Christmas dinner is one of those occasions that should make you feel warm and happy just to think about. What’s better than gathering around the table with family and friends for delicious drinks and festive food that you look forward to from year to year? If you’re hosting this year, we have a guide to the best appetizers, main courses, sides, drinks and desserts to serve so you can make this year’s Christmas dinner menu memorable.
Christmas Dinner Appetizers
Appetizers are the perfect way to begin your holiday dinner. You can either serve appetizers as a formal course at the dinner table before the entree or set them out for your family or guests to help themselves while they socialize before dinner. When it comes to appetizers, there’s no need to search for elaborate, complicated recipes. Instead, focus on using high-quality ingredients to create appetizers that are simply delicious.
Another guiding principle for Christmas appetizers is to opt for appetizer recipes you can make ahead or ones that can be prepared or heated quickly when the time comes. Low-maintenance or make-ahead appetizers allow you to spend less time in the kitchen on Christmas and more time enjoying the company of family and friends.
Let’s look at some winning appetizer ideas that will provide the perfect start to your Christmas dinner. These ideas can also be combined to create a delicious appetizer spread for a Christmas party:
- Prosciutto-wrapped dates: Prosciutto-wrapped dates make a sumptuous appetizer that effectively balances the sweet and savory. By soaking the dates in mango juice and pomegranate molasses, you can achieve a sweet, fruity flavor that pairs perfectly with the salty prosciutto. You can also use pancetta or bacon to wrap the dates. Serve the wrapped dates warm or at room temperature.
- Cream cheese and pepper jelly: One of the easiest appetizer ideas you’ll find that is sure to be a hit is cream cheese with pepper jelly. This dish doesn’t require any cooking. All you have to do is place cream cheese, either regular or whipped, into a dish, then add a layer of your favorite red pepper jelly onto the top. You can serve this dip at room temperature with crackers, pita chips or baguette slices.
- Glazed kielbasa bites: For a hot and flavorful Christmas appetizer, start with cooked kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Allow them to slowly caramelize in a glaze, either on the stove or in your slow cooker. The glaze can be made from apricot preserves and Dijon mustard, brown sugar, barbecue sauce or whatever you prefer. Serve with toothpicks or cocktail forks for easy eating.
- Baked brie with strawberry preserves: Baked brie is a timeless appetizer that is perfect for a Christmas dinner. To prepare it, cover the top of a disc of brie in quality strawberry preserves. You can add nuts, as well, if you like. Wrap in puff pastry before placing the brie in the oven. You can also add pastry dough embellishments in the shape of holly or a bow for a festive appearance. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
- Smoked meats: Smoked meats are a traditional delicacy for Christmastime, so they make a perfect holiday appetizer. A tray of smoked meats is easy to assemble in advance, so you can simply pull the tray out in time for dinner. The key is to choose a variety of quality meats, such as smoked bolognas and specialty snack sticks. A meat tray pairs perfectly with a cheeseboard, so consider offering both.
- Gourmet cheeseboard: Another classic appetizer that’s fit for a holiday table is a cheese board, complete with a variety of gourmet cheeses. For a well-rounded collection of cheeses, include both hard and soft cheeses and at least one mild-flavored cheese among the sharper cheeses on the board. Remember to take your cheese out of the fridge one to two hours before serving so it can reach room temperature.
- Relish tray: A relish tray is a perfect way to round out your appetizer offerings. It pairs especially well with meat and cheese trays. A relish tray should include produce in a variety of forms, including fresh, brined, marinated and pickled. A traditional relish tray features pickles, crudités and olives and may include some spreads or dips, as well.
Christmas Dinner Entrees
After enjoying some classic holiday appetizers, your guests’ appetites will be whetted for the main course. For a traditional Christmas dinner, you have a few classic main course options to choose from.
During the Victorian era, the time that gave us “A Christmas Carol” and many of our current holiday traditions, Christmas dinners were often lavish affairs. Well-to-do households didn’t choose just one main course. They would serve a delicious spread consisting of mince pies, turkey, ham, game pies, roast goose and more.
Today, most home cooks focus on one main course rather than have their kitchen turn out such an overwhelming spread of meats. Two of these main courses remain popular Christmas entrees today — turkey and ham. Along with these Christmas classics, new Christmas dinner entrees have gained popularity, such as chicken, pork loin, roast beef and vegetarian options like vegetable lasagna and cauliflower steaks.
Whether you’re looking for traditional Christmas dinner entree recipes or unique Christmas dinner ideas, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find some of the best Christmas dinner recipes for both holiday staples and new favorites below.
Turkey has long been a Christmas staple, but it is, of course, most closely associated with Thanksgiving. If you plan to serve a turkey for Christmas dinner, look for ways to differentiate this meal from your Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Using unique Christmas dinner recipes is a great way to make the holiday feel more special and the meal something to look forward to all year.
For example, you might try a different recipe for your Christmas turkey’s stuffing, such as one that includes walnuts, prunes, cranberries or other festive flavors you don’t typically include in your Thanksgiving stuffing. No matter when you’re fixing a turkey, to impart extra flavor, brine the turkey before cooking or apply a rub of salt and your favorite spices.
Perhaps the most traditional Christmas dinner entree for modern Americans is ham. Ham tends to be a crowd-pleaser for any family or dinner party because it is relatively easy to prepare and delicious. After all, who doesn’t love the salty and sometimes sweet flavors of a delicious baked ham?
When choosing your ham, don’t settle for the first ham you find at the supermarket. Christmas dinner is a special occasion, so choose a ham that will truly make your mouth water and give you that warm holiday feeling you dream about from year to year. For a ham that looks fit for a Victorian Christmas table, choose a bone-in ham. Just be prepared to carve around the bone. For a ham that is easier to carve, opt for a boneless or bone-removed ham.
Once you’ve picked the perfect ham for your holiday dinner table, start planning how you want to prepare and serve it on the big day. Look over these ham baking suggestions to figure out how long you need to put your ham in the oven. Of course, the bigger the ham you buy, the longer you will need to allow it to heat up.
Make sure you add whatever glaze or other seasonings you want to your ham before baking it for the ultimate flavor.
Making Your Own Christmas Ham Glaze
One of the great things about ham is that it offers you the freedom to add your preferred flavors by glazing it. A quality ham doesn’t need to be glazed to be delicious, but glazing your ham tends to give it a boost of flavor and festiveness that makes it perfect for a holiday dinner. Making your own glaze is simple.
With just a few ingredients you likely already have on hand, you can whip up a delicious maple glaze, fruit glaze or cranberry glaze to give your ham some extra flavor and a beautiful sheen. Spread the glaze on the outside of the ham and bake it uncovered. If the glaze begins to brown too much, cover the ham with foil until it is heated through. For an extra festive appearance, you can also add score the outside of your ham and add whole cloves.
While turkey may be the more traditional holiday bird, chicken is an excellent entree to serve at your Christmas dinner that everyone is sure to love. In addition to being a standout, flavorful dish on its own, chicken pairs nicely with a wide variety of side dishes. The versatility of chicken gives you a range of options for how you choose to season the chicken itself and the types of dishes you serve alongside it.
If you want to make the tastiest chicken possible this Christmas, make sure you use a roast chicken recipe that includes plenty of winter flavors like sage, rosemary, thyme and orange zest. Try to use fresh herbs to infuse the bird with as much flavor as possible. You will also want to consider seasoning the chicken overnight, which gives it more time to absorb all the mouthwatering flavors you season it with.
When it comes time to cook the chicken, elevate it on a rack to ensure there is proper air circulation in the oven and the bird cooks evenly. Placing a pan underneath the rack will also allow you to catch the drippings, which you can use to make an irresistible gravy. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil if it starts to brown too quickly.
Christmas Pork Loin
Pork loin is a great Christmas dinner entree because there are so many ways you can prepare it. Depending on your family’s preferences, you can season your pork loin however you’d like. You can even stuff your pork loin with a festive blend of fruit and spices to give it sweet-and-spicy flavor profile that your holiday dinner guests will be talking about for years.
For a more traditional take on Christmas pork, try making an herb-roasted pork loin that’s full of wintertime flavors like thyme, rosemary and dry mustard. Seasoning and chilling the pork loin uncovered will help it develop a crust, which will give the meat a beautiful golden brown color while cooking. Searing the pork in a skillet before baking it will also give it an unforgettable texture.
Christmas Roast Beef
Roast beef is one of the easiest Christmas dinner ideas you can do on a budget. A basic Christmas roast beef recipe requires only a few seasonings and minimal work. As long as you have ingredients like soy sauce, red wine vinegar and beef broth on hand, you can make a delicious roast beef for the holidays.
All you have to do is rub the seasonings on your roast, sear the seasoned meat in a large skillet, then cook the roast low and slow in the oven. Once the roast is finished cooking, give it time to rest before slicing into it. During this time, you can prepare a flavorful sauce for the roast beef using its drippings. After your roast has fully rested, you will be ready to slice and serve it with a dazzling drizzle of freshly made sauce.
Christmas Vegetable Lasagna
Is there anything more comforting than lasagna during the cold winter months? You can make your holiday dinner cozier and vegetarian-friendly by serving a Christmas vegetable lasagna. A vegetable lasagna is full of hearty layers of pasta, cheese and veggies that even the meat-eaters in your family are sure to love.
Make your Christmas vegetable lasagna special by using a recipe that includes extra winter veggies like butternut squash and spinach. Incorporating a layer of butternut squash filling will both put a unique spin on your vegetable lasagna and make it all the more seasonal. Your holiday dinner guests will love the complex flavors of this dish.
Christmas Cauliflower Steaks
If you plan on hosting a vegetarian feast this holiday season, cauliflower is sure to be your new best friend. Cauliflower makes the perfect meatless substitute for classic Christmas entrees because it is such a versatile and delectable vegetable. Essentially, you can think of cauliflower as a blank canvas for your vegetarian culinary creation.
If you need some Christmas cauliflower inspiration, cauliflower steaks are a popular vegetarian entree that is easy to make taste similar to more traditional holiday mains. Cauliflower steaks are thick slices of cauliflower that have been seasoned and roasted. The golden crust and thickness of the slices give this cauliflower dish a satisfying texture that’s reminiscent of steak.
You can make your cauliflower steaks taste even more similar to the meaty entree they’re named after by topping them with a vegetarian mushroom gravy. A mushroom gravy offers all of the savory goodness of a regular gravy without the meat-based ingredients. When paired with mushroom gravy, cauliflower steaks can easily become the star of any holiday feast.
For another variation of a cauliflower main dish, try preparing a balsamic-glazed whole-roasted cauliflower this Christmas. Roasting a whole head of cauliflower as you would a regular roast results in a visually stunning holiday showstopper surrounded by extra roasted veggies and doused in a drool-worthy glaze. Balsamic glaze on a cauliflower roast gives the dish a slightly sweet taste to complement its earthier flavors.
Christmas Dinner Sides
Sides are just as important to the meal as the main course. For Christmas dinner, opt for classic comfort foods that will remind your family and guests of the warmth and joy of the holidays. Christmas dinner should be a time for enjoying rich flavors and forgetting about calories for just a little while. Most holiday sides should be served hot, but you can put them together ahead of time and let them simmer for hours or pop them in the oven in time for dinner.
Below are some of the main side dish categories to consider and how you can jazz up your side dish selections this holiday season.
Serving salad as a side is always a great way to offer something lighter, make your menu more colorful and sneak in some extra veggies. While a good salad can be any combination of fresh vegetables, fruit and other delicious mix-ins, it is helpful to know what ingredients go well together and which flavors to blend.
Here are some specific salad examples to choose from:
- Winter salad with bleu cheese dressing: Start with tender spinach or leafy greens and add granny smith apples, walnuts or pecans, dried fruit and any other toppings you enjoy. Dress the salad with a homemade bleu cheese dressing made from basic ingredients you likely have on hand along with a quality Danish Blue Cheese or Roquefort.
- Shaved Brussels sprouts and pomegranate salad: Can’t get enough of Brussels sprouts in the winter? Turn your favorite cold-weather vegetable into a tasty salad by making a shaved Brussels sprouts and pomegranate salad. This type of salad is easy to make ahead of time because all you have to do is toss together shaved Brussels sprouts, pomegranate arils and a poppy seed dressing. The result is a wonderfully balanced sweet-and-bitter salad that’s bursting with festive flavors and colors.
- Winter citrus fruit salad: Your Christmas dinner side salad doesn’t have to be limited to veggies. In fact, a winter citrus fruit salad can be the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meal. The sweet and bitter flavors of fruit like pink grapefruit, mandarin oranges and pomegranates will balance out the other savory dishes on your menu and complement the saltiness of any meat entree you may serve.
Potatoes are a go-to side dish for a reason — they’re delicious! They are also an extremely versatile ingredient, so you don’t have to repeat the mashed potatoes recipe you just used for Thanksgiving. This holiday season, get creative with your potato-based side dish to keep your Christmas dinner menu fresh.
Check out these potato recipes to find the potato side dish your holiday meal is missing:
- Smoked sausage with beans and potatoes: When you want your sides to feel warm and homey, a great option to include at your Christmas dinner is smoked sausage with beans and potatoes. Start with a quality smoked sausage, cut it into pieces and add green beans, onions, new potatoes, salt and pepper. The flavor from the smoked sausage will make everything in the pot taste smoky and delicious.
- Sweet potato casserole: Sweet potato casserole, sometimes called sweet potato soufflé, is a timeless holiday classic that can sweeten up your side dish offerings. Mashed sweet potatoes combine with sugar, spices and binding agents to create a delicious mix. Top with marshmallows or brown sugar and pecans, bake and serve hot from the casserole dish.
- Scalloped potatoes: Scalloped potatoes are another classic comfort food that go well with any holiday meal. Start with russet or Yukon Gold potatoes cut into thin slices, add sliced onions and cover in a cream sauce and shredded cheese before baking. Choose a cheese to fit your and your family’s taste — just make sure it will melt nicely. Some options include mozzarella, sharp cheddar, gouda, gruyere and fontina.
Even at a holiday feast, it’s important to make sure each member of your family gets their greens. You can make eating vegetables fun by preparing a tasty veggie side dish your dinner guests will be happy to scarf down. You might even have the kids coming back for second helpings of veggies — a true Christmas miracle!
Here are some vegetable side dishes that are sure to be crowd-pleasers:
- Roasted root vegetables: Root vegetables are a traditional side for winter, and their rustic appearance and rich, earthy taste make them perfect for Christmas dinner. Cut root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and onions into equal-sized pieces, toss in olive oil and seasonings and roast on preheated pans in the oven.
- Southern-style green beans: Green beans, in some form or other, are a staple at the holiday table. For rich, flavorful southern-style green beans, add a ham hock, diced ham or crumbled bacon, and allow the green beans to cook on low long enough to absorb the delicious meaty flavor from the pork. You can also add diced onions and minced garlic for even more flavor.
- Roasted asparagus with creamy feta: While roasting asparagus already turns the stem vegetable into a tender, tasty treat, topping the asparagus with feta takes things to a whole new level. The rich creaminess of the feta clings to the stalks well and offers a tangy taste that cuts through the strong flavor of the asparagus. If you plan on serving roasted asparagus with creamy feta at your Christmas dinner, you might want to make a double batch.
Other Unique Christmas Sides
A memorable holiday spread is all about variety. You will want to include a wide range of side dishes that might not fit neatly into a category. From grains and pastas to dips and sauces, your options for Christmas dinner sides are limitless. Go ahead and let your unique Christmas dinner ideas run wild this year.
Get your creative culinary juices flowing by taking a look at this assortment of holiday side dish recipes:
- Macaroni and cheese: Macaroni and cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods, but this classic dish should be dressed up for a holiday dinner. Forgo the frozen or boxed macaroni and cheese and instead make your own, using quality cheeses like smoked gouda or a sharp cheddar. You can top your macaroni and cheese with a breadcrumb topping and even add bacon or pancetta for extra flavor.
- Browned butter and rosemary dinner rolls: Instead of serving plain old dinner rolls this year, wow your guest and their taste buds by making browned butter and rosemary dinner rolls. You can even arrange your freshly baked rolls into a fun holiday wreath shape to fit the festive vibe. As a bonus, you can use any leftover rolls as buns for leftover holiday ham sliders.
- Cranberry sauce with pinot and figs: What holiday dinner would be complete without cranberry sauce? You can put a refreshing spin on this Christmas classic by making cranberry sauce with pinot and figs. The additions of pinot noir, dried figs and balsamic vinegar will infuse your regular cranberry sauce with silky and sophisticated fruity flavors, making cranberry sauce the unexpected highlight of your holiday dinner.
Christmas Drink Recipes
Drinks for your Christmas dinner can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. You may want to start with a signature cocktail to pair with your appetizers, then bring out more drinks to go with the main course. Other drinks will pair well with the dessert course, which we’ll look at in the next section.
Here are some drink ideas to warm and refresh your guests at Christmas dinner:
- Christmas punch: Christmas punch is a sweet, tangy treat that can be alcoholic or not. Either way, it’s the perfect way to start dinner. Christmas punch typically contains ginger ale, cranberry juice and some sort of citrus juice. Add fresh orange slices and cranberries for an extra touch of festiveness.
- Sparkling wine mojito punch: For a light and refreshing signature cocktail, try a sparkling wine mojito punch. Start by mixing sugar and fresh lime juice. Add mint leaves and light rum and allow it to sit overnight or at least an hour. Before serving, strain the mixture and add the sparkling wine. Serve over ice and garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.
- Wassail: Wassail is a hot mulled cider drink that has been traditional for Christmas since the Middle Ages. Traditionally, it includes hard liquor along with brandy, apple cider and spices like cinnamon and cloves, but the alcohol is optional. Some recipes will also include orange juice or peels or other add-ins. Wassail should cook long enough for all the flavors to marry and be served hot.
- Mulled wine: Mulled wine is another traditional Christmas drink and is similar to wassail in that it includes apple cider, mulling spices and orange. Instead of hard liquor and brandy, however, mulled wine includes red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon. Mulled wine can be ready to serve hot in just 10 minutes, so it’s an easy way to impress your guests.
- Zinfandel: When choosing a red wine to serve with dinner, you want to consider what would pair best with your main course. When it comes to Christmas dinner, you typically can’t go wrong with a zinfandel. This wine has just the right amount of acidity and fruitiness, along with a touch of sweetness, all of which make it a great choice to pair with both ham and turkey.
- Wheat beer: If you and your guests prefer beer with dinner, choose an earthy option that will fill your guests with the warm glow of the holidays. For Christmas dinner, opt for a wheat beer. Yeasty European beers that feature some sweetness pair well with ham, especially ham that is sweetened by a glaze.
Christmas Dessert Recipes
No Christmas dinner would be complete without dessert. After removing the last of the dinner dishes and pouring some holiday drinks, your guests will be ready for a sweet treat. Christmas is the perfect time to go all out with your sugary creations, whether you prefer traditional holiday desserts like yule log cake or more modern wintertime desserts like chocolate peppermint cheesecake.
Check out the recipes below for some Christmas dessert inspiration.
Yule Log Cake
A Christmas yule log cake is a holiday staple that’s just as delicious as it is festive. Basically, a yule log cake is a delicate chocolate sponge cake with a mascarpone whipped cream filling rolled into a cylindrical log and covered in whipped chocolate ganache. The result is a visually appealing spiral cake that tastes like chocolatey goodness.
If you really want to go all out, you can decorate your yule log cake to look like a freshly felled winter branch, complete with garnishes that look like berries, twigs and pinecones. A clever combination of sugared cranberries, fresh rosemary sprigs and frosting will help you achieve an authentic yule log look for your cake. Despite looking like a yule log, your homemade sponge cake and its whipped frosting will be airy and light.
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy this winter berry in the form of a delicious pie. Baking a Nantucket cranberry pie is a festive way to ring in the holiday season and fill your guests up with an after-dinner treat. Keep in mind that a Nantucket pie is somewhere in between a pie and a cake, so your Nantucket cranberry pie will have a more cake-like crust than conventional pie pastries.
Along with being beautiful and tasty, a Nantucket cranberry pie is simple to whip up, making it an all-around holiday dinner winner. All you have to do is sprinkle cranberries and chopped pecans into the bottom of a buttered pan, pour the batter over top of the fruit-and-nut mixture and bake. The result will be a sweet and nutty dessert with a juicy cranberry filling and a delightful crunch from the pecans.
Red Velvet Trifle
Dress up your dessert table with a gorgeous red velvet trifle. This stunning trifle features mouthwatering layers of red velvet cake, peppermint cream cheese frosting and crushed-up pieces of candy cane. Combining all of these red Christmas classics adds up to one beautiful dessert that tastes as good as it looks.
Constructing this festive red velvet trifle consists of baking the red velvet cake, making the peppermint cream cheese frosting, chopping candy canes and assembling these components in the trifle dish. Layer cubes of the red velvet cake with the frosting and top the trifle off with candy cane pieces and artful frosting, such as piped stars.
Sugar Cookie Stars
Sugar cookies are one of the most iconic Christmas desserts. Take your traditional Christmas sugar cookies up a level by making sugar cookie stars this year. Sugar cookie stars present the perfect opportunity to get creative with your dessert decorating and get the kids involved with the holiday baking. Your kids will love cutting the sugar cookie dough into fun star shapes and customizing their sugar cookie frosting design.
This playful Christmas dessert is also great for letting the kids help with the cooking because the recipe only involves making basic sugar cookie dough, cutting it into stars, mixing together the icing ingredients and decorating the cookies. Get extra artsy with your sugar cookie stars by using colorful sprinkles and any other toppings you’d like.
Gingerbread is for far more than cookies and houses during the holiday season. A gingerbread cake includes everything there is to love about traditional gingerbread cookies, from the strong tastes of ginger and cinnamon to the hints of cloves, nutmeg and other warm, seasonal spices. Experiencing these beloved winter dessert flavors in a new form will surprise and delight your Christmas dinner guests.
A fluffy gingerbread cake pairs perfectly with maple cream cheese frosting to make this cake as cozy as possible. Or, try a light lemon-kissed frosting to balance the cake’s warm spices with a pop of citrus. Regardless of which frosting flavor you choose, you can’t go wrong with serving a moist and flavorful gingerbread cake.
If you really want to wow your Christmas dinner guests, build a gingerbread layered cake. This tasty culinary masterpiece will be a feast for the eyes as much as it is a treat for the taste buds. Constructing a gingerbread layered cake involves simply stacking rounds of gingerbread cake with generous slathers of frosting. You can leave the outside of your gingerbread cake tower unfrosted to give the dessert a more rustic, stylish aesthetic.
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
It’s hard to name a more dynamic Christmas duo than chocolate and peppermint. These long-celebrated holiday flavors are a match made in culinary heaven and the perfect theme for a Christmas dinner dessert. Using chocolate and peppermint as the basis of a rich, silky cheesecake is a surefire way to impress your holiday dinner guests and have them coming back for seconds.
If you want to make a chocolate peppermint cheesecake, you can start by making a crust of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, sugar and butter. Then, you’ll beat the cheesecake filling ingredients together and pour the mixture into the crust. Finally, you’ll bake the cheesecake and let it chill before topping it with homemade peppermint whipped cream.
To master the art of making cheesecake, you will want to follow these pro tips:
- Use room temperature ingredients: Always using room temperature ingredients ensures your batter won’t have any lumps in it, leaving you with a silky smooth cheesecake.
- Be careful not to overmix your batter: Mix your batter carefully to prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it bakes.
- Let the cheesecake cool gradually: Giving your cheesecake the proper time to cool and set is key to helping it develop the right form and texture.
Somewhere along the line, fruit cake got a bad rap. But fruit cake can actually be a deeply delicious, festive holiday dessert. When made right, fruit cake is a moist and colorful Christmas dessert that’s full of yummy mix-ins, such as nuts and dried fruit. Fun ingredients like dried figs, candied ginger, cherries, chopped walnuts and even whiskey are what make fruit cake a legendary holiday treat.
If you want to make the most delicious version of fruit cake possible, make sure the mosaic of mix-ins is evenly distributed throughout the dessert’s batter. You want every slice of your fruit cake to look like a rainbow of deliciousness. Fruit cakes also taste better with age, so make sure you’re planning ahead and make your fruit cake weeks in advance. After baking your fruit cake, wrap it in a cheesecloth that’s been soaked in whiskey and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until your holiday dinner.
Pre-Made Christmas Desserts
Cooking a Christmas dinner can feel like a marathon, but dessert is a part of the meal that allows you to choose pre-prepared options without sacrificing quality. Dessert is the perfect time to relax and simply cap off your meal with a touch of sweetness. Remember, the Christmas season is full of an endless parade of homemade goodies, so there’s no need to overcomplicate your Christmas dessert.
That said, be sure to choose pre-made desserts from a company you trust to deliver great quality. You want to end dinner on a high note, and your guests don’t need to know you let someone else do the baking.
Here are a few options from S. Clyde Weaver that are sure to be big hits with your Christmas guests:
- Shoofly pie: Shoofly pie is a regional favorite from Lancaster County, but it’s a perfect dessert for Christmas dinner, no matter where you live. With barrel molasses and blackstrap dark molasses, shoofly pie is rich, sticky and sweet. The crust is golden and delicious, and the pie is topped with crispy crumbs. Shoofly pie can be served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
- Sticky buns: Who doesn’t love sticky buns? Any dessert with cinnamon is great for Christmas, and if you’re lucky enough to have any leftover, they can serve as your Boxing Day or “Second Christmas” breakfast. We’ve been making our sticky buns from scratch since 1963, so we’ve had plenty of time to perfect the recipe and deliver deliciously sweet and sticky buns that will end your holiday dinner on the perfect note.
- Sand tarts: The Christmas season is all about cookies, so it can be difficult to find unique cookies your guests will love. A Pennsylvania Dutch favorite you may have never tried are sand tarts. Like sugar cookies, they are made from butter, sugar and flour, but they are rolled thin and have a nice snap while still being melt-in-your-mouth from the butter. Our sand tarts are authentic and delicious, and they come decorated and in seasonal shapes.
Don’t forget to accompany dessert with a tasty drink. There are two classic options you can serve with any Christmas dessert:
- Eggnog: Eggnog is a Christmas classic that can be homemade or store-bought, alcoholic or nonalcoholic and served hot or cold. However you serve it, this creamy drink is unmistakably festive and extremely rich. This makes eggnog a good beverage to serve after dinner, with dessert or even by itself later in the evening. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
- Coffee: Christmas is one of the most beloved days of the year, but it can also be a tiring one. If you and your guests need a pick-me-up after dinner, why not serve hot, aromatic coffee with dessert? You can also serve decaf coffee if you’d prefer to enjoy the taste and forgo the caffeine. Choose a blend that will perfectly complement the dessert you plan to serve.
Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Traditions
We mentioned a couple of traditional Pennsylvania Dutch desserts, so you may be wondering what other Christmas traditions come from this culture. The Pennsylvania Dutch are sometimes also called Pennsylvania Germans since they were immigrants to America who remained in tight-knit communities in Pennsylvania where they continued to speak German.
Most American families are extremely familiar with the jolly old elf known as Santa Claus, but in Pennsylvania Dutch families, a more traditional concept was Christkindl, the Christ Child who was said to deliver packages in a similar manner to our modern-day Santa. Pennsylvania Dutch children are also familiar with the menacing Belsnickel, who would punish children for naughty behavior leading up to Christmas.
While most of us could do without Belsnickel, one old Pennsylvania Dutch tradition you might enjoy is “Second Christmas.” This tradition denoted the day after Christmas as a day of relaxation at home, especially since Christmas itself involved religious activities like going to church.
Enjoy the Tastes of Lancaster County This Christmas With S. Clyde Weaver
S. Clyde Weaver is your trusted source for traditional meats, cheeses, desserts, coffee and more that bring the tastes and traditions of Lancaster County to your holiday table. Browse our selection online and start planning your Christmas dinner today. Every great dish begins with quality ingredients, so don’t limit yourself to what your local grocery store has to offer. Weaver’s products are a cut above, making them the perfect addition for a special occasion like Christmas dinner.
Updated on 12/03/2021