Among all of the traditions that come with the Christmas holiday (like decorating the tree, wrapping presents, baking cookies, sipping eggnog, and themed parties), one of our favorites is sitting down to an impressive Christmas Eve dinner. While sharing a meal is a simple enough activity, the planning and preparations aren't always so effortless. In fact, it can be a real challenge. Before anyone can sit down to enjoy a homemade spread, someone has to decide on a menu and get cooking.
If you're unsure what to prepare for Christmas Eve dinner, fret not. Ahead, we've rounded up some truly scrumptious options for appetizers, side dishes, and main courses alike. All you have to do is mix and match the recipes that look the most appetizing to you, and you've got yourself a beautiful three-course meal.
No matter which combination of these 15 Christmas Eve dinner ideas you choose, you and your guests will enjoy sitting around the table, making new holiday memories together.
Baked Brie and Prosciutto Rolls
The Recipe: Baked Brie and Prosciutto Rolls
Why We Love It: Instead of the usual cheese and charcuterie board, these baked brie and prosciutto rolls from Half Baked Harvest are perfect for handheld eating as you mingle throughout a holiday party, and they're filled with delicious winter-inspired flavors. Drizzled with honey and topped with pomegranate arils and fresh thyme, this cheesy appetizer is sure to delight.
Pro Tip: Before baking, brush the tops of each roll with melted butter to help crisp them up.
Mozzarella and Tomato Caprese Flatbread
The Recipe: Mozzarella and Tomato Flatbread
Why We Love It: Not only is it delicious, but this recipe for mozzarella and tomato Caprese flatbread from Foodie Crush is also particularly easy to execute; plus, once it's sliced, it's perfect for entertaining. Using naan-style flatbread or thin pizza crust from the market, you can have this appetizing starter ready to serve in less than half an hour.
Pro Tip: An added bonus? A syrupy balsamic adds the perfect amount of sweetness to each bite.
Fig Spread and Cheese Crostini
The Recipe: Fig Spread and Cheese Crostini
Why We Love It: A salty and sweet combination of gruyere cheese and fig jam, this crostini dish from Foodie Crush makes for a timeless holiday appetizer. It's simple enough to prepare; toast a sliced baguette in the oven and top with grated cheese, fig spread, and blue cheese crumbles.
Pro Tip: "Make sure to layer the cheese on the bread before the jam if you are making these ahead of time. The cheese acts as a barrier against the jam’s moisture and potentially soggy bread slices. As such, choose a firmer bread like sourdough rather than a lighter french bread," Heide from Foodie Crush advises.
Baguettes can get stale quite quickly. While you can purchase the other ingredients for this delectable dish a few days before you start cooking, buy the baguette day-of.
Classic Creamy Hummus
The Recipe: Classic Creamy Hummus
Why We Love It: The Modern Proper's classic creamy hummus is bursting with fresh flavors thanks to tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings like parsley, paprika, and za'atar, all of which perfectly complement the smooth chickpea creation. Serve with raw veggies, pita bread, or crackers.
Pro Tip: Lemon zest bumps up the recipe's brightness, so don't skip it if you like your hummus with a punch of flavor.
Smoked Gouda and Apple Crostini
The Recipe: Smoked Gouda and Apple Crostini
Why We Love It: Perfect for serving to a crowd, these smoked gouda and apple crostinis from Joyful Healthy Eats are made from seasonal favorites like Honeycrisp apple slices, smoked gouda, and sweet honey. Organized neatly atop toasted baguette slices, the ingredients come together for the perfect bite-size treat.
Pro Tip: Garnish with fresh thyme leaves to pull it all together.
Roasted Potatoes With Arugula and Creamy Beets
The Recipe: Roasted Potatoes With Arugula and Creamy Beets
Why We Love It: Colorful greens and beets gives this roasted potatoes dish from Sugar Salted a festive upgrade. Serve up perfectly golden brown potato wedges with fresh arugula and baby beetroots topped with a combination of sour cream, red wine vinegar, and mayonnaise. The display looks almost as good as the dish tastes.
Pro Tip: Make this vegan by skipping the dairy. "Make the dressing with vegan mayonnaise instead, along with more lemon juice and mustard," Sugar Salted recommends.
Citrus Brussels Sprouts Slaw
The Recipe: Citrus Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Why We Love It: Don't let the ingredients list for this citrus Brussels sprouts slaw from The First Mess deter you from trying your hand at the vegan side dish. Complete with almond parmesan and rice paper "bacon" bits, it's a tasty side perfect for any holiday gathering. Top the slaw, imitation bacon, and vegan cheese with a citrus dressing made from lemon juice, orange juice, maple syrup, and dijon mustard for a vegan option that even ardent meat-eaters will enjoy.
Pro Tip: Extra dressing and parm will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Sun-Dried Tomato Herb Skillet Rolls
The Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Herb Skillet Rolls
Why We Love It: These sun-dried tomato herb skillet rolls from Sugar Salted come with more flair than your typical bread roll recipe. You'll make the rolls from scratch along with a sun-dried tomato butter for extra flavor. These rolls make for a comforting, carb-filled side, perfect for a cold Christmas Eve or a Christmas Day brunch.
Pro Tip: Knead dough till it springs back when you gently poke it with a finger.
Cauliflower, Parsnip, and Roasted Garlic Mash
The Recipe: Cauliflower, Parsnip, and Roasted Garlic Mash
Why We Love It: Mashed potatoes have long been a staple when it comes to holiday side dishes. The traditional offering gets a low-carb, yet equally delicious makeover with Spoon Fork Bacon's cauliflower, parsnip, and roasted garlic mash. Instead of potatoes, boil cauliflower and parsnips until they're tender and mash together with roasted garlic, heavy cream, and seasonings. You'll be left with a light and flavorful side dish that makes for an excellent mashed potato substitute.
Pro Tip: Add some minced thyme for extra flavor.
The Recipe: Maple Dijon-Glzed Carrots
Why We Love It: For a festive holiday side dish, make a batch of colorful maple Dijon-glazed carrots. This recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats goes with just about any main course and calls for just six ingredients. All you need are baby rainbow carrots, maple syrup, stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and chives. Simply mix up the mustard dressing and bake the carrots until they're perfectly tender.
Pro Tip: Make these carrots more fragrant by topping with fresh thyme.
Coq au Vin
The Recipe: Coq au Vin
Why We Love It: Its French moniker may sound intimidating, but this coq au vin recipe is miraculously ready in less than hour with the help of Half Baked Harvest's Instant Pot recipe. You'll achieve the same beautiful flavors that you'd expect from a slow-braised chicken in a fraction of the time. You'll need chicken, cremini mushrooms, dry red wine, bacon, onion, and carrots to make it happen.
Pro Tip: If you'd rather make this in a slow cooker, Half Baked Harvest offers directions for this cooking method, too.
Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna
The Recipe: Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna
Why We Love It: A vegan, gluten-free version of the traditional Italian meal, this lentil and eggplant lasagna recipe from Minimalist Baker would make for a healthy Christmas Eve dinner. With just 10 ingredients, you can prepare this dish in no time at all. The layers include a lentil sauce, eggplant slices, and a tofu ricotta mixture. Top it all off with vegan parmesan cheese crumbles and fresh basil for a hearty vegan dinner.
Pro Tip: This recipe will keep in the freezer for up to one month.
Lebanese Chicken With 7-Spice
The Recipe: Lebanese Chicken With 7-Spice
Why We Love It: Spices including cinnamon, allspice, and cumin, plus preserved lemon ensure this main dish recipe from Feasting at Home is bold and flavorful. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and bake for juicy chicken, caramelized onions, and zesty citrus flavor, then top with toasted nuts for crunch.
Pro Tip: Sprinkle with Aleppo chili flakes for heat, as an option.
Creamy Cauliflower Pasta With Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes
Why We Love It: This cauliflower pasta dish from The First Mess is just the thing for a cozy, comforting, vegan Christmas Eve dinner (that's pretty healthy to boot). Start by sautéing cauliflower florets, garlic, and tomatoes and making a plant-based cream with soaked cashews, basil, chilies, green onions, and linguine pasta.
Pro Tip: For the final touch, the recipe calls for peas and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
The Recipe: Chimichurri Steak
Why We Love It: Chimichurri, the Argentinian classic, is like a fresher iteration of the popular pesto sauce. It's also the star of this recipe from The Modern Proper. Along with a great cut of steak, you'll need shallots, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to prepare a top-notch chimichurri sauce.
Pro Tip: Serve this main course with a side of vegetables or cauliflower mash.