62 Christmas Eve Dinner Ideas

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

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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.

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Makeover Traditional Lasagna Exps Sddj19 80342 E07 24 10b 3

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.

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

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Apple-Glazed Ham

Apple-Glazed Ham

Serving ham as a Christmas Eve dinner rather than a Christmas dinner can either act a preview for what’s to come, or pave the way for chicken, turkey or roast the next day. The distinctly winter flavors of apple, maple, cinnamon and ginger will have the house smelling like the holidays just before they start.
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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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A Christmas Story Meat Loaf

Fans of “A Christmas Story” will instantly recognize this classic meal. Hopefully, unlike Randy, you won’t finish this dish still thinking “I hate meatloaf.”
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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.
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Juicy Herb Roasted Turkey Exps Tbz21 46047 B05 28 2bv2 5

Juicy Herb-Roasted Turkey

Why not have the best of both worlds with a turkey dinner on Christmas Eve followed by ham or chicken on Christmas Day? These leftovers can be used to make turkey sandwiches that go into the new year.
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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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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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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 Exps 13x9bz21 132528 E10 08 5b 18

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 Exps50207 Th133086a08 01 8bc Rms 3

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 Exps Cwon16 45877 C06 29 087 2

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 Exps Tohca20 133853 E02 21 9b 10

Apple and Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Currant Sauce

This roasted pork tenderloin tastes like a holiday candle smells. With cranberries, walnuts and apple butter, you’ll want to bottle the sauce and melt it with some wax.
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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 Exps40638 Scm14342b03 12 5bc Rms 6

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

Rather than having a sauce, the halibut sits on a bed of peppers, olives and tomatoes. This makes it so that every bite is filled with texture and taste.

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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

This standing rib roast recipe is practically foolproof. Treat your family to tender slices of standing rib roast or use the seasoning blend on a different beef roast for a hearty, delicious main dish. I love to prepare this recipe for special occasions. —Lucy Meyring, Walden, Colorado
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Chorizo Pumpkin Pasta Exps Sdon16 170910 D06 03 5b 4

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 Exps Scbz20 173494 E07 15 5b 1

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 Exps Dsbz17 14223 B01 18 2b 9

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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Puff Pastry Chicken Potpie  Exps Sdon16 199097 C06 08 3b 4

Puff Pastry Chicken Potpie

Chicken potpie is the ultimate comfort food, and the puff pastry adds a much needed crunch. This melt-in-your-mouth meal is like a soup and casserole in one.

Also check out our southern Christmas dinner menu ideas.

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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 Exps Hsc19 21539 B07 09 3b 26

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

This ratatouille chicken bake would make Remy proud. The creole seasoning really brings the vegetables together to create a dish that takes you back in time.
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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 Exps37392 Th143193b04 22 3bc Rms 12

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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Air-Fryer Spiced Steaks with Cherry Sauce

This cherry sauce just screams Christmas. With cinnamon and wine blended in, your house will smell like a dream.
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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 Exps 13x9bz19 35537 C10 09 8b 15

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 Exps Sddj19 226448 B07 19 5b 10

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 Exps Bmz18 1485 D12 08  6b 9

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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Slow Cooker Turkey Breast With Cranberry Gravy Exps Thn18 221617 D05 30 4b 18

Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast with Cranberry Gravy

Christmas makes you nostalgic of time passed, even if that’s just a month ago. This cranberry sauce turkey is a fresh take on Thanksgiving dinner just in time for festive season.
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Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

These tender crab-stuffed mushrooms with their crispy golden topping are always popular at parties! The crab filling is a delicious special occasion treat. Serve them while they’re warm. —Nancy Aiello, Bloomery, West Virginia
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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.