Tired of turkey? Switch things up and plan a festive feast with these unique Christmas dinner ideas and side dish recipes!
What is a Traditional Christmas Dinner?
A traditional Christmas dinner will vary depending on where you live, as different cultures have different holiday meals.
In the United States, a “traditional Christmas dinner” often consists of a roast turkey or Christmas ham accompanied by hearty family-style side dishes. Popular sides include stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, and cranberry sauce.
However, a traditional dinner is usually a lot of work! It can take hours to cook a large turkey, and not to mention prepping and cooking several side dishes. From-scratch dinner rolls can take all day to make the yeast dough and allow it to rise.
So if you’re looking for something a little easier, or some unique flavors, here are some non-traditional Christmas dinner ideas to give a try for your Christmas dinner table this year!
30+ Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner Recipes
Plan your menu with these fun and tasty twists on holiday dinner!
Use the table of contents below to jump to different categories. To view a full recipe instructions, simply tap on the recipe name or photo.
Main Dish Recipes
These unique holiday dinner ideas are sure to create a memorable meal!
Lasagna Roll Ups – Layers of pasta, tomato sauce, herbs and cheese get wrapped up in a delicious dish that’s ready in 20 minutes!
Pork Souvlaki Skewers – Tender marinated pork is grilled to perfection with plenty of veggies for a Greek-inspired meal that will be requested again and again!
Baked Salmon in Foil – Why not try seafood for a change? With this foolproof cooking method, your salmon will be unbelievably moist and delicious!
Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken – Never suffer through dry chicken again! Cooking chicken in crockpot will give you perfectly tender and juicy slow cooker rotisserie chicken every single time!
Easy Oven Baked Chicken – Oven baked chicken tastes just like juicy rotisserie chicken and is easy to make at home (and cheaper too!)
Gluten Free Baked Ziti – This gluten free baked ziti is so flavorful that you might like it even better than the “real thing!” Can be made dairy free too!
Ham Sheet Pan Dinner – This easy Sheet Pan Ham Dinner has all the flavors of a holiday meal, in one pan! This is perfect if you’re planning a holiday dinner for two and don’t want to make a huge meal.
Instant Pot Keto Pot Roast – Planning a low carb holiday dinner? This Mississippi style pot roast is so tender that every bite literally melts in your mouth!
Old Fashioned Meatloaf – This is a classic for a reason! This meatloaf recipe is made with oatmeal so it is hearty and flavorful, and surprisingly healthy (it’s gluten free!)
Old Fashioned Pot Roast – Beef roasts are a simple comfort food that is sure to please your dinner guests. Learn how to make old fashioned pot roast with vegetables, just like Granny’s!
Easy Homemade Lasagna – This might just be the easiest homemade lasagna you’ll ever make! Just like my aunt and uncle used to serve at their Italian restaurant — it’s authentic, cheesy, and delicious!
Garlic Roasted Pork Loin – This simple garlic pork loin roast is amazingly moist and tender, thanks to a couple of my Granny’s secret tricks! It always gets rave reviews!
Carne Guisada – Mexican-style beef stew with tender beef chunks slow cooked with potatoes and carrots. Who knew a soup dish could work for Christmas dinner?!
Unique Side Dish Recipes
Tired of the same old casseroles? Try these unique and tasty side dish recipes for a new spin on holiday dinner!
Mexican Rice – Fluffy and flavorful, this recipe for Mexican rice has been in my husband’s family for generations.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Soy Glaze – Even if you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you will LOVE these! Roasted in a sweet soy sauce, they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the outside and packed with flavor!
Ginger Ale Carrots – With only 2 ingredients, this might be the easiest side dish recipe ever! These sweet glazed carrots are always a hit with the whole family, both kids and grown-ups alike!
Northern Cornbread – Sweet, fluffy, and full of buttery flavor, this homemade cornbread beats a box mix anytime and is much easier to make than traditional yeast rolls. I love to top my cornbread with honey!
Ranch Parmesan Green Beans – Green beans are a holiday go-to, but usually in casserole form. These baked green beans are incredibly flavorful thanks to ranch seasoning and parmesan cheese, and they’re much lighter too!
Sweet & Spicy Instant Pot Baked Beans – Baked beans are one of those side dishes that go with everything! This recipe features a spicy kick and is so easy to make in an Instant Pot.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes – This dairy free, gluten free, and vegan dish is a switch up from the usually super decadent sweet potato casserole recipes.
Asian Style Garlic Broccoli – Tired of cheesy casseroles? This broccoli side dish is roasted in a flavorful garlic sauce and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Hearts of Palm & Artichoke Salad – This cold veggie salad is tossed in a tangy mustard dressing and is one of our family’s favorite salad sides. Works well as an appetizer, salad course, or side dish!
Twice Baked Potatoes – Instead of plain old mashed potatoes, try this recipe for twice baked potatoes! The mashed potato filling is put back in the potato skins, topped with cheese and bacon, and baked to perfection.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad – Tender elbow mac tossed in a sweet and tangy dressing, with ham and veggies. This is a light and refreshing side to accompany your protein!
Different Desserts To Try For Christmas Dinner
Even if you love the traditional pecan pie or Christmas cookies, it is always fun to try new things! These desserts are easy to prepare and are new flavors for the holiday dessert table.
Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake – This is an easy cake that won’t monopolize your oven space and it’s big enough to feed a crowd! Top with vanilla ice cream for a truly decadent treat!
Easy Lemon Layer Cake – Fluffy cake layered with lemon curd and whipped cream. It’s light and delicious!
Peach Trifle – It doesn’t get any easier than a trifle recipe when serving a crowd at holiday dinner! This one is light and fruity and a definitely departure from the usually heavy holiday desserts.
Candy Cane Cake – Peppermint is a not an unusual flavor for the holiday season, but this layer cake is a show-stopper so I just had to include it in this list! It is sure to get “oohs” and “ahhs” from everyone!
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars – This is one of our our family’s all-time favorite special occasion desserts! It features a crescent dough curst with real cream cheese filling and a cinnamon sugar topping.
Be sure to check back often, as I’ll be updating this list with new recipes!