Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes the yearly dilemma of what to cook for dinner.
We asked 99+ INSPIRED and top cooks the same question: “If you wanna surprise your family with an easy (and non-traditional) Christmas dinner idea, what will it be?”
The recipes we received were absolutely AWESOME. We’ve listed them here:
1 - Shrimp Saganaki or a Classic Lasagna:
Jennifer Segal from Once Upon a Chef
Being Jewish, my family doesn’t technically celebrate Christmas, but since everything is closed for the holiday, we do think of it as a special day to be together and cap it off with dinner.
We’re not adhering to any special Christmas dinner traditions, so anything is up for grabs!
2 - Mexican-themed Dinner:
Sylvia Fountaine from Feasting at Home
Every once in a while we do a Mexican-themed dinner for Chrismas- enchiladas, mole, Mexican rice, slaw and festive hibiscus margaritas.
It’s a fun way to mix things up and keep thing interesting over the holidays.
3 - Alice Springs Chicken:
Meggan Hill from Culinary Hill
If you want to surprise your family this Christmas, do it with Alice Springs Chicken!
It's an Outback Steakhouse copycat recipe with marinaded chicken breast in honey mustard sauce, then topped with mushrooms, bacon, and way too much cheese!
Perfect as a quick meal, but also fancy enough for a holiday. So delicious!
4 - Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon:
Averie Sunshine from Averie Cooks
Juicy salmon at home in 30 minutes that’s EASY and tastes BETTER than from a restaurant!
The butter is infused with lemon and garlic and adds so much FLAVOR!
5 - Brown Butter Spaghetti with Parmesan and Romano Cheeses:
Julie Clark from Tastes of Lizzy T
For a quick and easy holiday dinner, I make our Brown Butter Spaghetti with Parmesan and Romano Cheeses.
It's a non-traditional spaghetti recipe with amazingly rich brown butter flavor.
It has just 5 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make so you get more time with the family around the table. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread.
6 - Crispy Golden Pork Belly:
Jennifer Lee from Kirbie Cravings
If I wanted to surprise my family with an easy and non traditional Christmas dinner idea, I would make my crispy golden pork belly.
This recipe produces perfectly golden and crispy pork belly, just like something you would get at a restaurant, but without all the work.
The prep work is very minimal and uses a no-fail salt crust technique to produce incredibly crispy skin.
7 - Homemade Sliders:
Ben Gorges from Fox Valley Foodie
My family is not very formal, so we often enjoy non-traditional holiday meals just to change things up.
This year for Thanksgiving I actually made everyone Philly Cheesesteaks rather than a holiday turkey.
However, my favorite effortless Christmas dinner idea has always been making pull apart homemade sliders in the oven.
They are a huge hit with the kids, and I get more time to enjoy with my family rather than spending Christmas day working in the kitchen.
8 - Veggie En Croute:
Becca Heyes from Easy Cheesy Vegetarian
If you want to go the vegetarian route, don't feel you just have to serve up side dishes.
Instead, make sure you choose a centrepiece for your meal, like this show stopping veggie en croute from Easy Cheesy Vegetarian.
It's a perfect pastry parcel, stuffed with plenty of roasted vegetables, along with salty feta cheese and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Feel free to adapt the recipe to use your favourite roasted veggies!
9 - Sausage Tortellini Soup:
Kayti & Diane from Homemade Food Junkie
For an easy and non traditional dinner we would serve a warm and filling winter soup. Our sausage tortellini soup is a great option.
We would also make a batch of our soft homemade dinner rolls with a delicious chopped salad for a side.
For dessert we would serve our sourdough cinnamon rolls. Our hot peppermint coffee cocktail would also accompany this dinner nicely.
10 - Stuffed Cornish Hen:
Carla from Chocolate Moosey
Cooking a small Christmas dinner this year? Make it special by roasting this Stuffed Cornish Hen recipe with homemade stuffing.
11 - Homemade Quiche:
Nick Evans from MACHEESMO
A meal that I like to serve sometimes for a complete change-up in traditional flavors (I also do this before Thanksgiving most years) is to make breakfast for dinner!
I'll make a beautiful homemade quiche, which can be made in advance, and serve it alongside some buttermilk pancakes, crispy baked bacon, and fruit salad.
Are there mimosas? Why, yes, of course.
12 - Nigerian Fried Rice:
Chichi Uguru from My Diaspora Kitchen
Nigerian fried rice is one of my go to recipes when I think of a nice Christmas dinner.
Though not the traditional Asian fried rice, it’s super easy to make and is packed full of flavor. It’s always the first to go in any family gathering.
13 - Festive Appetizers and Snacks:
Gina Kleinworth from Taste of the Frontier
We tend to keep things non-traditional every Christmas. The season is already so hectic, so we like to keep Christmas day simple and easy.
We like to serve appetizers and snacks that everyone can graze on throughout the day instead of spending most of the day cooking a large meal.
14 - Paneer-vegetable Lasagna:
Pavani from Cooks Hide Out
Being a vegetarian family, our Christmas meal is always non-traditional and plant-based.
I try to incorporate Indian flavors into traditional holiday recipes. So our menu is usually an eclectic fusion of familiar spices in western dishes.
Here's a surprise dinner idea that my family would love: Samosa pinwheels, Paneer-vegetable lasagna, homemade garlic naan, eggless fruit cake and mini cheesecakes.
15 - Herb-roasted Pork with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes:
Michelle from Flipped out Food
If I'm surprising my family with a slightly non-traditional Christmas Dinner, the first thing that comes to mind is Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork for the entree.
It's super easy and practically foolproof. You slice it into gigantic chops that are unfailingly juicy and delicious, not to mention impressive to serve at the table.
We're wild about Skin-On Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish, which would be a perfect starchy side. The mild horseradish flavor is a perfect complement to the meat.
And finally, a great green vegetable to enjoy with roast pork is Green Beans with Bacon and Onions.
That's it! That's the menu!
16 - Bagels and Lox:
Alyssa Brantley from Everyday Maven
Our favorite non-traditional Christmas dinner is Bagels and Lox. No cooking involved if you don’t count toasting the bagels.
We like to make a nice spread with different smoked fishes and smoked salmon, sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, dill, chives, olives, and a variety of bagels and cream cheese.
Everyone can build their own bagels and clean up is minimal.
17 - Festive Japanese-themed Dinner:
Marc Matsumoto from No recipes
A non-traditional Christmas dinner can be festive and fun without taking all day to prepare.
If your guests are of the plant-based persuasion, Crispy Fried Tofu Bites make for great canapes.
A small salad dressed with Sesame Dressing is an excellent place to go from there, and Chicken Katsu is an easy-to-prepare main that looks super festive served on a bed of shredded cabbage with tomatoes.
For vegans, these vibrant Japanese Tofu Steaks topped with mushrooms and crispy garlic chips are insanely flavorful and look the part with the red sauce and green onion garnish.
Both dishes would go great with Takikomi Gohan, a savory Japanese-style pilaf made with vegetables and mushrooms.
The Matcha Basque Cheesecake is the perfect way to end your Christmas feast.
It's rich, custardy, and has a beautiful green hue. You can have it ready in about 30 minutes, and top it with a raspberry coulis for an extra pop of color.
18 - Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Sandwiches:
Jill Faulder from Food Tastic Mom
I’d surprise my family with my Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Sandwiches.
Just a few simple ingredients, plus frozen garlic bread, makes this a cinch to prepare.
Everyone loves these sandwiches! They even look festive.
The preparation is mostly hands off, meaning that while dinner is slow cooking, I can actually enjoy the day spending time with my family.
19 - Delicious Casserole:
Roz from La Bella Vita Cucina
I would serve a delicious casserole that could be made ahead of time so that there is more time to spend with the grandchildren and guests.
A simple green salad with fresh ingredients would be served.
I would present a dessert charcuterie board from which guests could graze on the rest of the day.
The board would include a colorful variety of fresh fruits, cheeses, cookies, chocolates, nuts, and some caramel and chocolate dips.
20 - Pulled Pork and Taco Feast:
Lilian from Chinese Grandma
Christmas for us is a traditional gathering of my husband's Irish-American family in Ohio.
For years my mother-in-law and I cooked a traditional roast, potatoes, etc.
But as all the kids have grown, our big Christmas brunch gets later and later in the day, and dinner has become more casual.
Now for Christmas dinner we have tacos. Yes, tacos! It is so easy and everyone loves it.
Often we cook the meat ahead, so all that's left is to make a giant salad.
The rest is self-serve: guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa. Tortillas, tortilla chips.
Then everyone curates their plate: some people make tacos, others have a loaded taco salad and maybe we'll fry up a plain quesadilla for a picky kid.
It's a fun and relaxed fiesta to finish the big holiday.
21 - Pappardelle Saffron Pasta:
Therese Elgquist from Plant Based By Thess.com
I’m a big fan of simple seasonal food
Simple cooking, few ingredients, amazing flavors. I’d treat them to a Pappardelle saffron pasta with kale, crispy chickpeas and some cheese!
A non-traditional dish at a Swedish Christmas table - yet flavors that will most definitely remind you of winter and Christmas time.
It’s a dish that will be like a warming hug to your soul.
22 - Salmon w/ Chipotle Aoli:
Melissa Eboli from Via's Kitchen
I would surprise my family with an easy, but tasty meal.
Some dishes I would include entail salmon w/ chipotle aoli, vanilla infused mashed purple potatoes, lemon paprika asparagus and a mixed berry and apple cobbler served with vanilla ice cream.
This meal from start to finish would take about 2 hours to prepare all in.
23 - Dijon Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin:
Carrie Palladino Farias from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
If I were to surprise my family with an easy recipe this Christmas, it would be this Dijon Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin.
The mild flavor of Dijon mustard combined with the woodsy flavor of fresh rosemary, make this the perfect meal for holidays
24 - Roast Beef Tenderloin with a Thai Gravy:
Pailin from Hot Thai Kitchen
For me it would be this roast beef tenderloin with a Thai gravy, which is a good balance of traditional and unconventional.
The roast beef is the traditional part, but the gravy packs a tart and spicy punch that Thai people love to eat with meats and it works incredibly well, even with traditional side dishes.
I think most people still want some sense of familiarity when it comes to Christmas dinner, and this is a good approach.
25 - Mexican Buffet:
Dr. Dan from 101 Cooking for Two
I have generally been a traditionalist with a whole beef tenderloin for Christmas but I my wife family, an uncle would create a Mexican buffet that is relatively easy to pull off and now accepted on that side of the family.
26 - Chicken Pesto Pasta:
Barbara from Pressure Cooking Today
With its fun red and green colors, our Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta would be a great, quick, easy, non-traditional Christmas dinner.
It has everything you want in a hearty pasta dinner: a creamy sauce, melty cheese, tender chicken, red tomatoes, and green pesto.
This loaded chicken pasta always disappears fast at our house!
27 - Mini Lasagna Cups Bolognese:
Lisa Grant from Jersey Girl Cooks
We celebrate with the family on Christmas eve, so on Christmas Day my family likes to stay in our pajamas and then I make a bunch of appetizers and a big salad for a casual dinner.
28 - Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie:
Colleen Milne from The Food Blog
I think one of my favorites for a non traditional Christmas dinner would be my Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie.
It's made with ground turkey and vegetables in gravy, and topped with sweet potato, so it has the elements of a Christmas dinner.
It's delicious and much easier than a traditional feast. Serve a Brussels Sprouts Salad alongside and the meal is complete.
29 - Brie and Chive Fondue:
Anne-Marie Nichols from This Mama Cooks
How about cheese fondue?
My family adores it! They love dipping fruit slices, bread, tail-on shrimp, and veggies in melted cheese—so much fun around the holiday table.
Need a fondue pot?
I bet your mom or grandmother has a set. Or find one at the local thrift or antique store. (Yes, your home goods store should have an inexpensive set, too).
We love Brie and Chive Fondue, which is simple to put together. (Brie is usually on sale this time of year, too.)
It uses pink grapefruit juice instead of wine and can be made gluten-free.
Pick up a packet of Swiss fondue mix at the grocery store.
If you're serving it as a meal instead of an appetizer, pick up two packages and lots of dipping ingredients.
30 - German Frankfurters and Potato Salad:
Karen Lodder from German Girl in America
Why not cook German food for Christmas?
No... not a meaty roast or Schnitzel!
Since German families celebrate on Christmas Eve with Bescherung (the gift exchange), they keep it simple in the kitchen, and serve Würstchen und Kartoffelsalat (German Frankfurters and Potato Salad).
The Potato Salad (cold or hot) can be prepared in advance, and the sausages can be simmered quickly just before sitting down to eat.
Serve with German mustard, and some crusty rolls or bread. You'll be in and out of the kitchen quickly with a meal everyone will love.
31 - Seafood Fondue:
Margaret from Kitchen Frau
A seafood fondue is a special Christmas dinner that is very easy to put together, but feels absolutely special.
Purchase some wonderful fresh seafood: scallops, prawns, firm-fleshed white fish, and maybe some squid or octopus if you're feeling really adventurous.
Set a pretty pot onto a single burner hot plate (induction is especially easy) in the middle of the table and fill the pot with either white wine or a flavorful chicken broth brought to a simmer.
The beauty of seafood is that it cooks quickly and is perfect for fondue.
Set out some favorite purchased sauces (cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, and another sauce of choice like guacamole or salsa).
Give everyone a fork and have a wonderful dinner sharing the cooking and lots of lively conversation.
32 - Christmas Shrimp Scampi:
Jenna Fletcher from Seasoned Sprinkles
For the easiest non traditional Christmas dinner, I would hands down do Christmas shrimp scampi with asparagus and red pepper.
Scampi comes together surprisingly fast- especially if you get shrimp that's already deveined and peeled and feels special.
Not into scampi?
All of these are light on the cook time but don't lack in flavor.
33 - Scalloped Potatoes and Ham:
Lynn from Turnips 2 Tangerines
Our Christmas dinner is always on the easy side.
We tend to go all out for brunch and dinner is usually ham on the rotisserie for ham sandwiches or a simple dish of Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.
In fact our favorite recipe is called: Christmas Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.
34 - Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash:
Jenny Berk from Jenny Eden Coaching
As someone who has been plant-based for roughly 35 years now, an easy and yet really delicious and comforting non-traditional Christmas dinner idea would be stuffed roasted butternut squash with wild rice and breadcrumbs.
If you don’t want to make it entirely vegan, you could also add sausage, ground lamb or other types of meat into the wild rice and bread crumb mixtures.
Add whatever festive herbs you want like sage to help make it still feel like Christmas.
This main dish would go great with roasted brussels sprouts and some sort of relish or sweet bite to accompany it.
35 - Duck Breast with Blackberry Sauce:
Caroline from Caroline's Cooking
We love duck for a festive meal, but while roasting a whole duck can feel intimidating, it's really easy to sear duck breast and it feels like such a special meal.
I make it with a blackberry sauce that pairs so well and we all love it.
36 - Meatless Chili With Chocolate:
Amy Reiley from Eat Something Sexy
It is not just an aphrodisiac recipe, it’s also my family’s favorite chili recipe.
Veggie Chili, or Veggie Chilli as the Brits call it, is really an American dish with Latin American root.
My version is most definitely American-influenced but it also incorporates the Mexican use of cacao, or chocolate, in savory dishes.
37 - Salmon Wellington:
Lucy Parissi from Supergolden Bakes
Salmon Wellington is the kind of special dish you make to wow guests at festive gatherings.
It looks gorgeous, is sure to impress and tastes as good as it looks!
Also known by its French name “Salmon En Croute”. Simply translated, this means salmon baked in a puff pastry crust.
Like its cousin Beef Wellington, Salmon Wellington consists of fillet of salmon encased in a creamy spinach filling and wrapped in flaky puff pastry.
It’s the perfect dish for entertaining as you can assemble it in advance and bake it before your guests arrive.
And I will let you in on a little secret… This salmon in puff pastry is actually really easy to make!
38 - Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms Appetizer:
Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic
For an easy non traditional Christmas dinner, I would make a few different appetizers.
My family is a casual crowd, so a variety of finger foods that we can nibble on as we walk around laughing and chatting with each other is the perfect option.
And of course it's fun to try a little bit of everything!
I'm not sure if you need recipes that I would include, but if so, here's a more detailed explanation:
I would definitely include Three Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms because they're always one of the first things to disappear off a buffet table.
I also like serving a dip or two, such as Baba Ganoush.
And also maybe a homemade cheese ball because they're easy to whip up and always impressive.
And I'd keep dessert simple with a cookie platter that definitely includes everyone's favorite Russian Tea Cakes.
39 - Lemon Garlic Pasta:
Heather Vander Wey from The Fed Up Foodie
Over the years when life has been crazy but I still want to serve something incredibly comforting for Christmas dinner I lean on recipes such as my Beef and Dumplings.
It has the richness of the finest beef stew with the added bonus of large fluffy homemade dumplings.
However if I am really needing simplicity, my Lemon Garlic Pasta is the answer.
It is incredibly elegant and so very quick and easy to make.
40 - Gobi Musallam:
Rich from Vegan Richa
I would make a whole Indian spread with this whole roasted cauliflower drenched in butter sauce as the main.
With sides of a gorgeous nut and pomegranate studded pilaf, tofu tikka masala and stuffed naan.
41 - Southern Red Velvet Cake:
Marye Audet from Restless Chipotle
Easy and non-traditional? One thing I've always wanted to do (but haven't had the courage to) is have nothing but an array of desserts.
No turkey or ham or roast beef, no broccoli or pineapple casserole... literally nothing but the most gorgeous, droolworthy desserts I can find.
On a second table I'd have a beautiful champagne/ mimosa bar with a variety of fruit and juice.
And I guess I'd need a third table with Alka-Seltzer and Peptobismal, right?
42 - Sufganiyot:
Maddie Reich from The Jewish Vegan
My family has a tradition of ordering Chinese food on Christmas Eve, but if I wanted to surprise them with a home cooked meal, I would go with breakfast for dinner.
I would go all out with pancakes, vegan bacon, sausage, and eggs, and a fruit salad.
This year, Christmas falls during Hanukkah, so we would also have Sufganiyot - jelly-filled donuts - with our breakfast-for-dinner feast.
43 - Homemade Chinese Food:
April from Mama Loves Food
We like homemade Chinese food (fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, veggie chow mein) for Christmas dinner 😊
44 - Spinach Gnudi:
Sonali Ruder from The Foodie Physician
You're going to love these delicious Spinach Gnudi!
Made with ricotta cheese and spinach, these soft, pillowy dumplings are deceptively easy to make.
Gnudi are similar to gnocchi but are made with ricotta cheese instead of potato.
Serve them on a bed of homemade tomato sauce for the perfect family-friendly Christmas dinner.
45 - Pernil:
Jessica Segarra from The Novice Chef
In our home, Christmas dinner is always a Puerto Rican feast with a gorgeous Pernil at the center of our table.
While it takes a while to marinate and roast, it's a lot of hands off time, so it is surprisingly easy to make!
Don't forget a glass of the best Coquito to celebrate properly! ¡Buen provecho!
46 - Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole:
Holly Nilsson from Spend With Pennies
A Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole is perfect when you need to feed a crowd first thing in the morning or Xmas dinner.
Eggs, sausage and hashbrowns are layered in a casserole dish, topped with cheese and baked to a gooey golden brown.
There's more: Homemade Lasagna is a classic recipe that every cook should have in their rotation.
47 - Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp:
Marjory Pilley from The Dinner-Mom
Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with cream cheese and jalapeños is an easy and impressive appetizer.
Besides that, Bavette Steak that's pan seared on the stovetop is tender, juicy and takes minutes to cook. Easy recipe with impressive results for Xmas.
48 - Southern Fried Chicken:
Sharon Rigsby from Grits and Pinecones
If I had to choose a dish that my family would be delighted to have for Christmas dinner instead of our traditional ham, it would have to be Southern Fried Chicken.
It personifies the South, and it's one of our favorite meals.
Covered with a thick, crunchy, and flavorful crust, this iconic and versatile dish is as perfect for a holiday dinner as it is for tailgating or a summer picnic.
49 - Instant Pot Korean Short Ribs:
Sue from My Korean Kitchen
Our family enjoys a lamb roast for Christmas, but being Korean, I love to add some Korean flair to the meal with Instant Pot Korean Short Ribs.
The meat falls off the bone and is so succulent and flavorful. The vegetables cooked together are just as splendid.
50 - Crockpot Ham:
Samantha Skaggs from Five Heart Home
This amazing Crockpot Ham is the BEST slow cooker ham recipe.
It's cooked in pineapple juice with a brown sugar glaze featuring Dijon, balsamic vinegar, and honey for an EASY holiday dinner that practically makes itself.
The non-traditional-for-Christmas enchilada casserole features all-natural ingredients like salsa verde, green chiles, and a creamy homemade sauce for the great flavor of chicken enchiladas without the work of rolling them.
51 - Stuffed Mushrooms:
Emily Leary from A Mummy Too
I'd serve these delicious Christmas stuffed mushrooms.
They're filled with walnuts, cranberries and goat's cheese and they make a perfect vegetarian alternative on Christmas Day.
They're designed to make any vegetarian at your table feel like they've lucked out!
No sad veggie sausage for them!
They'll be able to enjoy gorgeously flavourful mushrooms with a perfect balance of crispy, smooth, sweet and mild festive flavours.
52 - Red Chicken Pozole:
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack from Muy Bueno Cookbook
As a Mexican-American I would make an easy, not traditional, but traditional Mexican Christmas dinner:
- Mexican Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer
- Red Chicken Pozole for dinner
- Mexican Hot Chocolate to drink
- Adnd Buñuelos for dessert.
All these dishes are pretty economical and very easy to make!
53 - Kale Soup:
Stephanie Jackson from Daily Appetite
Surprise your family with this easy Kale Soup Recipe that is ready in 40 minutes.
Not only the rich flavors but the rich colors of this soup give off festive Christmas vibes.
Loaded with smoked sausage, baby potatoes, beans, and kale.
This hearty soup is a meal all on its own.
54 - Honey Garlic Pork Chops:
Marsha Cook from Simply Savoury Meals
These Honey Garlic Pork Chops are deliciously juicy and tender that are glazed in a sweet honey-garlic sauce.
Made in just under 30 minutes, this recipe is the perfect EASY non-traditional Christmas dinner addition!
55 - Italian Panna Cotta:
Sabine Venier from Also The Crumbs Please
If I didn't have time to cook up a traditional Christmas dinner with all the bells and whistles, I would serve Instant Pot Short Ribs with baked potatoes and carrots and panna cotta for dessert.
In fact, I made this last year and everyone was talking for days about how delicious it was and how perfect it was for the occasion.
I think Christmas is about spending time with family and having a good time and as long as the food is good and made with love almost anything would be accepted by my family.
56 - Roasted Cranberry Chicken:
Rebecca Taig from RebeccaTaig
A delicious non-traditional Christmas dinner idea would be my Roasted Cranberry Chicken.
This one-pan meal is made with crispy tender chicken thighs seasoned with fresh herbs, and tangy cranberries, paired with roasted potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.
Simple yet elegant, this meal will impress all of your guests and can be made in under 1 hour.
57 - Jamaican Jerk Chicken:
Mike Hultquist from Chili Pepper Madness
If I was able to surprise my wife with a non-traditional Christmas dinner this year, I’d love to make Jamaican Jerk Chicken, as it’s a dish we both love.
Mine uses a nice and spicy marinade, and I’d love to grill it, because now we live further south – we moved to the Charlotte area a few years back – I can grill all year long!
I know she would love it, the dish and the surprise.
58 - Spinach Quiche:
Maria Vannelli from She Loves Biscotti
Make your Christmas dinner party festive but also delicious and effortless this year with a spinach quiche!
This easy, non-traditional Christmas dinner idea doesn't require any crust, so it's simple to make and has plenty of freedom over specific ingredients.
Pair it with a seasonal salad to make it extra merry!
Ideally suited to intimate family gatherings and festive feasts, it will put everyone in the holiday spirit without all the fuss.
59 - Stuffed Acorn Squash:
Katie Trant from Hey Nutrition Lady
I love to make this easy and delicious Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe for Christmas dinner.
It's a great vegetarian option or a fun side dish that everyone can enjoy.
60 - Quick Crab Roll Recipe:
John Vargo from Berly's Kitchen
Holiday cooking can be a daunting task.
Sometimes we break away from the norm to create a quick, non-traditional, Christmas dinner the whole family can enjoy.
Best of all, the recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
Our quick crab roll recipe feature delicate jumbo lump crab meat, creamy dressing, fresh lemon juice and just the right amount of crunch to create the perfect seafood feast!
61 - Dumplings:
Erika K from Pancake Princess
With many helping hands, dumplings are an easy thing to quickly assemble, cook and serve.
It's a fun family activity and so delicious!
62 - Roasted Rack of Pork, Beef Prime Rib, and Crab Imperial:
Dennis Littley from Ask Chef Dennis
As the world changes, non-traditional Christmas dinners are actually becoming more popular with families, and dishes representing their cultural heritage are the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season.
For Italian families, Lasagna and Frutti de Mare are delicious choices and offer a sense of comfort when served.
From the viewpoint of this Restaurant chef, non-traditional dishes were always part of my holiday menus.
Dishes that are usually reserved for dining out are great choices any time of year but tend to be extra special over the Christmas Holidays.
These are premiere restaurant dishes that aren't difficult to make and a perfect for the holidays.
63 - Creamy Wild Rice Soup:
Brooke & Emma from Savor the Flavour
Serve your family and loved ones our best creamy wild rice soup.
It will make your whole house smell like bacon and wild rice soup.
It's yummy, earthy and so cozy to serve on a cold winter's night.
Best of all, you can make it the day before, so Christmas dinner is ready in a snap!
64 - Filet Mignon or Ribeye:
Amy Sandidge from A Red Spatula
Our traditional Christmas dinner is always filet mignon or ribeye with mashed potatoes and tons of sides.
If I were to throw a non-traditional dinner for my family and friends, it would be tamales with fresh salsa and chips.
It is a favorite meal we don't have often.
My crew would be really excited about this change!
65 - Italian Wedding Soup:
Amanda Tynis from The Kitcheneer
My family is actually pretty non traditional and bringing over a large pot of Italian Wedding Soup with Crusty bread was such a great memory growing up in a large Italian family.
I think this easy soup is hearty yet healthy bowl with a warming broth, chicken, tiny meatballs, herbs, and stirring in an egg at the end.
SO good and to me screams Christmas dinner.
66 - One Pot Sausage & Tomato Linguine:
Jessica Kostka from Cooking in My Genes
A favourite dish of mine is my One Pot Sausage & Tomato Linguine which makes the perfect, easy Christmas meal to share with family and friends.
You can cook it in one pot and it’s packed with flavour from the fresh herbs.
I’d pair it with a simple arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and some crusty bread to dip in the sauce - you’re entire meal is set.
67 - Pulled Pork Chalupa:
Ashley Elizabeth from Sweetpea Lifestyle
If I want to surprise my family with an easy and non-traditional Christmas dinner idea, I'm going with Quick and Easy Pulled Pork Chalupa!
This recipe has been in my family since their Texas days, and it's a family favorite anytime of the year!
Now, if you wanted to be extremely simple, we've done Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, too!!
68 - Ground Beef Taco Dip:
Deb Clark from Bowl Me Over
Are you tired of the same old Turkey Dinner? Who says you have to be traditional?
Instead of sticking with the basics, why not make this amazing Chicken Spaghetti Recipe instead?
It's filled with saucy noodles, tender chicken and it's a family favorite!
If you're looking for the perfect appetizer to start the meal make Ground Beef Taco Dip.
Then you'll just need a bag of chips and a great salad. Happy Holidays from all of us at Bowl Me Over!
69 - Taiwanese Hot Pot:
Tina Tsai from Oh Snap Lts Eat
For Christmas Dinner, we actually used to make Hot Pot!
We would have family and friends come over, and we would gather around a boiling pot of delicious broth, and cook all sorts of meat, veggies, and seafood which would be paired with dipping sauces.
It's so delicious and really a fun social gathering too!
70 - Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Root Vegetables:
Christy Gurin from Feasting not Fasting
This pork tenderloin with roasted apples is the non-traditional Christmas dinner that I'd make.
It's all made in one skillet with apples, carrots, potatoes and sweet potato added after searing the pork and then roasted to perfection.
The final touch is turning the pan drippings into a delicious brandy sauce that gets drizzled on top of everything.
It's easy with a lot of downtime but delivers all of the comfort food flavors that we all crave this time of year.
71 - Tempeh Shepherd's Pie:
Alexandra Shytsman from The New Baguette
For a non-traditional Christmas dinner, I would go for my Tempeh Shepherd's Pie.
It's a cozy concept everyone loves, and with just a few ingredient swaps, it becomes vegetarian-friendly.
72 - Turkey Thighs Dinner:
Samantha from Recipe This
If I was surprise someone during the holidays with something totally different I would invite someone special over for dinner and cook a turkey thigh dinner.
Its cheaper, easier to cook and tastes delicious and guests will be amazed by how good a turkey thigh dinner is.
73 - Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip:
Traci Antonovich from The Kitchen Girl
It's the perfect dish to keep appetites satisfied until dinner time.
Then, dinner is served with this super easy and comforting, one-pot Lasagna Soup.
Make enough for second helpings – you'll be glad you did!
Finish this holiday dinner with the ultimate treat – chocolatey Peanut Butter Pie. You can make this family-loved dessert ahead to save time on the big day.
74 - Chile Relleno Casserole:
Kathy Berget from Beyond the Chicken Coop
This Chile Relleno Casserole is so full of flavor and can easily serve a crowd.
75 - Air Fryer Whole Chicken:
Bintu from Recipes From A Pantry
When it comes to easy Christmas meal preparation, my advice is to put your kitchen gadgets to work!
This Air Fryer Whole Chicken or my Air Fryer Ham are both quick and simple main courses.
Pair either one (or both if you’re feeding a crowd) with these Easy Smothered Potatoes and Instant Pot Cabbage, and you’ve got a delicious Christmas dinner that’s ready in no time!
And if you’re like me and love a good holiday cooking hack, then you’ve got to learn How to Cook Frozen Meatballs!
I always keep batch ready to go in the fridge during the holidays so I can just pull out, heat, and serve when needed.
Along with this easy to assemble (aka no cooking required) Fruit Platter, you’ll have a great no-fuss appetizer, party food, or light meal ready in just minutes.
And isn’t that what we all need during this busy holiday season?!
76 - Mac and Cheese Bar:
Lisa Longley from Simple Joy
My answer to an easy non traditional Christmas dinner would be a Mac and Cheese Bar.
Big trays of homemade cheesy Mac and Cheese, with tons of different toppings to make it buffalo flavored, pizza flavored, taco flavored and more.
77 - Pork Chops:
Subhasmita Panigrahi from The Flavours of Kitchen
While I love traditional Christmas dinner spread, It is always fun to be experimental and try out new things.
Planning a holiday dinner can be overwhelming, so the last thing I want is to spend hours in the kitchen.
Pork chops in Sour Cream are a great option as it takes just 20 minutes to make this dinner.
There is barely any cutting/ chopping required.
Serve the sour cream pork chops with garlicky mashed potatoes and some sauteed green beans on the side for a perfect festive dinner.
78 - Oven-Braise Pot Roast:
Erin Gierhart from State of Dinner
My favorite easy holiday dinner is an oven-braised pot roast!
I love it because it is close enough to a traditional dinner to appease the purists, while still giving you something a little different than what's expected.
It's also a meal that delivers big flavor with minimal effort.
Just 15 minutes of hands-on prep then the roast goes into the oven for a few hours.
That leaves you free to enjoy the company of your guests, unwrap presents, or do a little last-minute baking!
You can throw in some potatoes and carrots if you want a simple one-pot meal.
79 - Coq au Vin:
Stacey Doyle from Little Figgy
I would definitely surprise my family with a non-traditional Christmas dinner with a rustic pot of Coq au Vin, a rich flavored French chicken, and red wine stew that can be made the day before.
Then I would serve it up with a pile of nice crusty bread, and red wine, then for dessert, we'd thoroughly enjoy a decadent strawberries and cream dessert board.
80 - Medium Rare Sirloin:
Elaine Benoit from Dishes Delish
For the last 3 - 4 years, we’ve been celebrating Christmas at home with just the two of us.
It’s my hubby’s birthday so these last few years I’ve been asking him what he wanted me to make.
It’s different every year, but this year, he requested air fryer ribeye steak, with a side of cheesy broccoli, double baked potatoes and crusty bread.
So, we are really going non-traditional and I love it.
The only family tradition we're following is we’re going out for Mai Tai’s and Chinese food for Christmas eve.
81 - Baked Pesto Chicken:
Julie Pollitt from Back To My Southern Roots
It's always great to have some veggies on the side.
A spoonful of butterbeans on the plate adds more flavor and variety.
We always have dessert at Christmastime; therefore, we would finish the meal with a super easy slow cooker chocolate cake.
The holidays are an excellent time to be with the family, cherish what's important, and enjoy delicious food.
82 - Cranberry Brie Bites:
Lindsey from Lindsey Eats
This cranberry brie bites recipe is one of the most amazing and perfect holiday appetizers!
Not to mention, it looks extremely festive, but it comes together SO easily.
You can serve it on a cracker, or a baguette crostini.
You can also go ahead and prep the compote ahead of time, so you’re worrying less about your appetizers.
83 - Gouda Mac And Cheese:
Alejandra Segura from The Littlest Crumb
If I were to surprise my family with an easy and non-traditional Christmas dinner recipe, I would definitely choose my Gouda Mac And Cheese Recipe.
It is an extra creamy, comfort food pasta dish that everyone will love.
But this is no ordinary mac and cheese!
The Gouda gives the mac and cheese a slightly smoky, rich flavor. It's indulgent, but that's ok because it's Christmas!
Plus, since it only takes 30 minutes to make, it leaves plenty of time to prepare other side dishes, Christmas cocktails and desserts to serve with it.
84 - Spicy Spaghetti Recipe With Sausage:
Natasha Octon from Natasha's Food Adventures
An easy but beloved recipe that I enjoy surprising my family with is my Spicy Spaghetti with Italian Sausage.
The sauce is made from scratch and is packed with delicious flavors.
It's a recipe near and dear to my heart because it's the first meal I ever cooked for my husband when we first started dating and I know it's one of the things that won him over in the beginning.
Cooking a delicious meal is one of my favorite things to do for the people that I love.
Seeing their faces light up with a smile while enjoying something I've made just for them, brings me so much joy.
I hope this recipe can help others bring the same joy to their families this holiday season.
85 - Pan-Seared Wagyu Ribeye Steak:
Kori Shuda from Seeking Good Eats
They are both super simple - yet elegant and special enough for the holidays.
I love cooking but I’d rather spend the day with my family than cooking in the kitchen!
86 - One Skillet Chicken Pot Pie:
Michelle Huston from The Wooden Spoon Effect
My Non Traditional Family Christmas Dinner ideas all stem from comfort food.
What better time of the year should we seek comfort than Christmas?
When I think of Comfort Food.
I think of something warm and gooey with lots of calories! LOL…
I would definitely fix Chicken Pot Pie! And what's better than a regular ole Chicken Pot Pie?
Chicken Pot Pie made in one Skillet.
Give this One Skillet Chicken Pot Pie Recipe a try to change stuff up this Holiday Season.
87 - Beef Tenderloin Sliders:
Lisa from Knife & Paddle
If I were going to make a non-traditional Christmas meal, I would still want it to
be special. I think that Beef Tenderloin Sliders would be a great option.
They are delicious and elegant without all the fuss of a full sit down dinner.
All great options to complete your meal.
88 - Vegan Korean Chili Potatoes:
Nidhi Bothra from Nidhi Bothra blog
For a non-traditional Christmas dinner, I would totally go an Asian-Inspired route!
As a plant-based family, we love Asian food for sharing and capturing the warmth of the holidays with delicious flavors.
For appetizers, I’d do a Crispy Lotus Root, Korean Chili Potatoes, and Malaysian Roti Canai!
For main dishes I would do Paneer Satay and a Pistachio Black Rice with Soy-Glazed Veggies.
And to end off the night, a Coconut Pandan Bread Pudding is the perfect dessert!
89 - Gingerbread & Cherry Spice Bundt Cake:
Nicola Easterby from Polkadot Passport
My parents are British but I grew up in Australia.
So even in the sweltering heat, my dad always insists on making a full traditional Christmas dinner- roast turkey and all the trimmings.
After many years of Christmas pudding for dessert, my dad has finally allowed me to take care of the dessert portion of the meal.
Each year I create a new Christmas-themed dessert. This year, it was a Gingerbread and Cherry Spice Bundt Cake.
This dense, moist cake is infused with gingerbread spices, dotted with sour cherries and topped with biscoff cream cheese icing.
It’s much more delicious than Christmas pudding (at least, in my opinion!).
90 - No Bake Pecan Pie Cheesecake:
Shruthi Baskaran from Urban Farmie
As a vegetarian in an omnivore household, I often have to balance a lot of dietary needs when I'm planning holiday meals.
Most of the time, I opt for a stuffed acorn squash since it's really easy to customize.
Usually, I'll pair this with:
- A fun appetizer (like this spinach artichoke dip)
- A green salad (usually a vibrant kale salad),
- And an easy dessert
(This year, the plan is a no bake pecan pie cheesecake, because why choose between a pie and cheesecake when you can have both!)
91 - Lemon Rosemary Swordfish:
Lee Clayton Roper from A Well Seasoned Kitchen
Lemon Rosemary Swordfish is a favorite Christmas dinner entrée in our home.
The holidays are so hectic, especially as we get closer to the big day, so I’m always looking for recipes that can be prepared at least in part ahead, then quickly finished before serving.
For this scrumptious dish, swordfish filets are marinated in a pungent, tangy mixture of lemon (juice and zest), olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary and fresh garlic or shallot.
The fillets are then wrapped in foil or parchment paper along with a drizzle of the marinade, lemon slices and rosemary sprigs, and baked.
So easy, so impressive - and so festive!
92 - Sarmale:
Daniela Apostol from My Gorgeous Recipes
I grew up in Romania, and our traditional Christmas food doesn't include turkey with all the trimmings, but our national dish "Sarmale", or stuffed cabbage rolls with minced meat and rice.
They are usually served with polenta and sour cream, and can use any kind of mince, with pork being more popular at Christmas.
So although the stuffed cabbage rolls are pretty popular in other parts of the world too, I would still consider them a pretty unusual dish to serve at Christmas for someone who doesn't have an Eastern European background.
93 - Spaghetti Arrabbiata:
Gen La Rocca from Two Cloves Kitchen
Coming from an Italian-American family, I've never had the traditional fare on Christmas.
This year, for something new and different, I recommend you try this garlicky, spicy, tomato-based Spaghetti Arrabbiata.
It's a restaurant-quality meal that's sure to impress your loved ones and that's surprisingly easy to make!
94 - Dumplings:
CC from Asian Cooking Mom
Often for the holidays, my family will make dumplings to celebrate.
This helps bring the family together because dumpling wrapping can be a group activity. One person can make the wrappers and everyone can fold them.
With multiple people folding, the meal gets completed much faster.
It's a great activity where everyone can participate (even kids) and everyone can chat while doing it.
95 - Italian Meatballs & Classic Caesar Salad:
Jamie from Drive Me Hungry
These soft and tender Italian meatballs are great for the holidays because they can be made ahead of time and can serve a crowd!
They're made with ground beef and breadcrumbs for melt-in-your-mouth meatballs that are baked in the oven for easy clean up.
Serve them with this classic Caesar salad for a delicious holiday meal!
96 - Breaded Baked Camembert:
Barbara from My German Recipes
If I wanted to surprise my family with a quick, non-traditional, and easy Christmas dinner, I would make some “Breaded Baked Camembert” with some cranberry sauce and a salad as a side.
It’s easy to prepare and basically cooks itself in the oven after making it crisp in the pan.
It looks festive, tastes delicious and fills just enough to leave a little space for a desert.
The desert would be vanilla ice cream and some hot raspberries in their juice which I have heated before pouring it over the ice cream.
I wouldn’t get away with it because my family really wants that duck or goose with red cabbage and German dumplings.
97 - Vegan/Vegetarian Gluten Free Roast:
Shu-Chun from Joyful Dumplings
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, and gifts and decorations often take the forefront of importance.
If you're looking for an easy way to surprise your family and make sure everyone feels special on Christmas Day, look no further than this vegan/vegetarian gluten-free roast.
It may seem like gluten-free dishes only involve intricate recipes or non-traditional flavors and ingredients, but a plant-based gluten-free roast is actually very straightforward to prepare.
Not only is it easy on the wallet but it also gives you a chance to have all the flavors of traditional roasts with some healthy adjustments.
To bring out the flavors of your main dish choose vegetables that complement your chosen roast such as Brussels sprouts, baked scallop potatoes, and grilled asparagus in foil.
This will provide tons of flavor without all the hassle.
Finally add vegan gluten-free gravy to finish everything nicely and provide a flavorful base for each dish you serve.
Vegan/Vegetarian Gluten Free Roast will surprise your guests with its ease of preparation combined with its delicious flavors that won’t leave anyone feeling unsatisfied!
Your guests won’t forget this special holiday feast!
98 - Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans:
Kelly Bloom from Smells Like Delish
I would opt to serve my family one of four non traditional recipes love.
If I’m running short on time, I would serve my Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans as the easy homemade Sofrito simply transforms ordinary black beans.
Or, I’d lay out an array of Spanish tapas and make my Spanish Potato Tortillas recipe the centerpiece.
My homey Country Style Boneless Pork ribs and Southern Braised Collard Greens would make a comforting Southern inspired Holiday meal also.
99 - Vegan Waffles:
Jenna Urben from The Urben Life
For a quick and easy non-traditional Christmas dinner, I’d serve up soft and fluffy vegan waffles!
My family typically has tamales on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so it would be quite the treat to switch it up with breakfast for dinner.
Complete with maple syrup, fresh berries, and powdered sugar.
Now if they were craving something on the more savory side, I’d make my dairy free tater tot casserole.
It’s the ultimate make-ahead meal!
100 - Easy Marinated & Pan Fried Tamari Tofu:
Beckie Hemmerling from Eat Simple Food
This extra firm tofu recipe is marinated in tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and peanut or sesame oil. The tofu is pan fried until seared and crispy.
This Christmas, make something your family will never forget. From traditional roasts to tacos and pasta, there's a dish for everyone.
And with the help of Legend cookware, you can be sure that all your food will turn out great!
So get creative, have fun in the kitchen and enjoy delicious meals this holiday season.
The Legend team wishes you a Merry Christmas!