A Christmas Day lunch menu and time plan

Have a hassle-free Christmas Day with our lunch menu for 8 people. It comes with a shopping list for all the ingredients and a time plan for the day.

All you need to do is prepare a few elements of the lunch using our make-ahead tips.

Take a look at the menu, time plan and our Christmas dinner shopping list (for all the recipes) below.


A Christmas Day lunch menu and time plan

A Christmas lunch menu for 8 people

To start

Herbed crab, saffron and chilli mayonnaise with toasted baguette
(Make ahead: Make the saffron and chilli mayonnaise up to 3 days ahead, stirring through the crabmeat just before serving. Make the toasts and store in an airtight container, then warm through in the oven just before serving.)

crab christmas starter

The roast turkey
Roast turkey with fennel and paprika with proper gravy, to serve
(Make ahead: Make the spice rub up to 1 month in advance and keep cool in an airtight container.)

spiced roast turkey

The trimmings
Baked pork, almond and marsala stuffing with bread sauce topping
(Make ahead: assemble the night before. Cover and chill, then bake.)

Roast potatoes and apples with bacon and herb salt
(Make ahead: make the bacon and herb salt, without the parsley or chives, up to 2 days ahead. Keep somewhere cool and dry. The salt helps to preserve the bacon, so it’s fine to keep out of the fridge. The potatoes can be peeled, chopped and kept in lightly salted water for up to 6 hours or unsalted water overnight. Keep them somewhere cool – but not in the fridge or they’ll go sticky.)

Balsamic and brown sugar roast carrots and parsnips

Brussels sprouts cooked in foaming butter with crispy chestnuts
(Make ahead: blanch, drain and refresh the sprouts under cold water the day before. Pat them dry with kitchen paper, then store in the fridge, covered in damp kitchen paper, until needed.)

Seasonal greens with hazelnuts and lemon

For dessert
Panettone, vin santo berries and zabaglione cream trifle
(Make ahead: the trifle will sit in the fridge overnight if you have room, but add a bit less syrup to the berries if you’re doing it this way (their juice will seep out as they sit). Otherwise you can make it in the morning. Top with the crumbled amaretti just before serving.)

Christmas champagne

Christmas dinner shopping list

Follow this link to add everything you need, for the menu above, to your favourite online shop. Or, if you prefer browsing the aisles at the supermarket, you can download and print the shopping list here.

Christmas dinner timings

This assumes you’ve done the extra bits for 
the menu in advance – see make aheads on each recipe.

These timings are so you can serve the starter at 2.30pm and main course at 3.15.

  • 7.30am Remove the turkey from the fridge, rub with the spice mix and leave to come to room temperature.
  • 10am Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4/. Stuff the turkey with the lemon and herbs and put in its roasting tin.
  • 10.30am Put the 
turkey in the oven.
  • 12.30pm Check the turkey temperature – if it’s not 65-70°C, put it back in for a little while.
  • 12.50pm When the turkey is done, rest it somewhere warm and out of the way.
  • 1pm Turn the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and take the stuffing out of the fridge. Put the fizz on ice and ask someone to lay the table.
  • 1.10pm Make the gravy, then set aside. Heat a large pan of water for the potatoes.
  • 1.30pm Parboil the potatoes. Chop the apples, parsnips and carrots. Drain and toss the potatoes in the flour. Put the fat into the oven to heat up.
  • 2pm Put the potatoes, apples, carrots and parsnips in to roast. Mix the crab with the herbs, stir the brown crabmeat through the mayonnaise and divide both among bowls. Warm the toasts in the oven for 1-2 minutes.
  • 2.30pm Put the stuffing in the oven and the Christmas pud on to steam (if you’re having one). Serve starter.
  • 2.50pm Get the butter foaming and cook the chestnuts, warm the gravy and add the turkey juices. Check the veg in the oven – remove anything cooked and crisp and rest it for a few minutes.
  • 3pm Once the roast veg and stuffing are all done, turn the oven right down to keep everything warm – put in your plates if you want to warm them. Get a pan of water boiling for the greens. While the bird is being carved, get someone else to top up drinks. Cook the sprouts and the greens.
  • 3.15pm Enlist several people – some to help plate up, some to ferry things back and forth. Remove your apron, 
sit down with a glass of wine and relax…
  • Don’t forget to take the trifle out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving and to plate up the pud if you’re having it.

Wine pairings for our Christmas Day lunch menu

  • Start with a glass of fizz as an aperitif.
  • A classic white at Christmas for the crab toasts is a fine apple-scented chablis; a more adventurous alternative would be lime-scented Australian dry riesling.
  • With the turkey, choose a medium-weight red with fresh red berry fruit, such as a chianti classico or young red rioja crianza.
  • Vin santo, the ‘holy’ sweet wine of Italy, golden and nutty, is the perfect sip with the trifle. Serve it lightly chilled – divine indeed.

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.