From festive bakes and edible gifts to the big feast, we’ve pulled together all the answers, tips, recipe inspiration and advice you need for a delicious and stress-free Christmas.
This month-long checklist will see you through December and ensure you’re prepared for the big day!
Looking for some homemade decorations to get things going? This stunning wreath is the ideal way to welcome guests to your home.
Now, onto the really important stuff — the food!
It’s just not a party without some great food and drink. No matter what kind of shindig you’re throwing, our easy party nibbles, drinks and cheeseboard ideas will make sure everyone leaves happy.
Kick the festivities off with some easy-to-make nibbles that’ll have everyone impressed.
- Make sure there are interesting veggie options with fig and goat’s cheese pastries, blue cheese and grape crostini or or these gorgeously golden fried halloumi sticks.
- For meat-lovers, try these hoisin duck and cucumber bites, please a crowd with sticky pigs in blankets or go all out with these Spanish-inspired croquettes.
- Seafood fans will appreciate these simple smoked salmon pinwheels, visually impressive Thai prawn, pineapple and peanut bites or these addictive pesto-stuffed mussels.
- Fancy keeping it simple with an all-in-one option, rather than individual bites? Check out this creamy baked feta in spicy ‘nduja sauce for a burst of flavour, or bake this Irish cheese dip with porter caramelised onions for a decadent dish that’ll have everyone talking.
- If you’re having people over for drinks, here’s our best advice on what to serve, how much to buy and smart ways to get set up.
- Now, get your party started with these Christmas margaritas, festive mimosas, gingerbread espresso martinis or cranberry mojitos — or keep it classic with this easy mulled wine!
Is it even Christmas without a cheeseboard? (Spoiler: no.) Whatever your preference, here’s how to curate the right cheeseboard for you and your guests. First, check out our tips for putting it together, then choose one of the styles below!
- Fancy showing off with an all-Irish cheeseboard?
- Like ‘em funky? Check out our selection of strong cheeses.
- This regular-strength board is a great crowd-pleaser.
- Prefer a mild cheeseboard? Don’t worry, there’s no shame in this game!
- We’ve even done the research into vegan cheeses, so plant-based eaters can join in the cheesy craic!
- If you need to keep it on the cheap side, a baked Camembert is an easy and budget-friendly way to put a smile on everyone’s face.
The Christmas feast
Before you embark on making the most special meal of the year, read through our top tips for making sure you time everything right.
Have you thought about what you’ll serve for your Christmas starter? Here’s some food for thought to help you choose, and some recipe inspiration below.
- Keep it light with a seasonal salad, such as this spiced poached pear option or this French-inspired goat’s cheese
- A prawn cocktail is a classic for a reason — serve a traditional version, or try these skewers with brandy Marie Rose.
- This duck liver parfait is sheer decadence, while this chicken pâté is a great make-ahead option. Prefer a smoked fish pâté? We’ve got you covered.
- Everybody loves a well-made soup, and the good news is that it’s ideal for prepping ahead. Try this cream of caramelised onion soup for a real showstopper; add a touch of elegance with this potato and fennel recipe; or please a crowd with this honeyed carrot soup.
- A plump, golden turkey is often the centre of attention — so you want to get it just right. First things first, check out our turkey tips from the Test Kitchen, which should make sure your bird is as juicy and succulent as possible.
- Confused about how long to roast it? Our easy timings guide will sort you out.
- Now, check out our very best back-to-basics recipe for a roast turkey that’ll impress everyone at the table.
- For a simple, elegant spin, try this flavoursome lemon, herb and garlic roast turkey.
- In the mood for a more unusual twist? Click here for a few tasty ideas.
- There’s nothing more mouthwatering than a rosy pink, perfectly cooked ham with a sweet, sticky glaze. This back-to-basics recipe is ideal for beginner cooks and can be tweaked to fit your preferences.
- This sweet and sticky option uses pineapple juice to add a mild tropical sweetness — we guarantee you’ll love it!
- For a more adult flavour, check out this whiskey-glazed ham, one of our all-time favourites.
If you’re looking to change it up this year, look no further.
- Never made roast beef before, or struggle to get it right? Follow our back-to-basics roast beef for mouthwatering results, or add a flavour-packed herb crust.
- For more inspiration on adding that little something extra to your roast beef, click here.
- A whole salmon always makes an impressive main course. A whole salmon packed with lemon, herbs and spinach, then wrapped in puff pastry? Even better! Our salmon en croute is a genuine showstopper.
Getting it right for meat-free eaters
Whether you’re hosting vegan or vegetarian guests, or you’re a meat-free visitor to someone else’s home, make sure you take these things into consideration. Ready to get menu planning? Nobody will feel left out with one of these gorgeous meat-free main ideas:
- Slice this cauliflower Wellington at the table to really steal the show.
- These creamy butternut squash gratins make a great side dish for anyone, but are also a delicious meat-free main course.
- This kale and quinoa nut roast is extra special because it’s wrapped in golden, flaky puff pastry.
- We’re not sure there’s anything cuter than these whole roasted baby pumpkins — they’ll definitely make the plant-based eaters at your table feel loved.
Anyone in Ireland will tell you the spuds are one of the most important components of any dinner, including the Christmas feast. Follow our easy recipes below to make sure yours are the talk of the table.
- Here’s how to make the ultimate golden, crunchy, fluffy roast potatoes.
- Making mash? Do it ahead of time to avoid last-minute mashing panic! For a superbly decadent version, smother ‘em in brown butter.
- Is there anything more luxurious than a creamy gratin? Try the classic Dauphinoise or add an elegant twist with seasonal celeriac.
- Looking for a similarly impressive gratin, but without the cream? You need boulangère potatoes in your life.
- If you want a potato dish that’s a break from the norm, this Hasselback bake or these thyme and Parmesan stacks might be just what you need.
- Make sure your root veg is extra special by adding a little extra something. Toss carrots in herby gremolata for a touch of freshness; roast a selection of root vegetables with tarragon and mustard; or, for the adults-only table, why not glaze your veggies with maple syrup and whiskey?! You heard us…
- Spiced, braised red cabbage with a touch of sweetness adds great colour to your Christmas plates, but it’s also a fantastic make-ahead option that freezes really well. Make it a few weeks in advance, then simply defrost the night before and heat through in the microwave before you dish up.
- The key to ending Brussels sprouts-related complaints once and for all it to roast ‘em — boiling is sooo 1990s. Whether you keep it simple with balsamic and honey or go creamy with bacon and cheese, these flavour-packed recipes will please even the sprout sceptics.
The extra bits
- Get stuffed: Unsure whether to cook your stuffing inside the bird? This article has everything you need to know, as well as plenty of recipe ideas to get you started.
- It’s all gravy: whether you’re after a traditional turkey gravy, a vegetarian alternative or a smart veggie-based saucethat’s suitable for vegans, the most important thing is to make more than you think you need — people will want seconds!
Baking up a storm
Christmas cake: Making your Christmas cake ahead of time is one of the nicest way to get into the festive spirit. Here’s our best basic recipe and some tips to help you get started. Left it too late? This cheat’s version will save the day!
Christmas pudding: Purists can find our traditional pud here, or try this extra fruity spin on it using apple cider. Not a fan of the usual puds? Find three of our favourite alternatives here, or treat the grown-ups to this Baileys and coffee delight!
Mince pies: There’s nothing better than the smell of homemade mince pies wafting from the oven! Here are a few of our favourite versions:
- Try our ultimate mincemeat pies to keep it classic.
- Going gluten-free? Not a problem with this mince pie recipe.
- Take a fun twist with these meringue-topped beauties, or try something completely different with a mincemeat wreath or festive Bundt!
Trifle: Find our traditional sherry trifle here, or try one of our fun alternatives below!
Showstopper cakes: Many people aren’t fans of the traditional Christmas cake — so why not pull out all the stops and create a real showstopper instead?
- Here are 10 gorgeous options to inspire and tempt…
- If you haven’t yet mastered the art of working with fondant icing, never fear — here are our top tips for getting it right. Looking for some decoration inspo? Check out these fun ideas!
We love a good homemade present here in Easy Food HQ, and — of course — ours are always, always food-related. If you love the idea of making something tasty for that someone special, read on for inspiration…
- For the chocoholic, try these homemade chocolate bars.
- For the spirits aficionado, this seasonal ginger and grapefruit vodka should do the trick.
- For the sweet tooth, bake these shortbread tea biscuits, festive ricotta cookies or salted caramel turtle fudge.
- Kids will love this honeycomb Crunchie fudge or these hot chocolate stirrers.
- Don’t forget your furry friends! These healthy dog treats will get that tail wagging.
- Still looking for that perfect gift? Here are six more edible gift ideas.
Wishing you a wonderful, food-filled festive season, from all of us here at Easy Food.