65 Christmas Dinner Recipes You Need to Try This Holiday Season
Christmas is about spending time with those you love, and that’s often best done with a full plate and happy heart. After 25 hectic days of festivities and feasting, there’s always one last meal on our minds: Christmas dinner. In the South, that means casseroles, crown roasts, gratins, and biscuits aplenty. We rounded up over 60 of our all-time best Christmas dinner recipes, from Southern sideboard staples to show-stopping main dishes. With a Southern spread like this, you’ll find that the only hard part is having to pick. Pair Cider-Glazed Pork Shoulder with our ham-hocked collards and rustic buttermilk mashed potatoes, or maybe Orange-Glazed Ham with our best-ever macaroni and cheese recipe and a green bean casserole. With classics and fresh takes alike, these delicious dishes will get you through Christmas supper and beyond. Take a look through these easy Christmas dinner recipes to find the holiday menu that’s made for your celebration style.
Crumbled crackers often top this casserole, but we prefer homemade breadcrumbs because they soak up more butter.
Spice-Rubbed Tenderloin with Mustard-Cream Sauce
When it comes to the tenderest of tenderloins, your spice cabinet has you covered for Christmas. The tangy mustard-cream sauce is just the kick of flavor on top.
Recipe: Grits Dressing
Though cornbread dressing might reign supreme at Thanksgiving, we're letting this grits-based version head the holiday table this December.
Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole
This old-school recipe is the definition of "don't mess with a good thing." From the frozen French-cut green beans to the crispy fried onion topping, it's a familiar staple on every Southern table, no matter the occasion.
Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
Recipe: Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
During Christmastime, Southerners will cover just about any vegetable with butter, sugar, and a bevy of festive spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. These carrots really hammer the holiday spirit home with their bright and colorful demeanor.
Baked Brie Bites
Recipe: Baked Brie Bites
There's no better way to kick off Christmas celebrations than with these melty baked Brie bites. Only five ingredients and 18 minutes of prep, these little stars are topped with a dollop of pepper jelly, flaky sea salt, and a few crunchy toasted pecans for a Southern touch.
Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder
Recipe: Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder
Even a humble pork shoulder roast likes to dress up for the occasion. Between the apple cider, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar, this main dish hits the trifecta of flavor.
Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons
There are few things that make us drool more than the smell of roasted Brussels sprouts. Topped with homemade cornbread croutons and thyme-shallot butter sauce? Well, now they're just showing off.
Rustic Mashed Red Potatoes with Parmesan
Mashed potatoes belong with our homemade gravy like Johnny belongs with June. This rustic recipe uses herbed cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and chives to make sure the gravy isn't the only star of the show.
Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
Recipe: Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
If it isn't broken, don't fix it. If you can also make it ahead before the in-laws come into town, don't dare forget it. These yeast rolls made their mark in our November 1995 issue, and are still one of our favorite holiday staples.
Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
Recipe: Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
There's an occasional need for greens on the holiday spread, and not of the stewed, buttery, ham-hocked variety. Beets add welcome pops of color in this delicate side salad.
Blue Cheese-and-Pecan Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Not too filling, yet totally packed with flavor, these tiny peppers are basically a perfect hot-and-sweet, crunchy-and-creamy appetizer wrapped up into a single bite.
Recipe: Orange-Glazed Ham
With a glistening glazed ham residing at the head of the holiday table, you're already off to a good start. A citrus glaze spiced with ginger, cloves, and dry mustard—and sweetened with brown sugar—hits all the right notes.
Recipe: Fennel-and-Potato Gratin
A casserole dish of cheesy potato gratin pleases every palette, in our experience. This recipe gets a festive touch from fennel and nutmeg.
Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions
Enter: your most versatile Christmas side. It goes with any main meat dish you're cooking, but that doesn't mean it has to be plain, thanks to a tangy glaze of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and butter.
Roasted Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Warm roasted broccoli makes macaroni and cheese feel a little more wintery. Plus, it elevates the classic pasta bake from ho-hum to standout status on the holiday spread.
Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
Recipe: Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit
Trust us, we've tried hundreds of biscuit recipes. This is the hands-down favorite we keep coming back to. Look at them—they're practically begging to be perched on the edge of your dinner plate.
Savory Corn Pudding
Recipe: Savory Corn Pudding
Naturally one of our sweeter side dishes, corn pudding is a Southern favorite during the holiday season. In this recipe, fresh thyme adds a savory twist that makes it taste fresh and new.
Roasted Pumpkin-and-Baby Kale Salad
Genius additions like herb-roasted pumpkin, toasted pecans, and goat cheese make this salad feel much less like an after-thought on the holiday dinner spread. (Which is often the fate of side salads amongst all of those casseroles.)
Recipe: Italian Casserole
This vintage recipe makes an appearance every year, whether made ahead to be served on busy gift-wrapping nights or added to the Christmas dinner menu when feeding a huge crowd (and kids!).
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites
Is it Christmas in the South without sausage balls? No. No, it's not. Switch things up with this seasonal twist that incorporates spicy, peppery Mexican-style chorizo sausage and mashed sweet potatoes.
Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Cherry-Plum Sauce
It's the heavenly cherry-plum sauce that really makes these pork loin steaks sing for the Christmas supper. Not to mention, you can make the sauce up to four days ahead, ensuring easy (well, easier) work for you on the day-of.
Sautéed Mustard Greens with Garlic and Lemon
When the casseroles are already plentiful, these mustard greens will look so fresh and inviting on the table. The garlicky, lemony platter of veggies will be a quick favorite.
Baby Hasselback Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Bacon
Get ready to swoon at the smell of the accordian-like slices of these Hasselback potatoes crisping in the oven. The blue cheese and bacon just really tip the scale over into holiday dinner perfection.
Classic Candied Yams
Recipe: Classic Candied Yams
Don't call this classic dish outdated, at least before you've tasted it. Lightly spiced and oh-so-sweet, these candied yams are about to become a mainstay alongside the sweet potato casserole.
Young Lettuces and Shaved Winter Vegetables with Walnut Vinaigrette
It's the nice, mild salad needed in a room full of showboats like crown roast and squash casserole. Soft baby lettuces are the trick to the subtle salad.
Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
Three words: Hot. Bacon. Drippings. Say hello to the secret weapon behind this perfect skillet recipe for Southern cornbread.
Recipe: Chicken-and-Biscuit Cobbler
Cobbler? For dinner? Groundbreaking. What sets this comforting chicken casserole apart is that it’s topped with fluffy homemade biscuits (that happen to have chopped bacon in them).
Perfect Beef Tenderloin
Recipe: Perfect Beef Tenderloin
It's all in the technique. If you're a less-is-more, quality-first type of person, this perfectly cooked beef tenderloin will soon become a Christmas staple. (Hint: It also makes for great leftovers, placed inside a biscuit.)
Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
Free up your oven space, and let these too-easy, too-flavorful collards wow the Christmas crowd. After a simple 15 minutes of prep time, these ham-hocked collard greens finish in your slow cooker.
Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe: Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
There's no better case for serving macaroni and cheese at Christmas dinner than this best-ever version. You won't find a creamier, meltier macaroni and cheese rendition in all the land.
Bacon-Brussels Sprout-Green Bean Casserole
If it's topped with fried onions and crispy bacon, is there a Southerner that won't love it? This casserole is a glorious mashup of two of our favorite vegetables to serve during the holidays: green beans and Brussels sprouts.
Pumpkin-Buttermilk Biscuits with Crispy Ham and Honey Butter
Surprise everyone with this festive take on buttermilk biscuits. Pumpkin puree gives the biscuits their bright hue and flavorful twist, while the honey butter and salty country ham balance each other perfectly.
Recipe: Christmas Salad
It's earned its name. Packed with bacon, beets, feta cheese, and toasted pumpkin seeds, this salad is a reader-favorite starter for formal Christmas menus.
Mini Mushroom-and-Goat Cheese Pot Pies
Something about mini savory pies just feels right at Christmastime. These meatless bites are filled with mushrooms, goat cheese, and a little dry sherry.
Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Burgundy-Mushroom Sauce
Find a prettier main dish, we challenge. These tender spirals of beef filled with creamy spinach and leeks always receive perfect scores on taste and style.
Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Recipe: Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Why not gussy up a classic Southern sandwich for the holiday season? If it’s from the South, chances are we're going to try to make casserole out of it, and this one is (thankfully) quite incredible.
Grits and Greens with Brown Butter Hot Sauce
Grits and greens, greens and grits—we'll take them any way. This creamy side dish combines the two Southern staples with a brown butter hot sauce that'll leave the taste buds reeling.
Cider-Glazed Carrots with Walnuts
Carrots, meet your special-occasion makeover. Made with a handful of pantry ingredients—light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, butter, dry mustard, and paprika—this tasty glaze makes carrots more than worthy of sitting alongside your Christmas spread.
Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Consider this an old-school recipe, perfected. A power trio of tangy buttermilk, creamy butter, and velvety rich crème fraîche make these mashed potatoes the best-ever rendition.
Romaine with Creamy Olive Dressing
When you have a homemade dressing this good, romaine is about all you need. It's like a delicious palette cleanser before diving into the holiday feast.
Italian-Style Grits and Greens with Pulled Pork and Mushrooms
This is definitely the I've-got-company-coming platter. The mouthwatering piled-up presentation was made for this combination of slow-cooker Parmesan grits, pulled pork, and garlicky sautéed mushrooms.
Crispy Pork Meatballs
Recipe: Crispy Pork Meatballs
For the whatever-goes Christmas dinner, start with these ah-mazing crispy Asian-inspired meatballs that guests can dip into a spicy mayo so good we'd dunk anything into it.
Citrus-Marinated Turkey Breast
Recipe: Citrus-Marinated Turkey Breast
Turkey isn't Thanksgiving-exclusive in our eyes, especially a super fresh, citrusy version like this. Serve up moist turkey breast with Christmasy takes on its traditional sides, such as one of our cornbread-free dressings. (Hint: Scroll down.)
Herbed Wild Rice Dressing
Recipe: Herbed Wild Rice Dressing
It's wild, that's for sure. Earthy wild rice is combined with crisp apples and celery, aromatic red onion, toasted walnuts, fresh parsley and sage, and buttery sourdough bread cubes. This innovative dressing dish belongs at Christmas.
Root Vegetable Gratin
Recipe: Root Vegetable Gratin
Want to bring major flavor without spending too much time in the kitchen? This 6-ingredient root vegetable gratin makes the most of the season's harvest and looks quite pretty while doing it.
Slow-Cooker Green Beans
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Green Beans
Crave the taste of your grandmother's green beans? This slow-cooker recipe gets you there, with a little extra bacon. We'll swear up and down that this side dish makes every Christmas dinner just a little bit better.
The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy
Recipe: The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy
Get out your best gravy boat—because this gravy deserves a nice home. Though this recipe takes only one pot and 30 minutes, you can still make it ahead to mark something off your to-do list.
Classic Cranberry Salad
Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad
We know you're already stocking up on those cans of congealed cranberry, but this fresh cranberry salad can fit on the table, too. Filled with pears, pineapple, celery, and pecans, this recipe offers a fresh, crunchy take on the nostalgic dish.
Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie
There's always room for pot pie. If hosting a large crowd or a potluck-style Christmas meal, look no further than this old-school chicken casserole with a golden, crispy crust.
Crown Pork Roast with Cranberry-Pecan Stuffing
Nothing centers a Christmas feast like a crown pork roast. It's simpler than it looks and punches more than its weight with flavor, thanks to the cranberry-pecan stuffing. (Keep scrolling!)
Recipe: Cranberry-Pecan Stuffing
This stuffing is what dreams are made of. The sweet-savory recipe, flavored with orange liqueur (can be substituted with orange juice), pork sausage, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans, pairs wonderfully with mild roasted pork.
Herbed Potato Stacks
Recipe: Herbed Potato Stacks
These stacks make the short list for most adorable side dish and feature a short ingredient list to boot. Baked in a muffin pan, the tiny potato towers get deliciously crispy on the outside, yet creamy and tender on the inside.
Skillet Squash Blossom
Recipe: Skillet Squash Blossom
At first glance, we're intrigued. At first bite, we're sold. Bacon, thyme, and a little maple syrup help make up the squash blossom's success.
Farro Salad with Toasted Pecans, Feta, and Dried Cherries
This salad has a lot to say. Packed with sweet dried cherries, chopped scallions, fresh parsley, tangy lemon juice, crunchy toasted pecans, and crumbly feta cheese, it's never accused of being the most boring at the holiday dinner. (Uncle Earl, on the other hand...)
Recipe: Burgundy Eye-of-Round
When this eye-of-round first graced Southern Living's pages in 1990, it was served alongside biscuits, marinated vegetables, a congealed horseradish spread, and wine. We'll double down on the biscuits, hold the congealed spread, please.
Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze
Feel instantly fancy when serving this perfectly crispy roasted duck. The secret is in the sauce: a glaze of orange marmalade, bourbon, molasses, lemon juice, and ginger.
French Onion Soup Casserole
Recipe: French Onion Soup Casserole
Like we said, we'll make anything a casserole. Transform your comforting bowl of onion soup into this cheesy, caramelized layered masterpiece.
Smashed Baby Red Potatoes
Recipe: Smashed Baby Red Potatoes
Smashed, not mashed. You'll find something inherently satisfying about smashing these baby red potatoes. Coated in a heavenly garlic-herb butter sauce, these will be an instant hit.
Sweet Potato-and-Collard Green Gratin
Give your gratin a fall-inspired makeover. This genius showcase of two Southern favorites—sweet potatoes and collard greens—is a seasonal recipe that fits in seamlessly with your roasts, hams, and tenderloins.
Cheesy Broccoli-and-Rice Casserole
If broccoli-and-cheese casserole is wrong, then we don't want to be right. (We'd wager that just about every Southerner feels the same.) Make the classic dish a little special for Christmas by using this recipe that skips the canned cream of mushroom and frozen broccoli.
Roast Pork with Spiced Cherry Sauce
The spiced cherry sauce is the standout star of this main dish, making the absolute most of juicy, sage-rubbed pork.
Recipe: Oyster Casserole
You might know it as oyster dressing, oyster pie, or even scalloped oysters. Oyster casserole is part of many Southerners’ Christmas traditions, and this recipe is our Test Kitchen's favorite rendition.
Classic Fresh Field Peas
Recipe: Classic Fresh Field Peas
If there's a recipe that couldn't benefit from the addition of ham hocks or bacon drippings, we've yet to find it. Luckily, this recipe for fresh field peas covers its bases, using both.
Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
Recipe: Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
The perk of using gnocchi instead of traditional pasta in your gratin? It takes so much less time to cook. This ham-and-pea gratin shakes things up.