The best Christmas cookbooks
Everyone needs a Christmas cookbook (or three), something you can count on to see you through the festive season without even breaking a sweat, almost. Here's our mouth-watering roundup of the books Mumsnet users rely on for their Yuletide feasts
1. Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities, £16.41 (was £26)
Unlike Delia, Nigella likes to nudge readers out of their Christmas comfort zones with a variety of adventurous recipes – including some that sound downright bizarre. Miraculously, they always produce delicious results. If you haven't tried her infamous Cola-Cola ham, where have you been? The resulting glazed joint is tender and flavoursome enough to make it a new family staple, Christmas or not.
“Nigella's star-topped mince pies and ham in cherry cola are two of my must-have recipes; I think there would be a mutiny here if they were not constantly available in December!”
“I made Nigella's Christmas morning muffins yesterday. They're always lovely and ridiculously easy – but the real reason for making them is the smell: pure Christmas.”Buy now from Amazon
2. Delia Smith's Happy Christmas, £19.28
Delia Smith, or St Delia as she is often referred to on our Talk boards, is the queen of traditional Christmas fare. This re-vamped version of the original Delia Smith's Christmas will still walk you through everything from making your Christmas cake in November to what to do with leftovers – just with a more up-to-date feel.
“The mini puff pastry tarts with different toppings – tomato, mustard and thyme, goats cheese, olive and thyme, and pancetta, parmesan and sage. These were great as I made them ahead of time and then reheated them in the oven. They also looked very impressive compared to how easy they were to make.”
“Delia's book is beautiful. There are some very traditional recipes so it's more suited to adults, but it's got stunning pictures and it makes me feel all cosy and festive reading it.”Buy now from Amazon
3. Mary Berry's Christmas Collection, £17.44
For a foolproof Christmas, lots of Mumsnetters turn to Great British Bake Off royalty Mary Berry. Mary even kindly provides sample menus and shopping lists alongside her straightforward Christmas Day countdown, giving you a bit more headspace in those last few hectic days (and preventing the realisation that you've got no potatoes on Christmas morning).
“I love the Mary Berry Christmas Cake Bites. It is a tray bake, very easy and delicious. I have made it for a few parties and even people who say they don't like Christmas cake like these.”
“Mary Berry's mincemeat tart armandine is delicious, and I like her pheasant breast recipe.”Buy now from Amazon
Related: Festivities at yours this year? You need our ultimate Christmas hosting checklist
4. Feast: Food that Celebrates Life, £30
Yet more Nigella, but Feast deserves its place in the cookbook hall of fame too. It's not a dedicated collection of Christmas recipes, but rather a treasure trove of advice on how to celebrate every conceivable occasion through food: from Christmas, Hannukah and Eid, weddings and funerals, to breakfast in bed and midnight feasts. This is a cookbook you will turn to again and again.
“I made the brined turkey from Nigella and it was fantastic! Got lots of compliments on it, although the skin went more of a dark brown than a golden colour. I just wish my husband liked turkey so I could make it again soon…”
“One of my most used books as it caters for when you've got big numbers to feed. Brilliant when you casually invite 20 friends over and they all accept… gulp!"Buy now from Amazon
5. Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook, £12.94
Jamie's Christmas cookbook has all the bases covered, from classic and simple recipes to edible gifts, cocktails and ingenious ways to use up leftovers. But the real selling point of Jamie's Christmas offering is that lots of the recipes are designed to be cooked at the same temperature, to help things go smoothly on the big day. Also, judging from Mumsnetters' feedback, it's worth adding this book to your collection just for the gravy.
“Jamie Oliver's get-ahead turkey gravy is fantastic and so easy and I'm rubbish at gravy-making. I shove it in the freezer and bring out on Xmas morning.”
“My best tip is to DO THE GRAVY IN ADVANCE: this is one tip I'm forever grateful for. So a week or two in advance you roast up a tray of chicken legs, root veg, garlic and onion. After a couple of hours, you mush everything up and strain all the liquid and goodness back into the roasting pan, scrape off the crusty bits with some stock and wine, then thicken. You have the time to get it as smooth as you like and you can make plenty.”
“Another vote for Jamie's gravy – I've used it the last three years or so and it's lovely. Drinkable, even.”Buy now from Amazon
Related: Need gift ideas for a foodie? Check out our favourite Christmas hampers
6. The Hairy Bikers' 12 Days of Christmas, £17.50
Your favourite culinary duo has got you covered for the festive season. With recipes for everything from Christmas telly nibbles to sweet treats to mulled wine, (plus ideas for getting the kids involved too), they'll ensure your celebration goes off without a hitch.
“The Hairy Bikers' mulled wine really is best ever IMO – the house smells like a German Christmas market.”
“I made mincemeat from the Hairy Bikers' cookbook once, that was amazing! So boozy, though. Not one for the kids.”Buy now from Amazon
7. Sarah Raven's Complete Christmas, £22.50
More than just a cookbook, Sarah Raven's book is a companion that will see you through all of your Christmas preparations, with tips on decorations and floral arrangements to complement your Yuletide feast. Perfect for those of us who like to get a little OTT once the Christmas countdown begins.
“The Sarah Raven Christmas Pudding is my foolproof, tried and tested one. The only booze in it is some brown ale, but you can substitute this with milk. I am no cook, but it turns out really well. I simmer them for about five hours, and then put them away. A medium one then takes about 10 minutes in the microwave on Christmas Day.”
“Her book just arrived and is brilliant! Lovely poncey recipes and unrealistic flower arranging ideas. Great.”Buy now from WHSmith
Related: After more of a fictional read? Get the mulled wine bubbling and pop one of these festive audiobooks on
8. Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries II, £30
As well as providing a plethora of excellent recipes (that really work), a Nigel Slater cookbook always reads beautifully, and this second installation ofhis Kitchen Diaries is no exception. Compiled from old scribblings in notebooks, this cookbook has a delightfully personal feel – you could easily spend a few hours just leafing through it. And the festive recipes are pretty marvellous too.
“I dream of the Nigel Slater ham in the lead up to Christmas. It is currently on the hob!”
“Nigel Slater's mincemeat cheesecake – no one likes Christmas pud and this is delicious!”
“Nigel is a GOD and his food philosophy is exactly the way I approach food… all his recipes work, they are tasty, photography is divine and I could read Kitchen Diaries all night…”Buy now from Amazon
And if in doubt, use them all
My holy trinity is Queen Delia, Nigella and Mary 'mother of all things wonderful' Berry.
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