Make ahead food for Christmas Day

Family sitting around table eating Christmas dinner

Rather be spending Christmas Day opening presents than slaving over a hot stove? Take some stress out of the big day with our make-ahead recipes and tips for preparing Christmas dinner in advance

Dishes you can prepare in advance and freeze

Roast potatoes

Potatos being prepared

“Par boil potatoes and shake 'dry'. Brush in melted goose fat/oil and open freeze on a tray until solid, then bag up and use from frozen. Needs about 30-40 mins in a hot oven.”

Chestnuts (for the sprouts)

Chestnuts with bacon and sprouts

“I've collected chestnuts this week (for free!) and they're now all blanched and peeled and in the freezer ready for stuffing and stir frying with Brussel leaves and bacon.”

Pigs in blankets

Pigs in blankets

“Make and freeze sausage wrapped in bacon. Freeze in foil trays that can go in oven. Cook on Christmas morning and then reheat for 10 minutes or so when needed.”


Stuffing balls

“Make stuffing and freeze in an ovenproof shallow dish or a foil tray, you just need to thaw it overnight and put in the oven, cut up into squares or wedges when cooked.”

Braised red cabbage

Red cabbage

“I also do my red cabbage and shove it in the freezer. Just defrost it and put it in a pan then reheat it through.”

Even the turkey. Yes, really.

Roast turkey slices

“Get a boned and rolled turkey breast from the butcher, cook it in advance and slice it, freeze it in gravy.”

Dishes to prepare on Christmas Eve


Turkey gravy

“Make the gravy the day before and add the meat juices on the day. I always use Jamie Oliver's make-ahead gravy.”

Sprouts and other veg

Brussel sprouts

“Peel and cut sprouts and carrots and put them in a ziplock bag ready for cooking. No need to freeze, just refrigerate (or in our house, leave in the utility room as it's like a coldbox). Who needs an extra fridge in this weather?”

As for the turkey, you can prep it

Turkey wrapped in bacon

“To prep my turkey I put my onion and oranges inside the cavity, grease the skin, plaster it in bacon and wrap the bird up in the baking tray and foil so it is 100% ready to just be whacked in the oven on Christmas morning.”

Or actually cook it the day before

Joey Turkey gif

“I cook my turkey on Christmas Eve. I make a thin stock using some of the juices from the turkey pan and, about an hour before dinner, I put my slices of turkey with stock poured over in a shallow baking tin, cover with foil and reheat. It makes the turkey really juicy. Also this is the way most hotels prepare turkey for large numbers.”

How to cook a turkey for Christmas

Cooking a Christmas turkey can be challenging, but it's actually much easier than it looks. Watch our video with Paul Kelly, a turkey farmer and owner of KellyBronze, for tips on how to make the perfect Christmas turkey. It's an easy recipe that guarantees a great tasting turkey on the big day.