58 Christmas Eve Dinner Ideas

Updated: May 16, 2024

Looking for the best Christmas Eve dinner ideas to complement your favorite Christmas cookie recipes? Here are our top picks.

The countdown to Santa is on. The stockings are hung, the cookies are baked and the presents are wrapped. With so much to cross off your to-do list, making Christmas Eve dinner can sometimes feel like an afterthought. But whether your family is craving baked pasta or a whole roast turkey, we have a collection of festive Christmas Eve meals that will be just as comforting and fun as dinner on Christmas day. To keep dessert simple, make a holiday pie a day or two in advance. All you’ll have to do after dinner is slice and serve!
Here are some candy cane recipes for best utilizing any leftover candy canes during this holiday season.

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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

Easing kids into Christmas ham couldn’t be simpler than with this Alfredo lasagna. With ham, prosciutto and rotisserie chicken, this dish has it all with the option to swap in bacon or even veggies.
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chicken wild rice casserole
Contest-Winning Chicken Wild Rice Casserole Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Contest-Winning Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

With Christmas dinner fast approaching, a simple meal the night before can take some of the stress off. You can use rotisserie chicken, fresh chicken or leftover turkey for this quick and tasty 30 minute bake.

Go to Recipe

After dinner, enjoy these recipes for a Christmas Eve movie night.

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Seasoned Roast Turkey

The bigger the turkey, the longer it will take to roast. If you’ve decided on a 13- to 15-pound turkey for Christmas Eve dinner, plan on roasting it for around 3 hours. Consult our helpful turkey-roasting chart to determine exactly how long to cook your bird (and have a meat thermometer handy).
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Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Beets

What better way to prepare for a loaded Christmas than with a light, flavor-rich salad. This easy to assemble meal is a great vegetarian option for those looking to satisfy simultaneous sweet and savory cravings.
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Salmon with Spinach & White Beans

This well rounded salmon dish combines simple but strong flavors. Spinach, cannellini beans and lemon call for little preparation with a big payout.
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Slow-Cooker Lamb Chops

Chicken, turkey and ham usually are the stars of Christmas, so why not spice up your Christmas Eve dinner with some lamb? These melt in your mouth lamb chops can simmer in the slow cooker while you wrap any last-minute presents.
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Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffed Shells

This easy pasta casserole is a great way to sneak in some veggies before the holidays. With tomatoes, kale and butternut squash, your loved ones will be head over heels for this customizable Christmas Eve dinner. If you enjoyed this, then you must check out our collection of Italian Christmas dinner ideas.
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Makeover Traditional Lasagna

This recipe consists of five kinds of cheese, two kinds of meat and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, maybe not the last part; but this unique spin on a classic dish offers a low-fat option to the traditionally heavy meal.
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Seafood Cioppino

This recipe brimming with clams, crab, fish and shrimp is almost a Feast of the Seven Fishes in a bowl. Make it part of the traditional Italian Christmas Eve menu or have it on its own with a hunk of crispy bread.
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Pasta Fagioli al Forno

This baked pasta is perfect to make in the nights leading up to Christmas. Easily stored and frozen, this dish is as comforting as it is quick.
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Chicken Tamales

These tamales capture the warm feeling of Christmas. This is a commitment-based recipe, but the taste is worth the effort. Invite the whole family for a tamalada party to help you make them.
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Christmas Eve Confetti Pasta

The red and green peppers in this colorful pasta serve as the best, and tastiest, last-minute decoration. Adding your own spices and flare could mean all the difference to this new tradition.
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Turkey Dumpling Stew

This cozy dumpling stew is easy to prepare and feels like it would be enjoyed near a fire. Like a blanket or a hug, the warmth is as lasting as the flavor is rich.
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Pork Medallions in Mustard Sauce

Finding new flavor combinations can be difficult. Fortunately, we’ve done it for you! The apple juice concentrate and mustard sauce is a combo that works.
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Holiday Herb-Cheese Rolls

These cheesy, herby and garlicky rolls are a great accompaniment to any of the recipes on this list. These holiday dinner rolls can be the perfect bread for leftover turkey, ham or chicken sandwiches the next day.
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Festive Slow-Cooked Beef Tips

This slow cooker meal will leave you and your loved ones with full bellies and fuller hearts. Save this beef tips recipe for a special occasion, and you’ll look forward to it all year.
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Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Cheese

Treat yourself to steak on Christmas Eve! The sauce is very rich and easy to assemble. And the whole dish can be made in just 20 minutes!
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Artichoke Florentine Pasta

Think spinach artichoke dip but on pasta. This rich dish can pass as restaurant quality.
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Sage Pork Chops with Cider Pan Gravy

Apple cider is the best winter drink, but have you ever thought about it in a sauce? These pork chops can be accompanied by sliced apples or onions.
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New England Lamb Bake

Using potato slices as the crust is an ingenious way to present this lamb bake. You can also substitute the lamb for beef for a completely different dish within the same holiday season.
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Roast Chicken with Vegetables

This roast chicken is the perfect lead in to a smorgasbord Christmas dinner the next day. Roast chicken can be repurposed into sandwiches or stand alone as your main dish.
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Spinach Beef Pie

The homemade crust really puts a personal touch on this classic pie. This meal is filling—and colorful, too!
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Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

Red currants are small, vibrant red berries that taste a bit like tart raspberries. Red currant jelly, plus dried currants, cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots and honey combine to create a heavenly sauce that tastes exactly like Christmas.
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Creamy Spinach & Rigatoni Bake

Reminiscent of a spinach and artichoke dip or a macaroni and cheese, this baked pasta has it all. With pancetta for an Italian twist, what might start as a holiday dish will quickly become a regular recipe.
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Contest-Winning Braised Short Ribs

These short ribs fall off the bone. You can choose to dress it up or down with sides.
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Harvesttime Chicken with Couscous

This aromatic slow cooker meal can come in handy on a busy day. This predominately red dish is as festive as it is decorative.
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Rosemary-Lemon Chicken Thighs

This simple recipe can be made from spices already in your pantry. Serve with a potato side and a salad to complete the meal.
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Stuffed Flank Steak

Christmas Eve is the perfect time to showcase this special occasion dinner recipe. The pinwheel effect is stunning but the taste is even better, with the cornbread stuffing adding a holiday touch.
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Tomato-Poached Halibut

Christmas Eve dinner will be ready and on the table in about half an hour, thanks to this lightning-quick halibut dish. Served on a bed of poblano peppers, tomatoes and olives, it still feels elevated and special.
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Chicken & Cheddar Biscuit Casserole

This comfort meal has all the fixings of chicken and dumplings, with the added element of cheese. It makes for a portable dinner perfect for a gathering.
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Standing Rib Roast

For the best flavor in a standing rib roast (also known as prime rib), look for a cut of meat that has good marbling. You’ll also want to check that the rib roast has a fat cap, which will continue to baste the beef as it cooks. When in doubt, ask your butcher.
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Chorizo Pumpkin Pasta

This creamy pasta showcases the savory potential of pumpkin, proving that it isn’t just for Halloween. A fresh take on macaroni and cheese, the chicken sausage adds yet another unique element to the already memorable dish.
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Mushroom Hunter’s Sauce

This simple hunter’s sauce is light with a hint of tomato. It can be served over noodles or even a choice of meat.
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Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce

This sweet and healthy recipe is perfect for emptying the fridge. With rice instead of pasta, or veggies thrown in, it’s easy to make this dish your own.
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Spicy Bean and Beef Pie

This one dish recipe is made spicy with a jar of thick and chunky picante sauce. It’s the perfect palate cleanser for the more sweet foods that Christmas usually invites.
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Italian-Style Pizzas

These personalized pizzas are the perfect way to partake in a new tradition. Christmas is all about making memories with the ones you love, which could include a simple Christmas Eve dinner.
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Hearty Baked Beef Stew

This wonderful stew is perfect for a busy day. Everything bakes together in just two hours!
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Tortellini Carbonara

This creamy pasta can be adjusted to your tastes by adding garlic and some pancetta. But there’s something to be found in simplicity, especially with such an exciting day approaching.
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Wild Rice with Dried Blueberries

Rice and fruit is an unlikely, but delicious, combination. Traditionally a Christmas or Thanksgiving side, this can act as the perfect Christmas Eve dinner with some added protein.
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Creamy Braised Chicken

While not an easy recipe, it is certainly a worthwhile one. This creamy chicken will become a fast addition to your recipe rotation.
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Best Lasagna

Putting “best” on a recipe is a bold claim, but it’s one that is easy to back with this lasagna. One of the best presents you’ll receive this Christmas are these leftovers.
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Creamy Salmon Linguine

This pasta is another recipe that’s great for emptying out a freezer of veggies. Season your salmon however you like to customize this lemony alfredo sauce.
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Meatball Chili with Dumplings

Dumplings, meatballs and chili are the big three comfort foods. Combining them results in a group nap and a movie on the couch.
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Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

The longer you cook this beef stew, the more tender the meat will be. Seasoned with thyme and dry mustard, this stew is chock-full of tender carrots, potatoes and meat.
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Rich Baked Spaghetti

Baked spaghetti takes longer to make than traditional stovetop pasta. However, the difference lies in a more infused and rich flavor.
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Artichoke Ratatouille Chicken

Some families have tried it all on Christmas Eve, but this creole-spiced dish featuring Japanese eggplant, tomato, sweet peppers and artichokes might just be one dish you haven’t tried yet. The chicken makes this otherwise veggie-packed meal complete.
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Italian Stuffed Shells

These stuffed shells are made with three types of cheese. This recipe bears 24 jumbo shells that can be frozen and eaten throughout the holiday season.
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Contest-Winning Broccoli Chicken Casserole

This chicken and broccoli casserole is a take on chicken divan. However, instead of a cracker topping, this one uses chicken stuffing.
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Lemony Chicken & Rice

This one-dish bake is great for just popping in the oven. The light flavor balances the typically heavy tastes of Christmas.
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Cranberry and Bacon Swiss Cheese Dip

This appetizer could be a quick dinner in a pinch. Served with bread or veggies, this dip covers all the bases by being sweet, savory and smokey.
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Chicken-Pepper Alfredo

This meaty recipe includes bacon and chicken. Roasted red pepper Alfredo adds an extra kick to a filling dinner.
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Herbed Seafood Casserole

It’s hard to come by a casserole that doesn’t feel overdone, but this dish is fresh and original with seafood as the star. This creamy casserole is a wonderful blend of shrimp, scallops and crab.
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Rosemary Pork with Cherry-Pistachio Topping

This cherry-pistachio topping has a chutney consistency. With several sauces on hand, everyone can make this dinner their own.
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Deluxe Cornbread Stuffing

This stuffing is a perfect nod to Thanksgiving dinner. Reimagined with cornbread, this new flavor can change the minds of the pickiest eaters.
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Creole Skillet Dinner

With red and green peppers, this dish is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Colorful, flavorful and fun, this recipe will bring joy to all who eat it.
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French Canadian Tourtieres

This Christmas Eve dinner recipe is easy to assemble in advance and freeze for when the time is right. Yielding four pies, this is perfect for a small get together.
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Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Wait! Don’t wash those mushrooms. Instead, use a dry paper towel—or better yet, a mushroom brush—to clean off any dirt. Because mushrooms have a spongy texture, they will absorb extra moisture if they are submerged in water. Here are more helpful tips for cooking mushrooms.
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Rich Seafood Chowder

While Italians enjoy a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, you can start with three types of seafood in this rich chowder. With clams, shrimp and crabmeat, this one pot meal will keep you warm all night long.

Up Next: Finish planning your holiday menu with these impressive Christmas dinner ideas.