54 Easy Christmas Recipes to Create Your Elegant Holiday Dinner Menu (2024)

If you're searching for an elegant Christmas dinner menu, you've come to the right place. We rounded up some of our merriest, crowd-pleasing dinner ideas—from holiday co*cktails and easy appetizers to main dishes and festive desserts—that your guests won't forget.

We've included the holiday party classics, like glazed ham, roast beef, and prosciutto-wrapped pears, as well as a few fresh takes on comfort foods, including caramelized onion and apple tarts, cider-roasted root veggies, and lots more. Don't forget merry desserts and drinks to keep the cheer going all night long.Pick out your favorite Christmas dinner recipes to create the holiday meal of your dreams.

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Sweet-and-Spicy Mulled Wine

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This mulled wine is the perfect punch to serve at an ugly Christmas sweater party: It’s warm, retro, and delicious! It calls for a full-bodied dry red wine, like Zinfandel, but Merlot or Cabernet works well, too. The key is to find a wine that can compete with this recipe's sugar, spices, and orange flavors.

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Caramelized Onion Tarts With Apples

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Need an impressive Christmas appetizer that doesn’t require a lot of effort? Sweet meets savory in this onions-and-apples mixture atop crisp, elegant, puff-pastry tarts. These tasty bites look fancy, but they’re surprisingly easy to make.

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Honey-Ginger Ham

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A Christmas ham dinner is as traditional as it gets. To make this beauty, brush the ham (buy a bone-in ham for more flavor) with a ginger ale-based glaze.
Served warm or at room temperature, it’s perfect to anchor a Christmas buffet.

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Roasted Rhubarb Salad With Goat Cheese and Pistachios

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Here's a Christmas-colored salad we can get on board with: simple yet refined. Tender roasted rhubarb pairs with creamy goat cheese and mixed baby greens in a sweet mustardy vinaigrette topped with chopped pistachios.

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Dry-Brined Lemon-Sage Turkey

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Say goodbye to dried-out turkey with this mouthwatering recipe. Dry-brining the turkey creates a crispy outside while reserving every bit of moisture inside, resulting in a juicy turkey that everyone will love. We just hope you don't get stuck with making the Christmas turkey every year!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pecans

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Roasted Brussels sprouts are so every day but, somehow, throw some pecans into the mix and you have a holiday-worthy side that’s the perfect combination of crunchy and savory. It’s easy, too: All you need is one pan, four ingredients, and 15 minutes to prep.

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Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

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A big bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes is a holiday feast must-have, and this recipe answers the call. We like to use red potatoes and leave the skin on to add color and a rustic texture. Add a sprinkle of green scallions or chives for an appropriately Christmas-colored dish.

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Pumpkin Bread Trifle With Pepita Streusel

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This sweet treat is a showstopper for stress-free entertaining. It layers chunks of pumpkin bread (homemade or store-bought) with a cream cheese-whipped cream mixture and sweet, crumbly streusel. Topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds, this comes together quickly but has that wow factor guests expect for a holiday meal.

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Slow-Cooker Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

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If the weather outside is frightful, starting Christmas Day festivities with a mug of this would be so delightful! Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and molasses make this concoction extra festive. Pull it together in the slow cooker in the morning and then forget about it until guests arrive. Consider serving after dinner, too.

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Fondue

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Help holiday guests warm up on a chilly winter evening with this retro dish that’s become trendy again. Serve with soft pretzels or a toasted baguette, or go beyond the basics with an assortment of dippers: cut-up apples and pears, sliced cooked sausage, broccoli and cauliflower florets, or cherry tomatoes. It’s a fun way to get everyone mingling before they sit down for Christmas dinner.

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Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin With Cherries

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With a double dose of porky goodness, this glorious bacon-wrapped pork loin will hog the attention at your holiday table. Amazingly, it takes just 15 minutes of prep time and then an hour in the oven with a one-time basting. The result is crispy bacon, a tangy, fruity layer of cherries, and moist tender pork.

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Beet-Radicchio Salad

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This colorful salad brightens up any holiday spread, but looks aren't everything. Its maple-and-miso dressing lets guests know it's not just any plain-Jane salad. Recipe shortcuts like pre-cooked beets and already-shaved Parmesan help this salad come together in just 20 minutes.

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Maple Roasted Vegetables

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Give Brussels sprouts and carrots the love they deserve by roasting them with olive oil and maple syrup. This super-easy, sheet-pan side requires just 5 minutes to prep and a 20-minute roast.

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Horseradish Potato Gratin

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We’ve taken a classic potato gratin recipe, omitted the cheese, and then kicked up its creamy sauce with nutmeg and prepared horseradish for some heat. This dish looks très French-fancy, but is easy to prepare and takes only 10 minutes of hands-on work.

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Croissant and Chocolate Bread Pudding

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This rich, chocolatey dessert is an indulgence suitable for a celebratory dessert and makes a sweet addition to a holiday brunch. Serve this bread pudding—featuring store-bought croissants—warm or at room temperature.

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Boozy Apple Cider Slushie

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Want to know how to win at any holiday gathering? Make boozy apple cider slushies. This delightful, festive co*cktail is just the thing to get your Christmas fête started. Caution: Friends will end up begging you to make these all year round.

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Pears With Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

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If you have 10 minutes, you can put together these elegant bites. Tender, salty prosciutto takes the classic combination of sweet pears and funky blue cheese to another level. It’s best to use a creamy (not crumbly) blue cheese here, so the cheese doesn’t fall apart.

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Striped Bass With Toasted-Shallot Vinaigrette and Spinach

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Seafood lovers at your Christmas table will appreciate this lighter alternative to the typical meat-driven mains and heavy sides. High in protein but low in calories (just 307 per serving), guests will have a little more room saved for dessert. If you can’t find bass at your market, halibut makes a great sub.

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Brussels Sprouts Salad

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Here's a make-ahead salad that gives you more time to celebrate on Christmas Day. Thinly sliced Brussels sprouts take center stage, with supporting roles played by colorful strips of bitter radicchio, crunchy pecans, and sweet dried cranberries in a tart apple cider vinegar dressing. Add Parmesan shavings just before serving.

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Broccoli and Gruyère Gratin

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Think of this as a lighter take on mac and cheese or a richer, more decadent take on steamed broccoli. Regardless, broccoli haters will likely forget they're not supposed to like it.

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Ginger Apple Tarte Tatin

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The humble apple pie gets a French twist in this impressive creation. Though it looks intimidating, making this upside-down dessert is as easy as pie. Its apple filling flavored with caramel and fresh ginger is topped with a sheet of puff pastry, baked, and then flipped for a dramatic presentation. Cue the oohs and ahs.

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Ponche Crema

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What's Christmas without eggnog, or at least a creamy eggnog-like co*cktail like this one that hails from Venezuela? This version of the classic holiday drink is made with sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, and dark rum.Make it days ahead, store in the fridge, and serve with a cinnamon stick stirrer for instant merriment.

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Goat Cheese Spread

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Simple yet special, this dip brightens any holiday appetizer spread or charcuterie board. Just goat cheese, black pepper, and your choice of chopped fresh herbs combine for a flavorful accompaniment to crackers, red pepper strips, pepperoni rounds, and a multitude of other dippers.

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Roast Beef and Onions

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Roast beef doesn’t get any easier than this. You only need three main ingredients―a boneless rib or rump roast, onions, and olive oil―and the oven does all the work. Its 1-hour cooking time gives you plenty of time to put together the rest of your meal.

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Spiced Carrot Salad

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This recipe proves a salad doesn't have to be leafy, green, or boring. Spiced with cumin and red pepper flakes, and sweetened with plump raisins, this make-ahead carrot dish pairs especially well with lamb and poultry.

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Collard Greens With Bacon

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This dish is simple and light, making it a refreshing and healthy addition to your holiday menu to balance out the heavier dishes. If you already have a Southern theme going on—maybe cornbread stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes—so much the better.

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Butternut Squash Bake With Wild Rice

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In this comforting, winter-weather recipe, wild rice and chunks of roasted butternut squash mingle with caramelized onions and mushrooms. It's a make-ahead wonder that you can assemble days before and then bake the day of.

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Easy Ice Cream Cake

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Too busy to make an amazing dessert to cap off an amazing holiday meal? If you have 10 minutes, you can pull off this one. The secret shortcut to this impressive presentation is a package of ice cream sandwiches from your grocer's freezer stacked between layers of whipped cream. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped chocolate chips or sub with crushed peppermint candies for a festive touch.

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Pomegranate Royale Champagne co*cktail

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This co*cktail is certainly celebration-worthy. Pomegranate juice brings color, and champagne brings a fun bubbliness that signals a special occasion.

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Caprese Skewers With Balsamic Glaze

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Yes, it's Christmas, but every dish doesn't have to be rich and decadent. Set out this fresh, no-coo Caprese-salad-on-a-stick dish to delight guests before dinner, or serve it with the meal as an inventive, colorful salad alternative.

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Raspberry-Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

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Pork tenderloin is a delicious, healthy choice for a holiday feast: It's lean, mild-tasting, tender, quick-cooking, and incredibly versatile. This recipe pairs it with a maple-and-jam sauce that's balanced with vinegar and Worcestershire for acidity and depth.

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Garlicky Green Beans With Pine Nuts

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Sorry: There are no creamy sauces or fried onions here. This lighter recipe pairs tender green beans with garlic and pine nuts, takes just 15 minutes to make, and goes with literally everything.

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Honey-Butter Creamed Corn

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This recipe is a tutorial for transforming a bag of frozen corn into a sweet-savory, holiday-worthy side dish. Half-pureed kernels help this dish retain its bright lemony color, its smooth consistency comes from a dose of heavy cream, and credit a touch of honey and butter for its extra sweetness.

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Gingersnap Cherry Cheesecake

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Talk about indulging, there’s no better way to end a Christmas dinner than with a show-stopping holiday cheesecake. This one—with an extra layer of vanilla cream and cherry preserves—definitely fits the bill. Allow at least 4 hours to chill, and then top with cherry preserves for the final, merry touch.

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Spiced Hot Toddy

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This recipe does a classic hot toddy—whiskey, sugar, and hot water—one better. It's a spicier version infused with cardamom pods, star anise, and honey that'll help kick off your festivities with a kick.

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Red Pepper Walnut Knots

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Guests won't believe these didn't come from a bakery, and you won't believe how easy these are to make. Two sheets of puff pastry and a jar of roasted red bell peppers are the shortcuts that enable you to pull these knots together in a jiff. Serve as an appetizer or as a fancy dinner roll.

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Smoky Maple Turkey

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Love serving turkey on Christmas but hate spending all day in the kitchen? This recipe solves that dilemma with instructions for cooking your turkey a day ahead and then reheating it the day of. What's more, it coats your turkey with a smoky maple butter for a pop of flavor and a mouth-watering golden color.

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Rosemary-Roasted Golden Beets and Carrots

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This easy-yet-upscale side may well convert any veggie-haters at the table, and you'll love the simplicity of this one-sheet dish. Beets and carrots turn fork-tender as they roast in an olive oil-red wine vinegar-rosemary dressing. That's it: We told you it was easy!

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Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Pulling together a holiday meal requires all hands on deck, and that means your Instant Pot, too. This recipe uses maple syrup, heavy cream, and orange juice for an extra sweet, extra creamy mash with a bright, citrusy tang. It's a hearty, comforting, perfectly seasonal dish for your Christmas table.

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Butterscotch Bananas With Vanilla Ice Cream

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Reserve this sophisticated pecan-and-banana confection flambéed in dark rum for the grownups. Serve this take on bananas foster―a classic dessert that originated in New Orleans―over scoops of vanilla ice cream for a stunning finish.

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Spiced Apple Kombucha

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Wow your Christmas crew with this co*cktail containing kombucha, spiced rum, and classic winter spices. Make it a few days ahead to let the flavors really come together. Serve in a highball glass with ice, an apple slice garnish, and a cinnamon stick stirrer.

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Cheesy Chile Pull-Apart Bread

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This recipe amps up a plain oval loaf of crusty white bread into a fun holiday appetizer. Credit pepper Jack cheese, green chilies, garlic, butter, and scallions for the transformation, which takes only 30 minutes from start to finish.

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Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder

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How do you make succulent lamb even tastier? Slow-roast it at a low temp for 3 hours, baste it in a brown sugar-vinegar glaze, then finish it at a high temp for about 10 minutes. The result is a perfectly tender lamb roast served with a sweet and slightly sour sauce that guests will rave about for months.

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Sautéed Tomatoes and Shallots

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With bright red grape tomatoes, this dish even looks festive. It has a nice sharpness and bite to it, thanks to the shallots and briny capers, making a refreshing addition to a table laden with rich dishes. Use a decent drinking wine for the dressing, and serve the rest of the bottle with dinner (or treat the cook to a glass before the holiday guests arrive).

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Macaroni and Cheese With Cauliflower

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A creamy, comforting mac and cheese is just the thing to warm up your holiday table. Cauliflower doesn't replace the mac here but joins it in a dairy-heavy sauce topped with homemade breadcrumbs for a little texture and crunch. (There's no need to tell finicky eaters it's a vegetable dish.)

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Vanilla Sweet Potatoes

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Bring the flavors of the season to your Christmas table with this unique take on sweet potatoes—no marshmallows allowed. This dish is so good and so easy, you might even work it into your regular weeknight meal rotation.

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Gooey Chocolate Caramel Tart

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If you’re going to indulge, there’s no better way to go all in than with this ultra-rich, extra-decadent tart. This no-bake treat in a cookie crust is sweet, savory, chocolatey, and gooey: the ultimate holiday dessert.

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Rosemary Pecans

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Sure, you can open a package and set out a bowl of nuts, but the holidays are all about making things special. With these delicious, snackable pecans, it takes just 20 minutes to make your holiday appetizer spread extra festive. They’re sweet, spicy, and savory all at once, and we guarantee that once your guests start, they won’t be able to stop.

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Chocolate Bar Fondue

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Oh yes, it’s thoroughly decadent, but Christmas calls for a little indulgence, especially with New Year’s resolutions just around the corner. Serve with an assortment of treats for dipping: fresh strawberries, cubes of angel food or pound cake, jumbo marshmallows, Christmas cookies, or dried apricots, pineapple slices, or figs.

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Pistachio Pudding

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How about something sweet and nutty for dessert? Forget the mix and make this smooth, creamy pudding on your stove in just about 25 minutes, and then chill for 4 hours. Top with homemade whipped cream or store-bought, and add a maraschino cherry for a Christmas-y touch.

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Plum Tart

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Serving this capstone to your Christmas meal may well lead to visions of this sugary plum tart dancing in your guests' heads. Just three ingredients—fresh plums, sugar, and a sheet of puff pastry—combine to make an impressive holiday dessert in nearly no time at all.

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Marshmallow and Chocolate Shortbread Slices

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Marshmallow, chocolate, and shortbread are a trifecta of holiday delights, and this dessert has them all, with a layer of apricot jam to boot. Assemble this in the morning or the night before to serve after dinner, and then humbly accept the accolades.

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Everything Dinner Rolls

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Want to make a big impact with little effort? Here's one for you: Start with store-bought dinner rolls, brush with butter and honey, sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning, and bake for 15 minutes. The problem is that this easy recipe runs the risk of outshining other dishes you put much more effort into.

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Citrus Spice Cranberry Sauce

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Cranberry, in some form, belongs on every holiday table, and here's an easy yet sophisticated way to serve it. This recipe starts with a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce and infuses it with cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and oranges for a festive finish that looks and tastes homemade.

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54 Easy Christmas Recipes to Create Your Elegant Holiday Dinner Menu (2024)
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