The holidays are a time for joy, togetherness, traditions—and food. Lots and lots of delicious food.

When it comes to Christmas dinners, people often go all out with a huge festive feast to feed family and friends. If you’ll be hosting Christmas dinner this year, planning the menu can seem daunting between main dishes, sides, desserts, and more.

But have no fear – we’ve put together suggestions for the ultimate suggestions for Christmas dinner, including can’t-miss recipes, along with tips to pull off this holiday meal like a pro.

Main Dishes: The Centerpiece of Christmas Dinner

For many Christmas dinner celebrants, the main feature is roast beef, baked glazed ham, or roasted turkey. These typical Christmas dinner ideas never disappoint. Roast turkey and ham feature prominently in a classic Christmas feast. But if you want to change things up during the holiday season, there are plenty of other festive mains.

1. Prime Rib Roast with Red Wine Sauce

For a classic choice, prime rib roast with crispy seasoned skin and tender, juicy meat is sure to satisfy on Christmas Eve dinner. Sear the roast beef in a pan first, then finish cooking it slowly in the oven with garlic, rosemary, and pepper until medium-rare. Slice the prime rib and serve it with a red wine sauce or horseradish cream sauce for a mouthwatering dish.

2. Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

Baked ham makes for excellent Christmas dinner eating as part of the holiday feast. Stud the meat with cloves first, then coat with sweet brown sugar, honey, or apricot glaze midway through baking.

In just a couple of hours, you’ll have a gorgeous, aromatic, decadent ham to slice and serve as part of your Christmas dinner alongside side dishes like mashed potatoes.

3. Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy

Turkey is a go-to option for Christmas dinner for good reason. When properly prepared, golden roast turkey can be transcendent. For best results, try roasting your turkey breast side down directly on the rack to achieve crispy, even coloring.

Rub the skin all over with herb butter before roasting for insanely moist, tender meat infused with flavors like sage, thyme, and garlic. Serve Christmas dinner turkey with turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.

Standout Alternatives

If you can’t settle on just one Christmas dinner showstopper main dish, offer two meats. (Roasted potatoes optional)

Set out a hearty prime rib roast and baked glazed Christmas ham, served buffet-style so guests can sample both. Alternatively, serve beef wellington or a rack of lamb for something less expected but just as celebratory.

Roast goose or duck, seafood paella, pork roast with apples, and leg of venison also make wonderfully unique entrees.

Festive Side Dishes: Best Supporting Players

No great Christmas dinner is complete without equally great side dishes playing a supporting role. When choosing festive sides to accompany your main course, aim for a mix of colors, textures, and flavors to keep things interesting.

Here are some top contenders for your Christmas menu:

1. Creamy Mashed Potato

What better comfort food for a cozy holiday meal than fluffy, buttery, garlic-loaded mashed spuds?

Boil yukon gold or russet potatoes until fork tender, then mash smooth with warmed milk and butter. Fold in roasted garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper for an easy, crowd-pleasing accompaniment.

2. Honey-Glazed Carrots

Sweet, sticky glazed carrots caramelized with a bit of honey balance brighter flavors at the Christmas table.

Peel and cut carrots on the diagonal, boil until almost tender, then sauté briefly with butter, honey, and a pinch of salt to coat. The sugar in the honey caramelizes the carrots for a pop of sweetness in every bite.

3. Green Bean Casserole

For those who always expect green bean casserole with their holiday dinner, this hot, cheesy baked dish is non-negotiable.

Fresh green beans and mushrooms smothered in a creamy sauce and topped with crispy fried onions simply say “Christmas food” for many die-hard fans. Roast turkey and green bean casserole may be a quintessential flavor pairing, but the veggies pair deliciously with ham or beef as well.

4. Cranberry Sauce

Bursting with festive red color, tangy-sweet homemade cranberry sauce is easy to prepare and the perfect complement to heavy holiday flavors.

Simply simmer fresh cranberries with sugar and orange juice until the berries pop and release their juice. Chill until set, then serve chilled or at room temp to balance the richness of your centerpiece roast meat.

5. Classic Bread Stuffing

Warm, crusty bread stuffing or dressing soaked with turkey or vegetable broth makes for the ultimate soul-comforting bite on Christmas day.

Toast bread cubes with aromatics like celery, onion, and herbs first, then add broth and let it absorb fully before baking or roasting inside the turkey. The result is a deeply flavorful, nostalgia-inducing culinary hug.

6. Sweet Potatoes

For many celebrating Christmas dinner, sweet potatoes feature prominently on the menu.

Typically candied with butter, sugar, and spices then topped with toasted marshmallows or pecan crumble, sweet potato casserole straddles the line between side dish and dessert. The natural caramelized sweetness of the potatoes pairs wonderfully next to a savory, herb-rubbed roast.

7. Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are similar to the classic mashed potatoes, and offer creaminess and comfort incarnate.

Sliced russet or Yukon Gold potatoes layered with cream, garlic, and cheese then baked until the top browns are irresistible. The creamy texture and flavor complement heavy roasts splendidly. Sprinkling the top with crispy bacon bits or extra cream cheese takes things over the top.

8. Holiday Dinner Rolls

No matter what main dishes and sides make up your Christmas dinner menu, add a basket of freshly baked rolls or bread to round out the abundant meal.

Fluffy yeast rolls, savory-sweet cornbread muffins, crusty sourdough loaves, popovers, biscuits, and more all make fine accompaniments to mop up gravies and sauces. Serve an assortment so every diner can choose their favorite.

Desserts: The Sweet Finale

You pulled out all the stops on the dinner, and now finish your incredible Christmas feast on a sweet note! The dessert course gives you a chance to wrap up your holiday meal feeling satisfied.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these festive treats:

1. Classic Pumpkin Pie

Velvety pumpkin pie with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger is a nostalgic Christmas dessert. With a flakey pie crust and smooth filling, pumpkin pie proves popular year after year, for good reason.

2. Pecan Pie

Buttery, toasted pecans in a sweet and sticky filling over a crisp pie crust makes for a rich dessert. The nutty flavor of pecan pie is a classic after any holiday meal.

3. Spiced Layer Cake

A moist, spiced layer cake covered in fluffy frosting and sprinkles makes a perfect Christmas centerpiece. Red and green candy canes or sprinkles add festive cheer.

4. Holiday Sugar Cookies

What’s Christmas without decorated cut-out cookies? Frost holiday-themed sugar cookies for a fun, hands-on dessert activity with kids.

5. Eggnog Ice Cream

For a unique twist, impress your guests with eggnog ice cream sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon. The sweet holiday flavors make a delicious frozen dessert.

6. Hot Chocolate Bar

Offer a toppings bar with warm mugs of hot cocoa — marshmallows, peppermint sticks, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, and cherries let guests customize their portion.

7. Dessert Cups

Set out individual dessert cups and mini treats so everyone can sample an assortment of goodies, like cheesecake, trifle, fruitcake, and more.

8. Chocolate-Dipped Fruits

For lighter fare, skewer strawberries, and banana slices for dipping in melted white and dark chocolate. Let kids decorate their fruit kabobs for an edible sweet final act.

Set Your Christmas Dinner Table in Style

As important as the food is creating a setting that feels special and celebratory.
Use your fine china and crystal stemware if you have them. Break out the good silver candlesticks and silver serving utensils too for an elegant touch. Craft homemade name cards or place cards so guests know where to sit.

Simple dollar-store items like glitter spray, pine cones, mini gift boxes, and baubles can make inexpensive yet festive arrangements and decorations.

Bringing It All Together

Above all, don’t stress about having every detail perfect. Christmas is about spending meaningful time with loved ones, not fussy appearances. If you prep ahead where possible, you can enjoy the holiday too.

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas dinner this year and happy holidays from all of us at Fresh Farms! May your table be bountiful and your feast fills you with contentment, gratitude, and cheer.

For the freshest ingredients for your holiday meals, visit our website to find a store near you.