Christmas recipes and Christmas Menus for everyone!! Whether you’re having a summery Aussie Christmas lunch, a cosy White Christmas, a traditional Christmas dinner, or need speedy recipes that still have the wow factor, here’s a collection of my very best Christmas food ideas!
Prefer to help yourself? Browse the new Christmas Recipe Index!
I started this guided walk through of my very best Christmas recipes back in 2017. Each year, I update the post with my latest recipes and add more suggested menus. I hope you find some inspiration! – Nagi x
Christmas Recipes and Menus
The RecipeTin Family is notorious for leaving our Christmas menu until the last minute. We like to toss ideas around, offering up suggestions, “debating”*, looking around to see what looks good this year.
There’s a big build up until 3 days before – then bam! The Menu is Set, tasks are allocated, and everyone is dispatched to source the required ingredients.
It’s all part of our annual Christmas ritual.
And now, it’s your turn. I hope this Christmas Recipe Index and Menu Ideas helps you to plan your Christmas Menu!
* This is code for heated arguments and requests being shot down. Such as scoffing at mum’s request for Crackling Roast Pork as well as ham (“double pork is a no no!” we declare), mocking my request for Fried Chicken (“it’s Christmas, don’t be so bogan!”), and experimental ideas like Turdukin shot down as “noooo, it’s just a hack, it isn’t that tasty!”. As far as I’m concerned, there are no rules for Christmas and the opinions of the RecipeTin Family should be disregarded. And Fried Chicken is the perfect main for any occasion!😂
What will be your centrepiece this year?? A perfectly cooked Prime Rib, the juiciest ever Roast Turkey, a sticky Glazed Ham or the most incredible simple Herb and Garlic Butter Slow Cooker Turkey Breast?
Reader favourite: Christmas Baked Salmon. Looks festive, easy to make, exceptional flavour!
Warm & Hearty Sides
Warm and cosy, many of these are great for making ahead! My picks:
Potatoes au Gratin – indulgent, tastes outrageously good (it’s French, you can’t go wrong) and it’s 100% perfect for make ahead;
Baked Mac & Cheese – best made fresh for optimal eating experience but I have tips for near perfect make-ahead! This is a regular at the RecipeTi Family Christmas – we splurge on very good gruyere cheese and it is outrageously to die for!
Salads & Summery Sides
Never under estimate the power of a really great fresh, crunchy salad. And for those of us who have a Summer Christmas, fill your festive table with these colourful, a little-bit-show-off salads and side dishes!
It might not be traditional, but for years Corn Bread has remained as a firm favourite in our family! We love how soft and moist it is, that it’s so tasty you could eat it plain but when you use it to mop your Christmas plate clean? Swooon…
Starters & Snacks
Things to nibble before the feast are mandatory. Full stop!
There is ALWAYS room for dessert. Always!!! This year, I present my Pavlova Christmas Tree, featured as part of a Christmas special I did for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sunday Life pull-out, as well as on the Good Food website.
And here are some more dessert suggestions to steal the show at your Christmas dinner this year!
Just a few suggestions for Christmas Menus……
🦃 🎄My Perfect Traditional Christmas Menu (ignoring all practical logistics like oven space and sleeping!)
☀️ Aussie Summer Christmas Lunch!
🥩 Prime Rib Christmas Dinner
❄️ Cosy White Christmas Dinner
💵 Thrifty but Nifty – Budget conscious Christmas dinner (For Australia)
😇 Super Easy Christmas Menu – low effort, forgiving, make ahead recipes
Menu 1: Nagi’s Perfect Menu
Ignoring weather, the opinions of the RecipeTin Family, sleep, oven logistics and of course, calorie counting. In my perfect world, this is what I’d make you for Christmas:
Fresh Prawns/Shrimp with Seafood Sauces for dipping
Duck Fat Potatoes – Crispiest, Best Roast Potatoes EVER!
Baked Mac and Cheese – no compromise on the cheese, gruyere all the way!
Apple Salad with Cranberries and Candied Walnuts
Leafy greens with Balsamic Dressing
Cornbread – because it’s my favourite bread ever, full stop!
I always like to make 2 desserts because I like to have at least one chocolate / rich dessert and one non chocolate / “lighter” option eg with fruit. These are the dessert combinations I’ve done in the past for various gatherings.
Menu 2: 🇦🇺Aussie Summer Christmas Lunch!🇦🇺
It’s un-Australian to spend Christmas Day holed up in the kitchen with the oven going all day! Here’s a suggested summer Christmas Lunch Menu – Aussie style!
Tasty Snacks to start – suggestions
Prawns (shrimp) with dipping sauces – An Aussie Christmas just ain’t an Aussie Christmas unless there are prawns on offer! Those sauces are also ideal for other shellfish: Crab, lobster, Morton Bay / Balman bugs, seafood sticks, and other cold seafoods.
Fresh Oysters with lemon wedges
Glazed Ham – You can’t get more classic than a Brown Sugar Glazed Ham or Maple Glazed Ham for your Christmas main! The impressive presentation and irresistible wafts of spice and sugar will turn heads and set tongues wagging as you ceremoniously deliver this glorious centrepiece to the table!
Turkey Breast – Because ham is so big, turkey breast is a popular option here in Australia. This Slow Cooker Garlic Herb Turkey Breast is really popular this year, and this classic Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy is a sure thing! I opt for slow cooker turkey as the oven is used for the ham.
Alternative Fish Main: This fabulously festive-looking and tasting Christmas Baked Salmon. It’s dead easy, and can be made ahead!!
Fresh Salads, a bit fancy – lots of festive salads are ideal for hot weather Christmas Feasting! Peaches are at their peak so this Peach Salad is perfect. Otherwise, this little-bit-fancy Apple Salad with Cranberries and Candied Nuts, a Roast Pumpkin Spinach Feta Salad or this Pomegranate Salad shot through with Christmas colours! But if you want to truly go big, you cannot beat my Hot Smoked Salmon Celebration Salad!
Simple leafy salad – I always like to add a leafy salad like this French Bistro Salad, or simply dressed mixed leaves with Balsamic Dressing, French Dressing, Italian Dressing. Coleslaws are always great too for summer – or try this lighter No-Mayo Slaw for a change up. Also popular over the last years is this Cucumber Salad with Herb and Garlic Dressing!
Good Bread – buy some good quality bread and serve with bowls of quality extra virgin olive oil for dunking. Bread is also essential to mop the plate clean!
No Bake Mango Cheesecake is colourful, easy and always a hit in hot weather.
For a truly show-stopping, patisserie-quality dessert, you can’t go past Chocolate Mirror Glaze Cake!
Also see the 2017 Very (Easy) Aussie Christmas Feast menu!
Menu 3: Prime Rib Christmas Dinner
Prime Rib with Red Wine Sauce – the star!
Potato Side – Paris Mash for a real steakhouse experience, or Creamy Cauliflower Mash for a low carb option. Or Seriously Crunchy Roast Potatoes or Duck Fat Potatoes (get the oil/duck fat heating started while beef is in the oven, then roast potatoes while beef is resting). Potato Rosti is another excellent option since you don’t need the oven. For a terrific make ahead option, you can’t beat this luxurious Potatoes au Gratin, Fondant Sweet Potatoes – or try Mini Potato Gratin Stacks! See all Potato Recipes.
Baked Mac and Cheese is always welcome alongside Prime Rib….
Vegetables – Green Beans in Creamy Parmesan Sauce or Garlic Sautéed Spinach for steakhouse style. If you are a Brussels Sprouts lover, then Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Sauteed Brussels Sprouts in Carbonara Sauce. Otherwise try these ever-popular Brown Sugar Glazed Roasted Carrots or Broccoli au Gratin.
Dessert – Personally, I would go for something indulgent like Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce or Salted Caramel Tart or Peanut Butter Caramel Tart (this is to die for!!!). Cake options: Strawberry Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cake or my new Very Best Vanilla Cake that offers endless possibilities. For something elegant, I’d choose Chocolate Mousse, Creme Brûlée or chocolate sauce-drenched Profiteroles.
Menu 4: Cosy White Christmas Dinner
If you’re having a White Christmas, you’ll love this cosy menu! The number of mains you have will depend on how many people you’re serving. If you’ve got a small group, perhaps just opt for one main.
Juicy Roast Turkey. Dry brining is the secret to the juiciest roast turkey you’ve ever had. Complete with a gorgeous turkey gravy! (Even got you covered for turkey leftovers: Garlic Bread Leftover Turkey Pot Pie!). OR consider a Slow Roasted Pork with perfect crackling! Otherwise, make a splash with this Rosemary Crumbed Lamb Rack.
Brown Sugar Glazed Ham or Maple Glazed Ham. Make this before the turkey – it will be fine at room temp! OR make either this Slow Cooker Garlic Herb Turkey Breast or this classic Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy to keep the oven free for the ham.
Stuffing – I always bake my stuffing in a pan separate from turkey for 2 reasons: 1) the extra flavour from the browning; and 2) raw stuffing inside turkey = overcooked turkey meat (because by the time the stuffing is cooked, the turkey is overcooked). Here’s my all time favourite Sausage stuffing recipe – and for something different, turn it into Pancetta Stuffing Cups.
Warm Vegetable Sides – Too many to list, but some suggestions your guests will love: Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts for something a bit different; Brown Sugar Glazed Roasted Carrots are ever popular; Roasted Mushrooms; Baked Zucchini for some tasty greens; Lentil and Roasted Eggplant is a wickedly delicious combo; Magic Broccoli is so easy yet so tasty it’s, well, magic!
Menu 5: 2020 Sydney Morning Herald $20pp Menu
This is the menu that I did for the Good Food section of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Sunday Life Magazine which was published on Sunday 6 December 2020! My challenge was to come up with the most amazing menu possible on a budget of $20 per head, mindful of the challenging times we’ve experienced this year.
Here’s a link to the menu on the Good Food website. This is what’s included – the budget was for 8 adults at $20 pp, total of A$160.
Prawn Crostini with Minted Pea Puree – because what’s an Aussie Christmas without prawns?? Here’s the recipe on the Good Food website;
Crackling Roast Pork – an existing recipe on my website where I share my game changing (simple!) tips for the best crispy crackling of your life, guaranteed!
Sticky Christmas Glazed Chicken – when you take a classic Brown Sugar Ham Glaze and use it for chicken, very, very good things happen….
Smushed Potato Salad – when you gently crushed potatoes then toss in a Honey Mustard Dressing, all those delish flavours seeps into the fluffy insides… Here’s the recipe on the Good Food website;
Pavlova Christmas Tree – which made the front cover of the Sunday Life Magazine! 🙌🏻 Here’s the recipe on the Good Food website, but the version published here on this site has much more detail which I advise you read to get it just right.
PS Ahead of Monday, here’s a little preview of the Pavlova Christmas Tree!
Menu 6: Thrifty but Nifty Christmas Dinner
You absolutely CAN make an amazing feast on a budget!
This menu is catered to an Australian audience, as it reflects the prices of produce here. For example, turkey is quite expensive here compared to other proteins – whereas in the States, you can buy turkey for less than $2/kg!
Starter – Italian Cheese Log. This makes loads, lasts for ages and a little goes a long way. You can fill it with economical antipasto type things!
Main Option 1: Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken. It’s AMAZING, less stress than turkey and definitely far more economical! Make multiple needed, and fancy up the presentation by placing it on a bed of green fluffage – see the photos in this Roast Turkey for presentation idea! Alternatively, Sticky Christmas Glazed Chicken for an easy ham-glaze-meets-chicken mashup that easily caters for any number of guests!
Main Option 2: Fish doesn’t have to break the bank. Cheaper fish are often overlooked but are rarely inferior in eating quality compared to more popular fish like salmon or snapper. Tailor, morwong, gurnard, leatherjacket, flake and basa, for example are all delicious and economical fish. Try them in this Fish Pie that’s inexpensive but absolutely worthy of gracing a Christmas table.
Prawns – While you’ll find prawns from quality seafood stores and the fish market are juicier, sweeter and with a better flavour, nowadays, I find the prawns from supermarkets (over the counter, not pre-packed or frozen) are far better quality than they used to be and they’re usually 30 – 40% cheaper. TIP: To add a wow factor, skip the jarred sauce and make on of these simple Seafood Sauces!
Salads – This Baby Potato Salad with Butter and Herbs or Macaroni Salad are great options because they keep for days. Plus one simple salad (eg just leafy greens, a garden salad or halved cherry tomatoes with torn basil) with Balsamic Dressing, French Dressing, Italian Dressing or my go-to simple Vinaigrette in this Cabbage Salad recipe.
Bread – Nowadays, there are terrific breads even sold at our supermarkets! It’s really worth spending a couple of extra dollars to get a good artisan style bread – sourdough, ciabatta or even the stone baked range sold at Woolies. Or make a loaf of No Knead Artisan Bread yourself for less than $1! TIP: Fancy bread up with flavoured butter! Mix softened salted butter with a little parmesan or chopped herbs to fancy it up! Roll up in cling wrap and twist ends to form a log, refrigerate until firm (shape if needed) then soft a bit before serving with bread.
Dessert – With bargain summer fruit around, the Great Aussie Pav is actually a very economical dessert option. The only catch is that leftovers aren’t great. So my other suggestion is Chocolate Fudge Cake which is also a terrific easy economical option (at least one brand of baking chocolate is almost always on sale). And this keeps for days and days!
Menu 7: Super Easy Christmas Menu
Low effort, forgiving recipes – and still looks so impressive! All can be prepped ahead with minimal work required prior to serving!
3 Minute Festive “Baked” Brie to start. So pretty, and totally effortless.
For a fish option, Christmas Baked Salmon is as simple to make as it gets, yet looks so impressive!
Wild Rice Salad – easy to make, looks festive, tastes amazing (firm reader favourite!). Prep all ingredients ahead then toss to serve.
Simple salad – One or two quick and easy salads to add freshness into the menu like this Bitter Leaf and Orange Salad. Leafy greens, a garden salad or halved cherry tomatoes (+ torn up basil) with Balsamic Dressing, French Dressing or Italian Dressing. Or browse the Side Salad collection, sorted by primary ingredients;
Bread with butter or olive oil for dipping. Just buy some good bread!
Dessert – Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake. Low effort, low risk, big impact, crowd pleaser!
There will never be a single menu that will work for everyone, but I hope these give you some ideas for different combinations that you might want to try!
Merry Christmas and Happy Feasting! ~ Nagi x
Super Easy Christmas Menu
- 3 Minute Festive Brie
- Crackers for dipping
Simple Salad (make one or two):
- Store bought bread
- Butter or olive oil for dipping
3 Minute Festive “Baked” Brie:
- Prepare components ahead, then takes minutes to assemble on the day.
Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy:
- Prepare rub ahead, then slow cook first thing in the morning.
Brown Sugar Glazed Ham or Maple Glazed Ham:
- Can be entirely prepped ahead, or even baked ahead!
Christmas Baked Salmom:
- All components can be prepared ahead, then salmon is baked in foil on the day of for simple clean up!
Easy creamy cheesy Potato Bake:
- A simpler version of Potatoes au Gratin! Prepare ingredients ahead then bake on the day. OR bake ahead then reheat in the oven, covered.
Lemon Potato Salad (alternative):
- Is best made the day before!
Wild Rice Salad:
- Prep all ingredients ahead then toss to serve on the day.
- Make dressings the up to 2 days ahead.
Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake:
- Can be made days in advance!
Originally published in December 2017. This post gets updated each year with the latest additions to holiday recipes and new menu suggestions!
Life of Dozer
More photos from the weekend when our local dog photographer (Kevin from Unleashed Northern Beaches) was down at the dog beach doing a Christmas photo day!
I might be smiling, but Dozer is never impressed…😂
And Life of Dozer from 2019:
When a gingerbread man’s arm goes missing, everyone is so quick to blame Dozer…. but in this case, it was me that was the cause of the amputation!