Your Christmas lunch time plan
Plan ahead using our failsafe recipes and enjoy more of Christmas! Our Christmas cooking timeline tells you what to make when, including when to defrost your veg and when to stuff the turkey
The hordes have arrived and the fridge is ready to erupt, but pulling together the perfect menu on time, and without breaking a sweat, is easier said than done. With food and guests vying for attention, your time plan is your secret weapon. Our Christmas cooking timeline will help keep your seasonal kitchen a stress-free zone this year, leaving you with less time faffing in the kitchen and more time enjoying Christmas. We've also included our make-ahead recipe plan, so you can get as much prep done before the big day.
Christmas recipe inspiration
Start by planning out your recipes and work out what you can prepare before Christmas Day. The final push should be all about cooking or reheating, not peeling and chopping. Check out our Christmas dinner recipe collection to pick your perfect menu, complete with centrepiece, sides and sauces. Time everything to perfection using our roast timer calculator and get top turkey every time.
Printable Christmas time plan
Click on the link below to access a printable version of our Christmas meal time plan, work out what time you'd like to eat and then fill in the gaps. Christmas has never been so easy!
To serve our Christmas lunch at 2pm
Here are some recipes you may be wanting to cook as part of a classic Christmas dinner, including a turkey centrepiece and all the trimmings.
Christmas menu – serves eight
Cider roast turkey
Glazed apples & pears with sticky shallots
Chestnut & cranberry roll
Creamy parsnip & squash bake
Chilli-charred brussels sprouts
Christmas spiced red cabbage
Buttery caraway carrots
Golden roast potatoes
Bread & walnut sauce
Cranberry & champagne sauce
Festive date & pecan pudding served with custard Chantilly, and stem ginger & brandy cream.
Prep for the big day with our festive make-ahead recipes, featuring roast potatoes, sprouts, stuffing and more. All make-ahead dishes should be kept in the fridge or freezer until ready to be cooked.
Up to one month ahead
- Parboil and freeze the golden roast potatoes.
- Make the chestnut & cranberry rolls, if freezing.
- Prep the spiced red cabbage
Up to four days ahead
- Make the cranberry & champagne sauce, leaving out the champagne
- Bake the festive date & pecan pudding
Up to two days ahead
- Make the chestnut & cranberry roll
- Prep and roast the glazed apples & pears with sticky shallots
- Prep and cook the creamy parsnip & squash bake
- Cook the Christmas spiced red cabbage
- Roast the stuffing roll – keep in the foil
- Boil or steam the crisp-topped sprouts and prepare the topping
- Steam the buttery caraway carrots
- Defrost anything frozen in the fridge
9.30am: Stuff the turkey, weigh and calculate cooking time. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
10am: Put the turkey in to roast (timings based on a 4.5kg turkey).
11am & 12pm: Check the roasting tin – add more cider if needed.
12.30pm: Remove the foil from the turkey to let it brown.
1pm: Leave the turkey to rest. Put the potatoes in the oven to roast, if frozen (if not, put in at 1.10pm). Make the gravy.
1.30pm: Turn oven up to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Turn the potatoes and add the stuffing roll to the oven to reheat.
1.45pm: Reheat the apples, pears and shallots in the oven if room, or in the microwave if not, adding a little extra glaze. Cover the parsnip bake with foil and put into the oven to reheat. Finish sprouts, carrots, cabbage and cranberry sauce. Take foil off the stuffing roll.
2pm: Serve and enjoy! Warm the pudding in the oven's residual heat while you eat.
Find more Christmas recipe inspiration...
- Christmas shopping list – essential buys for the big day
- Christmas dinner recipe collection
- Christmas portion planner
Discover our Christmas menu ideas:
- Traditional Christmas dinner menu
- Vegetarian Christmas menu
- Christmas menu for six
- Healthy Christmas menu
- Budget Christmas dinner menu
- Vegan Christmas menu
- Gluten-free Christmas menu
- Quick Christmas menu
- Christmas menu for two
- Christmas menu for a crowd
- Last-minute Christmas dinner menu
- Next level Christmas dinner menu
- Two-hour Christmas dinner menu