There are some very common mistakes that everyone makes when cooking Christmas dinner, but they are SO easy to avoid when you know how – in fact, you’ll kick yourself for doing these things when you see what a difference it makes to swerve them.
Making Christmas dinner can be stressful, especially if you’re feeding a crowd much bigger than you’re used to and it feels like there is so much food to prepare and cook (and making sure it all comes together at the same time!).
Feeling Christmassy? Take a look at all our Christmas recipes
1. Trying to cook everything on Christmas Day
So much of your Christmas dinner can be made ahead and the most relaxed Christmas cooks will be pulling out all sorts of things they made earlier. Many of the Christmas trimmings can be made days ahead, like braised red cabbage and homemade cranberry sauce. Pick a Christmas Day starter that you can make the day before or go for a no-cook recipe that’s more of an assembly job that you can do in minutes. This is where smoked salmon comes into its own.
Of course, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake can be made months ahead but even alternative Christmas desserts will keep for days. Take a look at our impressive Christmas dessert recipes.
A lot going on in the kitchen? Take control. Prepare with our Christmas dinner time plan, which is an essential guide to how much food you’ll need as well as when and how long to cook everything for. On the day, don’t be afraid to ask for a few helpers but keep everyone else out the way if you start to feel flustered. Remember: everyone should have a lovely Christmas Day, including the cook. Don’t even think about washing up!
3. Kitchen chaos
Vegetable peelings piled high? Empty packaging mounting? Don’t let your worktop get overcrowded or you won’t be able to cook as efficiently (and stress levels will start rising!).
4. Running out of foil/cling film/kitchen towels
These are cook’s essentials, especially when you’re cooking the biggest meal of the year and handling all the leftovers that will need to be meticulously wrapped and kept in the fridge for the next couple of days. You’ll be stuck without them, especially as all the shops are closed on Christmas Day! Don’t forget to stock up.
5. Not getting the fat hot enough
Make crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside roast potatoes every time with this simple trick. Make sure the fat, whichever you’re using, is sizzling hot before you put your potatoes in and make sure they are coated all over. Then stand by for the best roast potatoes you’ve ever made.
6. Rushing the meat resting
Once your turkey is cooked, you should set the tray aside and wrap it in tin foil for at least 45 minutes. This will give time for the meat to relax and make for a much tastier bird and better texture. This should also solve any oven space dilemmas, as you should be able to cook many of the trimmings while the turkey is resting. Don’t be tempted to skip this step; you’ll really appreciate the difference if you wait.
Psst! Take a look at our Christmas vegetable recipes
7. Not taking time out
Once Christmas dinner is on the table, the cook’s work is done. No popping up to get extra this and that. No going backwards and forwards to get drinks. Leave that to someone else! Watch our video on how to carve a turkey the easy way to make sure it’s carved in the best way, with no waste. Then sit back and tuck in with everyone else. This, after all, is what Christmas Day is all about.
Merry Christmas everyone!