50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You’ll Love

I remember how exciting it was growing up during the holidays with the whole family looking forward to Mom’s Italian Christmas Day dinner. From appetizers, main dishes, and desserts, it was an endless menu of food bursting with Italian flavors we all loved.

Today I’m happy to share over 50 Christmas dinner ideas, all of which are Italian and delicious!

italian christmas day dinner menu

Planning an Italian Christmas Day Dinner

When planning an Italian Christmas dinner, it’s important to know that there is no single tradition to follow. Every family, especially depending on the region, will have a slightly different way of celebrating this festive occasion.

As an Italian myself, I can attest to the fact that in Italian culture, food and family go hand in hand. The good news is that so much of Italian cooking is actually very easy! In fact, many main courses can be made in advance and frozen making your holiday cooking stress-free.

Ready to get inspired?!

Christmas Dinner Menu Basics

Generally, an Italian menu will first consist of the following.

  • Italian antipasto. These can be as simple as bowls of marinated olives or a full blown DIY Italian antipasto platter.
  • First course. This part of the meal includes foods such as lasagna, baked pasta, spaghetti, or any other type.
  • Second course.This is when the meat is served, usually consisting of sausage, chicken, beef or other cuts of meat.
  • Side Dishes. Side dishes are typically served during the first or second course.
  • Salads or fruit. This is usually served after the main course. In Europe, this is common practice to serve salads after the meal. I do this myself all the time as I find it helps aid digestion.
  • Desserts. Italian desserts are the best. These can be cakes, tortes, or simply a tray of Italian Christmas cookies. Remember to serve with fresh Italian coffee.

The recipes I’m sharing below are a mix of recipes I grew up with, as well as new Italian dishes I’ve learned over the years of learning how to cook Italian food.

Christmas Day Appetizer Ideas

garlic roasted pecans
Garlic Roasted Pecans
Enjoy these garlic roasted pecans that are bursting with flavor! Perfect appetizers for your Christmas party. Serve with small spoons since they can be buttery.
Check out this recipe
antipasti salad
Antipasto Salad Recipe
This Italian antipasto salad is so convenient and full of flexibility. It requires very little preparation and can be made a day in advance. Antipasto is the first course before the main meal. Instead of using a platter, a salad served in small bowls work great!
Check out this recipe
marinated mushrooms recipe
Italian Marinated Mushrooms
These Italian marinated mushrooms can be served warm or at room temperature. You can use them on antipasto platters or individually. If you want to use them as a side dish, you can do that too for a festive holiday dish.
Check out this recipe
Bruschetta Pomodoro
Although this recipe is unfortunately associated with summer days, I don't see why we can't use it as part of our Christmas recipes. It's red, festive and the fresh green basil portray Italian colors and the Christmas spirit!
Check out this recipe
Homemade Italian Bread Loaf Recipe
This is my favorite recipe for a delicious homemade Italian bread recipe. I recommend making these a few days in advance and storing them in the fridge or freezer. The recipe is easy but the rising takes time. I like to make these in bulk and then use as part of the Christmas celebration!
Check out this recipe
how to make garlic bread
Garlic Bread Recipe
If you don't feel like making your Italian bread from scratch, then use this recipe here. Every Christmas meal needs fresh garlic bread, and I've prepared it this way on multiple occasions. Simply use a store bought baguette and then follow my instructions for how to season and bake it for your Christmas dinner.
Check out this recipe
how to make Italian grissini breadsticks
Crunchy Breadsticks (Grissini)
Grissini! These are those skinny and crunchy breadsticks you see at fancy restaurants or on the shelves at grocery stores in the specialty section. They are super easy to make and are perfect for a traditional Christmas snack.
Check out this recipe
caprese salad th
Healthy Caprese Salad
When you want to show off Italian colors in your Christmas dinner, you've got to create a caprese salad. These have all the colors of the Italian flag and everyone will appreciate it!
Check out this recipe

Christmas Day Soup Ideas

Italian soups are great for a Christmas dinner as a first course. Here are some Italian soups you’ll enjoy. Plus you can make them in advance and keep in the freezer and remove them the day before.

winter minestrone soup
Minestrone Soup Recipe
This delicious winter minestrone soup is perfect as a first course to your Christmas meal. This is a meat-free recipe but you can use chicken stock if you'd like for more robust flavors.
Check out this recipe
cannellini bean soup
Cannellini Bean Soup
Cannellini bean soup is a traditional Italian soup perfect for holidays. It's simple and easy to make, plus can be made in advance.
Check out this recipe
homemade italian wedding soup
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
Italian wedding soup is a classic Italian recipe that goes well with chicken or beef dishes. The soup uses chicken broth with beef meatballs giving it a perfect balance. This will be a winner on your Christmas dinner menu!
Check out this recipe
chicken soup
How to Make Easy Chicken Soup
Here's a simple recipe for chicken soup. For guests that aren't familiar with Italian-American traditions this recipe will please anyone.
Check out this recipe
Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Soup with Ditalini in a bowl
Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe
You'll love this Italian pasta fagioli soup. It's a hearty bean soup, without meat that is perfect during the cold Christmas season.
Check out this recipe
vegan cabbage and potato soup
Vegan Cabbage and Potato Soup
If you have any vegan guests or family members joining you for dinner celebrations, this cabbage and potato soup is perfect!
Check out this recipe

Christmas Day Side Dishes

Baked zucchini slides with herbs
Italian Baked Zucchini Slices with Rosemary
Italian baked zucchini with chopped onions, breadcrumbs and rosemary is a delicious Christmas dinner side dish. This recipe is best prepared the day of.
Check out this recipe
how to make fried zucchini
Fried Zucchini
Fried zucchini isn't just for hot summer months. These zucchini are pan-fried in a batter of egg, breadcrumbs and Italian seasonings. This is best served as a warm side dish.
Check out this recipe
zucchini with butter and garlic
Zucchini with Butter and Garlic
Here's another zucchini side dish that will go well on your Christmas menu. It's more of a Northern Italy dish since the zucchini is sauted with butter instead of olive oil. However, you can substitute the butter for olive oil if you want.
Check out this recipe
how to make italian green beans recipe th
Italian Green Beans Recipe
A special treat is to serve real Italian cut green beans. It's different than regular green beans and will be a nice addition to your traditional Italian Christmas food pairings.
Check out this recipe
Asparagus Bundles Wrapped in Prosciutto
To really spruce up your Christmas dinner, try wrapping your asparagus with thin slices of prosciutto. Follow my recipe instructions, it's easy and delicious!
Check out this recipe
garlic mashed potatoes
Italian Garlic Mashed Potatoes
These garlic mashed potatoes taste so much better than at the restaurant. They are easy to make and will be a nice side dish for any chicken or meat main courses you might be serving.
Check out this recipe
baked zucchini with tomato slices
Baked Zucchini Slices with Tomato
This is a simple side dish that goes great with pasta or meats. All you need are zucchini, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil and Romano or Parmesan cheese. These baked zucchini slices should be served warm.
Check out this recipe

How to Cook Broccolini on the Stove Recipe
Italian Broccolini Recipe
Adding broccolini to your Christmas menu is a great choice. Not all stores carry broccolini but they taste great and aren't as pungent as regular broccoli.
Check out this recipe
Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar and Cheese
Roasting your asparagus with drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar is absolutely mouth watering delicious! This will turn any asparagus nay-sayer into a raving fan. Top the asparagus with Romano cheese at the end and it tastes amazing! I'll step you through the process here.
Check out this recipe
how to make stuffed mushrooms
Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
One of my standard go-to family recipes is this Italian stuffed mushroom side dish. My recipe uses simple ingredients and is very easy. The great thing about making these for Christmas is that they can be made in advance and then cooked in the oven. They can also be reheated if they cool down too much before serving. Just place in the oven for 10 to 13 minutes at 350F to reheat. Cover with foil if they might dry out.
Check out this recipe
roasted cauliflower
Italian Roasted Cauliflower
Not a fan of cauliflower? Try Italian roasted cauliflower in the oven with olive oil and Romano cheese. It's a true delight! This is a great recipe for an Italian Christmas menu, especially those who love their veggies.
Check out this recipe

See more Italian Christmas sides dishes.

Christmas Day Main Course Pasta  Ideas

manicotti crepes th
Manicotti Crepes (Homemade)
Enjoy these authentic manicotti crepes filled with Italian cheese and flavors for a traditional Italian Christmas food everyone will enjoy! This recipe is a family recipe and it's not only easy to make, but impressive too. These are perfect for special dinners such as Christmas and other holidays.
Check out this recipe
spinach manicotti recipe th
Spinach Manicotti
Delicious Italian spinach manicotti recipe that uses premade manicotti shells. You can buy them at most grocery stores. This easy recipe is full of flavor and easy to make. Perfect for making in advance!
Check out this recipe
all beef meatballs
Moist All Beef Meatballs
In some Italian traditions, meatballs are not served with the pasta but as a side dish or part of a main course. My recipe for all beef meatballs are super moist. If you're serving pasta as part of your Christmas menu, make sure to serve these delicious meatballs too!
Check out this recipe
stuffed shells spinach
Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta
I love these stuffed pasta shells filled with spinach and ricotta filling. Everyone will think you spent all day making these but in reality they are very easy! This recipe is used by many Italian American families for holidays and special occasions.
Check out this recipe
baked pasta rup
Easy Italian Pasta Bake
This easy Italian pasta bake recipe is well… easy! It's perfect for the holiday season and can be used as a second course or main dish. It's easy and can be made ahead of time.
Check out this recipe
italian chicken cutlets th
Easy Italian Chicken Cutlets Recipe
Italian chicken cutlets are fun and easy to make. They are best served immediately, but if not, just crisp them up again in the oven at 350F for 10 to 13 minutes. This dish goes great with any pasta recipe.
Check out this recipe
chicken marsala recipe
Easy and Healthy Chicken Marsala
Chicken marsala is an impressive dish usually made with lots of butter and fats. I adjusted our standard marsala to make it a little healthier but tasting just as delicious! This goes great with plain pasta as a side dish, or mashed potatoes.
Check out this recipe

Christmas Day Main Course Meat Ideas

Grass Fed Pot Roast
Best Pot Roast Recipe
I made this recipe for a large Christmas party we hosted a few years ago and it was a huge hit. It isn't a quick recipe but it's worth the wait. The beef is tender and loaded with flavor!
Check out this recipe
peppers, sausage and onion
Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions Recipe
Here's one of our Italian family recipes for sausage, peppers and onions. I grew up with my mom making this recipe for every holiday, especially Christmas. It can be used as a side dish or as part of the main course menu.
Check out this recipe
easy Italian meatless lasagna recipe th
Lasagna Meatless Recipe
If you want a simple lasagna recipe, try this one! Lasagna is another American tradition for a Christmas meal. You can make this recipe in advance and reheat in the oven. Serve extra sauce on the side in a gravy boat.
Check out this recipe
Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant parmesan is delicious and my mother made this for Christmas every year for my father who is full-blooded Italian. If you want to make this recipe, serve it with pasta or lasagna. It's not meant to be a main dish in and of itself when used as part of an Italian Christmas dinner menu.
Check out this recipe
chicken cacciatore recipe
Easy Italian Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
Italian chicken cacciatore is more of a rustic dish, but it is delicious! I love serving it over a bed of pasta, but you can serve it a variety of other ways too.
Check out this recipe

Christmas Day Dessert Ideas

almond biscotti th
Traditional Almond Biscotti Recipe
These traditional almond biscotti are perfect for Christmas desserts when enjoying a wonderful cup of java. For extra visual appeal, try dipping the biscotti in chocolate!
Check out this recipe
italian chocolate espresso pudding
Easy Chocolate Espresso Pudding Recipe
If you like chocolate and espresso, this chocolate espresso pudding is a must have for Christmas desserts. Pour pudding into small single-serving size bowls and chill. Then remove from fridge and serve when ready.
Check out this recipe
Cannoli pizzelle th
Pizzelle Cannoli Recipe
Here's a delicious pizzelle cannoli recipe for Christmas that uses pizzelles as the shell. It's a great recipe and everyone will be delighted! It's a great way to bring an Italian dessert that's popular in the southern part of Italy right into your own home!
Check out this recipe
chocolate pizzelle recipe
Chocolate Pizzelle Recipe
Add these Italian chocolate pizzelles to your dessert menu. You can make them ahead of time and freeze until ready to use. Store in air-tight containers.
Check out this recipe
lemon pizzelle th
Lemon Pizzelle Recipe
Crispy and delicious Italian lemon pizzelles. These are a lighter flavored pizzelle that is lightly dusted with confectioners sugar. You can serve these for Christmas or other holidays.
Check out this recipe
pizzelles anise recipe th
Anise Pizzelle Recipe
Every year as part of our Italian Christmas celebration, my mom would make these traditional anise pizzelles. They are wonderful and are the classic Italian recipe from Italy.
Check out this recipe
butterball cookies
Butterball Cookies
Butterball cookies are also called pecan butterball cookies. They are a traditional Italian dessert cookie served during the Christmas season. Nothing tastes better after a meal, than a hot cup of coffee or espresso, along with some of these served on a plate!
Check out this recipe
toto cookies
ToTo Cookies
Italian toto cookies are perfect for an Italian Christmas dinner menu. These are served as dessert cookies and are filled with chocolate and chopped walnuts. They are dipped in a whiskey icing that hardens within 24 hours. They are my favorite Christmas cookie!
Check out this recipe
anginetti cookies
Anginetti Italian Lemon Cookies
Not only are these anginetti Italian lemon cookies used for weddings but also Christmas! Top with Christmas spinkles!
Check out this recipe
italian lemon cake
Italian Lemon Cake
If you prefer not to only use dessert cookies, why not a dessert cake. Try this Italian lemon cake which is light, and yet slightly dense with a hint of lemon. It's a wonderful cake that goes great with a cup of coffee.
Check out this recipe
italian lemon ricotta pie
Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie Recipe
This Italian lemon ricotta pie is similar to a cheese cake, but not exactly. This light Italian dessert is perfect for Christmas, or any other holiday menu.
Check out this recipe
ricotta with apricot jam
Ricotta with Apricot Jam
I'm including this quick dessert because it's the easiest of all of them. Two ingredients are all you need – whole milk ricotta and apricot jam. You'll be amazed at how amazing it tastes. It's perfect for refreshing your palette after a big Christmas dinner meal.
Check out this recipe
pecan coffee cake th
Pecan Coffee Cake
When it comes to an Italian coffee cake, this pecan coffee cake recipe is tops. It can be used for breakfast, but it can also be served as an Italian dessert cake. It's delicious and is perfect for Christmas night with a cup of espresso, cappuccino or other Italian drink.
Check out this recipe

Regional Traditional Christmas Day Dinner Recipes

If you’re looking for regional traditional Christmas food ideas, here are some names you may or may not recognize.

Northern Italian Christmas Specialties include recipes such as the following.

  • di Recco which are thin and crispy flatbread that is often filled with Italian cheese.
  • Cappelletti in Brodo, which is a type of hat-shaped pasta served in a wonderful broth.
  • Ravioli or Angolotti del Plin which are stuffed pastas filled with meats. Unlike ravioli, these pastas are in the shape of parcels!

Southern Italian Christmas Specialties:

  • Try some pickled vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, or celery. Get creative!
  • One of the most classic Italian recipes for southern Italy comes from Sicily and is called caponata. You’ve probably heard of it before. It’s a delicious sweet and sour eggplant relish that is served with capers, olives and celery. You serve it with pasta, bread, or just on its own.
  • Hearty soups are often common from the Abruzzo region, but I’m sure every region has their own style of soups. Make sure to serve it with some rustic bread that can soak up all the flavor!

I hope you’ve gathered enough ideas to create your own Italian Christmas day dinner. Let me know in the comments below what your own Christmas traditions are and what special Italian Christmas foods you enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

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50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love50+ Italian Christmas Day Dinner Recipes You\'ll Love

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