Does the thought of cooking an entire Christmas dinner for friends and family make you shudder? Our cookery writer Sophie Godwin has created the ultimate simplified menu for a stress-free day. With a range of time-saving techniques and showstopping flavour twists, this is the only festive menu you'll ever need. Embrace the art of the shortcut!


In order to speed up your preparations, we've used a small turkey (no more than 4kg), which is cooked rapidly at a high temperature (200C/180C fan/gas 6), like a chicken. As it comes out of the oven hotter than usual, It needs longer to rest so the meat can relax and stay succulent.

If meat isn't your modus operandi, take a look at our veggie and vegan Christmas menus. We've also got a gluten-free menu, as well as a healthy Christmas menu if you're trying to not go too overboard this festive season. For time saving tips, see our last-minute Christmas dinner menu or our quick Christmas menu. Whether you're feeding a crowd, six people or just the two this year, we've got you covered.

Your timeplan to eat at 2pm

View and print our at-a-glance infographic time plan.

  • 11am Take your turkey out of the fridge.
  • 11.30am Heat the oven. Prepare the rosemary butter and rub underneath the turkey skin.
  • 12pm Put the turkey in the oven to roast.
  • 12.15pm Boil the potatoes and root vegetables. Make the harissa & orange marmalade glaze. Chop the ingredients for the stuffing sprouts.
  • 1pm Baste the turkey, pour in the white wine and nestle cabbage wedges around the bird. Return to the oven.
  • 1.10pm Prepare the separate ingredients for the mackerel starter.
  • 1.25pm Smash the roasties and put them in the oven.
  • 1.30pm Check the turkey – take out to rest if the internal temperature has reached 75C. If not done, carry on cooking for a further 5-10 mins. Return the cabbage to the oven to finish cooking.
  • 1.35pm Toss the roasted roots in the harissa glaze, then put in the oven.
  • 1.40pm Make the gravy, cook the sprouts and keep warm.
  • 2pm Sit down to eat the starter, with everything for your lunch ready to go.
  • The dessert takes just 10 minutes to assemble, so you can do it once you've enjoyed the main course.

The recipes

Cheat’s Christmas turkey with red cabbage wedges


There's no switching temperatures with this bird, just some serious roasting, flavoured with rosemary and garlic. The turkey is cooked high and fast like a chicken, giving it extra crispy skin. As it comes out of the oven hotter than usual, it needs longer to rest so the meat can relax and stay succulent.

More like this

Smashed roasties


Roasties really don't get easier than these smashed potatoes with just two ingredients. Boiling them for longer then smashing them makes for more surface area, meaning extra crispy bits for everyone!

Harissa & marmalade roasted roots


These easy roasted root veggies are cooked with aromatic harissa and a big dollop of sweet marmalade that leads to delicious, caramelised beauties. All they require is boiling for a couple of minutes, roasting and coating.

Stuffing sprouts


Stuffing meets sprouts in this super simple side dish. Anyone who's not totally sold on brilliant Brussels is sure to be won over by these golden toasted veggies.

Peppered mackerel


This mackerel starter with its quick pickled onion is impressive, and it takes little time as it's part of making your dressing. This can be assembled while your turkey's in the oven.

Black forest fool


And finally, the easiest-ever chocolatey dessert. This indulgent Black Forest treat can be whipped up in ten minutes flat and requires no forward prepping. If you fancy a non-alcoholic version, feel free to substitute a can of cherries in syrup.

Want to top off your menu with some simple prosecco cocktails? Get in the party spirit with these easy seasonal drinks.

For more inspiration visit our Christmas dinner page, or browse our other Christmas menus...

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


What are your easiest-ever Christmas shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below...

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