Easiest ever Christmas dinner

Your turn to cook the big Christmas meal? Let us take away the stress with this modern, time-saving celebration menu featuring our simplest festive recipes.

Easiest ever Christmas dinner

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.

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. 

Buy your ingredients

We've pre-loaded your shopping list so that you can quickly buy all your ingredients for this menu in one go. Just click below to be taken to your shopping list, where you can buy all your ingredients from your preferred supermarket, add or remove any ingredients as needed, and even print the list, to use direct when shopping. (Serves 6)

The above shopping list is powered by Whisk. Please check your list thoroughly before purchasing. If the same items appear across different recipes they will not automatically combine in your list and you'll need to do this manually. Please also check the products that have been selected via the Whisk algorithm, as you may prefer a different brand from that listed.

The recipes

Cheat’s Christmas turkey with red cabbage wedges

Cheat's Christmas turkey

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.

Smashed roasties

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

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 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 

Peppered mackerel & pink pickled onion salad

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

Black forest Christmas 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...

Comments, questions and tips

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Lauren Breatnach's picture
Lauren Breatnach
16th Dec, 2019
Brilliant, this will be my Christmas Day bible! Thank you :)
4th Dec, 2017
Unless you're cooking a quail-sized turkey, your timing of just 90 minutes for the bird will result in a serious undercooking and all associated consequences. Suggest reworking the timescales ASAP.
goodfoodteam's picture
30th Nov, 2018
Hi there, thanks for your comment. The timings for the roast turkey were checked by our cookery team in November 2018 and work perfectly. Please note that the turkey is small (no more than 4kg) and is cooked rapidly at a high temperature (200C/180C fan/gas 6), for 1hr 30 minutes or until the internal bird temperature has reached 75C, as stated in the recipe. Best wishes, BBC Good Food Team
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