Christmas is a time for relaxation, indulgence, and treating ourselves. The great thing about Christmas food is that there’s something for every palate. People with a sweet tooth can look forward to mince pies, Christmas cake, and an abundance of chocolate, and those of us who prefer savoury foods are equally spoilt for choice.

Plus, whether you’re cooking with family or by yourself, making traditional Christmas recipes is a comforting and fulfilling way to spend a cold winter’s afternoon.

So, if you’re looking to get into the festive spirit, we’ve got you covered. From traditional turkey and exciting veggie mains to cocktails and cakes, these 12 Christmas recipe ideas will hopefully inspire you.

1. Christmas chutney

Christmas chutney

Chutney is a cornerstone of Christmas snacking. You can use it to add some additional flavour to your Christmas dinner, liven up cheese boards and meat platters, and spread it inside sandwiches for a bit of festive flavour.

Making a Christmas chutney is a great way to get into the festive spirit – plus, giving someone a jar of your homemade Christmas chutney is a wonderfully thoughtful present. If you make a few jars of chutney, you’ll never be caught short when someone gives you an unexpected gift!

Generally, chutneys improve with age, but if you’re pushed for time, or just want to find a way to use up leftover dried fruit after doing some Christmas baking, this last minute Christmas chutney recipe from The Hairy Bikers is ideal. Dark and spicy, it’s the perfect accompaniment to cheese and cold cuts.

Or, if you prefer a chutney that has more of a kick, why not try Jamie Oliver’s chilli pepper chutney? For more ideas, check out our article, 11 homemade jam and chutney recipes.

If you want to give some chutney away as gifts, you could try doubling the quantities – just remember to sterilise the jars so that the chutney keeps.

2. Chocolate truffles

Chocolate truffles

Few things feel more indulgent than biting into a rich, smooth chocolate truffle on a cosy winter’s evening.

Making and decorating your own chocolate truffles isn’t only lots of fun, but it’s also a thoughtful way to impress loved ones with a homemade gift. Plus, you’ll always have some lovely sweet treats on hand if friends or family pop over – provided you’ve managed to keep some aside, of course!

Whatever type of chocolate you like, you’re sure to find the perfect truffle recipe. These Christmas truffles from BBC Good Food are quick and simple, and great to make with kids. As are these snowball truffles, which look suitably festive.

For something more grown-up, you might want to consider spiking your truffles with booze (it is Christmas, after all!), in which case this recipe from House & Garden should hit the spot. Or why not mix things up with some white chocolate truffles, like these ones from Country Living?

Check out the video below to see how simple truffles are to make…

3. Turkey, with a twist

Turkey with a twist

Christmas is a time when most of us enjoy following traditions, and – dietary requirements aside – most people don’t deviate too much from a classic roast dinner.

In the UK, roast turkey is the most popular main, although other poultry such as chicken, goose, or duck are also firm favourites. But what if you want to do something a little different this year?

This turkey, ham and stuffing pie from BBC Good Food makes a great alternative to a traditional roast turkey, allowing you to enjoy those festive flavours while still making your table stand out from the rest. Or, if you plan to follow tradition and serve a roast turkey, this pie can be served on Boxing Day, and help use up Christmas dinner leftovers, while still being impressive enough to serve to guests.

Whether you’re looking for a turkey-based Christmas Dinner alternative or just a tasty way to use up leftovers, there are all kinds of ways to spice up traditional turkey this year. 

From turkey and mushroom pot pies to Moroccan-spiced turkey pie, have a look at these turkey pie recipes from BBC Good Food if you’d like some more ideas.

4. Gingerbread house

Gingerbread house

If you’d like to make something that’s as creative as it is delicious, why not make a gingerbread house? There’s something magical about a house made entirely of treats – not least because of its connection to the Hansel and Gretel fairytale.

If you have children or grandchildren, baking and decorating a gingerbread house is a really enjoyable way to spend some time together – although this is definitely an activity that adults can savour alone too! Plus, with the vast variety of sweets and cake decorations available, there’s no limit to how creative you can get. Just check out these beautiful gingerbread houses from Good Housekeeping for inspiration!

When it comes to making your own gingerbread house, you have two choices. You can either bake the house from scratch, and then assemble and decorate as you like, or you can make one using a build-your-own gingerbread house kit.

To make your gingerbread from scratch, check out this recipe from The Spruce Eats. Or, for more inspiration, have a look at their 15 favourite gingerbread house ideas. The video below also shows you the process in action!

Alternatively, if you like the idea of making gingerbread, but want to get stuck into a more modest challenge, why not buy a kit or bake some gingerbread men? Check out Delicious Magazine’s ratings of different Gingerbread house making kits. Or, this gingerbread men recipe from BBC Food is delicious, yet easy enough for kids to get involved with too.

5. Special stuffing

Special stuffing

If you feel like your Christmas dinner is sometimes missing a certain something, why not try making your own stuffing to really make your roast stand out?

Whether you’re stuffing a turkey or making stuffing balls, this delicious side is a real crowd-pleaser – and the great thing about stuffing is how many different recipes and flavours there are to choose from.

Waitrose has an excellent selection of stuffing recipes including: traditional sage and onion stuffing, chestnut and bacon stuffing, and cranberry, clementine, and thyme stuffing.

Or, for something a bit different, why not make an Italian-inspired stuffing, like this ciabatta and rosemary stuffing from Olive Magazine?

If you enjoy Middle-Eastern food, you could even give your stuffing an exotic twist and try making this pomegranate stuffing. Plus, if you make extra stuffing balls, they’re the perfect late-night snack!

6. Mulled wine

Mulled wine

When it’s cold and dark outside, there’s something wonderfully comforting about curling up with a cup of mulled wine. And when you make it yourself, it’s even better (and not just because you’ve saved a few pennies!).

Making mulled wine from scratch is a tasty way to get your home smelling of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg…if Christmas had a smell, mulled wine might just be it. As these spices heat up in a pan, their scents will get you feeling that little bit more festive.

There are lots of different types of mulled wine that you can make at home. For something quick, inexpensive, and incredibly tasty, our mulled wine recipe should do the trick.

Or, for something a bit different, but equally warming and comforting, why not make some mulled cider? You could try Nigella Lawson’s recipe, which is fruity and mellow, or this richer recipe from Vintage Roots.

7. Christmas cake

Christmas cake

Done right, Christmas cake should taste like the ultimate festive indulgence. 

Usually packed with butter, sugar, fruits, spices, and lashings of booze, these cakes are about as decadent as you can get. Plus, spending an afternoon making Christmas cake is another way to make sure your home smells suitably festive.

For a classic Christmas cake, you can’t go wrong with Mary Berry’s recipe, which is covered with apricot jam and marzipan icing – or you might want to check out Kitchen Sanctuary’s video below, which uses an easy-to-follow recipe…

Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of the traditional dark Christmas cake, you could mix things up and make this golden fruit cake by Nigella Lawson, or this fudgy date and chocolate Christmas cake from Benjamina Ebuehi at The Guardian.

If you’re gluten-free, you could try this recipe from Becky Excell instead – and for vegans, this recipe from The Standard looks great.

8. Exciting veggie mains

Exciting veggie mains

The days when vegetarians had to make do with an obligatory nut roast at Christmas are long gone, and these days there’s an abundance of veggie and vegan Christmas mains to choose from.

For a show-stopping vegetarian main, check out Olive Magazine’s squash and ricotta wreath, which uses croissant dough to make it that bit more indulgent. Olive Magazine has plenty more mouthwatering veggie mains too, like this camembert and cranberry pithivier, this pear and blue cheese tart with walnut pastry, or this stilton, chard, and walnut wellington.

Nowadays the vegan mains are equally as inspired…Waitrose has some great plant-based Christmas recipes, from this vegan nut wellington to this nutty pithivier with watercress and pistachio pesto.

Or, if you’re a fan of seitan (a mock meat made from wheat gluten), Gaz Oakley’s vegan Christmas roast wellington or stuffed ‘no turkey’ will definitely hit the spot – as well as making sure that you have an aesthetic Christmas table.

For more inspiration, check out the video below where Gaz Oakley shows you how to make his vegan wellington.

9. Mince pies

Mince pies

Few foods are more reminiscent of Christmas than mince pies. They’re tasty hot or cold, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, for dessert or for a mid-morning snack.

Homemade mince pies sometimes have a reputation for being rather dry and uninspired – but with the right recipe, they’re a delight.

Mince pies are also incredibly versatile. You can bake classic mince pies, jazz them up with filo pastry, or add other festive flavours – like marzipan and orange – to make them that little bit more special. Just check out these 10 deliciously different mince pie recipes from The Guardian to see how to tweak these Christmas treats.

If you’re looking to make something classic, you can’t go wrong with our mince pie recipe. You might also like to watch the video below, which shows you how to make sweet shortcrust pastry mince pies.

If you eat a gluten-free diet, Tesco Real Food has a great gluten-free mince pie recipe. And vegans don’t have to miss out either – why not have a go at making this simple recipe from A Virtual Vegan?

10. Christmas cocktails

Christmas cocktails

Mulled wine is great, but if you prefer your alcohol served cold, then we’ve got some tasty Christmas cocktail recipes for you.

Cocktails are a wonderful way to make cosy Christmas evenings that bit more special. Plus, once you find your ideal cocktail, you can serve it throughout the festive season and on New Year’s Eve too.

Have a look at these 53 Christmas cocktail recipes from Delicious Magazine which feature everything from retro eggnog cocktails to hot buttered rum and ginger champagne fizz. Or, if none of those tickle your fancy, hopefully you’ll find some of these 51 Christmas cocktails from Olive Magazine more appealing.

If you don’t drink alcohol, or just don’t fancy an alcoholic beverage, then there are all kinds of refreshing Christmas mocktails too – have a look at these Christmas mocktails from Olive Magazine, or these recipes from BBC Good Food.

11. Christmas bubble and squeak

Christmas bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak might just be the perfect Boxing Day brunch. Not only is it hearty enough to comfort any slightly-sore heads, but it’s also an ideal way to use up some of those Christmas leftovers.

Sainsbury’s has a delicious festive bubble and squeak recipe – just top it with a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce to make it that bit more delicious.

Alternatively, why not try making leftover turkey bubble and squeak cakes, as shown in this recipe from BBC Good Food? They’re ideal for a Boxing Day breakfast or brunch and also make tasty snacks to nibble on throughout the day.

If you’re veggie or vegan, you could try this plant-based Christmas bubble and squeak recipe from BOSH.

12. Christmas yule log

Christmas yule log

If Christmas cake isn’t really your thing, but you still want to serve up a dessert that looks as good as it tastes, why not make a yule log?

Decadent, stylish, rich, and moist, a traditional Christmas yule log is made with swiss roll, chocolate icing, and whipped cream.

Mary Berry’s yule log recipe is one of the best and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. There are so many tasty ways you can put your own spin on the yule log: Jamie Oliver’s recipe uses sweet chestnut puree, honeyed cream and a crushed honeycomb filling, while this BBC Good Food recipe has an unusual minty twist.

For more inspiration, have a watch of the video below.

Once again, vegans and those following a gluten-free diet don’t have to miss out. Check out this tasty-looking vegan recipe from Crumbs and Caramel, and this gluten-free yule log recipe from The Gluten Free Blogger.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re hoping to have loved ones over for Christmas, are visiting friends or family, or are keeping it low-key and staying at home, these recipes can be made and enjoyed by everyone.

While it’s always good to follow a healthy, balanced diet, there’s nothing wrong with indulging a bit over Christmas. So, if you want to reach for another chocolate truffle, pour yourself more mulled wine, or cut yourself another slice of Christmas cake, we say go for it. We all deserve a bit extra this Christmas time.

For more inspiration, check out our articles; 10 baking ideas for Christmas and 11 ideas for festive get-togethers in the lead up to Christmas.

Do you have any delicious Christmas recipes you’d like to share with us – or are you planning on making any of the recipes featured above? We’d love to hear about your Christmas creations in the comments below.