Make this holiday one to remember with these insanely delicious Christmas Eve dinner ideas.
Because there’s no need to wait until the big day to get the festive ball rolling!
Did you know it’s customary in most European countries to celebrate Christmas on the 24th?
Go anywhere in Spain or Sweden (for example), and you’ll be met with one helluva family feast. Then, Christmas day is usually pretty quiet and unassuming.
Luckily, thanks to these Christmas Eve dinner ideas, you can have a double dose of festive fun!
From mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce to glazed ham and roast beef, this list has your entire meal covered.
1. Standing Rib Roast Recipe (Prime Rib Au Jus)
This tender and succulent standing rib roast will earn you a standing ovation.
It’s a show-stopping centerpiece at any family dinner, but you can’t deny it looks extra Christmassy!
From the tender and perfectly pink meat in the center to the well-seasoned, crispy outer crust, it’s fantastic through and through.
You’ll use a blend of thyme, garlic, mustard, cracked black pepper, and bacon grease, guaranteeing every bite is better than the last!
2. Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce
Any dish infused with red wine is an instant hit in my book. And this beef tenderloin is no exception.
It’s so impossibly tender, you don’t even need a knife to cut it.
Meanwhile, the red wine in the au jus lends a wonderfully bold flavor to every forkful.
Better yet, while this dish may scream fancy, it’s surprisingly easy to make.
3. Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Bordelaise
Add a dash of elegance to your Christmas celebration with this pan-seared filet mignon Bordelaise.
This is the kind of dish you’d typically only order when splurging on dinner out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it at home.
All you’ll need here are some premium-quality steaks and a simple bordelaise sauce recipe. Make it once, and it’ll soon become your signature dish.
4. Sheet Pan Christmas Dinner with Beef Tenderloin
If you’re the type of cook who likes to keep things simple, this dish is for you.
With this recipe, both the main and the side dish cook at the same time, on the same sheet pan. That means less work and even fewer dishes for you!
You’ll have insanely juicy tenderloin and lovely roasted red potatoes and mushrooms ready to go in a little over an hour!
5. Cranberry Sauce
If you’re planning to cook beef or ham for Christmas day but have a family full of turkey lovers, why not whip up a bird for Christmas eve?
That way, everyone gets what they want!
And, of course, you’ll need a big old bowl of cranberry sauce, too – it’ll be ready in just 20 minutes.
6. Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast
If you find turkey breast a little too boring, this is the perfect solution. Because let’s be honest: there’s nothing bacon can’t fix!
For this recipe, you’ll wrap brined turkey breast in bacon, pop it in the oven, and wait patiently as the magic happens.
7. Braised Beef Short Ribs
The mere thought of braised short ribs fills me with all kinds of Christmas joy.
After all, there’s nothing like biting into a fatty, juicy, tender piece of beef covered in a rich, sweet, and savory broth.
It’s absolute perfection.
Better still, this dish cooks low and slow, so your house will smell unbelievable all day long!
8. Mashed Potatoes
These mashed potatoes are so addictive they should be illegal.
They’re creamy, silky, and everything you could ask for in a side dish.
You’ll need just four simple ingredients, and they’re ready in a flash – proof you don’t need to go overboard to create something special.
9. British Christmas Pudding
No doubt you have all kinds of yummy desserts ready for Christmas day.
But why not expand your palate and enjoy something new on Christmas Eve?
Hint: this British Christmas pudding is calling your name!
Not to be confused with American pudding, Christmas pud is a dense cake studded with dried fruit and candied fruit peel.
It’s also flavored with citrus zests, spices, and brandy, just like a fruitcake. The difference is that Christmas pudding is steamed, not baked.
10. Beef Wellington
For an intimate Christmas Eve dinner with your loved ones, try this classic beef Wellington recipe.
The fact that it’s Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish may make it seem intimidating. But I promise it’s nothing you can’t handle.
In fact, as long as you start with premium, top-quality steak, you really can’t go wrong.
11. Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Want to celebrate Christmas with cozy comfort food instead?
This chicken and wild rice casserole is a cheesy and creamy delight the whole family will enjoy.
A combination of perfectly-seasoned chicken, rice, and mushrooms tossed with a creamy mushroom sauce, this is one heck of a hearty casserole.
The ooey-gooey cheese on top gives the dish the perfect ooey-gooey finish.
12. Roasted Goose
Want to serve something unique for Christmas Eve dinner? How about a whole roasted goose?
This easy-to-follow recipe teaches you how to cook goose to a perfect medium-rare, with crispy skins to boot.
And hey, don’t throw that goose fat away! Instead, save it to use on Christmas day to make the most indulgent roasted potatoes!
13. Ham Glaze
Is ham your go-to centerpiece for a Christmas Eve feast? Then, you just have to amp it up with this sensational ham glaze.
With its sweet and sticky coating, this stuff takes salty, meaty ham to new heights. Seriously, when this stuff caramelizes, it’s game over.
14. Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
The beauty of mac and cheese is two-fold: it’s perfect for any occasion, and it’s beloved by all!
So, whether you’re looking for a lazy dinner, hearty comfort food, or an indulgent party side dish, this masterpiece of a dish checks all the boxes.
And remember, you don’t need outrageous ingredients to make great mac and cheese.
It’s never a dull party whenever lasagna is on the table!
This classic pasta dish features tender noodles, meaty marinara, creamy bechamel, and bubbly cheese.
Heavenly is an understatement.
On top of that, it’s ideal for feeding a crowd. One recipe makes eight servings – six when I’m there!
16. Roast Chicken
You can always count on roast chicken when you need something simple yet scrumptious.
Compared to ham, beef, and turkey, chicken is definitely the humblest choice. But that doesn’t mean it lacks those big flavors.
This recipe ensures the bird is roasted to glorious perfection in a dreamy garlic, herb, lemon, and butter sauce.
As a result, it’s incredibly juicy in the middle and covered in drool-worthy, crispy golden skin. Yum!
17. Brie Bites
If appetizers set the tone for your party, you definitely can’t beat this recipe. These brie bites just scream fun, festive, and flavorful!
They’re morsels of buttery puff pastry topped with brie, cranberry sauce, pecans, and rosemary.
The combination of sweet, tangy, creamy, and earthy will make your taste buds go wild.
18. Filipino-style Pineapple Glazed Ham
Just like in Europe, most of the festive celebrations in the Philippines happen on December 24th.
So, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that this Filipino Christmas Eve recipe is nothing short of phenomenal.
The ham is slow-cooked in a brine of pineapple juice, lemon-lime soda, brown sugar, beer, and spices.
It’s sweet but also perfectly balanced with salty and savory flavors.
19. Cauliflower Cheese
I know Christmas is all about decadent dishes, but let’s not forget our veggies.
That said, this cauliflower cheese isn’t exactly healthy! That creamy, cheesy sauce is just as decadent as mac and cheese.
Luckily, there’s plenty of cauliflower florets hiding underneath!
20. Duchess Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are perfect, but Duchess potatoes are the stuff of legends.
They’re basically mashed potatoes piped into swirls, brushed with butter, and baked until golden.
So yes, there’s a few extra steps here. But that crispy shell is more than worth it!
21. Merry Little Christmas Deviled Eggs
halls eggs with boughs of holly!
Seriously, how amazing do these deviled eggs look? They’re just as rich and creamy as the classic appetizer we all know and love, but with a jolly twist.
They’re completely edible, too, in case you’re wondering. That pretty ornament is made of pink peppercorns and parsley.
22. Prime Rib for Christmas Dinner
While I admit it’s pretty time-consuming to cook a massive hunk of meat, I think it’s more than worth it in the end.
And this prime rib couldn’t be easier to whip up.
In fact, all you’ll need here are three ingredients (the roast and some salt and pepper) and about 10 minutes of prep.
The rest is up to the oven.
23. Cheesy Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread
Pieces of fluffy, springy, cheese-filled bread arranged into a fun and festive Christmas tree? It’s almost too pretty to eat.
But it’s too delicious not to!
This tree is impressive on its own, but it’s just not Christmas Eve ready without the ornaments! So sprinkle some pomegranate arils and rosemary sprigs to decorate.
24. Alton Brown Meatloaf
Meatloaf is the quintessential American family dinner. So, serving it on special occasions with the family is a no-brainer.
And while you’ll find loads of meatloaf recipes online, I think Alton Brown’s is by far the best.
I’ve used his recipe thousands of times, and I always get the juiciest, most scrumptious meatloaf without fail. So give it a try, and let me know what you think!
25. Garlic Herb Butter Roast Turkey
Roasting turkey has never been so easy!
Believe it or not, this stunning bird is just as tasty – if not tastier – than any turkey you’ve ever eaten.
Only, you don’t even need to brine it. The garlic herb butter sauce is more than enough to guarantee moist and flavorful meat.
26. Garlic Butter Lamb Chops
While some people don’t like the gaminess of lamb, I can’t get enough of it.
So, if you feel the same way, then lamb chops for Christmas Eve dinner it is.
Cooked in a glorious garlic, butter, and thyme sauce, these lamb chops are not just mind-blowingly rich but also incredibly tender.
27. Potatoes au Gratin (Dauphinoise)
Dauphinoise: hard to spell (and pronounce) but oh-so-simple to love.
This French features thinly sliced potatoes with butter, cream, and cheese. Stack it up, pour over the sauce, then bake until bubbling.
The rich casserole is kissed with thyme for a beautiful earthy contrast, and it’s one you’ll crave again and again.
28. King Ranch Chicken Casserole
If you’re feeding a hungry crowd, your best option is something quick and easy. And it doesn’t get any better than this King Ranch casserole.
First of all, this thing is massive! One recipe can satisfy eight hangry people with ease.
Flavor-wise, it gets a 12/10.
Loaded with chicken, cheese, cream, chiles, and tortillas, every component screams comfort food.
29. Red Wine Poached Pears
A Christmas feast isn’t complete without dessert!
And I can’t think of a better way to end your meal than this sweet and refreshing treat.
Fruit for dessert may seem simple, but this dish gives the humble pear a boozy upgrade.
Just poach them whole in red wine, sugar, and spices, and you’ll be rewarded with a mouthwatering and elegant dessert.
Serve them warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Delish!
30. Chicken Schnitzel with Noodles
Bring the flavors of Austria home with this easy recipe.
Schnitzel, “cutlet,” is a German-Austrian dish of breaded (sometimes battered) and deep-fried meat.
Veal is the most traditional, but chicken is cheap, tasty, and sure to be a hit with the kids and grown-ups alike.
31. Turkey Dumpling Stew
If you’d like to serve turkey with a twist, try this tasty turkey stew! Or, make it for Boxing day with your turkey leftover.
It’s creamy with tender meat, vegetables, and pillowy Hungarian dumplings filling every bowl. Think of it like chicken and dumplings with a European spin.
32. Bourbon Chicken
Chunks of juicy chicken coated in a glistening glaze of brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and apple juice sounds good, huh?
That’s because it is!
With its flawless sweet and savory flavor combination, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this dish.
Serve bourbon chicken over rice or noodles for a simple yet satisfying Christmas Eve dinner.
33. Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce
It doesn’t get much better than tender pork tenderloin drenched in a creamy mustard and tarragon sauce.
While the meat is the star of this dish, that sauce is quite the show-stopper.
It’s so good, you might find the table falls into a hushed quiet while everyone focuses on their plates!
Creamy and tangy with a little bit of spice from the tarragon, doubling the recipe would be a good idea.
34. 30-Minute Cheese Herb Rolls
Seasoned with rosemary and topped with four different kinds of cheese, these herby rolls will shame any bakery-style dinner rolls.
You’ll start with a straightforward yeast dough from scratch. But luckily, there’s practically zero proofing time!
These rolls are ready in just 30 minutes and are ideal for pretty much any family dinner.
35. Crockpot Beef Tips And Gravy
Tender and succulent beef tips with sweet pearl onions and earthy mushrooms swimming in a rich and savory gravy sounds like some kind of foodie love letter.
And it tastes like one, too!
Make this dish extra special by serving it over a bed of mashed potatoes. It’s hearty, meaty, and beyond divine!
36. Chipotle Chicken
Want to keep the festive food for December 25? Then why not make something a little different?
Skip the line at Chipotle and make your own version of their iconic chicken dish: chicken thighs marinated in chile peppers, herbs, and spices and grilled until charred.
Use it for burritos, tacos, or rice bowls for a fun Mexican Christmas fiesta!
37. Chinese Almond Chicken
Give your American Christmas a Chinese twist with this winning dish!
A sweet and savory Asian sauce ties together juicy pieces of chicken, crunchy almonds, and hearty vegetables.
Serve it over tender noodles or with fried rice for the ultimate take-out experience.
38. Chicken Florentine Pasta
No matter the occasion, it’s always a good time for pasta – especially this terrific pasta dish!
Chicken Florentine features al dente linguine, chicken strips, spinach, and mushrooms tossed in a rich and creamy white sauce.
It’s indulgent and hearty, but it won’t weigh you down. For something a little more colorful, try shrimp instead of chicken.
39. Bang Bang Chicken
Celebrate Christmas Eve with a bang…bang chicken!
Chunks of crispy fried chicken are covered with a sweet and sticky Asian sauce that’s simply to die for.
You’ll need a quick mix of mayo, honey, and gochujang (red bean paste from Korea) to create that flawless sweet and spicy, tastebud-tingling flavor.
Again, you’ll want to double that recipe because the stuff is addictive!
40. Juicy Garlic Baked Pork Chops with Sage Butter
This recipe will completely change your mind if you think pork chops are dry and boring.
They’re tender and juicy with a golden-brown crust in a fantastic sage and butter sauce drizzled on top.
What a game-changer!
41. Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne
Making the perfect pasta is easy when you stick to this formula: al dente noodles + scrumptious sauce + cheese.
So long as you have those three elements, there’s nothing holding you back!
This Applebee’s chicken penne takes it to the next level with not just one but three kinds of cheese.
It’s indulgent, but the tomatoes, garlic, and basil balance out the richness just right.
42. Crispy Roast Chicken with Vegetables
With crispy, buttery skin on the outside and succulent meat on the inside, every bite of this roast chicken is utter heaven.
Plus, it comes with roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions for a complete meal after just 15 minutes of prep.
43. Chicken Divan
Chicken divan is a delightful casserole featuring chicken and broccoli in cream sauce with a crumbly buttery breadcrumb topping.
It was invented in the 1930s at an Italian hotel called Divan Parisian. It was a hit then, and it continues to be a hit today.
Rich and decadent, it makes for a fantastic Christmas Eve meal. It’s also a great way to introduce broccoli to kids!
44. Italian Spinach Beef Pie
This medley of meats, veggies, and cheeses are piled high on top of a pie shell to create something spectacular.
The ingredients include chicken sausage, beef, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, cheese, and so much more.
So, if you’re the kind who likes pizza with all the fixins, this one’s for you!
45. Beer Can Chicken
On the hunt for a fun way to cook a whole chicken? I’ve got just the thing!
It’s an old-school recipe in which the bird is roasted upright with a can of beer at the base.
The liquid steams and seeps into the meat as it cooks, making it super flavorful and juicy.
Feel free to use soda instead. I like Sprite for its citrusy notes.
46. Creamy Spinach Mushroom Pasta Bake
How does this sound: tender pasta, buttered spinach, and mushroom coated in a delightful Parmesan cream sauce.
Pretty yummy, right?
Well, add some gooey mozzarella and prepare to drool because this is the perfect Christmas Eve dinner.
47. Marry Me Chicken
If you want to impress with food but can’t cook to save your life, marry-me chicken is the solution.
It’s a simple yet elegant angel-hair pasta dish with chicken, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and a creamy sauce.
Serve it right in the skillet with plenty of crusty bread, and it’ll vanish in minutes!
48. Bisquick Turkey Pot Pie
Here’s another unique way to serve turkey for Christmas.
The idea is simple: think chicken pot pie, but with turkey instead of chicken.
You’ll love how this dish mimics the same amazing taste and textures. Only, thanks to Bisquick, it’s a lot easier to make.
49. Melt In Your Mouth Chicken
Say goodbye to dry and rubbery chicken breasts and hello to melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Here’s the secret: top each chicken breast with a mix of mayo and Parmesan, then bake until golden.
This simple topping doesn’t just lend creamy and savory flavors to the meat but also makes it outrageously tender and juicy.
50. Applebee’s Fiesta Lime Chicken
Last but not least is a delectable dish that has a cult following online. This may just be a copycat of Applebee’s fiesta lime chicken, but boy, is it spectacular.
With layers of crushed corn chips, perfectly-seasoned lime chicken, creamy dressing, salsa, and melted cheese, every bite of this casserole is a party in your mouth.
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