Christmas Dinner Menus for Every Lifestyle

Easy, Family-Pleasing Recipes for Christmas Dinner

Close up of hands taking turkey and cutting food.
Close up of hands taking turkey and cutting food. Betsie Van Der Meer / Getty Images

There really aren't any rules to preparing a Christmas dinner menu. Christmas dinners are as varied and unique as families themselves. The only thing that matters is that everyone has something they can enjoy.

Check out these ideas:

Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu

If Christmas dinner means coming home to the food you remember as a kid, this menu is for you.
  • Oven Bag Turkey -- This is my favorite method for cooking turkey. I like to rub an herb butter rubbed under the skin of the turkey to keep it moist, but you don't have to do that. The oven bag method itself keeps the turkey moist and juicy.
  • Green Bean Casserole -- Easy and delicious, this green bean casserole is a classic. The Trader Joe's fried onions have lots of crunch!
  • Scalloped Potatoes -- Creamy, cheesy and oh so good, the hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the potatoes to bake!
  • Cranberry Jello Salad -- Anything made with cranberries is festive on the holidays. This Jello salad looks great on a Christmas dinner table, and it's always popular.
  • Corn Pudding -- This recipe takes only minutes to prepare, and it's guaranteed to make both the kids and adults happy.
  • Red Velvet Cake -- Festive, moist and tender, this red velvet cake is the perfect ending to Christmas dinner.

Creative Christmas Dinner Menu

With this menu, it's all about making foods the family likes. They don't have to be traditional. They just have to taste great.
  • Garlic Bread -- Nothing goes better with pasta than garlic bread. And this version of garlic bread is my absolute favorite. Once you taste it, you'll know why.
  • Christmas Salad -- Panettone croutons make this Christmas salad sweet and delicious. Your guests will beg you for the recipe.
  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts -- Brussels sprouts are shredded, then tossed with bacon, maple syrup and hazelnuts in this recipe even the kids will like. Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano tops off this tasty side dish.
  • Tres Leches Cake -- If you've never had tres leches cake before, you won't believe how moist and tasty this cake is. If you have had it before, you won't believe how easy this tres leches cake recipe is.

Make-Ahead Christmas Dinner Menu

Like to get the cooking out of the way, so you can enjoy your guests? This easy, fool-proof menu is for you.
  • Cook a Frozen Turkey -- With this super easy and safe method of cooking turkey from the frozen state, you don't have to worry about thawing or messing with the turkey juices in your fridge or on your counters. This method also yields a nice, moist bird, because the breast and thighs cook more evenly.
  • Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes -- Fluffy, creamy and oh so good, these mashed potatoes are perfect for Christmas dinner, because you can make them a day or two in advance.
  • Broccoli Salad Recipe -- Crunchy, creamy, salty and sweet, this broccoli salad recipe is a flavor sensation. And it looks great on a buffet table, too. Make this broccoli salad a day in advance.
  • Cranberry Relish -- If you can operate a food processor, you can make this cranberry relish. It pairs beautifully with turkey, and you can even make it two to three days in advance.
  • Watergate Salad Recipe -- Sweet and creamy, this recipe harkens back to the 1970s. Serve it as a sweet side dish or a light dessert.
  • Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe -- This pumpkin pie starts with a frozen pie crust. The hardest part about this recipe is knowing when to take the pie out of the oven (when it's still a big jiggly in the center). Be sure to leave time to let the pie cool before serving.