than eggnog. Homemade eggnog is surprisingly simple to make and doesn’t include all the fillers or preservatives you’ll find in the store-bought kind. It’s basically just cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and spices. For the adults, you can spike it with alcohol — rum, whiskey, or brandy — or keep it classic for a kid-friendly version that the whole family can enjoy. 

Roasted chestnuts

As the opening line of The Christmas Song, chestnuts roasting on an open fire have long been a part of Christmas holiday traditions. Once roasted, chestnuts develop a delicate, slightly sweet flavor, and a soft texture reminiscent of sweet potatoes. While some would argue that the best way to roast chestnuts is over hot coals in a fireplace or in an outdoor fire pit, not everyone has access to either of those, so this recipe gets the job done right inside your oven.

The recipe has one ingredient: chestnuts. Roast them in a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes and that’s all you need to give your guests the taste of traditional Christmas. Serve on a platter to enjoy as is, or add them to other traditional Christmas recipes like stuffing or tarts.

Holiday dessert

Holiday main course and side dishes

Beef Wellington

Had your fill of turkey at Thanksgiving? Why not make a traditional Christmas roast with an elegant flair instead? Named after the Duke of Wellington, this traditional British main course is beef wrapped in pastry and surrounded by savory duxelles, a mixture of mushrooms, shallots, and thyme. This modified recipe lets you save time and aggravation by using store-bought puff pastry (no one will know the difference). While certainly not the easiest recipe to master, it is guaranteed to absolutely ‘wow’ your guests. 

Maple ginger glazed carrots

There are ordinary side dishes, and then there are side dishes like this one. This mouth-watering dish has the power to elevate the humble carrot into a true taste sensation. It’s super easy to make, but be sure to use fresh ginger root and sweet maple syrup for the best results. Kids certainly won’t have trouble eating their vegetables when this is on the table.

The best mashed potatoes

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, but when a recipe touts itself as being “the best mashed potatoes” we stand up and take notice. In addition to the expected butter, milk, and seasonings, this recipe includes cream cheese and garlic, along with a few other notable flavors, to give you the most crowd-pleasing holiday mashed potatoes this side of the North Pole. 

Holiday dessert

Quintessential Christmas desserts

Putting aside the controversial holiday fruitcake, there are other classic Christmas desserts you should add to your meal this year. 

Yule log cake

Also known as a Buche de Noel, this dessert starts with a chocolate sponge cake which is filled with mascarpone whipped cream and rolled into the shape of a holiday yule log and covered with chocolate ganache. Sound decadent? That’s because it is. 

Figgy pudding

Figgy pudding is mentioned in more than a few Christmas carols, and for good reason. This sticky, sweet traditionally British dessert made from figs and dates is delectable and surprisingly simple to make. Baked individually in ramekins and then coated with a sinfully sweet sauce just before eating, figgy pudding is best when topped with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream. 

Gingerbread cookies

For a kid-approved Christmas dessert, there is no better option than gingerbread cookies. The distinct flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and molasses, but the smiles come from the cute cutout shapes and piped icing decor. Don’t forget to serve them with warm cocoa for the perfect finish.

Whether you add one or two traditional recipes to your repertoire or recreate a classic Christmas dinner from start to finish, these recipes are sure to impress your guests. Homemade meals show your family and friends how much you care about them, and they’re sure to taste the love in each and every bite. 

Editors' Recommendations

Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
7 delicious cocktails for New Year’s Eve to help you say goodbye to 2022
Ring in 2023 with these amazing cocktails at your NYE party
New Year's cheers

We can't be the only ones excitedly waiting for the new year, right? Although the drink of choice for New Year's Eve is usually Champagne, why not mix it up by serving your guests some amazing cocktails? Well, we have some cocktails they're sure to love. The best part is you don’t have to be a certified mixologist to make any of these.

Before you start thinking about your resolution for the new year, get your holiday party in order. It doesn’t matter if it’s just you and your partner or a whole group of friends; we want you to dazzle that midnight toast. Here are seven delicious cocktails for New Year’s Eve that we can’t wait for you to cheers with.

Read more
6 delectable New Year’s Eve desserts that will be the hit of the party
These desserts will leave everyone talking into the New Year
Champagne and cupcakes for a party

When New Year’s Day rolls around, millions of people start adjusting their lifestyles to align with their resolutions. Often, this means a new workout routine and eating healthier. But, New Year’s Eve is a whole other story. It's a day to indulge in something sweet, and we've got some ideas to do it right.

We’ve pulled together six decadent desserts that will help you cap off the year and get some last sweet treats in before you begin the next year. Whether you’re a novice baker or a self-described pro, you’ll find a New Year’s Eve dessert guaranteed to please your tastebuds and your fellow partygoers, too.

Read more
Get that perfect Christmas tree aesthetic with these easy gift-wrapping hacks
How to wrap a gift: Make wrapping a breeze this year with these easy tricks
Person holding gifts wrapped in brown paper.

If you're anything like me, you love to give a gift but hate the thought of wrapping it. It takes time, patience, and can get tedious if you cut a piece too small or the gift is odd-shaped; never mind if you run out of tape (or patience). Gift wrapping can be made much easier if you have a couple of tricks up your sleeve to make it fun and easy. Luckily, the Redditors at the r/lifehacks subreddit agree, and posted this video with a few simple tips that will make wrapping presents easier.

Here are a few ways to deal with some of the gift-wrapping challenges we all face during the holiday season.

Read more