What Dishes Can You Prepare in Advance for Christmas Dinner?
Between last-minute preparations for Santa, opening gifts, hosting friends and relatives, and (hopefully) relaxing, who has time to spend all day making Christmas dinner? Luckily, all your holiday favorites are easy to make ahead — some even get better with time. Remember to reheat sides at a lower heat until warmed through so they don't dry out. For centerpiece roasts, add a splash of broth or reserved gravy when reheating. Make quick vegetable sides like salads and sautéed green beans just before serving. Your family will be so impressed, and so glad you didn't have to be stuck at the stove!
Apple Walnut Stuffed Pork Roast
A sautéed filling of apples, onion, and walnut will help keep the pork from overcooking when reheated. "Easy, simple, and great for sharing," says Allrecipes user lealpina. "Will do it for a special occasion soon."
Slow Cooker Au Jus Pot Roast
Leave this pot roast cooking in the slow cooker all day as you open presents and relax with family. The jus also keeps it moist, so you can make ahead and reheat when you're ready.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
"This recipe is a definite keeper," says Curtislee. Roasted garlic and Parmesan cheese turn these ordinary mashed spuds into a fantastic Christmas side. Reheat on medium-low heat with a splash of milk until creamy.
Grandma's Corn Pudding
A combination of whole corn kernels and creamed corn gives this casserole its big corn flavor. Lots of eggs and milk make it rich and custardy, and a great make-ahead option too.
Christmas Roasted Vegetables
The hardest part of this recipe? Cutting the vegetables into pieces. It's one reason this side is a fantastic make-ahead option — you can get the prep and roasting out of the way before making the rest of your dinner.
Creamy Cauliflower (Fauxtato) au Gratin
Looking for an update to your usual potato side? This cheesy, creamy gratin stars cauliflower instead of spuds. "This is a must for the upcoming holidays," says Amanda SusieQ.
Classic Party Cheese Ball
Pecan and Apricot Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Give the usual bread stuffing a special twist with dried apricots and toasted pecans. The dried fruit will plump up when tossed with the egg mixture. You can assemble in the baking dish a day ahead and bake on Christmas Day.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
Roasted garlic, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, and dried cranberries… these Brussels sprouts are definitely ready to party. I followed the recipe to a T. It was amazing," says Sessa Leigh.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
This version of scalloped potatoes leaves out the traditional white spuds in favor of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Both are a great match for fresh sage and sharp Asiago cheese.
Easy Instant Pot® Cocktail Meatballs
Sweet and tangy cocktail meatballs are a holiday must. Starting with frozen meatballs saves so much time, and the rich sauce means you can make ahead and reheat when needed.
Brandy Glazed Carrots
Orange and brandy–glazed carrots skip the oven so you have plenty of room for your casseroles and holiday roasts. "Made this to take to Christmas dinner at a friend's house. Everyone loved it!" says alohasmile.
Chocolate Rum Cake
Oil-based cakes will taste even better as they sit at room temperature and won't dry out as quickly. The rum in the glaze will also help preserve the cake. "Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe," says Marianne G.
Ultimate Cranberry Pudding Cake
"I made this for Christmas last year and my family couldn't quit raving about it," says Marinem, who gave this dessert 5 stars. The bundt pan gives the cake a golden crust that'll keep the interior tender if made ahead. And if it does get a little dry, just drizzle over the hot butter sauce before serving.
Chocolate Truffle Pie
Dense and fudgy, this chocolate tart can be made ahead and refrigerated up to a week ahead, and only needs to soften for a few minutes at room temperature before serving. Because it's so rich, this pie can feed a bigger crowd. Don't forget the whipped dollop on top!