20 Best Traditional Christmas Dishes

a slice of pastry-wrapped medium rare beef tenderloin on a plate with asparagus and mixed vegetables
Photo: Nonya Biz

Here they are, the holiday classics! These are the top-rated main dish and side dish recipes you need for a perfect traditional Christmas dinner. They cover the savory side of Christmas dinner, from prime rib, baked ham, and roast turkey to scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. For a taste of the sweet side, check out our Top 12 Christmas Desserts.

01 of 20

Chef John's Honey-Glazed Ham

side view of a ham with a scored and crackly-looking exterior, displayed on a serving tray with kale leaves and miniature apples
Chef John

"A great holiday ham glaze needs to have three things: wonderful flavor, gorgeous, shiny appearance, and a crispy, crackling crust you can hear across the room," says Chef John. "I'm happy to report this easy-to-make glaze has all those things in abundance."

02 of 20

Mom's Scalloped Potatoes

Mom's Scalloped Potatoes
Photo by lutzflcat.

This classic scalloped potatoes recipe showcases the flavors of potatoes and onions baked in a creamy sauce. "This is the way my mother always made her scalloped potatoes," says janebp. "The measurements are taken from other recipes because she always just winged it, but the method is the same. The key is to heat the milk first!"

03 of 20

Best Green Bean Casserole

Best Green Bean Casserole
Cynthia Ross

Another classic Christmas side dish casserole. "This great variation of the traditional green bean casserole is topped with French fried onions and Cheddar cheese," says Jan.

04 of 20

Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

a perfect-looking roast turkey on an oval ceramic platter garnished with greens and small whole roast carrots
Cynthia Ross

"One of the secrets to a moist, delicious, and beautiful turkey is spreading butter under the skin," says Chef John. "You can season the butter any way you want; the possibilities are endless."

05 of 20

Holiday ONLY Mashed Potatoes

a white ceramic serving bowl with creamy-looking mashed potatoes topped with a pat of melting butter and fresh ground pepper
Cynthia Ross

These mashed potatoes don't shy away from the butter or cream. "I only make these on holidays, and everyone wonders what's in them that makes them so rich," says Saltair4.

06 of 20

Christmas Prime Rib

Christmas Prime Rib
Photo by IamJekob.

This boneless prime rib roast gets rubbed with horseradish and mustard, sprinkled with seasonings, and roasted to perfection. "I think that this was absolutely the best meat dish that I have ever prepared," says Diane Yearns. "It was absolutely delicious and I would love to make it an annual Christmas tradition."

07 of 20

Traditional Yorkshire Pudding

Traditional Yorkshire Pudding
Photo by Chef John.

"As legend has it, Yorkshire puddings were traditionally cooked in a pan of fat, at the bottom of a hearth, underneath a large piece of roasting beef," says Chef John. "The smoky heat from the fire, along with all the other goodness dripping into the pan from the meat, must've made for quite a delicious pastry. Though limited by modern ovens, we can still come close to the original by using real rendered beef fat, without which you're just eating a popover."

08 of 20

Beef Wellington

If you don't want an entire prime rib, Beef Wellington makes an equally show-stopping main dish. "My 20-something son and I made this Christmas Day," writes nzp. "We made individual filets, and really the only change we made was that we chopped the mushrooms rather than slicing them. Made it a bit more manageable when eating it. This was my first time making Beef Wellington and I now have my recipe for life!"

09 of 20

Roast Duck with Chestnut Stuffing

Roast Duck with Chestnut Stuffing

"Duck is one of the traditional meals for Christmas in Germany," says barbara. "The duck needs to marinate for at least 12 hours before roasting. We serve broccoli and duchess potatoes with it. The stuffing can also be used for other poultry as well."

10 of 20

Christmas Pomegranate Salad

close up view of Christmas Pomegranate Salad on a white platter
France C

"Simple and delicious with all the colors of Christmas!" says France C. "It's very versatile and you could swap out for different nuts or cheeses. Definitely making this one again!"

11 of 20

Christmas Cranberry Salad

fluffy cranberry salad in white dish
Allrecipes Community

"Everyone loved this at Christmas Dinner," says Tammy Lynn. "It looked very pretty next to the rest of the salads. And to cast my vote on the Frozen vs. Chilled versions—I prefer chilled."

12 of 20

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Leslie McOmber

"This is the bet recipe for Candied Sweet Potatos I have ever had and the easiest," says GRAMHOME. "I got raves at Christmas and requests for the recipe."

13 of 20

Deluxe Garlic Green Beans

a white oval bowl of microwave-cooked green beans with minced garlic

"Even those who hate beans or veggies love these," says Chelsey Carr. "Super quick, too. My aunt made these once for Christmas dinner, and they were a huge hit. I bring them everywhere."

14 of 20

Chef John's Roast Christmas Goose

top-down view of a beautifully bronzed roast goose on a decorative platter with kale and miniature apples
Chef John

Roast goose is the story-book main dish for Christmas dinner. And this recipe makes things super easy by starting with a pre-cooked smoked bird. The bird comes out rich, moist, and delicious with a crispy skin.

15 of 20

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce with whole cranberries for garnish in a glass dish

"WOW! This stuff is so good I couldn't stop eating it out of the saucepan and I've never been a fan of cranberry sauce!" says Janet G. "If you can boil water, you can make this. "

16 of 20

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash are stuffed with cornbread, mushrooms, and sage-flavored wild rice—perfect for a holiday meal. "It is delicious!" raves Tatana. "Easy to cook, looks great on the table. My guests were impressed! A perfect vegetarian dish!"

17 of 20

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

a moist-looking pork loin on a cutting board; half is cut into slices

Pork loin is marinated with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and steak seasoning rub. That's all you need to make this crowd-pleasing, deeply flavorful pork roast. "Made this for Christmas Eve Dinner and everyone raved and asked for the recipe," says WISEWOMAN64.

18 of 20

Chef John's Creamy Corn Pudding

Chef John's Creamy Corn Pudding in a casserole dish and on a plate
Photo by Chef John.

"Corn pudding doesn't get the same attention as some other holiday side dishes, but it's a real crowd-pleaser that pairs perfectly with all your favorite special-occasion meats," says Chef John.

19 of 20

Christmas Roasted Vegetables

Christmas Roasted Vegetables
Buckwheat Queen

Seasonal root vegetables, including squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and rutabaga, are roasted with olive oil, a dash of red wine vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, and herbs. "Very, very nice recipe," says Buckwheat Queen. "The diversity of the vegetable flavors are quite complementary to this. Leftovers turned into a lovely and rustic soup."

20 of 20

Fresh Spinach Gratin

spinach gratin in tart pan
Buckwheat Queen

"Fresh spinach and Swiss cheese combine in this gratin that is perfect for the holidays," says Soup Loving Nicole. "With the exception of the breadcrumb topping, this can be done a day ahead to save time on the big day. You will just need to allow an additional 30 minutes of cook time."

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