Christmas cake fed with brandy on a board next to a bottle

10 classic Christmas recipes you can make ahead

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

Faced with a long list of festive food prep? These easy, make-ahead Christmas recipes will help save you time on the day. We’ve got 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.

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1. Make & mature Christmas cake

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

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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

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3. Golden roast potatoes

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

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5. Best ever Yorkshire puddings

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

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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

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7. Make-ahead gravy

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.

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

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9. Chestnut & cranberry stuffing

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

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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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When do you start preparing for Christmas? Share your top tips for getting ahead in the comments below…