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80 Italian Christmas Dinner Foods

These Italian Christmas dinner foods, like saucy, rich mains and freshly baked desserts, are begging to be on your holiday table this year.

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Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Of all the Italian cookie recipes I make, this is my favorite. These sprinkle cookies take some time, but, believe me, they are well worth it! My husband and I used to operate an Italian American restaurant, and this recipe goes back generations. —Gloria Cracchiolo, Newburgh, New York

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Creamy Beef Lasagna Exps Thdj22 12008 B07 29 3b

Creamy Beef Lasagna

This creamy beef lasagna is a stick-to-your-ribs entree, thanks to its Stroganoff-like filling. My family loves the delicious taste, and I appreciate that it’s inexpensive to fix. —Jane Frawley, Charles Town, West Virginia
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Gorgonzola Pear Salad Exps Thdj22 34268 B07 29 4b 20

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

This pear and gorgonzola salad is quick and easy. When I have leftover cooked chicken, I often add it to the recipe to make a main dish salad. —Candace McMenamin, Lexington, South Carolina
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Soft Garlic Breadsticks

I rely on a bread machine to mix the dough for this buttery garlic breadsticks recipe that is mildly seasoned with garlic and basil. I like to use this dough when making pizza, too. —Charles Smith, Baltic, Connecticut
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Vegetable-Stuffed Flank Steak

This colorful beef dish was always a favorite request for birthday dinners while I was growing up. Savory, special and stuffed full of vegetables, it’s as tender as the memories it still brings back every time I make it. —Julie Etzel, Tualatin, Oregon
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Quick and Easy Tiramisu

No one can resist this classic cool and creamy dessert. It’s quick to prepare but can be made ahead for added mealtime convenience.
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Portobello Risotto With Mascarpone Exps Thca21 114195 B02 12 1b 1

Portobello Risotto with Mascarpone

Portobello mushrooms add a beefy flavor to this creamy classic. Each serving is topped with soft, buttery mascarpone cheese, which makes it extra special. —Carmella Ryan, Rockville Centre, New York
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Chicken Scampi

This chicken scampi recipe is so delectable that I’m often asked to double it when family members visit over the holidays. I also suggest preparing it with shrimp for a quick, convenient alternative that’s also delicious. —Janet Lebar, Centennial, Colorado
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Italian Cream Cheese Cake Exps Ft19 28232 F 0910 1 31

Italian Cream Cheese Cake

Buttermilk makes every bite of this awesome Italian cream cheese cake recipe moist and flavorful. I rely on this recipe year-round.—Joyce Lutz, Centerview, Missouri
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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
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Anise Pizzelle

These lovely, golden brown anise pizzelle cookies have a crisp texture and delicate anise flavor. I create them using a pizzelle iron. —Barbara Colucci, Rockledge, Florida
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Gnocchi With Spinach And Chicken Sausage Exps Sdon18 126406 B06 15 7b 31

Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Dinner is easy when I can use ingredients typically found in my fridge and pantry. —Laura Miller, Lake Ann, Michigan
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Italian Appetizer Meatballs

Store-bought spaghetti sauce speeds up the preparation of these homemade meatball appetizers. Leftovers make terrific sub sandwiches.—Rene McCrory, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Garlic Knots

These novel garlic knots are handy because they can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. —Jane Paschke, University Park, Florida
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Cranberry Ricotta Gnocchi With Brown Butter Sauce Exps Thca21 135337 B12 18 4b 1

Cranberry Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce

To make light and airy gnocchi, work quickly and handle the dough as little as possible. You’ll be pleased with the resulting pillowy dumplings. —Sally Sibthorpe, Shelby Township, Michigan
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Tuscan Grapes and Sausages

Tuscan Grapes and Sausages

This recipe is one of my go-tos when entertaining. It’s simple, elegant and you can entertain your guests instead of spending the entire time in the kitchen. The whole pieces of garlic in this dish become so sweet, a lovely complement to the sweet grapes and spicy sausage. —Melissa Zienter, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Gingerbread Amaretti Cookies

The classic Italian cookie gets a new gingerbread twist! Don’t overbake—they should be slightly chewy. —Tina Zaccardi, Eastchester, New York
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Chicken Pesto Meatballs

These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa
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Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

This colorful soup is vegetarian-friendly and full of fresh flavors from a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Orange And Olives Salad Exps Rc21 260743 E07 22 11b 19

Orange and Olives Salad

My grandmother made sure this orange and olives salad was on our holiday table every year. It’s so light and simple to make. Plus, it looks pretty on the table! —Angela David, Lakeland, Florida
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Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why a relative handed this cherished recipe down to me. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Flounder with Shrimp Stuffing

The delicious shrimp-herb stuffing makes this fish recipe special enough for company. But it really isn’t hard to make, and since our family enjoys fish, we eat it often. —Marie Forte, Raritan, New Jersey
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Contest-Winning Chicken Cacciatore

My husband and I own and operate a busy farm. There are days when there's just no time left for cooking! It's really nice to be able to come into the house at night and smell this wonderful slow cooker chicken cacciatore. —Aggie Arnold-Norman, Liberty, Pennsylvania
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Italian Herb-Crusted Pork Loin

I like to change things up during the holidays with pork loin recipes that incorporate my favorite herbs and veggies. This showpiece dish really dazzles my family. —Kim Palmer, Kingston, Georgia
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Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies Exps Tohcaj19 220682 C03 12 5b Rms 4

Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

I recently found this old family recipe in my mom’s kitchen. I made a few adjustments to streamline the process, and the cookies turned out wonderfully. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Hearty Ragu Bolognese Exps Dobz21 171987 E08 13 7b 3

Hearty Ragu Bolognese

My robust ragu combines ground beef, sausage and chicken. Serve it over any type of pasta, or baked or fried polenta. It’s even good on its own with a slice of hot buttered garlic bread. —Caroline Brody, Forest Hills, New York
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Cherry Tomato Salad

This recipe evolved from a need to use the bumper crops of delicious cherry tomatoes we grow. It's one of my favorite cherry tomato recipes, especially at cookouts. —Sally Sibley, St. Augustine, Florida
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Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Spinach Chicken Manicotti

Pepper and nutmeg spice up the rich sauce in this hearty pasta dish. I made this for my boyfriend on our first Valentine’s Day. It was a big success—now we're married! —Amy Luce, Dallas, Texas
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Spicy Shrimp Penne Pasta Exps Sddj17 180629 16 C08 03 6b 2

Spicy Shrimp & Penne Pasta

I created this creamy pasta dish when I needed to use up some marinara. Red pepper flakes give it a little heat, which my family loves. It's super versatile, so try it with chicken, or simply stir in some fresh basil, too. —Lorri Stout, Gaithersburg, Maryland
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Tuscan Sausage Bean Dip Exps Thcsf16 157522 A06 01 4b 12

Tuscan Sausage & Bean Dip

This is a spinoff of a Mexican dip I had once. The original was wicked good, but since I was going through an "I’m-so-over-Mexican-dip" phase, I decided to switch it up. Take it to a party—I'll bet you no one else will bring anything like it! —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina
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Cherry Tomato & Basil Focaccia

When I had 80 pounds of tomatoes, I got creative incorporating them into meals. Sometimes I slice this loaf into squares to make sandwiches with fresh mozzarella cheese and deli meats. —Katie Ferrier, Houston, Texas
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Italian Pasta Bake Exps H13x917 49172 C06 23 2b 5

Italian Pasta Bake

I love to make this pasta bake whenever I need to bring a dish to pass. Fresh tomatoes add a nice touch that's missing from most other meat, pasta and tomato casseroles.—Karla Johnson, East Helena, Montana
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Spicy Seafood Stew Exps Thca18 26242 B03 17 4b 10

Spicy Seafood Stew

The hardest part of this quick and easy recipe is peeling and dicing the potatoes—and you can even do that the night before. Just place the potatoes in water and store them in the refrigerator overnight to speed up assembly the next day. —Bonnie Marlow, Ottoville, Ohio
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Olive Focaccia Exps Ssmz20 106926 B04 10 9b 3

Olive Focaccia

When I add my own special touches to a basic focaccia recipe—including sun-dried tomatoes, olives and roasted sweet red peppers—the results were simply delectable. The flavorful, chewy loaf makes a wonderful accompaniment to nearly any meal. —Dee Froemel, Hayward, Wisconsin
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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Shells

This is my own personal recipe. I'm very proud of it because I am still a beginner cook and it was the first recipe I created. You can adjust it to your liking by doubling the spinach or adding some meat. —Laci Hooten, McKinney, Texas
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Herbed Bread Twists

A blend of herbs and a special shape dress up ordinary frozen bread dough in my unbelievably easy recipe. —Deb Stapert, Comstock Park, Michigan
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Fig & Almond Cookies

In our family, holiday cookies—like these nutty fig ones—are a big deal. I'm so proud to be passing on this Italian tradition to my two boys. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Tuna Steak on Fettuccine

For something new to do with tuna, I suggest this tangy dish. Although I prefer the marinade on tuna or mahi mahi, it's scrumptious on any fish, grilled, baked or broiled. —Caren Stearns, Austin, Texas
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White Bean Soup with Escarole

This escarole and bean soup has become a favorite because it uses kitchen staples, it's packed with healthy ingredients and is a cinch to prepare. If I can't find escarole, I sub fresh spinach at the very end of cooking. —Gina Samokar, North Haven, Connecticut
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Penne alla Vodka

This easy and impressive pasta is always on the menu when my husband and I have new friends over for dinner. Years later, they've asked me to make this Penne alla Vodka recipe again. —Cara Langer, Overland Park, Kansas
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Holiday Biscotti

A twice-baked Italian cookie, biscotti makes a wonderful "dunker." A pretty way to present a batch is on a seasonal plate arranged in a wagon-wheel fashion. —Libia Foglesong, San Bruno, California
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Spinach-Basil Lasagna

In the kitchen, my husband and I like to use classic ingredients in new ways. I came up with this lasagna one day and haven't made another type since. We love it! —Charlotte Gehle, Brownstown, Michigan
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Parmesan Asparagus

Nothing could be more simple than this side dish. Since it has just four ingredients, I assemble it in no time, then pop it into the oven for about 15 minutes. It turns out perfect every time. —Mary Ann Marino, West Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Chicken Marsala With Gorgonzola Exps140539 Th2237243c09 29 5bc Rms 2

Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

Chicken topped with melting Gorgonzola is quick enough for weeknight cooking but also elegant enough for a dinner party. We live near the Faribault, MN, caves that are used to age the lovely AmaBlu Gorgonzola cheese, so this is a favorite for us. —Jill Anderson, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
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Italian Mushrooms

Only four ingredients create a rich and flavorful side dish that we love to eat with beef and mashed potatoes. —Kim Reichert, St. Paul, Minnesota
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Giardiniera

Sweet and tangy, this Italian condiment is packed with peppers, cauliflower, carrots and other crisp-tender veggies. It’s perfect to offer alongside pickles or olives on a relish tray. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Artichoke Caprese Platter

I dressed up the classic Italian trio of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with marinated artichokes. It looks so yummy on a pretty platter set out on a buffet. Using fresh mozzarella is the key to its great taste. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Cod with Hearty Tomato Sauce

My father made up this sweet, flavorful recipe for my mother when he took over the cooking. We serve it with whole wheat pasta or brown rice. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Pasta Fagioli al Forno

The name of this Italian-inspired dish means "baked pasta with beans." But my busy family translates it as "super satisfying dinner." —Cindy Preller, Grayslake, Illinois
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Italian Christmas Cookies

A single batch of these ricotta cheese cookies is never enough. I usually make one to give away and two more to keep at home. The ricotta cheese makes the morsels extra moist. —Doris Marshall, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
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Saucy Italian Roast Exps10321 Lsc143267a09 24 2bc Rms 1

Saucy Italian Roast

This tender roast is one of my favorite set-and-forget meals. I thicken the juices with a little flour and add ketchup, then serve the sauce and beef slices over pasta. —Jan Roat, Red Lodge, Montana
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Seafood Soup

Salmon, shrimp and loads of chopped veggies make this chowder a hearty, herby meal-in-a-bowl. It's just the perfect homemade fish soup. —Valerie Bradley, Beaverton, Oregon
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White Seafood Lasagna

We make lasagna with shrimp and scallops as part of the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. Every bite delivers a tasty “jewel” from the sea. —Joe Colamonico, North Charleston, South Carolina
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Asparagus Wraps

Asparagus makes lovely finger food, especially wrapped in pastry and tasty filling. Easily assembled, it’s perfect for weeknight noshing or something a little fancier for entertaining. —Linda Hall, Evington, Virginia
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Stamp-of-Approval Spaghetti Sauce

My father is very opinionated, especially about food. This recipe received his almost unreachable stamp of approval. I have yet to hear a disagreement from anyone who has tried it! —Melissa Taylor, Higley, Arizona
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Perfect Four Cheese Lasagna Exps Frbz19 141786 B02 13 2b 19

Perfect Four-Cheese Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorites, and this is the recipe I’ve been making since I was a teenager. It’s a tantalizing combo of pasta, meat sauce, cheese and more cheese that really lives up to its name! —Lauren Delaney-Wallace, Glen Carbon, Illinois
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Pizzelle Exps Thca19 41204 C09 13 3b 3

Pizzelle

This recipe was adapted from one that my Italian-born mother and grandmother followed. They used old irons on a gas stove, but now we have the convenience of electric pizzelle irons. These delectable cookies are still a traditional treat in our family. —Elizabeth Schwartz, Trevorton, Pennsylvania
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Roasted Eggplant Spread Exps Hcka19 33070 C05 11 4b 3

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Black pepper and garlic perk up this out-of-the-ordinary spread that hits the spot on a crisp cracker or toasted bread slice. —Barbara McCalley, Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
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Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Pie Exps Gbdbz20 76662 B01 08 1b 1

Italian Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake Pie

I first prepared an Italian-style cheese pie years ago. When I added a chocolate-hazelnut topping, it proved so popular that I had to give out copies of the recipe.—Steve Meredith, Streamwood, Illinois
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Roasted Asparagus Risotto Exps Thca19 48871 E02 26 2b 13

Roasted Asparagus Risotto

This recipe’s wow factor makes it perfect for special occasions. To save time, the asparagus and prosciutto can be roasting while the rice cooks on the stovetop. They’ll be ready to stir into the risotto by the time the rice is done. —Deonna Mazur, Buffalo, New York
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Cranberry Walnut Biscotti Exps Hcbz21 48474 B05 20 9b 10

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

A chocolate drizzle lends a little extra sweetness to biscotti.—Joan Duckworth, Lee’s Summit, Missouri
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Stuffed Asiago-Basil Mushrooms

Even if you don't like mushrooms, you will have to try them again with these pretty appetizers, which taste divine. For a main dish, double the filling and use large portobellos. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Coconut-Macadamia Biscotti

I came up with this recipe after my husband and I returned from our first trip to Hawaii. Dipping these tropical treats in a good cup of coffee brings us right back to the wonderful memories we made there. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, Virginia
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Broiled Chicken Artichokes Exps162382 Th133086a08 01 4bc Rms 22

Broiled Chicken & Artichokes

My wife and I first made this chicken entree as newlyweds, and we have been hooked on it ever since. We make it almost weekly now. It's so simple and affordable, yet delicious and healthy. Can't beat that! —Chris Koon, Midlothian, Virginia
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The Best Eggplant Parmesan Exps Dobz21 50060 B08 18 1b

The Best Eggplant Parmesan

Truly delicious! I love eggplant and have many recipes, but this one’s my favorite. The cheeses and seasonings make this dish unforgettable. —Dottie Kilpatrick, Wilmington, North Carolina
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Tomato Walnut Pesto Spread Exps Tohca21 41879 B12 17 8b 7

Tomato-Walnut Pesto Spread

Whenever I bring this popular spread to parties, I know I’m going to get recipe requests. The red, green and white layers make it especially festive for Christmastime. —Marsha Dawson, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Crab Stuffed Manicotti Exps Thca21 47190 B02 25 3b 2

Crab-Stuffed Manicotti

I love pasta, and my husband loves seafood. I combined them to create this dish, and he raved that it’s the best meal ever. —Sonya Polfliet, Anza, California
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Minestrone Style Shrimp Salad Exps Thca21 40312 B02 25 4b 5

Minestrone-Style Shrimp Salad

This shrimp salad is the perfect dish to serve as a small dinner for two. It’s very light and refreshing. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Bread Machine Panettone

This bread machine panettone is easy to make. Every tender, moist slice is filled with candied fruit and raisins. —Josephine Bianchi, Bristol, New Hampshire
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Spiced Pear Risotto Exps Cimz19 39939 B08 28 7b 2

Spiced Pear Risotto

We love risotto and are always in search of fun and different ways to prepare it. I like to serve this fruity version with pork tenderloin.—Kim Berto, Port Orchard, Washington
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Citrus Almond Cookies

These frosted goodies were a “must” every Christmas in my mother’s family. I think the blend of milk chocolate, toasted almonds, lemon and orange is cookie perfection.
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Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs

I’ve been cooking for 50 years, and this dish is still one that guests request frequently. It is my No. 1 standby recipe and also makes amazing meatball sandwiches. The sauce works for any type of pasta. —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
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Sweet Italian Holiday Bread Exps170960 Thca143053c09 11 7bc Rms 3

Sweet Italian Holiday Bread

This is authentic ciambellotto, a sweet loaf my great-grandmother used to bake in Italy. I still use her traditional recipe—the only update I made was for using modern appliances. —Denise Perrin, Vancouver, Washington
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Must-Have Tiramisu

This is the perfect guilt-free version of a classic dessert. My friends even say that they prefer my lighter recipe over other tiramisu.—Ale Gambini, Beverly Hills, California
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Mostaccioli

Even though we’re not Italian, this rich, cheesy pasta dish is a “family tradition” for holidays and special occasions. I was delighted the first time I tried this mostaccioli recipe—it has all the flavor of lasagna without the work of layering the ingredients. Try it…I’m sure it’ll become one of your family’s favorites, too! —Nancy Mundhenke, Kinsley, Kansas
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White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti Exps Cwdj22 12824 B07 08 2b 10

White Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

The original version of this recipe was handed down from my great-aunt. Through the years, my mother and I have tried different flavor combinations…this is a favorite for all. —Brenda Keith, Talent, Oregon
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Limoncello Cream Pie

After a big Christmas dinner, we love the cool refreshment of a frozen lemon pie. Limoncello brings a little sophistication to each smooth, creamy slice. —Jessie Grearson-Sapat, Falmouth, Maine
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Shrimp Pasta Primavera

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So when I invite that special guy to dinner, I like to prepare something equally wonderful. This well-seasoned pasta dish has lots of flavor, and it won’t hurt your budget! —Shari Neff, Takoma Park, Maryland

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.
Christina Herbst
Christina is a Social Media Editor for Taste of Home. She enjoys trying out local restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on. In her free time, you can find her hunting down one-of-a-kind furniture pieces at thrift and vintage stores and DIYing trendy home decor crafts.