Complete Christmas menu: Quick

Spare yourself hours in the kitchen with our time-saving Christmas dinner menu. From simple starters to alternative mains, this year's festive prep will be easier than ever.

Four Christmas poussins in a roasting tray

It’s perfectly reasonable to want to avoid hours chained to the stove on the big day. There are plenty of festive recipes that take minutes rather than hours, slashing cooking time and giving you more time to spend with your friends and family. The key to speedy delivery is minimal prep time, so we’ve tried to keep it short with our choices. We've compiled a selection of recipes for each course, so you can tailor your festive menu to suit the size of your festive gathering.

Christmas morning

Base your breakfast around eggs or whip up some speedy pancakes. Both cook in minutes and provide a suitably savoury start to a day of serious feasting. Combine fried eggs, avocados, chutney and cream cheese in our breakfast naans for a flavoursome breakfast that takes just 10 minutes. It also counts as one of your 5-a-day, setting you up for some serious indulgence later.

Two naan breads topped with fried eggs, avocados and cream cheese


Get more quick breakfast inspiration

For one (can easily be doubled to serve more)... 
Flash-fried smoked salmon & egg bagel (Ready in 5 mins)
Smoked salmon & lemon scrambled eggs (Ready in 10 mins)
Ultimate French omelette (Ready in 5 mins)

For two...
Banana pancakes (Ready in 10 mins)
Herb omelette with fried tomatoes (Ready in 10 mins)

For four...
Cheesy scrambled egg croissants (Ready in ten mins)

Christmas dinner

Starters

Get ahead with dishes you can make in advance or serve an array of luxurious products, such as smoked salmon and fine cheeses – a classic cheat’s choice. Smoked salmon dishes are always a popular choice and can be whipped up in a few minutes. For a light veggie starter, try our zingy halloumi, carrot & orange salad with a punchy mustard and honey dressing. This easy, colourful dish is ready in just 20 minutes and adds a vibrant start to your menu.

Halloumi and carrot salad


Try our other speedy starters

For two...
Seared garlic seafood with spicy harissa bisque (Ready in 15 mins)

For four to six...
Baked camembert (Ready in 25 mins)
Smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche (Ready in 15 mins)
Marinated smoked salmon with poppy seeds (Ready in 15 mins)

For eight...
Smoked salmon flatbreads (Ready in 8 mins)

Main courses

A huge joint of meat is always going to take hours roasting, so think outside the box when it comes to your choice of cut or alternative centrepiece. These festive mains can be prepared and cooked in an hour or less, so there'll be no need to watch the oven all day.

Partridge with wine and cinnamon


For one (can easily be doubled to serve more)...
Cranberry & lentil bake (Ready in 30 mins)

For two...
Partridge with wine & cinnamon (Ready in 55 mins)
Roasted duck breast with plum sauce (Ready in 35 mins)
Mushroom & olive tatins (Ready in 40 mins)

For four...
Christmas poussin (Ready in 45 mins)
Pot-roast pheasant with cider & bacon (Ready in 1 hour)
Honey-roasted duck with creamed cauliflower (Ready in 1 hour)

Roast cauliflower on a plate

For six...
Roast cauliflower with caper dressing (Ready in 1 hour)
Rain-or-shine leg of lamb (Ready in 45 mins)
Herby cheese roulade (Ready in 45 mins)

For eight...
Clementine & vodka-baked salmon with beetroot crème fraîche sauce (Ready in 1 hour) 

Side dishes

Prepare a delicious array of sides, each of which can be on the table in 20 minutes or under. From stir-fried festive cabbage to crushed olive oil potatoes, our speedy shortcuts mean you can enjoy all the trimmings with less hassle.

Stir-fried red cabbage and kale in a red frying pan

For two...
Glazed baby veg (Ready in 5 mins)
Crushed olive oil potatoes (Ready in 20 mins)
Garlic & shallot spinach (Ready in 20 mins)

For four...
Stir-fried festive cabbage (Ready in 20 mins)
Tangy chicory salad (Ready in 10 mins)
Tenderstem broccoli with sesame (Ready in 10 mins)
Creamy polenta with spinach (Ready in 5 mins)
Simple green beans (Ready in 10 mins)

Oval bowl of hazelnut carrots

For six...
Hazelnut & mustard carrots (Ready in 18 mins)
Brussels sprouts with pancetta (Ready in 10 mins)
Rosemary-spiked cabbage (Ready in 15 mins)
Garlicky green beans (Ready in 10 mins)
Fresh mint & raisin sauce (Ready in 10 mins)
Spinach with pine nuts & garlic (Ready in 5 mins)

Dessert

If you've neither the time nor the patience to cook a traditional Christmas pudding or an intricate baked Alaska, our super-speedy sweets will save the day. You can whip up one of these elegant parfaits, mousses or meringues in just 10 minutes or under – guests need never know how little time they took!

Peanut butter parfait topped with bananas with a caramel sauce and crumb

For two...
Bellini granita (Ready in 10 mins)
Inside-out Alaska (Ready in 5 mins)
Peanut butter parfait with salted caramel crunch (Ready in 10 mins)

For four...
Chocolate soup (Ready in 10 mins)
Banoffee trifles (Ready in 5 mins)
Easy chocolate mousse (Ready in 7 mins)
Almond & apricot trifles (Ready in 10 mins)
Amaretti affogato (Ready in 5 mins)

Blackforest Christmas fool in two serving glasses

For six...
Black forest Christmas fool (Ready in 10 mins)
Sticky sultana pudding (Ready in 10 mins)
Microwave meringues in minutes (Ready in 5 mins)
After-dinner mint cream (Ready in 10 mins)

Snacking

If anyone gets the munchies between meals, a simple spread of quick bites, sandwiches and dips will bridge the hunger gap in no time.

Date and cinnamon slices on a bowl

For one (can easily be doubled to serve more)... 
Date & walnut cinnamon bites (Ready in 5 mins)
Pan-fried camembert sandwich (Ready in 5 mins)

For two...
Mini saltimbocca sandwiches (Ready in 10 mins)
Chorizo & red pepper hummus (Ready in 10 mins)
Avocado with Virgin Mary dressing (Ready in 5 mins)

For four to six...
Smoked salmon & rice salad (Ready in 10 mins)
Smoked trout & horseradish pâté (Ready in 5 mins)
Ricotta & spring onion dip (Ready in 5 mins)
Choc & ginger dippers (Ready in 7 mins)
Feta & cucumber bites (Ready in 10 mins)

For a crowd
Quick and easy party nibbles (Ready in 1 hour)

Drinks

Whether your guests are going booze-free or fancy a classic festive tipple, we've got plenty of quick drinks you can mix up in 15 minutes or fewer. All that's left to do is grab a glass and join in the evening's festivities.

Two glasses of snowball cocktail with glace cherries

For one...
Classic snowball (Ready in 5 mins)
Piña colada (Ready in 5 mins)
Spiced piña colada mocktail (Ready in 15 mins)

Irish coffee (Ready in 5 mins)

For two...
Sloe Royales (Ready in 2 mins)
Hot toddy (Ready in 5 mins)

For four...
Eggnog (Ready in 10 mins, plus 2 hours chilling)
Spiced Bloody Marys (Ready in 5 mins)
Mulled wine cocktail (Ready in 12 mins, plus 2 hours chilling)

Two glasses of mulled wine

For six... 
Easy mulled wine (Ready in 15 mins)
Gin-free G&T (Ready in 10 mins, plus 2 hours infusing)
Bellini (Ready in 5 mins)
Mimosa recipe (Ready in 5 mins)
Cinnamon butter rum (Ready in 9 mins)

For a crowd...
Mulled pear & cranberry punch (Ready in 10 mins)
Christmas cosmopolitan (Ready in 5 mins)

Want a plan that takes all the stress out of Christmas dinner? Try our easiest ever, next level or budget menu plans, complete with timeplan, pre-loaded shopping list (to print out or use for online shopping) and all the recipes you'll need for the big day.

Find more Christmas menus...

Complete Christmas menu: Vegetarian
Vegan Christmas menu
Gluten-free Christmas menu
Complete Christmas menu: Classic
2-hour Christmas menu
Complete Christmas menu: For a crowd
Complete Christmas menu: For two
All our Christmas menus

How do you handle cooking a big meal under time pressure? Share your tips below...
 

Comments, questions and tips

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goldionthelevels
23rd Dec, 2015
Small birds are all very nice, but surely one of the best things about the Yuletide Feast is the large amount of yummy leftovers to pick at for the next few days?
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