Our Very Best Christmas Dinner Recipes

Holiday ham, rack of lamb, and pretty prime rib. Lucky you

Whether you go for a hulking ham, a massive slab of prime rib, a feast of seven fishes or a pure-vegetarian spread, we want to make sure you’re having the best Christmas dinner ever. To that end, we’ve rounded up our favorite Christmas and holiday main course recipes worthy of a center spot on your table. Try out roast duck or rack of lamb this year, and make sure to pair it with our top holiday side dish recipes.

For even more Christmas inspiration check out our Holiday Guide.

Standing Rib Roast with Black Currant Port Glaze

Standing Rib Roast with Currant Port Glaze

Whole Roasted Black Bass with Potatoes, Green Olives, and Salsa Verde

The fillets of whole roasted fish are easy to remove and serve using a serving fork or spoon, thin knife, or a spatula. Get the recipe for Whole Roasted Black Bass with Potatoes, Green Olives, and Salsa Verde »

Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Turkey Breast (Turketta)

Due to our collective memory of overcooked holiday birds, turkey breast has the unfortunate reputation of being boring and dry. Thankfully, when it is cooked off the bone and seasoned appropriately, it can in fact be extremely juicy and flavorful. Get the recipe for Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Turkey Breast (Turketta) »

Birch Syrup and Soy Sauce-Glazed Roast Duck

Birch Syrup and Soy Sauce-Glazed Roast Duck

Seafood Newburg (Lobster, Scallops, and Shrimp in Sherry Cream Sauce)

While Lobster Newburg was first served New York City’s Delmonico’s restaurant in 1876, Boston’s Union Oyster House does a first-rate job with the dish, incorporating not just lobster, but scallops, shrimp, and a vol-au-vent, a puff-pastry shell filled with creamy Newburg sauce. Get the recipe for Seafood Newburg (Lobster, Scallops, and Shrimp in Sherry Cream Sauce) »

Chicken with Cauliflower and Leeks in Red Wine Sauce

Cauliflower, leeks, and bay leaf infuse this chicken dish’s luscious, reduced red wine sauce with flavor. Get the recipe for Chicken with Cauliflower and Leeks in Red Wine Sauce »

Spice-Rubbed Venison Loin with Red Wine Sauce

Good venison is buttery and beefy, hardly gamey at all. Amy Thielen likes to freeze then wet-age wild venison to allow its fibers to relax, thawing it in its vacuum-sealed package in the refrigerator for at least a week. Because the loin is so lean, it is best cooked over a steady push of medium-high heat—not high heat, which creates a bull’s-eye effect. To help the outside caramelize, Thielen adds malted milk powder to the spice rub, which also adds a subtle, nutty richness to the final sauce. Get the recipe for Spice-Rubbed Venison Loin with Red Wine Sauce »

Roast Duck with Figs

Roast Duck with Figs

The Ultimate Pot Roast

A low and slow braise is the best way to transform tough cuts of meat into fork-tender morsels. This version, made with a crosscut whole beef shank, is cooked in white wine and rich homemade beef bouillon layered with vegetables and aromatics for added complexity. Crunchy roasted radishes and a funky flaxseed, herb, and vinegar relish balance the pot roast’s richness with acidity and texture. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Pot Roast »

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

Get the recipe for Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs »

Braised Pork Shank (Stinco di Maiale)

Pork shanks are braised with chicken stock, beer, and plenty of aromatics, including fresh rosemary, and finished with parsley and lemon zest in this hearty dish from celebrated Portland restaurant Nostrana. Get the recipe for Braised Pork Shank (Stinco di Maiale)»

Steamed Saffron Rice with Tahdig (Chelo ba Tahdig)

Iranians usually serve chelo ba tahdig with stew, kebabs, or meat dishes. Herbs and alliums, feta, or walnuts often share the table. Get the recipe for Steamed Saffron Rice with Tahdig (Chelo ba Tahdig) »

Roasted Rack Of Lamb with Roasted Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

The flavors of fall and winter are perfectly represented in this simple and elegant meal. Get the recipe for Roasted Rack Of Lamb with Roasted Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad »
This impressive stuffed goose is flavored with plum eau-de-vie and served with tender mlinci—toasted, hand-torn egg noodles. Get the recipe for Apple- and Chestnut-Stuffed Goose with Egg Noodles »

Honey Glazed Roast Pork with Apples

Normans use apples and cider in many savory preparations—with game, poultry, even fish. In this classic pork dish from Jean-François Guillouet-Huard, of Domaine Michel Huard, it’s important to use a slightly tart variety so the end result isn’t too sweet. Get the recipe for Honey Glazed Roast Pork with Apples »

Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig Sauce

Sautéed Quail with Black Barley, Beets, and Fig Sauce

Juniper Berry-Crusted Rack of Venison with Mostarda

Searing the venison before coating it with spices ensures that the spices retain their potency but don’t burn before the venison is cooked. A sweet and sour pear and berry mostarda is the perfect condiment for this lean roast. Get the recipe for Juniper Berry-Crusted Rack of Venison with Mostarda »

Justin Smillie’s Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes

These short ribs are brined, steam-roasted, and then seared, making the meat succulent and turning the peppercorn rub into a thick, spicy bark. Get the recipe for Justin Smillie’s Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes »

Tamarind-Glazed Roast Turkey

The flavors of Senegal—sour tamarind, fiery scotch bonnets, and pungent fish sauce—add umami-rich depth to this unexpected Thanksgiving bird.

Pear-Marinated Roast Leg of Lamb

The enzymes found in pears tenderize this roast lamb, while garlic and herbs add flavor. Get the recipe for Pear-Marinated Roast Leg of Lamb »

Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots

Test kitchen director Farideh Sadeghin learned the technique for this wonderfully crisp duck with soy glaze while working in the kitchen at Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand. Get the recipe for Crispy Duck Breasts with Glazed Carrots »

Grilled Beef Ribs with Charred Vegetables

These beef ribs are hearty enough for the hungriest diner. Get the recipe for Grilled Beef Ribs with Charred Vegetables »

Roast Leg of Lamb with Herbs and Kale

roast lamb

Dominique Ansel’s Cassoulet

Made with confit duck legs, pork belly, and two kinds of sausage, this meaty, resplendently rich cassoulet is worth treasuring all winter. Get the recipe for Dominique Ansel’s Cassoulet »

Pike-perch with Creamed Mushrooms and Horseradish Butter

In Sweden, chef Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken uses pike-perch, a distinct fish that’s neither pike nor perch but is similar in size and taste to American walleye. If you can’t find either, red snapper or any firm, white-flesh fish with moderately sized fillets will work. Get the recipe for Pike-perch with Creamed Mushrooms and Horseradish Butter »

Chablis-Style Ham with Tomato Cream Sauce (Jambon au Chablis)

In this dish, thick-cut ham is doused in a velvety tomato-based cream sauce made with chablis. Get the recipe for Chablis-Style Ham with Tomato Cream Sauce (Jambon au Chablis) »

Sole Piccata

The recipe for this pan-fried fillet is finished with a white-wine butter sauce laced with lemon, capers, and shallots. Get the recipe for Sole Piccata »

Homard en Croûte (Lobster Pot Pie)

Brandy adds even more luxuriousness to these creamy lobster pot pies. Get the recipe for Homard en Croûte (Lobster Pot Pie) »

Florentine T-bone Steak

Brushing meat with rosemary imparts an herbal fragrance to this Italian steak, which is traditionally served with cannellini beans and lemon wedges.Get the recipe for Florentine T-bone Steak »

Sara’s Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic

Simple roast chicken flavored with parsley, lemon, sage, and garlic makes an elegant and impressive meal. Get the recipe for Sara’s Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic »

Red Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

Red Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb

Slow-cooking a leg of lamb in wine with garlic and herbs transforms the meat into an ultra-tender entrée that goes marvelously with stewed white beans. Get the recipe for Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb »

Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Thyme

This simply-seasoned rack of lamb is roasted to the perfect tenderness. Get the recipe for Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Thyme »

Prosciutto-Wrapped Roast Pork Loin

Wrapping pork loin in prosciutto not only keeps the roast especially juicy, but it adds wonderful, salty flavor. Get the recipe for Prosciutto-Wrapped Roast Pork Loin »

Brined and Roasted Turkey

Brining turkeys has become de rigueur in many American households—this recipe shows you how it’s done. Get the recipe for Brined and Roasted Turkey »

Apricot-Ginger Glazed Ham

A glaze made with apricot and ginger adds a sweet note to salty roasted ham. Get the recipe for Apricot-Ginger Glazed Ham »

Squab and Braised Peas

Get the recipe for Squab and Braised Peas »

Roasted Lamb with Rosemary (Arni me Dendrolivano)

Roasting lamb over a bed of rosemary sprigs lends this Greek classic a smoky, herbal flavor. Get the recipe for Roasted Lamb with Rosemary (Arni me Dendrolivano) »

Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo)

Pork shoulder is soaked overnight in a citrusy mojo marinade in this Cuban recipe. Get the recipe for Mojo-Marinated Pork Shoulder Roast (Pernil Asado Con Mojo) »

Braised Rabbit with Salmorejo Sauce

Smoky Spanish paprika adds deep flavor to this braise from Chef Katie Button of Cúrate and Nightbell, matching perfectly with gamey, succulent rabbit. Get the recipe for Braised Rabbit with Salmorejo Sauce »

Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes

For this simple Sicilian Easter dish, cosciotto di agnello con patate, a leg of lamb is roasted over a bed of potatoes. Get the recipe for Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes »

Rosemary-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin

Seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic, this juicy beef tenderloin is the perfect main dish to serve to big groups; any leftovers can be used in sandwiches the day after. Get the recipe for Rosemary-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin »

Skillet-Cooked Duck Breast with Beets and Watercress

Skillet-Cooked Duck Breast with Beets and Watercress

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

The secret to the shimmering roux that tops this classic German roast is a pinch of sugar; it gilds the gravy as it balances the lemon and pickling spices in the dish. Get the recipe for Sauerbraten »

Crisp Pork Belly with Roasted Vegetables and Applesauce

The skin on this slow-roasted pork belly gets peeled off and fried into cracklings, allowing the fat underneath to render and caramelize. Whatever vegetables are in season—this time of year, it’s carrots, turnips, and leeks—pair well with the meat, which is served with a cider-spiked applesauce and best enjoyed with a bitter ale, one of the many beers you can drink with it at the Black Bull Inn and Hotel in Coniston. Get the recipe for Crisp Pork Belly with Roasted Vegetables and Applesauce »

Piccolo Pete’s Prime Rib

Prime rib is a beloved Omaha steakhouse specialty. One of our favorite versions comes from Piccolo Pete’s, where the meat is rubbed with Italian spices and blasted with high heat to form a flavorful crust. Get the recipe for Piccolo Pete’s Prime Rib »

Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant

A creamy eggplant purée, enriched with béchamel and Gruyère cheese serves as a bed for meltingly tender lamb shanks, slow-braised in red wine and aromatics. Get the recipe for Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant »

Spiced Honey-Glazed Spiral Ham

Although spiral-cut ham comes fully cooked, a low, slow roast will heat it through and caramelize its sticky, spiced glaze. At Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, a ham is glazed with pan drippings, local honey, and fragrant cinnamon and clove for their annual Thanksgiving feast, which they serve to veterans and their families. Get the recipe for Spiced Honey-Glazed Spiral Ham »