Save on Pinterest

50 Small-Scale Christmas Dinner Ideas

Skipping the massive ham this year? Try these small-scale Christmas dinner ideas instead. We have main dishes and sides that serve just a few people.

1 / 50

Herb-Stuffed Roasted Cornish Hens

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your dinner table, we suggest this moist Cornish game hen recipe. A blend of sage, lemon, onion and garlic give this entree outstanding flavor. —Taste of Home Cooking School

Go to Recipe

2 / 50
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

My roasted pork tenderloin is stuffed with two of our favorite ingredients: walnuts and apples. This comforting entree is my family's most requested pork dish. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
3 / 50

Cheddar Seafood Chowder

Shrimp and scallops make this thick, cheesy and chunky chowder extra special. It’s packed with veggies, and the crispy bacon makes a yummy garnish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
4 / 50

Mashed Garlic Potatoes

I infuse creamy mashed potatoes with the subtle taste of garlic, which makes them a welcome addition to any meal. —Myra Innes, Auburn, Kansas
5 / 50

Bacon Parmesan Popovers

This recipe proves that simple ingredients often result in the best-tasting dishes. These popovers are a nice change from ordinary toast or muffins. —Donna Gaston, Coplay, Pennsylvania
6 / 50

Spice-Crusted Steaks with Cherry Sauce

If you’re hosting meat lovers, these impressive cast-iron skillet steaks are guaranteed to please. They’re perfect for a special-occasion dinner without too much fuss. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
7 / 50

Aunt Nancy's Cream of Crab Soup

My sister Nancy is one of the best cooks I know. When my daughter was getting married, I put together a cookbook of her favorite family recipes—Nancy's soup was a must-have. Our family often had this with a salad before Christmas Eve services. —Lynne German, Buford, Georgia
8 / 50
Fig Carrot Stuffed Kabocha Squash Exps Tohca20 116646 E02 21 8b 1

Fig-Carrot Stuffed Kabocha Squash

While searching for a new winter squash variety, I stumbled upon kabocha squash—it really wowed me. The flavor and texture are both rich and beautiful, and this recipe, which I improvised, really suits the squash well. —Caitlin Stephens-North, Malden, Massachusetts
9 / 50
Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower Exps Cimz19 73100 E09 04 6b 10

Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower

Want an alternative to mashed potatoes? Try cauliflower jazzed up with cheddar cheese and rosemary. —Chrystal Baker, Studio City, California
10 / 50

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Soup

This spinach mushroom soup is the perfect accompaniment to any buffet. It can even be made ahead, then warmed and quickly finished on the day of your party. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado
11 / 50
Maple Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts Exps Tohon19 50477 B06 19 8b 4

Maple & Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

For special meals, here’s a fantastic side dish that even children will love. The sweet maple syrup and smoky bacon complement the Brussels sprouts perfectly. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois
12 / 50
Scalloped Cranberries Exps Tcbz19 31391 B05 17 4b 11

Scalloped Cranberries

This warm cranberry casserole is a nice substitute for traditional cranberry relish. It's been a staple on my holiday table ever since my aunt gave me the recipe many years ago. —Ellan Streett, Clear Spring, Maryland
13 / 50
Chicken Prosciutto Pinwheels In Wine Sauce Exps Thca19 224941 B02 26 2b Rms 13

Chicken-Prosciutto Pinwheels in Wine Sauce

We host a large group for holiday meals, and these pinwheels always go over well alongside the regular dishes. I often double this recipe and use two 13x9-in. pans. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
14 / 50

Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

It sounds silly, but the one thing I miss most in meatless meals is, well, the meat. That is, except for this mushroom shepherd’s pie. It’s a hearty vegetarian dish and I guarantee you won’t miss the meat either. —Glen Warren, Edmonton, Alberta
15 / 50

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
16 / 50
French Onion Soup Exps Sbz19 294 C09 14 2b 2

French Onion Soup

My seven-year-old daughter Heather and I enjoy spending time together cooking, but our days are busy, so we appreciate quick and tasty recipes like this one. Hot and delicious, this soup hits the spot for lunch or dinner.
-Sandra Chambers, Carthage, Mississippi
17 / 50

Whipped Squash

This is an excellent way to serve one of the season's most delicious vegetables—butternut squash. Its rich flavor and golden harvest color really come through in this smooth vegetable side dish. —Dorothy Pritchett, Wills Point, Texas
18 / 50

Chicken Cordon Bleu

The addition of bacon in this version of cordon bleu makes it one of my favorite comforting recipes. I've made it for both friends and family, and everyone's a fan. —Jim Wick, Orlando, Florida
19 / 50
Roasted Chicken With Brown Gravy Exps Chbz19 5227 E10 24 7b 13

Roasted Chicken with Brown Gravy

Folks say this is the most delicious roasted chicken in brown sauce they've ever had. There's only one problem—there are never any leftovers! —Annie Tompkins, Deltona, Florida
20 / 50

Cod with Sweet Peppers

This quick and delicious recipe is a long-time family favorite. I like to use three or four different-colored peppers for an extra-pretty presentation. Then serve with couscous or brown rice to round out the meal. —Judy Grebetz, Racine, Wisconsin.
21 / 50

Eggplant Rollatini

Want to learn how to cook eggplant? Here's where to start. These authentic eggplant roll-ups may take some time to prepare, but the end result is restaurant-quality. Your family will request this recipe time and again. —Nancy Sousley, Lafayette, Indiana
22 / 50
Beef Osso Bucco Exps Scbz18 148534 C06 28 2b 3

Beef Osso Bucco

Treat holiday guests to elegant comfort food at its best. Our osso bucco beef boasts a thick, savory sauce complemented by the addition of gremolata, a chopped herb condiment made of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
23 / 50
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes Exps Thn18 223088 B06 05 2b 3

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

My family and friends love the warm and inviting flavors of the luscious citrus butter, smooth cream cheese, sweet dates, fresh sage and toasted pecans that surround and capture the deliciousness of sweet potato in every bite of this side. —Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina
24 / 50
Maple Glazed Green Beans Exps Thn18 89504 C05 30 4b 21

Maple-Glazed Green Beans

After I picked my first green beans one year, I wanted to make a savory dish that was unique, quick and packed with flavor. I loved this so much I couldn't stop eating it. The next day I picked more beans and made this delicious side dish again. —Merry Graham, Newhall, California
25 / 50
Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin Exps Thca18 106616 D01 11 3b 2

Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin

This is one of my favorite recipes. Pasta from Monday plus roasted chicken from Tuesday equals this delicious dish on Wednesday. It's fast and delicious, and paired with a green salad and toasty bread, you have a meal that's fancy enough for company. —Brenda Cole, Reisterstown, Maryland
26 / 50
Sliced Ham with Roasted Vegetables

Sliced Ham with Roasted Vegetables

To prepare this colorful, zesty oven meal, I “shop” in my backyard for the fresh garden vegetables and oranges (we have our own tree!) that spark the ham’s hearty flavor. It’s my family’s favorite main dish. —Margaret Pache, Mesa, Arizona
27 / 50
Orange Pomegranate Salmon

Orange Pomegranate Salmon

A colorful, festive salmon dish makes an impressive addition to your holiday table—and it is as delicious as it is beautiful. What will no one guess? How easy it is to cook. I serve this with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for a showstopping meal that is wonderful for special occasions. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey
28 / 50
Citrus Rainbow Carrots Exps  Hca18 188755 D11 02 7b 75

Citrus Rainbow Carrots

I grow lots of carrots and I’m always experimenting with ways to serve them. The first time I made this citrusy recipe for my husband, he said it tasted like Christmas! Although he calls them my "Christmas carrots," they're tasty anytime; I especially like serving them at Easter, with the array of carrots available in early spring. It's easy to prepare, and can easily be doubled to serve a large group. To save time, I sometimes cut up the carrots several days in advance. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
29 / 50
Beef Bourguignon Exps Cmz18 127295 B10 27 6b 3

Beef Bourguignon

This stovetop stew is loaded with taste, but is easy to do. While the name sounds fancy, even a beginning cook can master it. It's our traditional holiday meal.—Elodie Rosinovsky, Brighton, Massachusetts
30 / 50
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Bacon Exps Cwfm18 41080 C10 12 9b 5

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

This side always takes my guests by surprise because of the smoky, creamy flavor. No doubt you'll get major kudos when you place these potatoes on your table. —Cynthia Boberskyj Rochester, NY
31 / 50
Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup Exps Chkbz18 72834 B10 12 1b 6

Chicken Gnocchi Pesto Soup

After tasting a similar soup at a restaurant, I created this quick and tasty version. The pesto adds an extra-nice Italian flavor that is often missing from other gnocchi soups. —Deanna Smith, Des Moines, Iowa t
32 / 50
Glazed Rosemary Pork Exps Sdfm18 29724 C10 11 5b 12

Glazed Rosemary Pork

A honey-rosemary glaze delicately seasons pork tenderloin in this delightful entree. As elegant as it is easy, the main course is ideal for weekend dinner parties and weeknight suppers alike. —Barbara Sistrunk, Fultondale, Alabama
33 / 50
Never Fail Scalloped Potatoes Exps Sdfm18 36985 D10 03 2b 23

Never-Fail Scalloped Potatoes

Take the chill off any blustery day and make something special to accompany meaty entrees. This is the best scalloped potatoes recipe ever, and my family loves when I serve it. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
34 / 50
Flank Steak Pinwheels Exps Thca19 32070 B08 07 5b 10

Flank Steak Pinwheels

The secret to these pretty flank steak pinwheels lies in their butterfly treatment. Because the steaks are flattened, marinade isn’t need. Instead, they’re filled with a colorful stuffing of red pepper and spinach and draped with a flavorful, homemade blue cheese sauce. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
35 / 50

Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent

My friends and I have been getting together for "ladies lunches" for years. These vol-au-vents are the perfect no-fuss fancy food; they look complicated, but are actually simple and fun to make. Whenever I think of good friends and good company, I think of these savory pastries. —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah
36 / 50
Warm Apple Pistachio Spinach Salad Exps Mcmzsp17 197366 B01 10 3b 12

Warm Apple & Pistachio Spinach Salad

I'm really not a salad person, but this unusual salad is actually worthy of bringing to a dinner party or even eating by itself. It's also super quick and easy to make. —Justine Kmiecik, Crestview, Florida
37 / 50
Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Mustard Sauce Exps50472 Cw2235111b05 18 5bc Rms 2

Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Don’t be afraid to bring out the roasted Brussels sprouts. Mellowed with mustard sauce, they may just delight even the most skeptical folks. —Becky Walch, Orland, California
38 / 50
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Exps Sdfm17 198956 B10 04 3b 14

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Sure, it’s simple and healthy but, oh, this roasted broccoli is also delicious. Cutting the stalks into tall trees turns the ordinary veggie into a standout side dish. —Holly Sander, Lake Mary, Florida
39 / 50
Broiled Lobster Tail Exps Sddj17 199655 C08 17 9b 15

Broiled Lobster Tail

No matter where you live, these succulent, buttery lobster tails are just a few minutes away. Here in Iowa, we use frozen lobster with delicious results, but if you're near the ocean, by all means use fresh! —Lauren McAnelly, Des Moines, Iowa
40 / 50
Apple Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots Exps Thca17 191387 B08 17 3b 11

Apple-Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Carrots seem so simple, but this recipe is something special. Sweet and buttery, it was a favorite my mother always used to serve around the holidays. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin
41 / 50

Festive Rice

My mom and I transformed plain rice by adding feta, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and cayenne. We wound up with a sweet and spicy crowd-pleaser. —Lisa de Perio, Dallas, Texas
42 / 50

Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash

We stuff acorn squash with leftovers like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Make as much or as little as you need to use everything up. —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario
43 / 50
Parmesan Fettuccine Exps Ft20 37116 F 1029 1 3

Parmesan Fettuccine

This is such a simple side dish and also makes a pretty presentation. With just four ingredients, it’s ready in no time for a taste that’s sure to please the entire family. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
44 / 50
Beef Blue Cheese Tart Exps Gbbz21 84247 B10 20 2b 2

Beef & Blue Cheese Tart

This elegant, rustic recipe goes together in minutes and is so simple. It is perfect when you're entertaining guests! —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
45 / 50
Vegetarian Potato Au Gratin Exps 13x9bz21 140675 E10 08 1b 19

Vegetarian Potatoes au Gratin

Fill up on veggies and load up on terrific flavor with this creamy, hearty casserole. You'll appreciate the homey crumb topping and hands-free bake time at the end of a long day. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
46 / 50
Creamy Macaroni And Cheese Exps Diyd20 36217 B09 30 1b 3

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is the ultimate creamy mac and cheese recipe. It's saucy, thick and very rich, with a wonderful cheddar flavor. Once you taste it, you'll be hooked. —Cindy Hartley, Chesapeake, Virginia
47 / 50
Easy Sauerbraten Exps Diyd 35152 Eb09 24 6b 4

Easy Sauerbraten

This easy sauerbraten recipe is a tasty example of traditional German fare. Its definitive pickled tang is pleasing and sure to delight German food lovers. —Patricia Rutherford, Winchester, Illinois
48 / 50
Granny S Apple Scalloped Potatoes Exps Tohon22 252371 P2 Md 05 19 12b

Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes

This scalloped potatoes with apples dish is delicious with baked breaded pork chops, which you could cook at the same time in another cast-iron pan. We are retired, so it's just the two of us, but you could easily double the recipe to serve a crowd. —Shirley Rickis, The Villages, Florida
49 / 50
Pumpkin Gnocchi  Exps Tohon20 246237 B06 04 4b 17

Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi

We had homemade gnocchi frequently while growing up. This creamy pumpkin gnocchi recipe was always my favorite. They do require some time to make, but they're worth it! —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
50 / 50
Cider Baked Squash Exps Hca20 3834 E05 19 3bv1 1

Cider Baked Squash

I'm a freelance writer who sometimes needs a break from a long session of working on a story. That's when I escape to the kitchen to whip up something that's good to eat, yet easy to prepare. This is one of my favorites!

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.