12 Crowd-Favorite Dinner Recipes for Any Holiday Feast

From glazed ham to roasted prime rib, these big-deal dishes will steal the show.

December 16, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even just the end of a big year, you’ll want to share a meal that marks the occasion. We’re talking a big, bronzed holiday ham, perfectly braised lamb shanks, a whole roasted fish with winter citrus, or (for the non-meat eaters in your life) vegan lentil shepherd's pie.

It’s okay that these dishes take a little extra time and effort to make it to the table. It's part of the celebration.

The point of a holiday feast, anyway, is to slow down and enjoy the cooking as well as the eating. And for the people in your life who matter most, there's nothing more inviting than pulling out a big, comforting centerpiece from the oven or bubbling away a gorgeous braise on the stove to perfume the house.

Whatever you're celebrating this winter, here are twelve holiday main dishes we know your guests will love.

Best Holiday Main Dishes

1. Porchetta

Recipe author Sara Jenkins stuffs a skin-on, boneless pork shoulder with aromatic herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary and slow-roasts it until the meat is spoon-tender.

2. Salt-Crusted Whole Fish With Blood Oranges

For a truly showstopping centerpiece, encrust a whole fish with a festive salt mixture studded with blood orange and lemon zest, rosemary, and bay leaves.

3. Pomegranate Flank Steak

There's nothing more wintry than pomegranates—and here, they're used as sweet-tart flavoring and crunchy, jewel-bright garnish.

Read More: How to Cut a Pomegranate

4. Super Simple Glazed Ham

Looking for a great ham recipe? Recipe author Kayb "sticks to a classic sweet glaze," writes our co-founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, "but instead of whacking you over the head with sugar, she balances the sweetness (here, dark brown sugar) with grainy and ground mustards, and a healthy splash of bourbon."

5. Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie, but turned up a notch. Lentils replace ground beef in this flavorful vegan version, and the mashed potato and parsnip topping can be made a day in advance, according to recipe developer Gena Hamshaw.

6. Chinese-American Pork Roast

A pork shoulder roast with layers and layers of flavor: Salty soy sauce, sweet brown sugar, umami-rich mushrooms, and aromatic ginger, garlic, and rice wine all result in a centerpiece-worthy holiday main.

7. Maangchi's Korean Fried Chicken

Nothing says feast like sweet, crunchy Korean fried chicken—especially when YouTube sensation Maangchi is cooking it. "This is peak party food," Senior Editor Eric Kim says. "I grew up eating dakgangjeong at family gatherings, birthdays, and holiday dinners. The best thing about it? It stays crunchy forever, even cold."

Watch the Recipe

8. Slow-Roasted Salmon

"Slow-roasting makes a beautifully tender, evenly cooked, not-one-bit-dry piece of fish," writes Genius Recipes columnist Kristen Miglore. The trick is to cook the fish until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F.

9. Sweet & Savory Brisket

Slow-cooked in a hearty tangle of cozy flavors like apricots, herbs, and red wine, this brisket is a fall-apart tender dream of a main course.

10. Roasted Prime Rib With Sautéed Mushrooms & Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Is there anything grander than a holiday rib roast? This one comes from community member Waverly's mother, who makes it for Christmas dinner every year.

11. Baby Back Ribs With Magic Spice Blend

Or if you don't want to bother with a big roast this year, why not go for something a little more casual? Eric's sweet and spicy baby back ribs are oven-baked, which means you don’t have to wait for summer grilling season to make them your family’s holiday main.

12. Vegetarian Lasagna

A cheesy, bubbling lasagna is another sure-fire way to win over any guest this holiday season. This one's vegetable-packed and made with three (!) different cheeses. Can you guess which ones?

Are you planning an end-of-year dinner? What will you serve? Let us know in the comments!

To Go With

Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
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Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.