What can I make ahead for Christmas?
When we think of make ahead Christmas recipes, usually desserts are top of the list. However, with a little planning and prep you can also make your Christmas mains, sides and entrees at least a day before! That's great for freeing up oven space on Christmas day. Here are our top tips for preparing Christmas dinner in advance.
Tips for getting ahead with your Christmas day menu
- Parboil potatoes the day before. Lay out on a baking tray lined with paper towel to drain and dry out. Return to the dry saucepan and shake until potatoes are fluffy. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to roast.
- Make the custard for your trifle and other desserts. This can be done up to 3 days ahead of time. Cook the custard, place plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to stop it developing a skin and refrigerate.
- Make the stuffings for your turkey, chicken or pork the day before. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to stuff.
- Sauces and chutneys can also be made ahead and kept in the fridge in sealed jars or airtight containers for up to a week.
What can I freeze ahead for Christmas
- Festive ice-cream desserts are the ultimate make ahead recipe. You can make ice-cream terrines, ice-cream bombes and those pretty choc-mint cakes. But you can even go as simple as swirling crushed candy canes through softened vanilla ice-cream. Refreeze in a loaf tin or a pudding basin. When ready to serve decorated with melted chocolate and crushed candy canes.
- Sausage rolls are also great for freezing. Make a giant sausage roll which can freeze for up to a month. Bake it, then allow to cool after cooking. Wrap first in baking paper then tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven until the meat is hot.
- Uncooked gingerbread dough and pastry dough can be frozen. Once it's been formed into a disc, wrap in baking paper and plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge then proceed to roll out as per the recipe.
- Christmas puddings are perfect for freezing once cooked. Defrost in the fridge overnight then boil in the pudding basin until it's heated through (this can take a few hours depending on the size of the pud).
- Flavoured butters, both savoury and sweet, can be frozen. Make up garlic and herb butter, roll up into a log shape with baking paper. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until needed. Little known is that you can also do this with sweet buttercream.
GET THE RECIPE: Chicken & Pork Terrine with Egg Centre
If you're serving this crowd-pleaseing terrine as part of your Christmas menu, then why not make it now and save yourself the time and stress of doing it on Christmas day. Wrap the cooled terrine in baking paper and plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven until warmed through.
GET THE RECIPE: Gingerbread Star Christmas Trees
The wonderful thing about gingerbread and gingerbread treats is that they have staying power if you treat them right. For starters, you can make the dough ahead and freeze it tightly wrapped in a disc shape. Alternatively, you can make the gingerbread to the point of un-iced stars and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 5 days. Decorate up to three days before serving.
GET THE RECIPE: Easy Custard Berry Trifle
You can make the custard for this deliciously easy trifle recipe up to 3 days ahead. Follow the Basic Custard recipe to the end of step 4. Then continue with building the trifle on the day.