The countdown to Christmas is on, and if you’re lucky enough to be hosting this year, one of the most important tasks (aside from putting up the tree, preparing spare rooms for guests and wrapping all of the gifts) is deciding on a menu and taking note of all the delicious Christmas recipes you want to serve. Haven’t thought about your Christmas menu yet? Well, our list of classic Christmas dishes includes recipes for mains, sides, desserts, snacks and even cocktails is sure to inspire.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning something traditional, like a glazed ham or roast turkey, or want to mix it up with whole roasted cauliflower or baked salmon, there’s something here to suit everybody’s tastebuds.
Choosing a Christmas main course really comes down to whether you’re a stickler for tradition or want to try something a little lighter and a little less meat-centric. Will you be making ham again as tradition dictates, or will you branch out with a succulent pork roast, or perhaps go totally rogue by serving whole roast cauliflower or sticky baked salmon? The choice is yours.
Ham’s versatility makes it an Aussie favourite at Christmastime. You can either make it on the day, or make it ahead of time and enjoy it cold, mixed through a salad or served with crusty bread, dips, cheese and salad. The beauty of ham is that it’s relatively hard to mess up – it’s quite forgiving and difficult to overcook. It’s also important to store ham correctly to ensure the leftovers last as long as possible. To keep ham on the bone, wrap it in a seasoned cloth and place it in the coldest part of the fridge where it can last up to 2 weeks. For even more longevity, cut the ham into pieces and store it in an airtight container in the freezer (where it can last up to a month).
Pear, Cinnamon & Clove Caramel Glazed Ham recipe
Make a celebratory statement with this show-stopping glazed ham recipe flavoured with pear, cinnamon and cloves. Perfect for Christmas lunch or dinner.
Ginger and lime glazed ham
Combine ginger beer, fresh ginger and marmalade to make a quick and tasty glaze. This recipe also contains tips on how to store your ham correctly so it lasts as long as possible!
Roast turkey is a classic, quintessential Christmas dish that dates back all the way to the 1500s. It may not be as popular as ham but it’s still a top seller. Because turkey is a relatively lean meat it’s important to periodically baste it in pan juices to prevent itt from drying out. Traditional roast turkey is commonly served with cranberry sauce, roasted or mashed potatoes and steamed greens.
Roast turkey with lemon, cranberry and thyme stuffing
Nothing screams Christmas dinner quite like a magnificent roast turkey in the centre of the table. This recipe features a crowd-pleasing stuffing made from lemon, cranberry and thyme, the fragrance of which will permeate your entire home as it cooks.
Turkey, chicken & cranberry terrine
It doesn’t get much better than turkey, wrapped in bacon! This tantalising celebration centrepiece will feed a crowd.
The secret to a cracking Christmas? Serve roast pork. Crackling off the top of the roast pork can create more competition at the dinner table than even the most expensive pack of bonbons. To get the perfect crackling, dry out the fat as much as possible either by patting it with a paper towel or by storing it in the fridge uncovered for at least four hours or, if time allows, overnight. Apply plenty of salt to the fat before placing it in the oven.
Roast leg of pork with crunchy stuffing & apple gravy
Is it really Christmas Day if there isn’t a fight over the last piece of pork crackling? This classic recipe contains detailed instructions to ensure your crackling turns out crispy and crunchy. There’s even extra crispy bits, in the form of crunchy stuffing balls made from apple, breadcrumbs, walnuts and sage.
Rolled roast pork loin with apple and thyme
Served with roast potatoes and a simple salad, this elegant take on a classic roast pork recipe makes for easy preparation and around half the cooking time, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the day.
Roast pork with leek & walnut seasoned stuffing
This festive main will definitely lure your dinner guests to the table. The stuffing, which is made by gently sweating leek with speck, walnuts and breadcrumbs gives this pork roast a delicate, mouth-watering flavour. Serves 8.
Getting the whole family together is a good excuse to go out and enjoy the freshest seafood you can get your hands on. Everything from prawns to freshly shucked oysters are a real Christmas treat. Planning to trek down to the fish market ahead of Christmas Day? Check out these tips for buying the freshest possible seafood.
Garlic prawns in butter, chilli & parsley
The secret to nailing this recipe is in the prawns. Select small, sweet school prawns so that once they’re cooked you can eat the soft shells and tails. No peeling required!
Honey soy marinated whole baked salmon
Salmon is at its peak in Australia in late autumn to early spring, but this succulent whole baked salmon recipe can be enjoyed any time of year. Serve to family and friends on a statement platter to form the centrepiece at a special celebration or gathering.
Coriander-seed, honey and lime roasted salmon
If you’re looking for a lighter alternative to a glazed ham this year, try this sticky, spicy whole baked salmon. A sauce made from crushed garlic, tamari (or soy sauce) and sriarcha give this delicate fish lashings of flavour.
Coriander-seed, honey and lime roasted salmon
Fresh oysters always go down a treat on Christmas Day. This recipe doesn’t overpower the natural flavours of the oyster, but enhances them with a touch of vinegar and garlic which is then topped with crunchy cucumber, celery and radish.
According to Roy Morgan research, almost 2.5 million Australians are vegetarian or mostly eat vegetarian food. That’s a lot of people! Keep meat out of your Christmas main by embracing hearty salads and one versatile vegetable in particular: cauliflower. It carves just like any other traditional roast and is just as delicious.
Whole roasted spiced cauliflower
Cauliflower is such an amazing all-rounder. Not only is it budget-friendly, it’s also quite hearty when roasted whole. It makes an ideal centrepiece for a meat-free Christmas, and it’s sure to be so popular you might want to roast not one, but two, whole cauliflowers!
Ok, so the mains have been decided. Now it’s time to rally together the supporting cast of salads and vegies. With temperatures soaring in December, nothing quite beats a refreshing summer salad – and or the tangy burst of freshly harvested heirloom tomatoes treated simply with a drizzle of high quality olive oil or vinaigrette.
Roasted cauliflower, haloumi and zucchini salad
Slow-roasted cauliflower and gently seared vegetables, including zucchini and asparagus, shine in this vegetarian salad which can be served either as a light meal or side.
Crispy roast potatoes
Cook the perfect, crunchy roast potatoes with our recipe for crispy, salt and vinegar roast potatoes.
Brown butter carrots with walnuts & cauliflower sauce
Sweet carrots are an excellent side dish to freshen the palette after consuming Christmas’s heavier mains. The perfect accompaniment to roast chicken, pork, turkey or ham.
Heirloom tomato salad with grilled zucchini
We love heirloom tomatoes! Considered by many as the best tomatoes for growing, this simple and wholesome salad recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy the lush flavour of homegrown and a level up from eating them simply with a sprinkle of salt straight from the garden.
A showstopping Christmas dessert is always a good idea. And the best place to start is by letting seasonal fruit inspire you: fresh berries, cherries, mangoes, passionfruit, watermelon and lemons are all at their best in December. Bake them in a pie, place them atop a pavlova or sneak them into the layers of a decadent trifle. Or, keep it simple and serve a glorious fruit salad with a side of custard. The perfect palate cleanser to chase down a hearty roast.
Red plum and blackberry pie
This pie, featuring a vermillion pairing of juicy plums and blackberries, will sweetly round off any dinner party or special occasion meal.
Cassata ice-cream sandwiches
This beautiful recipe for ice-cream sandwiches with a twist is so pretty, it’ll make a show-stopping centrepiece for a festive feast.
Celebrating berries, meringue and sweet cream cheese, it’s the perfect pudding to serve at a party.
Cherry Christmas desserts
Gluten-free cherry meringue pie
Light-as-air meringue tops a tart cherry filling and crunchy cookie crust.
Cherry custard tart
Cherries and custard are both Christmas staples. Bring them together in this tart featuring a crumbly, pastry base. Making this dessert is a labour of love that will be rewarded with empty plates and happy tummies.
Pink lady apple and cherry pie
This sweet pink lady apple and cherry pie uses frozen cherries, so it’s a recipe that can be enjoyed all year round (and not just at Christmas).
Christmas wreath desserts
Want to take Christmas dessert to the next level? Make it wreath-shaped! For these desserts, a bundt tin is your best friend – perfect for cakes, sweet breads and even jelly. Pavlova is another dessert that can be adapted into a wreath shape, simply dollop the meringue onto some baking paper in a circle before baking it and voila!
Stollen wreath cake
Once baked and dusted with icing sugar, this Christmas wreath cake will look incredible in the centre of the table – and will surely complement other seasonal sweets including pavlova or a trifle.
Pavlova is the ultimate Christmas dessert, and this beautiful, wreath-shaped recipe deserves a spot right in the centre of the table.
A classic pavlova is the ultimate Australian Christmas dessert. The delicate base is the perfect vehicle for all kinds of fruits and toppings, so you can really customise it to suit your family’s tastes. One way to mix up the classic dessert is to put cherries on top – literally! And why not take it a step further by giving it an all-round black forest flair?
White chocolate pavlova
Looking to feed a crowd? This double-decker pavlova will please everyone with the addition of liqueur-marinated strawberries and a dusting of grated white chocolate. Pile it high for a show-stopping centrepiece.
Black forest pavlova
In this fun on a traditional pavlova recipe, more-ish cherry syrup oozes its way down soft meringue peaks, melding with the rich flavours of dark chocolate and whipped cream to form the most decadent festive dessert.
Nothing grabs more attention on the Christmas table quite like a perfectly layered trifle. In a clear trifle dish, it’s a dessert that commands attention and invites you to delve into its layers to indulge in a journey of goodness. Just be sure to dip that spoon all the way to the bottom to enjoy the naughty-but-nice liqueur-laced cake.
Rosé & vanilla zabaglione trifle recipe
This decadent trifle is sure to impress! And while the recipe does contain alcohol (in the form of botritys, or dessert wine) and rose jelly, these can easily be swapped out for milk and raspberry jelly crystals to create a completely child-friendly version.
Limoncello sponge finger trifle recipe
A quintessentially Australian celebration dish, mastering this simple trifle recipe will give you a crowd-pleasing dessert that makes an impressive centrepiece.
Grilled fruit trifle with panettone
The magic of this easy-to-make trifle is all in the assemblage. There’s no waiting for jelly to set or baking sponge cake from scratch. Simply douse panettone in Cointreau and layer in grilled peaches and generous dollops of mascarpone.
When the whole family is in town, there’s no shortage of mouths to feed. Keep tummies full between main meals with a selection of fuss-free yet incredibly tasty nibblies.
Pork scratchings with spiced apple sauce
Can’t get enough of pork crackling? Make your own (without having to do an entire roast) with this crispy, crunchy snack recipe.
One way to quickly and easily feed a crowd is by creating a cheese platter or grazing board. This lets everyone choose exactly what they want, and allows you to step away from the stove and kick back with a slice of cheese and a glass of vino. It’s a win-win.
Fig and almond pastries
Portable snacks are a must at Christmas time, especially to refuel those backyard cricketers. Pile these sweet pastry parcels on a platter on the back deck and watch them disappear, demolished by ravenous kids in seconds.
Smoked salmon blinis with whipped ricotta and chives
Blinis are a staple party starter for a reason. Made by topping tiny pancakes with tasty morsels, they can be delicately held in one hand and eaten easily in one bite.
Almond brittle truffles
Sugared almonds are often shared during celebratory events. This recipe takes the old classic and turns them into a decadent truffle you can share as a take-home gift to your guests (or simply as an accompaniment to an after-dinner coffee).
Don’t forget a drink to get you through it all. Christmas is a joy, but some parts of it can be stressful (particularly if you’re hosting!) An icy cold, Christmas-inspired tipple will go down a treat.
Frozen Cherry Christmas cocktail
This very cherry cocktail is perfect for the upcoming Christmas season. The key is to select good quality cherry cordial (Australian-owned Billson’s Cherry Cordial is a great option). Finally, don’t forget to garnish with a fresh cherry and pomegranate seeds.