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It’s all here… Everything you need to know for pulling off Christmas Dinner without any stress! If the prospect of cooking the biggest meal of the year for guests is getting a little bit daunting, fear not my friends. This Ultimate Christmas Plan is all you need!

Christmas Day recipes from Taming Twins

What this Christmas Day plan includes:

⭐️ What extra equipment you’ll need

⭐️ A shopping list

⭐️ A master timing plan

⭐️ Tips for getting ahead

⭐️ A printable menu for the big day


What’s the one thing we need to take out of Christmas Day cooking? STRESS! There is no place for panic at Christmas, and that is what this Christmas plan is all about making sure of.

I wanted to make a one-stop-shop for how to make it as smooth as possible and reduce overwhelm so you get to enjoy yourself, as well as feed hungry mouths. NO STRESS is the aim here, and to achieve that it’s all about the early prep so you’re not under pressure on the day. 

All of the recipes have been tried-and-tested again and again, and designed with convenience, cost and crowd-pleasing in mind. 

I have worked meticulously on timings (check out the Master Timing Plan below) and have taken into account hob space and oven shelf space at any one time.

Did I use a spreadsheet to calculate this? Yes absolutely as I am a Christmas obsessive..

Notes if you’re vegetarian:

  • This year we have added in a new gravy recipe which is vegetarian and so delicious, even the meat eaters will love it.
  • We have added in the option of a vegetarian main course.
  • The recipe is linked below, you’d just need to adjust your shopping list and oven timings accordingly.


You could make all, or one or two of these, depending on what you fancy, budget and how many people you are serving.

They are all really simple but look impressive!

A platter of little gem lettuce Prawn Cocktail Canapés.
5 from 14 votes

Prawn Cocktail Canapés

Treat your guests to this retro classic dish for a starter or nibbles, which are so easy and quick to make. Prawn Cocktail Canapés make an impressive platter and are delicious too.
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Perfectly golden Christmas canapés.
4.98 from 49 votes

Christmas Canapés {Brie and Cranberry Bites}

These Brie and Cranberry bites are perfect for a festive party snack or appetiser when cooking for dinner guests. Use this recipe as a base for other fillings too, using either your favourite Christmas flavours or leftovers.
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Perfect party food on a serving board. Smoked Salmon Canapés topped with creme fraiche and dill.
5 from 11 votes

Smoked Salmon Canapés

A delicious starter or decadent nibbles when entertaining, these easy Smoked Salmon Canapés are simple yet impressive. Even better, they can be made ahead of time for convenient serving.
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All of the classics here, but made ridiculously easy, ready for your Christmas feast.

Roast turkey on the Christmas dinner table.
5 from 10 votes

No Fuss Roast Turkey {with Easy Herb Butter}

This is a simple guide to making a delicious Christmas turkey, without any fanfare or fuss. Get your weight and timings right, throw in a bit of butter lathering and bacon covering, and you’re good to go.
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A board with lights and ribbon and a wooden board with cooked mushroom wellingtons on, with one showing the filling inside.
5 from 22 votes

Mushroom Wellington (Optional Vegetarian Main Course)

This is the perfect vegetarian main course showstopper! A decadent, impressive and delicious Mushroom Wellington is ideal for a vegetarian special meal or roast dinner. With a creamy garlicky, leek and meaty mushroom filling inside a light puff pastry parcel, it can be made in advance for convenience too.
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Easy Roast Potatoes straight out of the oven.
5 from 61 votes

Roast Potatoes {Best Ever Easy Recipe!}

If you’re all about simple perfection, follow this recipe perfect Roast Potatoes, which gives tips and tricks to getting the ultimate results from our beloved roasties. Here’s how to make them ahead too for extra convenience. 
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Close up of honey roasted carrots and parsnips on a baking tray, out of the oven.
5 from 50 votes

Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

A special roast dinner wouldn’t be the same without indulgent, extra special side dishes to elevate the ultimate roast dinner. Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips are so delicious and can be prepped in advance.
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Delicious bowl of Brussels sprouts and bacon ready for Christmas Day.
4.84 from 37 votes

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts

Now THIS is how to serve up Brussels Sprouts on Christmas Day. This delicious recipe features some special extras like chestnuts, bacon and parmesan for the ultimate festive side dish.
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A close up image of braised red cabbage as a side dish.
5 from 53 votes

Braised Red Cabbage {with Apple}

Braised red cabbage is the perfect make-ahead vegetable side dish. Slow cooked with spices and apple, it's a colourful and delicious addition for a big festive feast.
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Big bowl of Easy Cauliflower Cheese out of the oven.
5 from 31 votes

Cauliflower Cheese {Easiest Ever Recipe!}

The perfect and delicious side dish or vegetarian main course, this is comfort food at its best. Try this quick Cauliflower Cheese recipe to serve with a Sunday roast, your full-blown Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, or just a regular accompaniment to any meal.
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The BEST christmas stuffing.
5 from 34 votes

The Best Stuffing Recipe {with Sausage & Apricots}

Meet your must have Christmas side dish. Homemade Stuffing with sausage meat, apricots and chestnuts. It's SO GOOD, it'll be the star of the show!
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A gravy boat with vegetarian gravy inside, sitting on a white table with a spoon and potatoes just out of shot.
4.95 from 20 votes

Make Ahead Gravy

This easy Make Ahead Gravy is a foolproof recipe for cooking up rich, satisfying and flavour-filled gravy for special dinners. It's also accidentally vegetarian so the whole family can enjoy. Make a batch ahead of time!
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Don’t forget to leave room for afters to finish off the meal nicely!

The perfect Christmas dessert for decorating the table. A Christmas Wreath Pavlova.
4.81 from 26 votes

Christmas Wreath Pavlova

This Christmas Wreath Pavlova is the perfect meringue dessert for the festive season. A make-ahead pudding, light and deliciously topped with cream, fruit and coulis, it's the ideal finish to the meal on the big day!
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Baileys Cheesecake with chocolate topping on a plate.
4.98 from 103 votes

Baileys Cheesecake {No Bake}

This No Bake Baileys Cheesecake is a must-make. Totally decadent and delicious, with Irish cream flavours, whipped up in just 15 minutes. Simply divine!
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Chocolate Orange Pudding made in the slow cooker, ready to be served.
5 from 117 votes

Slow Cooker Chocolate Orange Pudding

This slow cooker pudding is the ultimate dessert indulgence, with an oozing chocolatey sauce and delicious sponge filling. Make it ahead of time and leave to cook until it's time to serve.
View Recipe



So, I’ve worked out my timing plan based on never having more than 3 shelves used in a single oven at one time. You can download it in full here.

(If you only have 2 shelves, you can usually sit a grill pan type rack on the bottom of the oven to makeshift another shelf. Check the safety instructions for your oven though first!)

I thought I would show you my spreadsheet I used just to visually explain the timings:

Oven timings for Christmas Plan in a spreadsheet.

The timings are detailed in the printable menu and time plan but this may be useful for you to visualise!

Shopping lists!

To try and make your life easier for Christmas lunch, we’ve come up with 3 shopping lists.

These have different sections which hopefully are self explanatory (look at both pages in the document!) Including items to buy for early prep and optional starter/pudding items.

⭐️ Shopping List for 4 people ⭐️

⭐️ Shopping List for 8 people ⭐️

⭐️ Shopping List for 12 people ⭐️

Things to buy to make your day easier!

  • Disposable tins – These ones from Amazon are ideal
  • Meat thermometer – This is my favourite to use. Not the cheapest but always accurate
  • Large tin foil roll – You can usually get this in all the supermarkets around Christmas
  • Mandoline – I use this one for slicing



Obviously prep prep prep ahead! This is your key to success here.


Allow plenty of time for defrosting anything that’s frozen.


I like to get all of the serving dishes, plates, cutlery, glasses, candles, crackers out the night before (ideally I’d lay the table but we need to eat breakfast!) So I just stack them in the kitchen ready to go the next day. No hunting around on Christmas morning for a serving spoon.


Many budgets are tight this year. Do not feel that you need to have a 20 course meal for everyone to have a good time. (Frankly, I’d be happy with a huge bowl of those roast potatoes – who’s with me?!)


Book a supermarket delivery or click and collect order if you can. (Aldi Click and Collect I love you.) If you can buy some tin foil containers in advance, I really do think this is one occasion when they are worth it. What joy to limit the washing up on Christmas Day!


And honestly, if all else fails and you can’t face any of the above – just buy ready made what you need to. No-one will notice and you need to have a good day too!


Time to make my Leftover Turkey Curry! (After you’ve had a nap).

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of this plan in the comments below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your Christmas cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

And… HAPPY CHRISTMAS! Remember everyone is there to be together, not for the food. I hope this plan eases the stress so you can relax and enjoy the day❤️

new cookbook!

Featuring 100 delicious recipes that can be cooked in one pot, you can open any page in this book and find something that will give you not only a meal that the whole family will eat and enjoy, but also one that makes your life a little simpler in the process.

More Recipes

Sarah Rossi founder of and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.


Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

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  1. Thanks for the Christmas plan. With the cheesecake, do you only prepare the base in advance and do everything else on the day? I can’t see on the plan when to do the filling?

  2. Thanks Sarah, you are always so generous with your recipes, tips and ideas. I have both your books and have also bought them for my daughters who are just starting out on their cooking for a family journey.
    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family xx

  3. Hey,
    Been following your recipes for a little while now, but love this Christmas one, brilliant👍👍
    Thank you

  4. Hey,
    Been following your recipes for a little while now, they are great, thank you.
    But got to love this Christmas one, brilliant👍👍
    Thank you

  5. When I was working and had 2 kids, ages 5 and 0, I used to cook our Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve and depending on the day of the week, have my mum over and have a little Christmas with her and her presents. Then Christmas Day, just us 4, we were free for toys, walks and fun, eggs and bacon brunch or breakfast, and a cold turkey lunch or tea and a Christmas cake or pudding later on!! No stress and we all got to enjoy the day! Enjoy your family time xx

  6. As there will only be the two of us this year, (Kids and Grandkids doing their thing) we’re not having a turkey turkey but a stuffed roll (Not just any stuffed roll but M&S stuffed :-)). I like the look of the canapés and puds also the gravy.
    I also really like the way the recipe adjusts when you reduce/increase the number you’re cooking for.
    Keep up the good work

  7. Love this thank you!! If you threw making yorkshires into the mix when/how do you recommend including them? I always get confused as the oven has to be so hot for them!

    You’ve changed my life with your recipes! Currently doing a kitchen reno so the slow cooker has been my best friend!