Best Christmas Dinner Ideas + Menu

Jump to Recipe

Who's up for some Christmas Dinner Menu planning? We've got 2 weeks, so let's get into it! Below is a complete menu that includes appetizers, salad, sides, a selection of ideas for the main course (plus some vegetarian options) and obviously dessert! There's also a timeline so your day is low stress.... AND a grocery shopping printable list. Still to come - a new Prime Rib menu next week!

Christmas Dinner Ideas Beef Tenderloin



The most easy and impressive appetizers!

Baked Brie - Talk about the most delicious appetizer of all times!! A whole wheel of brie wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden and gooey. But let’s not forget that we are adding a few tablespoons of fig jam AND some sweet and delicious caramelized onions. The whole situation when baked together is absolute perfection! 

Marinated Olives and Feta - A super easy marinated olive recipe that makes an excellent appetizer. And if you have leftovers, stir it into pasta – game changer. 

Soup & Salad

This delicious soup and festive salad are sure to jazz up your Christmas dinner.

Winter Greens Salad - The hearty winter greens are the perfect compliment to this tangy cheesy Pecorino Dressing. And the buttered panko breadcrumbs on the top are just incredible! It’s a perfect blend of flavors and textures and not absolutely not to be missed.

Butternut Squash Carrot Soup - This soup isn’t just any soup, it’s a combination of some of my favorite fall veggies like butternut squash, carrots, red bell peppers, garlic and shallots that all get roasted for almost an hour! Then into the soup they go with milk or heavy cream or coconut milk if you’re going for the vegan style!

Vegetable Side Dishes

Bring on all the best veggie side dishes!

Spicy Garlic Green Beans - They are doused with garlic, lemon zest, shallots and a decent amount of spice. And they are so good it’s basically like eating candy. Or french fries. That’s basically how I eat them. One by one, until all of a sudden the entire plate of Spicy Garlic Green Beans disappears.

Potato Gratin - I mean, what’s not to love about thinly sliced potatoes layered with caramelized onions, heavy cream, tons of cheese, herbs, salt and pepper? It’s basically the most magical side dish on the planet.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts - Perhaps one of the simplest ways to prepare Brussels Sprouts and without a doubt the most delicious! You'll want these Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Butter on your table for every meal! 

Main Courses

This Peppercorn Crusted Tenderloin is my go to!! And what the shopping list below features. But if you're not wanting to rock a whole tenderloin, below are 2 more Christmas dinner ideas that are my favorite impressive mains!

Peppercorn Crusted Tenderloin - A foolproof recipe for Garlic Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin that feeds a crowd and is perfect for Christmas dinner.

Perfect Italian Meatballs - Buckle up – these are the most perfect italian meatballs that will ever grace your kitchen.

Three Meat Lasagna - Lasagna is one of those classic dishes that is always a hit. This recipe takes it up a notch by adding three meats – veal, beef, and pork. Plus, it’s really easy to make so you can impress your friends and family at your Christmas dinner with little effort.

Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas

Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas Caramelized Onion Risotto from (@whatsgabycookin)

If you're looking for vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas, you should absolutely make this as a main!

Caramelized Onion Risotto - Here’s the deal with risotto. It looks impressive. It sounds fancy. Feels lux. But in reality, they are really easy to make and don’t require too many ingredients or time.


An overhead shot of apple crisp in a green braiser with three scoops of vanilla ice cream on top and a gold serving spoon resting in the bottom right of the braiser. The braiser is on a orange blue and green striped kitchen towel and there is a speckled ceramic bowl of apple crisp and ice cream in the bottom right corner.

What is Christmas dinner without dessert? This apple crisp is easily my favorite holiday dessert!

Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream - My mom's famous apple crisp recipe is loaded with baked sliced apples and a crispy oat based topping that you'll love! Bonus points for ice cream.

Let's Talk Christmas Dinner Prep

  • Marinated Olives: These can be prepped 2 days ahead of time. If you do that, just add the feta right before serving.
  • Baked Brie: This can be made a few days ahead of time too. Take it all the way up to step 3, then wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. Then right before serving, start at step 4 and finish.
  • Butternut Squash Soup: This can be prepped entirely ahead of time. If you're doing garlic bread on the side, best to do that day of. But the soup can be made a week prior and frozen. Then re-heat in a non-stick skillet until warmed.
  • Winter Greens Salad: this is best made day of! But the dressing can be prepped easily the day before to take a little bit off your plate.
  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts: Best made day of!! You can trim and slice them the day prior to save prep time.
  • Green Beans: this recipe is super simple and best done day of! No need to prep anything in the upcoming days.
  • Potato Gratin: this is easy to prep ahead. If it were me, I would make it through step 4. Bake it for 30 minutes so it's par-baked, then remove from the oven, let cool and wrap before placing in the fridge. Then, day of, remove from wrap and continue baking until fully cooked and bubbling hot.
  • Tenderloin: you can prep the Chimichurri ahead of time, but the steak has to be done day of, right before dinner time for optimum results!
  • Apple Crisp: You can make the crisp part of the topping a few days ahead. Keep chilled in the fridge. Morning of the feast, prep the apples, cover them with the crisp topping, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. I usually pop this into the oven as we sit down for the salad portion of Christmas dinner so it's bubbling hot by the time dessert rolls around.

Christmas Dinner Prep Schedule

Day Before:

  • Prep the olives and store in the fridge
  • Make the butternut squash soup. Let cool and the refrigerate.
  • Make the salad dressing for the salad
  • Trim the Brussels Sprouts and then store in a bowl in the fridge.
  • Assemble the Potato Gratin as listed above. Par bake and then let cool to room temp before covering with foil and transferring to the fridge.
  • Make the Chimichurri for the Tenderloin. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Morning Of:

  • Blanch the Green Beans. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Store in the fridge.

Right before Guests arrive:

  • Add the feta to the olives, transfer to a serving container and enjoy.
  • Bake the Brie and serve with crostini or crackers
  • Place the soup in a non-stick pot and warm over medium heat.
  • Pop the Potato Grain back into the oven and finish cooking.
  • Cook off the tenderloin right as guests are walking in (your house will smell amazing). Don't slice and serve until right before dinner. The meat needs to rest.

Right before Christmas Dinner:

  • Prep the Greens for the salad, toss into a bowl with the dressing and serve.
  • Sauté the Brussels Sprouts and transfer to a serving bowl
  • Sauté the Green Beans and transfer to a serving bowl
  • As you're sitting down to dinner, pop the apple crisp into the oven and let it bake for an hour!

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today

Garlic Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 2 votes
A foolproof recipe for Garlic Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin that feeds a crowd and is perfect for Christmas dinner.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 people


  • 1 whole beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat (about 5 pounds)
  • kosher salt
  • ½ cup peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, halved or quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced not too thin


  • 2 cups mixed herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  • Let the tenderloin come to room temperature for at least an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F
  • Fold the thin ends of the tenderloin against the rest of the roast and use kitchen twine to tie it off every inch or so to hold it together.
  • Place the tenderloin on a roasting rack with the potatoes under the beef. Season the tenderloin generously with salt and press the crushed peppercorns all over the surface of the meat, making sure to coat all sides. Coat the potatoes in salt, pepper and olive oil. Insert a meat thermometer into the tenderloin and transfer into the preheated oven until the beef registers 120 to 125 degrees F for medium-rare/rare, about 20-25 minutes.
  • While the meat is in the oven, melt the butter with the garlic in a small skillet, and allow the butter to slightly brown.
  • Once the butter is set aside, add all the chimmichuri ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Remove the meat once it's cooked and pour the garlic butter over immediately. Cover the meat loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the tenderloin into ½ inch pieces, and transfer to a serving platter with the roasted potatoes and drizzle with the chimmichuri sauce. Serve immediately.


This is the perfect holiday centerpiece. Serve with all your favorite sides.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 916kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 75g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 35g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 1065mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 605IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 7mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!


  1. 5 stars
    Everything looks phenominal! I will use most of the recipes for my dinner party next week. Thank you in advance. I am excited to prepare some of these recipes.

  2. Making vegetable lasagne and au gratin fir sides. Need to double recipes for 20 +. !
    Need advise on cook time and size of pan.
    Thanks and Merry Christmas

  3. Cooking for one. My freezer is going to be filled with multiple meals as I start cooking again. Thank you for sharing!!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating