Take the stress out of Christmas morning and spread the work and some the food costs by preparing your festive favourites well in advance. Our classic, make-ahead Christmas recipes are all freezable and can be simply reheated on the big day.

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Find all the essentials, from roast potatoes, Yorkies and stuffing, to mince pies and Christmas cake. These ten easy recipes can be made fully or partly in advance, then frozen or stored in the fridge.

We've also created a Christmas cooking timeline that tells you what to make when in the lead-up to the big day.

If you're looking for more practical advice and recipe ideas to help you get organised this Christmas, see our freezable Christmas recipe collection, plus read our guides on make-ahead Christmas desserts and make-ahead Christmas starters.

Christmas pudding in a ceramic bowl with greaseproof paper

Make-ahead Christmas cooking timeline

Up to three months ahead (September-October):

• Make, keep, and feed the Christmas cake

• Make, keep, and feed a classic Christmas pudding

• Make and freeze gravy

Up to one month before (November-December):

• Prepare and freeze mince pies

• Prepare and freeze roast potatoes

• Prepare and freeze stuffing

• Prepare and freeze pigs in blankets

• Cook and freeze Yorkshire puddings

• Braise and freeze red cabbage

• Make and freeze bread sauce

Up to a week before:

• Make and keep the cranberry sauce

10 classic make-ahead Christmas recipes

1. Make & mature Christmas cake

Make and mature Christmas cake with spoon on top, in baking case

This traditional festive fruitcake is best made well in advance, and can be fed regularly with brandy, sherry, whisky or rum. Traditionally baked on Stir-up Sunday (the last Sunday before Advent), this cake just gets better the longer it has to soak up the flavours and develop a moist, rich texture.

Make & mature Christmas cake recipe

Try more Christmas cake recipes.

2. Easy mince pies

Nothing says Christmas like a freshly-baked mince pie, and these pretty pastries are sure to impress. Fill melt-in-the-mouth shortcrust pastry with our zesty homemade mincemeat and pop in the freezer up to a month ahead, ready to be baked from frozen at a moment's notice.

Unbelievably easy mince pies recipe

Discover more mince pies.

3. Golden roast potatoes

Golden roast potatoes in a bowl

Don't spend time peeling potatoes on Christmas morning – this hearty side can be made up to a month in advance, so you can relax and enjoy the festive fun. Par-boil then freeze for crispy spuds nobody will guess weren't made on the day.

Golden roast potatoes

4. Super-simple cranberry sauce

Tasty trimmings make all the difference with your roast. This classic cranberry sauce requires just three ingredients, and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Really simple cranberry sauce recipe

Try more cranberry sauce recipes.

5. Best ever Yorkshire puddings

Four Yorkshire puddings in a tray

Don't disappoint with droopy Yorkies – get a perfect rise with our light and fluffy make-ahead puds. Using only four ingredients, this recipe couldn't be easier and can be frozen for up to a month.

Best Yorkshire puddings

Check out more Yorkshire puddings.

6. Pigs in blankets with a twist

Turkey beware – this meaty side-dish might just steal the show! Give classic pigs in blankets a twist by adding dried fruit and mustard for a delicious kick. Wrap your sausages with streaky bacon and freeze. On the day, bake until sizzling and golden, then sit back and watch them disappear as soon as they hit the table.

Devil pigs on horseback

Find more pigs in blankets recipes.

7. Make-ahead gravy

Christmas gravy in a jug

Homemade gravy beats shop-bought sauce no matter the time of year – and on Christmas Day, this recipe will take your roast to the next level. Keep for up to three days in the fridge or freeze for up to three months. When you heat to serve, add the roasting juices from your turkey for a luxurious finishing touch.

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Make-ahead gravy recipe

For a veggie alternative, try our make-ahead madeira gravy.

8. Spiced red cabbage

Inject some vibrant colour and fruity flavour into your Christmas Day dinner with this tasty veggie side. Pop in the fridge for up to two days, or prepare a month in advance and freeze.

Christmas spiced red cabbage recipe

See more red cabbage recipes.

9. Chestnut & cranberry stuffing

Cranberry and chestnut stuffing roulade

This sausage stuffing is packed with festive flavours, combining classic sage and onion with apples, chestnuts and an attractive swirl of cranberries. Prepare two days ahead if you have room in the fridge, or up to a month ahead if you're planning to freeze.

Chestnut & cranberry roll

Check out more Christmas stuffing recipes.

10. Butterscotch Christmas pudding

Finish your feast the traditional way with a fruit-filled steamed pud, topped with butterscotch sauce and mixed nuts. Make early to allow the festive flavours to mingle – keep in the fridge for three days, or in the freezer for two to three weeks.

Butterscotch Christmas pudding recipe

Discover more of our Christmas pudding recipes.

Want more tips to get ahead?

Top tips for freezing food
Make-ahead Christmas desserts
Freezing food at Christmas
Top 10 Christmas canapés you can make ahead
Christmas menu ideas
Christmas dinner ideas

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