Looking for the best Christmas recipes? Whether it’s for Christmas dinner or a cookie plate, these delicious options will please everyone!
Entertaining is at the heart of Christmas, and there are so many tasty opportunities to consider! Maybe you’re hosting Christmas Eve dinner, or a cozy holiday brunch. Maybe you’re hosting a holiday party that needs lots of appetizers and wintery drinks. Or maybe you’re just looking for recipes for your cookie tray.
Whatever the case, we’ve got lots of resources for the very best Christmas recipes for any part of the meal: main dishes, sides, treats, and drinks. And don’t forget the best Christmas tradition of all, in our minds: Christmas pizza! Let the cooking begin.
And now…25 best Christmas recipes for the holiday!
First up in our Christmas recipes: Christmas pizza! This is our favorite Christmas tradition around here: a tree shaped dough brushed with pesto and topped with veggie ornaments. The flavor is fantastic, and there's no one who will turn this one down! Top with any veggies you like: feel free to get creative.
This vegan shepherd’s pie is the dinner recipe version of wearing a fuzzy sweater and drinking hot mulled cider! It’s cozy comfort food to the max! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden.
This pesto salmon is ready for Christmas bathed in a bright green sauce! Pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first.
Another great Christmas dinner recipe: Christmas lasagna! This lasagna is completely festive, decked out in red and green. The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece! At least, who we’ve met.
Another cozy Christmas recipe, and probably our top fan favorite, is this thick and creamy wild rice soup! It's almost impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. White beans and cashews bring a creamy body and loads of plant-based protein. Everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe—it’s that good.
This meatloaf has been gaining fans for years and years: and they're people of all diets! Our meat-loving families ask us to make it, and we've heard countless people say: "Wait, there's no meat in this?" The texture and flavor are strikingly similar to meat. Slice it up and serve it with some of our sides below, and you'll have some very happy guests!
This pot pie is a cozy Christmas recipe that will literally wow your guests! The interior is full of root vegetables: carrots, potatoes, and peas, mixed with a gooey vegetarian gravy flavored with pesto and Parmesan. And it's topped with a flaky, golden pastry crust. It's truly a stunner! Make up 2 pies to serve a crowd.
This one is a Christmas recipe...because our family eats it on Christmas Eve! The red and green colors evoke the spirit of the season, but we eat it for the flavor. It's homey and comforting, featuring tangy artichokes and hearty lentils with a garlicky tomato base. Dark leafy green kale brings in nutrients and soaks up the flavor-packed broth. To make it a meal, serve with crusty artisan bread and garnish with Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.
This sweet acorn squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like a holiday paradise! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades.
Here's a finger food idea that's great for a Christmas tray: a good pinwheels recipe! And these tortilla roll ups are perfect. They’re full of Italian-style flavors: mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and a blend of spices. They look totally stunning on a platter: perfectly red and green! And better yet: we’ve figured out all the tricks to making a beautiful roll up.
Here's a Christmas recipe that's beyond easy. Baked Brie! There could not be an easier appetizer recipe, folks. But often, we forget about these simple entertaining tricks. So here’s what you need to know about making a melty, delicious pile of brie. The great part? The toppings are versatile depending on your preferences, and you can make a beautiful platter with little effort. Here’s what to do!
Let's move onto Christmas recipes that work as side dishes...in our family, there's always mashed potatoes! These creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes are scented with the sweet aromatic flavor of roasted garlic. It’s milder and more luxurious than the typical pungent bite of the raw stuff. Mix it together with creamy Yukon gold potatoes and a bit of Parmesan cheese, and it’s truly something magical.
The perfect Christmas side dish, in our minds, is these Brussels sprouts! They’re impossibly crispy, baked until they’re caramelized and the outside layers flake off into darkened crunchy chips. Then they’re draped in a tangy maple balsamic glaze that heightens the flavors to their peak. One bite of these, and everyone around the table will be asking how you did it.
Here's one of our favorite Christmas recipes: the perfect pomegranate salad! Crunchy pomegranate seeds make a beautiful confetti over the top of leafy greens. Add tart green apple slices, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta crumbles, and it’s a true symphony of flavor! Pick from a few different dressing choices: our favorites are apple cider vinegar dressing or pomegranate vinaigrette.
This salad is something special, a hearty and healthy salad perfect for Christmas! It stars our favorite squash: the delicata, brilliantly sweet with edible skin (no peeling necessary!). Roast up that squash in just 20 minutes, and in the meantime prep those refreshing pomegranate seeds, crunchy pistachios, and tangy honey mustard dressing.
Here's an elegant Christmas side dish recipe that goes with just about anything: roasted green beans! It’s a simple side dish but the flavors are complex. The beans become tender and slightly browned during roasting, and the contrast with the zesty lemon and crunchy nuts is spot on.
This beet salad is the perfect Christmas side dish, a fresh, crisp counterpoint to savory main dishes! Plus, the vibe is red and green. Sweet roasted beets are paired with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Top with thinly sliced shallots and pistachios, and it's a showy centerpiece for entertaining.
Always part of our favorite Christmas recipes: mashed sweet potatoes! Serve them savory instead of sweet and they'll be a hit with everyone. Here they're combined with Yukon gold potatoes and garlic, and mashed together into a savory sweet puree. Top with chives and serve warm.
This one is a Christmas recipe...because it's based on my Grandma's salad that we eat on Christmas eve. Here’s a spinach recipe to impress, full of texture and flavor contrasts. Covered in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette, the highlight is the crunchy smoky pecans, almost bacon-like glazed with maple syrup and soy sauce. Add hard boiled eggs or a crisp-tart apple, and you’ve got a stunning side salad that will make everyone ooo and ahhh.
Let's move onto Christmas dessert recipes, shall we? The crown jewel of our collection is this Christmas cranberry pudding. My grandma makes this cranberry pudding every year. The spongy cranberry pudding is made perfect with a creamy, dreamy butter sauce poured over the top. It's the richest, most celebratory Christmas dessert you've ever had!
These gingerbread cookies are beautifully spiced and soft: just like the favorite gingerbread of my childhood! Almond butter stands in for much of the butter, and a bit of applesauce helps keep them soft. This cookie is finished with turbinado sugar instead of icing, which looks like natural glitter (it’s much easier than icing!).
Here's a healthy spin on the classic that’s so good, we’ve called it “the best”. And we think you’ll agree! These almond thumbprint cookies are made with almond flour, homemade berry jam, and sweetened with maple syrup. If you’d like, add our easy powdered sugar glaze, which takes them from good to amazing!
These almond snowball cookies are spiced Christmas cookies with a twist: they’re made with almond flour and cozy chai spices! The cardamom is the star of the show here; it’s what gives chai spice its familiar zing. Even though they’re made entirely of almonds, these cookies are light and crumbly.
These peanut butter cups are seriously delicious, perfect on a cookie tray or as handmade Christmas treats. How to make perfect homemade peanut butter cups? Basically, take tempered chocolate and let it harden around a peanut butter filling in a mini muffin tin. The filling is absolutely amazing, with sweet with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla extract.
Essentially peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, they’re little bites of heaven. Instead of the traditional butter and sugar, this recipe uses Medjool dates: large, sweet dates that are used to make natural sweets like Larabars and raw brownies. Add a little peanut butter, and voila — instant buckeye filling!
Looking for a memorable signature drink for the holidays? This Christmas martini recipe is where it’s at: sweet tart, drinkable and beautifully festive! It’s easy to mix up and the color is beautifully brilliant from the cranberry juice. Here’s everything you need to know about this stunning holiday drink!
Here's a stellar Christmas recipe: the Christmas Margarita! Why not bring everyone’s favorite drink to your holiday festivities? This one keeps all the character of a classic margarita and adds cranberry juice for a vibrant color and sweet tart nuance. With a garnish of fresh cranberries and rosemary, it’s holiday perfection.
Mulled apple cider hits the top of our holiday drinks, and is one of the best Christmas drink recipes out there. Simmering it on the stove makes your house smell like a Christmas wonderland, with the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and star anise. It looks beautiful garnished with orange and cranberries.
Last up in our best Christmas recipes is a Christmastime tradition: hot buttered rum! Even just saying the name makes you warm inside. This historic drink has been around for centuries. This version is subtly sweet, cozy-spiced with cinnamon and allspice, and spirit-forward with boozy dark rum. It’s enough to warm your toes…and your soul.
More Christmas inspiration
We’ve got lots more lists of great ideas for Christmas entertaining! If you didn’t see something that fits your fancy, pick from one of the following:
Place the dough on the pizza peel: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment! In this case, a conveyor pizza peel works very well for larger trees like the one pictured. If using a standard peel or a baking sheet, smaller trees are easier to slide onto the stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place the pizza on a baking sheet.) Roll out the dough into a triangle shape, adding a small rectangle for a trunk. Place the dough on the pizza peel.
Quickly top the pizza: Spread a thin layer of pesto, then sprinkle with cheese. Add the “decorations” of red onions and peppers. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake the pizza: Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone using the pizza peel, and bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.
Keywords: Christmas Recipes
A few more appetizer & cookie recipes…
Want more ideas? There are lots of ideas in the recipe collections above, but here are a few more appetizer ideas and cookie recipes that would be perfect for Christmas:
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.