Covers of cookbooks including Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook, Meera Sodha's East , Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh's Sweet, Rachel Khoo's The Little Swedish Kitchen and Delia's Happy Christmas.

Christmas is a time for family, friends and celebrations – especially when sitting around a table together has become even more meaningful in recent years. And what better way to gather than around food?

Whether you’re looking for guidance on how to make the perfect turkey for Christmas Day, inspiration for new vegetarian dishes to serve up, or you just want to eat something that isn’t leftovers, these cookbooks contain everything you need to make sure your Christmas is full of taste, however you’re marking it. Below, you'll find straightforward recipes for each side or main course, as well as information on the book they come from. 

For even more food inspiration, head over to our friends at The Happy Foodie, and subscribe to their newsletter for more Christmas recipe content.

Delia's turkey and stuffing

Delia’s Happy Christmas by Delia Smith (2009)

If you’re after a stress-free and classic Christmas, then turn to Delia Smith.

Delia’s Happy Christmas is not only a definitive guide to Christmas food – with recipes for everything from chutneys to Christmas pudding – it also offers an accessible way to plan for the festive season.

The book, which has 150 recipes, includes menu plans and shopping lists, as well as a countdown to ensure you get everything done on time, with minimum stress. And if you’re not as organised as Smith, there’s also a chapter on The Last-Minute Christmas, so you’ll be able to put together a fantastic celebration whatever your time constraints.

Make it: Delia's Traditional Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing and Traditional Roast Turkey

Jamie's gravy

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook by Jamie Oliver (2016)

This ultimate festive guide from Jamie Oliver is already a Christmas classic.

With Oliver's trademark ease and accessibility, recipes include smart starters like beef carpaccio, genius ways to use up leftovers such as turkey risotto and winter ragu, and delicious desserts such as chocolate pots.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to the best part of the Christmas meal: roast potatoes. 

Make it: Get-ahead Gravy Perfect for Your Big-day Turkey

Make it: Classic mince pies with flaky pastry, almonds and sweet syrup

Nigella's Christmas Cake

Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson (2020)

Nigella's home-cooking kept us all going during lockdown and her most recent book captures her infectious spirit. It boasts more than 150 new recipes, but also includes gastronomic essays ranging from a feel-good read declaring the death of the guilty pleasure and another defending brown food.

If you can tear yourself away from the stories Lawson tells, you’ll find that rare thing: new ideas for Christmas food. From nibbles and starters to mains and desserts, every recipe in this book is about taking joy in delicious – and innovative – festive meals. 

Make it: Nigella Lawson’s Traditional Christmas Cake

 

Kylee Newton's Cranberry Sauce

The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton

A leftover lunch is good, but a leftover lunch with homemade chutney is unbeatable. Kylee Newton's achingly tasteful guide to straightforward preserving offers a helpful guide to making the most of windfalls and seasonal produce.

It also contains one of the best recipes for cranberry sauce - one so good, and so easy, that you'll never consider throwing a jar of the stuff in your trolley ever again.

Make it: Cranberry, Port and Orange Sauce

Rachel Khoo's vegetarian 'ham'

The Little Swedish Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (2018)

If you’re looking to bring a little international flavour to your Christmas feasting, then turn to Rachel Khoo’s The Little Swedish Kitchen, a book of recipes celebrating every season.

Fuss-free and beautiful, the food within this book is all about what the Swedish call lagoon, the art of just the right amount.

Among the dishes perfect for festive meals is Khoo’s celeriac hasselback ‘ham’, a surprising vegetarian dish that will tempt even the most dedicated carnivore. 

Ottolenghi's truffles

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Got (2017)

If you have a sweet tooth but don’t like perennial festive favourites such as  Christmas pudding and Yule logs, then open up Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet.

Among the dishes in the book are blackberry and star anise friands, tahini and halva brownies, and these pecan and Prosecco truffles (which also make a great Christmas present).

Don’t worry if the dishes sound complicated, the book contains simple mini-cakes and cookies as well as dishes to try when you’re more confident.

Whatever you make, it’s guaranteed to be a showstopper. 

Meera Sodha's sprouts

East by Meera Sodha (2019)

There comes a point every Christmas where you’ve had enough of turkey, selection boxes and leftovers.

Step in Meera Sodha’s East, a book everyone needs to have on their shelves this festive season. Firstly, the recipes within are easy to make, which is a requirement as early as Boxing Day, when no one wants to be spending hours in the kitchen anymore.

And secondly, everything in East is exciting, vibrant and offers up a different taste profile to your standard Christmas fare.

East includes food from countries including India, Singapore and Thailand, with recipes for a quick roasted paneer aloo gobi, the Sodha family masala omelette and more. 

Make it: Meera Sodha's sprout Nasi Goreng

Mary Berry's red cabbage

Simple Comforts by Mary Berry (2020)

If anyone knows comfort, it's Queen-of-the-Aga Mary Berry. The former Bake Off judge is an expert in home cooking, so of course she knows her way around a triumphant festive dinner.

Beautifully cooked seasonal veg makes a perfect accompaniment on the big day and when it comes to winter greens, think red - cabbage. A hearty side to game dishes, it adds a tangy note to a roast.

Make it: Mary Berry’s Simmered Red Cabbage and Cider

Rukmini Iyer's two-tin Christmas Dinner

The Roasting Tin Around the World by Rukmini Iyer (2020)

How much washing up will be left by Boxing Day? Let me count the tins.... unless, that is, you're using the method proposed by roasting tin genius Rukmini Iyer, which uses just a couple. Yes, that's right: Christmas dinner, all in one go, in two tins. 

This recipe opts for chicken over turkey, which is perfect for a smaller crowd, and gives you step-by-step instructions for a hassle-free meal. Once you've got that in the oven, why not pop a Boozy Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding in, too?

Make it: The Christmas Two-Tin Traybake Feast: Roast Chicken with Bacon, Parsnips and Carrots, Roast Potatoes, Pigs in Blankets, Stuffing and Crispy Garlic Sprouts

Ruby Tandoh's Christmas pudding

Crumb by Ruby Tandoh (2014)

Decades on and we're still a nation devoted to turkey, but the appetite for heavy, alcoholic fruit puddings has somewhat waned. After a day of indulgence, often starting at breakfast, it can be difficult to muster enthusiasm for such stodge. 

Instead, then, try something a little lighter. Former Bake Off contestant and taste connossieur Ruby Tandoh has come up with a clever - and tasty - solution: a sponge that uses less booze and less heft, to give you all the sense of Christmas with none of the indigestion.

Make it: Lighter Christmas Pudding

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