These Smart Christmas Lunch Ideas Will Help You Have a Happier Holiday

christmas lunch ideas
Smart Christmas Lunch Ideas for a Happier HolidayBecky Lugart-Stayner

Wondering what to serve your family and guests for Christmas lunch? If you're planning a big festive Christmas dinner for the, and you've already got your easy, make-ahead Christmas breakfast planned and prepped, sometimes lunch can feel too much like an afterthought. Or maybe your family is serving up Christmas lunch instead of dinner. We've got plenty of recipes for either scenario!

Below, find a variety of Christmas lunch recipes and ideas that'll help you keep guests and family fed without filling them up before the big meal. You'll find a variety of snack lunch options as well as seasonal salads, soups, quick breads, and quiches that are minimal fuss, can be made ahead, and are easy to set out for everyone to graze on while watching Christmas movies or listening to Christmas music. This means you can focus less on being in the kitchen and more on spending time with family, which is what the holidays are all about!

Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon-Clove Clementine Glaze

Make this stunning centerpiece dish at your Christmas lunch gathering! Whole clementines—peel and all—can be blended up to make a decadent glaze for a pork tenderloin. It's an easy recipe that is guaranteed to impress guests.

Get the recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon-Clove Clementine Glaze.

pork tenderloin with cinnamon clove clementine glaze
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Serve these easy hors d'oeuvres at your holiday lunch gathering! A simple mix of breading and seasonings blended with flavorful cooked sausage is stuffed in de-stemmed mushroom caps and baked until delicious.

Get the recipe for Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms.

sausage stuffed mushrooms
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Roasted Fennel-and-Beet Salad

This hearty winter salad is perfect for a holiday lunch! It's got chunks of roasted root veggies, sweet segments of clementine, a bed of spicy arugula, and a truly delicious vanilla-honey-clementine vinaigrette!

Get the recipe for Roasted Fennel-and-Beet Salad.

roasted fennel and beet salad
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serve your Christmas guests this hearty and easy stew for Christmas lunch! It's the epitome of warm comfort food.

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Stew.

slow cooker beef stew
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Our Best-Ever Chicken Pot Pie

The secret to this super-homey dish? Cooking it in cast-iron. It's the perfect cozy Christmas lunch for your family and holiday guests!

Get the recipe for Our Best-Ever Chicken Pot Pie.

best ever chicken pot pie
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Easy Creamed Spinach

Round out any holiday spread with this veggie. This easy side gets richness from cream and butter, and just a touch of spice from nutmeg and cayenne

Get the recipe for Easy Creamed Spinach.

easy creamed spinach recipe
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Basmati Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, Apples, and Feta

This update on a classic rice pilaf is packed with delicious flavors. Nutty basmati rice works best, though you're welcome to sub in your favorite grain. The combination of toasty pecans, tart-sweet cranberries, fresh apple, and salty cheese is hard to beat.

Get the recipe for Basmati Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, Apples, and Feta.

christmas lunch ideas basmati rice with pecans apples cranberries and feta
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Pork-and-Sage Stuffing

Pick up some bread from your favorite local bakery and make this rich, delicious stuffing a part of your holiday lunch!

Get the recipe for Pork-and-Sage Stuffing.

pork and sage stuffing
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette

Want a lighter tide-me-over until dinner? Consider this something like the ultimate winter salad.

Get the recipe for Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette.

crispy brussels sprouts salad with citrusmaple vinaigrette
Brian Woodcock

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Sauce

Tired of basic breaded chicken? It might be time to go nuts: with some pecans! Finely chopped pecans add rich, nutty flavor that will surprise and delight.

Get the recipe for Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Sauce.

pecan crusted chicken with honey mustard sauce
Becky Lugart-Stayner

The Ultimate Cheese Board

Set this out around lunchtime and let the family graze while waiting for dinner.

Get the recipe for The Ultimate Cheese Board.

the ultimate cheese board
Rikki Snyder

Holiday Salsa with Festive Tortilla Chips

"Spruce" up (get it?) the snack platter with some seasonal red, white, and green salsa, and some easy to make tree and star-shaped tortilla chips!

Get the recipe for Holiday Salsa with Festive Tortilla Chips.

holiday salsa with festive tortilla chips
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Roast Pork Loin with Fennel and Chunky Croutons

Break this feast-able meal out when cooking for holiday guests! The pork loin is slowly over a bed of veggies and bread, so you don't waste any of the juices.

Get the recipe for Roast Pork Loin with Fennel and Chunky Croutons.

roast pork loin with fennel and chunky croutons
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Pecan, Kale, and Parmesan Salad

Add this hearty salad to your Christmas lunch menu! Topped with crunchy pecans, creamy avocado, and peppery radishes, it'll practically upstage the main dish!

Get the recipe for Pecan, Kale, and Parmesan Salad.

pecan kale and parmesan salad
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots and Onion

An inexpensive and tough cut of meat (such as chuck) turns meltingly tender when cooked in a moist environment over a long period of time. It's the perfect job for a slow cooker!

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots and Onion.

slow cooker pot roast with carrots and onion
Ian Palmer

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Lardons and Chestnuts

Here we've steamed Brussels sprouts until they're soft, then added pancetta—basically chunks of thick-cut bacon—and classic chestnuts. Lemon juice and salt balance out the flavors for a side that's sure to become a standard part of your holiday lineup.

Get the recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Lardons and Chestnuts.

brussels sprouts with bacon lardons and chestnuts
Becky Lugart-Stayner

One-Pot Butternut Squash Soup

A big warm pot of soup burbling on the stove and some crusty bread warm from the oven might just be the perfect holiday lunch.

Get the recipe for One-Pot Butternut Squash Soup.

one pot butternut squash soup
Erika McConnell

Easy, Delicious Chicken Parmesan

Take one of your favorite comfort foods and serve it up as a delicious casserole bake for Christmas lunch!

Get the recipe for Easy, Delicious Chicken Parmesan.

easy delicious chicken parmesan recipe
Ian Palmer

Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese

Looking for some healthier options for Christmas lunch? This cold-weather staple serves up ample creamy gooeyness, while a stealthy vegetable (puréed cauliflower!) boosts vitamins and fiber.

Get the recipe for Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese.

cauliflower mac n cheese
Brian Woodcock

Big Green Winter Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Hearty enough to tide you over, but not so heavy that it'll ruin the feast, this seasonal salad makes a great light meal.

Get the recipe for Big Green Winter Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

big green winter salad with lemon vinaigrette
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sausage-and-Wild Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed with the season's best ingredients — sausage, cranberries, and wild rice — these sweet and succulent acorn squash become the perfect vessels for lunch. They're delicious as an all-in-one meal on their own, or served up alongside a seasonal salad.

Get the recipe for Sausage-and-Wild Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash.

sausage and wild rice stuffed acorn squash
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Warm Apple Cider Dressing

This crunchy, filling, seasonal salad can be made in just about 25 minutes.

Get the recipe for Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

shaved brussels sprouts with bacon and warm apple cider dressing
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Perhaps the only thing more warming and delicious than chicken soup on a cold day is chicken and dumplings. And that makes it a wonderful and easy option (thanks, slow cooker!) for Christmas lunch.

Get the recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings.

crock pot chicken and dumplings
Ian Palmer

French Onion Flatbread

If you're looking for a quick lunch, opt for pre-made dough. These slices will be gone in no time!

Get the recipe for French Onion Flatbread.

french onion flatbread
Becky Lugart-Stayner

Classic Southern Pimento Cheese and Quick Refrigerator Pickles

We can't say enough good things about snack lunches, especially during the holidays! You can prep the pickles a day or two in advance — same with the dip, come to think of it!

Get the recipe for Classic Southern Pimento Cheese.

Get the recipe for Quick Refrigerator Pickles.

classic southern pimento cheese and quick refrigerator pickles
Ren Fuller

Acorn Squash Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

Here's another winter salad that's big enough to feel like a meal, while still leaving you room for dinner.

Get the recipe for Acorn Squash Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette.

acorn squash salad with tahini vinaigrette
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Salmon Patties

These tender and delicious cakes will elevate any midday meal.

Get the recipe for Salmon Patties.

salmon patties
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic Buffalo Chicken Dip

Want a spicier way to keep the hanger at bay on Christmas? Some fresh sliced veggies and this easy dip will do it!

Get the recipe for Classic Buffalo Chicken Dip.

classic buffalo chicken dip
Ian Palmer

Spinach and Feta Quick Bread

Bake this up the day before, and you've got a ready-to-go light lunch (as-is or paired with a salad) that will tide everyone over until the feast.

Get the recipe for Spinach and Feta Quick Bread.

spinach and feta quick bread
Hector M. Sanchez

Winter Greens & Citrus Salad

Homemade croutons turn this easy side salad into a true treat.

Get the recipe for Winter Greens & Citrus Salad.

winter greens citrus salad
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Waldorf Salad Flatbread

The old-school fancy restaurant salad is reconfigured here into an elevated light lunch meal.

Get the recipe for Waldorf Salad Flatbread.

waldorf salad flatbread
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Roasted Mushroom and Bacon Dutch Baby

This rich, savory pancake-like concoction has an impressive look that belies how easy it is to make.

Get the recipe for Roasted Mushroom and Bacon Dutch Baby.

roasted mushroom and bacon dutch baby
Brian Woodcock

Ham Biscuit Sandwiches with Apricot Mustard

Whether you're looking for a light bite before dinner or a full lunch, these slider-sized sandwiches are perfect to hold you over.

Get the recipe for Ham Biscuit Sandwiches with Apricot Mustard.

christmas lunch ideas ham sandwiches
Brian Woodcock

Ham and Leek Quiche

The best part about this dish is that it works for either breakfast or lunch. Plus, what better way to prep for your Christmas ham than with—wait for it—ham.

Get the recipe for Ham and Leek Quiche.

christmas lunch ideas ham leek quiche
Brian Woodcock

Vegetarian Chili with Grains and Beans

This lighter chili won't weigh anyone down, but it'll keep folks full until supper. And the best part: It cooks up in a slow cooker, freeing up the stove for Christmas dinner.

Get the recipe for Vegetarian Chili with Grains and Beans.

vegetarian chili with grains and beans
Brian Woodcock

Croque Madames

If you're feeding a more intimate crew and want to get fancy, try this luxe take on a standard ham and cheese. The combo of egg yolk, salty ham, and toasty sourdough is intensely satisfying.

Get the recipe for Croque Madames.

croque madames
Brian Woodcock

Pimiento Salad Club Sandwiches

Topped with turkey bacon and Cheddar cheese, this sweet and salty sandwich is super satisfying.

Get the recipe for Pimiento Salad Club Sandwiches.

pimiento salad club sandwiches
Brian Woodcock

Sausage & Grits Lasagna

Make this lasagna ahead of time and pop it in the oven on Christmas morning.

Get the recipe for Sausage & Grits Lasagna.

sausage grits lasagna
Brian Woodcock

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

If you already have Brussels sprouts on the dinner menu as a Christmas side dish, set aside some to make this cheesy, nutty salad.

Get the recipe for Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad.

christmas lunch ideas brussels sprouts salad
Brian Woodcock

Three-Cheese Fondue

If your family is more of the grazing type, go all out with a three-cheese fondue board.

Get the recipe for Three-Cheese Fondue.

threecheese fondue
Brian Woodcock

Deviled Eggs Pasta Salad

Make a big batch of this easy-as-pie pasta salad and let folks help themselves as they get hungry.

Get the recipe for Deviled Eggs Pasta Salad.

deviled eggs pasta salad
Hearst Owned

Bacon and Leek Deep-Dish Quiche

If you have a little time on your hands, consider making this beaut of a quiche. It's got flavor for days and comes out with the flaky crust you've always dreamed of achieving.

Get the recipe for Bacon and Leek Deep-Dish Quiche.

bacon and leek deepdish quiche
Brian Woodcock

Wild Rice-and-Cider-Cranberry Pilaf

Put your leftover cranberries to use in this zesty pilaf dish.

Get the recipe for Wild Rice-and-Cider-Cranberry Pilaf.

wild rice and cider cranberry pilaf
Brian Woodcock

Farro-and-Acorn Squash Salad

Make cleanup easier by packaging this salad—filled with blue cheese, hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds—in Mason jars.

Get the recipe for Farro-and-Acorn Squash Salad.

farro and acorn squash salad
Brian Woodcock

Green Salad with Roasted Carrots and Creamy Tarragon Dressing

If you need something a little lighter, this green salad with roasted carrots should do the trick.

Get the recipe for Green Salad with Roasted Carrots.

green salad with roasted carrots and creamy tarragon dressing
Brian Woodcock

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