33 Clever Christmas Dinner Ideas You Need To Try This Year

When cooking a traditional Christmas dinner, you may feel as if you’ll be chained to the stove for the entire duration of the holiday. That doesn’t have to be the case if you plan accordingly. Many of these top Christmas dinner ideas can be created ahead of time. Prep works such as chopping vegetables and baking desserts reduce the stress of cooking from scratch on Christmas Day.

Budget concerns frequently arise when crafting a Christmas dinner menu. Although you want to present the most satisfying Christmas dinner ever your pocketbook may not appreciate an inflated shopping bill. Start planning early to shop for valuable Christmas menu items on sale. Do keep an eye on store coupons and check for promotions on essential holiday items such as turkey or ham. Another way to stay on budget is to have reasonable expectations.

For instance, forgo the filet mignon for your Christmas Eve dinner and consider a less expensive cut of beef like rib roast. If possible, you can also suggest your guests to contribute their dishes, which make the celebration even more fulfilling and merrier for everyone. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up the top five Christmas dinner ideas for you to save time and cost this holiday season!

Menu #1 Classic Roast Beef Christmas Dinner

Roast Beef With Caramelised Shallots

Roast beef requires very little prep work and pleases almost everyone. Do add shallots to the recipes for a sweet flavour to the meat. Remember to leave the roast in the oven for an extra hour or two for medium rare cuts.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time:2 Hours | Cost: Approx. $9 to $15 per pound | Serves: 12

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted winter vegetables are a simple addition to your menu. Feel free to experiment with the types of veggies used in your holiday dish. Reach out to your local supermarket to discover the season’s must-have produce.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 45 Minutes |Cost: $20 or less |Serves: 8

Roasted Lemon Asparagus

When you serve a roast, a side of fresh organic asparagus is a given. Keep an eye on the asparagus as you roast the vegetables since the dish can be overcooked easily. Snip off the tough ends of the asparagus to improve the overall taste of the dish. As a twist on the classic Christmas recipe, you could also choose to wrap the stalks in prosciutto.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 20 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 8

Potatoes Anna

Despite being a fancy French moniker, Potatoes Anna is a simple, inexpensive Christmas dish. Keep potato slices thin and uniform for even cooking. Cut the cooked potatoes into slices to serve quiche style.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes |Cost: $5 or less|Serves: 8

Nutella Cherry Hazelnut Fudge

The best thing about the holidays is that you can indulge in delicious treats without feeling too guilty. A traditional Christmas dinner should include a tray of fudge served alongside your other desserts. Remember to chill the fudge for at least three hours for optimal texture before serving. Sprinkle sea salt on top to add texture and flavour.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 40 Minutes |Cost: $16 or less |Serves: 64 Squares

Apple Pie Moscow Mule

Who needs a slice of apple pie for dessert when you can enjoy this apple-flavoured cocktail reserved specifically for adult? Garnish with a cinnamon stick to add a fun twist.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 5 Minutes |Cost: $4 or less per drink |Serves: 1

Menu #2 Holiday Ham Christmas Dinner

Holiday Spiral Ham

In lieu of poultry, many families enjoy a delicious ham for Christmas dinner. A pre-cooked ham reduces cooking time by hours. Flavour the meat with your own . Flavour the meat with your own special blend of spices. Decide between sweet or savoury herbs and spices.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 3 Hours |Cost: Approx. $6 to $10 per pound | Serves: 10

Garlic Herb Brussels Sprouts

Sprucing up your sprouts transforms this dish into a Christmas meal staple. The recipe is very inexpensive to make with many of the ingredients found in your cupboards. As an option, sprinkle parmesan cheese over sprouts after roasting.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 25 Minutes |Cost: $5 or less |Serves: 4

Mashed Potato Pots

For a twist on an old Christmas meal favourite, serve your guests their own mini potato casserole. Add milk at your discretion. The amount of milk poured into the pot determines the level of creaminess.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 35 Minutes|Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 4

Ginger Cookies

Ginger is a spice reminiscent of past Christmas and shouldn't be reserved exclusively for Grandma's gingerbread cookie recipe. Make these large-sized cookies ahead of time and store them in the freezer for up to three months.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 50 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 25 cookies

Peppermint Layer Cake

Making a cake from scratch may sound daunting to the novice baker, but the process is surprisingly easy. The peppermint cake will be a show stopper when paired with the Hot Peppermint Rod cocktail. If you feel as if you’re going overboard with the peppermint, change the cocktail to the Cocoa Raspberry Heaven for variety.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour|Cost: $15 or less |Serves: 12

Cocoa Raspberry Heaven

This cocktail is perfect to serve at the end of the night while the family gathers around the Christmas tree. Use your fanciest mugs to showcase this adult hot chocolate.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 5 Minutes |Cost: $4 or less per cocktail |Serves: 1

Hot Peppermint Rod

Any peppermint-infused cocktail will bring out the whimsy in all of us. The grenadine syrup is added to give the drink a festive red colour while the peppermint stick provides a joyful garnishment. To keep up with the holiday spirit, serve the cocktail with a heaping slice of Peppermint Cake.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 5 Minutes |Cost: $5 or less per cocktail |Serves: 1

Green Apple Salad

Serve this tasty salad as the first course to prime your guests for an unforgettable Christmas meal. Although the recipe includes ingredients for a dressing, you can always purchase a bottled vinaigrette if you’re not comfortable making your own blend. The following version serves two, but can easily be scaled for a larger crowd.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 15 Minutes|Cost: $8 or less |Serves: 2

Menu #3 Turkey and All the Trimmings

Roast Turkey

Roast turkey is a holiday standard that never goes out of style. If your grocery store does not offer turkey promotions, consider saving a few dollars by serving turkey cutlets or turkey breast instead of the whole bird. Brine the bird the night before to keep the meat juicy.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 4 Hours |Cost: Approx. $2 to $5 per pound |Serves: 8

Sausage Stuffing

Once you have tried sausage stuffing, you’ll never go back to traditional stuffing recipes again. This Italian style recipe has unique flavours due to the inclusion of olives and focaccia bread cubes. Keep in mind that stuffing a turkey can increase cooking time.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour |Cost: $25 or less |Serves: 12

Mashed Cauliflower

As part of your Christmas menu, you don’t want to go overboard with the carbohydrates. Instead of the traditional mashed potatoes, try this delicious cauliflower version. Experiment with herbs to infuse the dish with more flavour.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 50 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 3

Cranberry Relish

Forgo the canned cranberry sauce this year and make your own mouthwatering cranberry relish. The nuts in the recipe are optional and should not be used if you plan to freeze the dish before serving. Pecans and/or walnuts can always be stirred in right before dinnertime.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 30 Minutes |Cost: $6 or less |Serves: 6

Chocolate Yule Log

What’s more holiday inspired than a yule log for dessert? Skip the mushroom garnishment in this recipe to keep the dish in budget. Refrigerate overnight to seal in flavours.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes |Cost: $15 or less|Serves: 8


Eggnog is a cocktail that has a tendency to divide guests—either people dislike the holiday drink or they feel it is simply not Christmas without a mug of eggnog in their hands. Consider serving eggnog with another cocktail choice to please all your guests.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 20 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 4

Pomegranate Martini

Martinis look festive and taste delicious. The deep red colour of this drink will look spectacular against the orange peel garnishment.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 5 Minutes |Cost: $5 or less per drink |Serves: 1

Cranberry and Almond Salad

Cranberries are the quintessential holiday food and the perfect topping to any salad. If you prefer not to add spice to your salad, substitute the hot almonds with traditional roasted versions.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 10 Minutes |Cost: $15 or less |Serves: 8

Menu #4: Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas

Cheese Lasagna

The wonderful thing about baked pasta dishes is that you can make heaping servings on a shoestring budget. This cheese-only version complements any vegetarian holiday feast perfectly. By using three different cheeses, the flavours will blend nicely.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour |Cost: $12 or less |Serves: 8

Green Bean Casserole

Green beans are healthy and delicious, but figuring out how to prepare them can be tricky. This recipe helps you serve your holiday guests their greens without loading the veggie down with fat and calories.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 1 Hour |Cost: $12 or less |Serves: 6

Carrot Celery Root Puree

This puree is perfect for those who want a break from boring old mashed potatoes. A food processor is required to help you reach just the right consistency. Save any leftover vegetable stock in the recipe for additional Christmas menu ideas.See the full recipehere. Preparation Time: 1 Hour |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 6

Homemade Cannoli

Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to be a Michelin starred chef to make your own cannolis. Make the filling the day before to save time. Fry the shells on Christmas Day to keep the dessert tasty.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 90 Minutes |Cost: $20 or less |Serves: 24 Cannolis


The Spritz is a good choice to serve to your guests upon arrival. Present the cocktail in tall glasses with orange slices as garnishment.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 5 Minutes |Cost: $4 or less |Serves: 1

Three Bean Barley Soup Mix

Soup is a solid addition to Christmas dinner because it can warm everyone on a cold winter’s day. Bean soup is inexpensive and perfect for any vegetarian-friendly menu.For this soup, you can store dry ingredients in a mason jar up to a month before the holiday period. To cook, just add ingredients to a pot of boiling broth with any chopped veggies you prefer.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 20 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 6

Menu #5: Christmas Eve Dinner Ideas

Shrimp Scampi

You have a lot of options available when it comes to serving seafood as part of your Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner menu. Although lobster is elegant and delicious, the dish isn’t practical for large gatherings. Opt for easy and delicious shrimp scampi instead.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 30 Minutes |Cost: $20 or less |Serves: 6

Honey Glazed Carrots

or guests with a sweet tooth, this is the perfect side dish for your holiday. While sautéing the vegetable, the natural sweetness will be brought out—meaning you only need a teaspoon of honey. For a heartier dish, add raisins while heating.See the full recipehere. Preparation Time: 25 Minutes |Cost: $5 or less |Serves: 8

Apple Cranberry Crisp

This Christmas dessert combines two iconic holiday ingredients: apples and cranberries. Although the dessert tastes best when prepared the day before, the topping can be pre-made and frozen up to a week prior to your dinner.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 3 Hours |Cost: $12 or less |Serves: 12

Fizzy Cranberry Orange Punch

Cranberry has a tendency to have a bitter taste when served solo. The citrus flavours in this delicious punch will cancel out the tartness of the cranberry juice. Wait until you’re ready to serve the punch before adding the soda.See the full recipe here.Preparation Time: 5 Minutes | Cost: $3 or less per cocktail | Serves: 20

Bacon Wrapped Figs

Whet your guests’ appetite with this simple four-ingredient holiday dish. The dish is also appropriate for guests who follow a gluten free diet. Along with figs, you may also choose to add more dried fruit options such as apricot, figs, and peaches.See the full recipe here. Preparation Time: 25 Minutes |Cost: $15 or less |Serves: 15

Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pears

The good thing about this Christmas dinner appetiser is that it appears more expensive than it actually costs. Cooking time is only about 10 minutes, which makes the dish perfect for a quick last-minute appetiser option.See the full recipe here. Preparation: 10 Minutes |Cost: $10 or less |Serves: 8

Now instead of wondering what to make for your Christmas Eve dinner, follow our best Christmas dinner ideas or mix and match different combinations of the appetisers, mains, sides, drinks, and desserts to create your personalised Christmas dinner menu.

For more festive ideas, check out our Christmas page.