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.

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

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

2. Easy mince pies 

mince pie dusted with icing sugar

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

3. Golden roast potatoes

Don't spend time peeling potatoes on Christmas morning – this hearty side-dish 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 that nobody will be able to guess weren't made on the day.

Golden roast potatoes

4. Super simple cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce in a dish

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

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

6. Pigs in blankets with a twist

pigs in blankets with mustard

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

7. Make-ahead gravy

Homemade gravy beats boring 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

8. Spiced red cabbage

red cabbage with cinnamon stick

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

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

10. Butterscotch Christmas pudding

classic Christmas pudding

Finish your feast in 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

Want more tips to get ahead? Read these next:

Top tips for freezing food
Freezing food at Christmas
Christmas menu ideas
Christmas dinner ideas

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


Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Dec, 2014
What, no mini sausage rolls?! They are the make-ahead choice du jour round here!
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