Our guide to the perfect Christmas dinner
From making sure there’s enough sprouts to go round, to catering to special dietary requirements, there are so many things to remember when it comes to Christmas dinner. But if you follow our handy tips and tricks, you’ll leave everyone satisfied and wanting seconds! From cooking instructions, timings, storage hacks and dressing the table, we’ll help you make sure your meal is magical. So, let’s bring on the main event!
Prep is key
You know what they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail...but fear not, our little wins will help you on our way!
Ask your guests in advance of any dietary requirements. Are there any vegans or vegetarians in the party? If so, make sure you have a turkey alternative. Also, check if there are any preferences on starters and puddings.
Practice makes perfect
If you can, try and do a mini trial run when you next cook a Sunday roast, checking you have everything you need and help you trim up on those timings.
All the tools
It’s not just about the food; do you have everything you need to cook and serve a Christmas dinner including pots and pans and serving dishes?
Do you have enough table space and seats? There’s always going to be someone stuck on the high stool, but we think that’s what makes Christmas dinner a proper Christmas dinner!
We love a list
Give yourself a good afternoon to write out a list of everything you need and then write out a shopping list of what you need to purchase.
Here’s our list of essentials...
- Roasting trays
- Pots and pans
- Chopping boards – one for meat and one for veggies
- Whisks for your yorkshire pud batter
- Thermometer to check your meat
- Colander to strain your veggies
- Turkey baster
Make the most of our time-saving methods to help make light work of Christmas dinner.
Don’t be afraid to rope in friends and family to help. Maybe ask a guest to bring a pudding so it’s one less thing to think about. From chopping veg the day before to making soup in advance, here are some tips on saving time and cutting the stress:
- Get the whole family to help – perhaps dish out one job per family member, from bringing the pudding to making and serving the drinks
- Get your veg chopped in advance the night before – you really won’t be able to tell once its cooked
- Have the Christmas food shop done in good time - double check when you get home that you didn’t leave anything at the checkout!
- If you’re making your own soup, prepare it in advance and freeze it. Just take it out of the freezer the night before
- Make up your prawn cocktail starter (minus the prawns) the night before - just add the prawns fresh on Christmas day
- Your freezer is your best friend! Prepping and cooking vegetables, stuffing, potatoes etc can be done weeks in advance and then frozen. Check our freezer-friendly recipes to do the work beforehand and defrost and serve on the day
- Space saving is also important, especially when working in a small kitchen. Put away the coffee machine and toaster to help you make the most of the space you have.
Make sure it’s hot!
It can be stressful cooking for a big group of people and getting your timings right is the key to a tasty, hot dinner.
Here are our tips on checking everything is cooked and served at the right temperature:
- You know all the recipes say it, but be sure to preheat your oven, it really does make all the difference
- Think about the timings when prepping, and come up with an order in which to tackle each recipe and task
- Use a meat thermometer to double check it’s safe to eat
- Don’t cook things until you really need to
- Make sure you’re using the right size dishes/pans to cook evenly and quicker
- Once everything is cooked, turn your oven off, but keep food inside with the door shut to make sure everything stays warm as you carve the turkey
- Keep food covered with foil until it’s served – this will help lock in the heat.
Make it fun!
Cooking is a huge part of the day and it’s important it goes right, but don’t forget to have fun with it along the way.
- Get the Christmas tunes on – we think this one’s a must!
- Pick up some festive aprons and oven mitts ahead of the cooking to get you in the mood
- If you want to, have a festive tipple at the ready as a little treat
- Get the table looking fabulous. It can be so fun to do. Have a read of our blog for some top tips on setting the table
- Did we mention singing along to the Christmas songs too?
- Don’t forget to ask for help – there’s no shame in roping in a few extra hands to help out
- Prep prep and more prep. The more prep you do, the more relaxed you’ll feel and the more enjoyable the whole experience will be!
- Try and relax. It’s easier said than done, but it’ll make the day so much more enjoyable for you and your guests.
We all know Christmas dinner can be stressful, especially if hosting for the first time – but do try and enjoy it. Make memories with friends and family, and believe us when we say no one will mind if the carrots are a little hard or the stuffing’s a bit burnt on the sides!