We all know Christmas can be an expensive time, but that doesn't mean you need to splurge on a fancy festive menu. With a few simple tricks and shortcuts, you can put on a showstopping Christmas dinner spread without compromising on quality or flavour. We've put together the ultimate pick-and-mix, budget-friendly menu, covering starters, mains, sides and desserts.



Spicy roasted parsnip soup

Spicy parsnip soup

If you're already planning to have the oven on in the days leading up to Christmas, pop in the parsnips and be rewarded with delicious, silky soup.

Rosemary polenta bites with peperonata

Rosemary polenta bites

These beauties take some time to make, but are well worth it. They also make the most of low-cost ingredients. Free up time on Christmas Day by making the peperonata in advance and the polenta the day before.

Cheesy confit garlic bread

Garlic bread

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, made with slow-cooked garlic for a more mellow flavour.


Turkey, bacon & chorizo bombe

Get your turkey, pigs in blankets and stuffing fix all in one with this stunning turkey, bacon & chorizo bombe. Cooking turkey breasts is much cheaper and easier than roasting a whole turkey, and the sausagemeat and bacon wrap helps keep it moist and full of flavour.

Mushroom bourguignon pithivier

mushroom bourguinon pithivier

Serve our moreish mushroom bourguignon pithivier as a vegan main course. Use chestnut and portobello mushrooms, or another selection of cheaper mushrooms.

Quick-roast Christmas chicken & sticky veg

quick roast Christmas chicken with sticky veg

Enjoy an energy- and cost-efficient festive lunch – we’ve used a few tricks to cut down on the oven cooking time, but the result is still a succulent chicken. This is part of Barney Desmazery's Cook Smart Christmas menu.

For more ideas, take a look at our Budget Christmas centrepieces.


Air-fryer pigs in blankets


Make homemade Christmas pigs in blankets easily by using an energy-efficient air fryer. If you have herbs to hand, add flavourings such as sage leaves.

Roasted roots

Throw your potatoes, carrots, celeriac and parsnips into one tin and roast with goose fat for an irresistible traybake. It’ll free up some much needed space in your oven, too.

Microwave cauliflower cheese

microwave cauliflower cheese

Cook the British classic, cauliflower cheese, easily in the microwave. With prep and cook time in under half an hour, it's a worthwhile side.

Charred sprouts with Marmite butter

Here's a dish that's sure to get your guests talking: charred sprouts with Marmite butter. It’s cheaper to make than traditional chestnut and bacon sprouts, and you only need a small amount of Marmite to add a super-savoury umami flavour.

Microwave caraway & pomegranate red cabbage

microwave red cabbage

No Christmas dinner is complete without a side of red cabbage. Pomegranate juice and caraway seeds add festive flavour.

No-waste gravy

No waste gravy

Make our no-waste gravy using overripe tomatoes, mushrooms, herb stalks, leek tops and celery leaves to give it added flavour.


Chocolate robins' nests

Chocolate robins' nests

Chill these cornflake chocolate nests in the fridge, then top with icing snow – a lovely activity to do with kids.

Christmas crumble

Christmas crumble

Mix apples with frozen red fruits, cinnamon and mixed spice for a Christmas-flavoured family favourite.

Easy Christmas pudding ice cream

Christmas pudding ice cream

Cool down after your festive lunch with an ice cream treat that includes all the flavours of a classic Christmas pud.

Do you have any bread saving tips for Christmas dinner? Leave a comment below.


Get more inspiration with our other Christmas menus:

Next level Christmas dinner
Easiest ever Christmas dinner
Classic Christmas menu
Vegetarian Christmas menu
Vegan Christmas menu
Quick Christmas menu
2-hour Christmas menu
Christmas menu for a crowd
All our Christmas menus

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