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26 Ways To Make This Year's Christmas Dinner The Best Yet

Just say no to dry turkey.

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their top cooking tips for Christmas dinner. Here are the results.

1. Spatchcock your turkey.

"Spatchcock the turkey for a quicker and more even cook. I bought some knarly butcher scissors for just this and it produces a great bird that hasn't had a chance to dry out."

– Sarah Charlie Harding

2. Heat your plates.

"For goodness sake HEAT THE PLATES AND SERVING DISHES. Just run them under a hot tap."


3. Explore different turkey recipes.


"I’m making a turkey wellington this year - butterfly turkey is roasted and sat on lots of herby bacon and mushrooms on a pastry base. Then pastry on top and stick it in the fridge on Christmas Eve. It goes in at the same time as the roasties on the day. Most succulent turkey I’ve had and saves hours!"


4. It's OK to cheat.


"100% do not try to make everything yourself. Buy at least 1 pre-made or instant item to calm your nerves or just be the thing you can make when waiting for the turkey to cook so everything comes out hot."


"When it comes down to it, a pack of ready made Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puds are far better than no yorkies at all."

– Hollie-Emma Richardson

5. Bake your turkey upside down.

"Was very hungover / possibly still drunk one year and put the turkey in upside down. Only noticed a couple of hours later, but I've been doing it ever since – seems all the fat from the legs etc runs into the breasts making it extra juicy."


"Cook your turkey upside down for a maximum of three and a half hours then let it rest in a tent of tinfoil for at least 40 mins."


6. Try roast pork instead of turkey.

"A crown roast of pork is BY FAR a superior Christmas centerpiece protein than a turkey. It's gorgeous, versatile, easy to make, and super tasty. And you can even arrange it in a circle so that the stuffing is in the middle (and really, the only reason people claim to like turkey is because it's usually accompanied by stuffing)."

– Michael Robertson

7. Prime rib is also a delicious turkey alternative.

"I make a huge “Roast Beast” prime rib. So much better then turkey. It’s become such a tradition in our family, my Dad now orders it and picks it up. It’s a big deal. When that thing is in the fridge, it’s officially Christmas."


8. Break tradition if you want.

"The second year after I’d moved out of the house, my mom came to visit. We’d bought a ham and planned to do the whole Christmas-y thing. Around lunchtime Christmas morning, we all realised we were hungry, so I asked my mom if she’d show me how she made her sloppy joes. She did, we ate, nobody was hungry for a big ham dinner, and we’ve made sloppy joes on Christmas morning almost every year since. It’s easy, its fast, and we can spend the rest of the day being lazy in our PJs all day long."


9. Follow Yorkshire advice for proper Yorkshire puddings.

"My tip for great yorkies (learnt from a Yorkshireman) it to use self raising flour for massive puds, and smoking hot oil before you put the batter in. And don't open the oven till they're done or they'll go flat. Also make sure the batter is well mixed beforehand."

— Sharon Owen

10. Add red wine to your gravy.

"Add a generous amount of red wine into the gravy mix. I find an elegant wine like Merlot pairs best with gravy as the intensity of the meat flavour isn’t being competed with, yet the perfume of the wine still comes through. (Yes I am aware of how pretentious I sounded- but don’t bash me ‘til you try it because it’ll have your family licking the fucking pattern off your plates with how good it tastes)."


11. Time everything backwards.

"Time everything backwards. If you want to sit down and eat at 2pm and you know it takes 45 mins for the roasties, then put them in at 1.10pm, so on and so forth. Just don't forget to build in five odd minutes for actually getting things out of the oven and served onto plates."

– Hollie-Emma Richardson

12. Frozen veggies are fine.


"Choose vegetables that are ready to go and require little prep. Frozen peas, for example, just require a quick steam or boil and can be delicious when freshened up with a bit of butter, cream and fresh mint."


"It's ok to use some frozen veg; frozen peas dressed up with a little bit of pesto is a tasty thing to put on the table!"

– Sarah Anderson

13. Plan ahead.

20th Century Fox

"I don’t like to leave a lot of cooking and prep for the day of a holiday. That’s time you can spend with your family, and that can be exhausting enough. So it’s best to plan ahead and avoid having too many items to cook."


"Cranberry sauce, bread sauce, and the gravy base can all be cooked days before and refrigerated."


14. Cook Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.

"We cook and eat our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. That way the stress is over and done with and Christmas Day is finger foods and relaxing with the family… by doing this I know I get to see my kids open their gifts and enjoy time playing with them!"


15. For veggie gravy, most chicken and beef granules are actually vegetarian.

"You can make a decent gravy with vegetable stock, but most granules for chicken/beef are actually veggie if not vegan!"

– Chelsey Pippin

16. Use your meat drippings in everything.

"Use the drippings from your meat to make your Yorkshire puddings, which is not really a pudding but a popover and makes a really good addition to Christmas dinner."


"Pimp your stuffing by adding juices from the meat. Trust me."


17. Buy disposable baking trays.

"I cook for 18 of my family every year – use disposable roasting tins."– louisem430a4f1fd"Splurge on throw away baking tins to save on washing up (and instant foldable leftover boxes for the fridge)."– Sarah Charlie Harding

"I cook for 18 of my family every year – use disposable roasting tins."


"Splurge on throw away baking tins to save on washing up (and instant foldable leftover boxes for the fridge)."

– Sarah Charlie Harding

18. Don't boil your vegetables.

"Never boil vegetables. Everything always tastes better roasted. Carrots roasted with honey and mustard. Sprouts roasted with bacon and lots of black pepper. Because, face it, bacon improves EVERYTHING."


"Got this from Nigella – top tip for perfect roast parsnips. Don’t parboil them – cut them in half or into chunks and pour on vegetable oil and a liberal hand of maple syrup then roast them. Yummy!"


19. If you're making a nut roast, buy a food processor.

"A nut roast is not actually that difficult if you've got a food processor. Or, a great alternative is rice or quinoa-stuffed eggplant with a similar seasoning to a sage stuffing, and pine nuts."

– Chelsey Pippin

20. Add a little Christmas spice to your carrots.

"Grate a little nutmeg onto your carrots. Beautiful."


21. Go the extra mile for your roast potatoes.

"Best roast potatoes ever? Parboil them, rough up the edges by shaking them up, LET THEM COOL, then put them in a deep oven tray and pour chicken stock half way up them…. they suck all the stock up and then crisp up. Perfect! Finish with a sprinkle of celery salt (trust me)"


"Goose fat and semolina on the roast potatoes."


22. Use a thermometer.

"Use a thermometer! I know from personal experience that saving guests from food poisoning is crucial but a dry turkey can also make you feel just as sick. Use a thermometer to ensure your turkey is not undercooked but most certainly not the texture of a rubber band."


23. Don't put too much pressure on yourself.

"Remember you’re cooking for family and/or friends. No one is going to complain if dinner is 15 mins late. Oh, and something ALWAYS gets forgotten so don’t freak out. If no one missed it, no one needs know."


24. Stock up on bread.

"Make or buy a few loaves of bread on Christmas Eve, so you can have sandwiches on hand for the next few days."

– Sarah Charlie Harding

25. Wine poached pears are a great dessert.

"Wine poached pears makes the easiest dessert ever – make it fancy by stuffing the halves with soft cheese and nuts, i.e. cranberry stilton and chopped pecans."

– Sarah Anderson

26. Remember, it's always OK to skip Christmas dinner.


"If you have young children and don’t plan on entertaining other family members then don’t bother. Keep it super simple, foods that the children will enjoy and something special for the grown ups in the evening. Enjoy the day spending time together; you’ll be able to have the nice sit down family meal when they’re older."


"If the idea of cooking an entire Christmas dinner stresses you out don’t be afraid to order out and get food delivered or better yet go out to eat! The holidays are about family and the stress of cooking an entire meal shouldn’t distract from that!"


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