Traditional Christmas menu timeline

Plan your Christmas meal to perfection with our hour-by-our guide to preparing a traditional, three course Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, trout pate starter and trifle pudding

Let's face it, cooking a full Christmas dinner for the whole family can be stressful. But it really doesn't need to be. If you're cooking our Traditional Christmas menu, follow our guide and everything will be timed to perfection!

By putting in 2 hours work on Christmas Eve, you'll have a three course Christmas dinner ready by 2.30pm, completely stress-free!

We've based our timeline on you cooking a 6kg, turkey which will feed six people. If you have a different sized turkey, use our turkey timer to see how long it needs to go in the oven for, and adjust the timeline accordingly.

It doesn't matter what order you do the following in (apart from the stock, do that first as it takes 40 mins on the hob), but allow yourself around 2 hours to do the Christmas eve tasks.

Christmas eve

Prepare the stock for your turkey gravy (takes: 5 mins prep, 40 mins simmering)

Make the smoked trout pate (takes: 15 mins)

  • This dish needs at least four hours to chill in the fridge, so making it the night before is perfect.

  • You can dress the plates with the salad and serve straight from the fridge just after everyone sits at the table - it'll only take a few minutes.


your red cabbage with apples and sultanas (takes: 10 mins)

  • You can prepare loads of the sides for the main meal tomorrow, tonight. 

  • This needs to be prepared the night before so that the cabbage can absorb all the delicious spices and flavours of the other ingredients.

  • Tomorrow, the dish will take just 15 mins to reheat.

Make your chestnut, sage and apple stuffing (takes: 15 mins)

  •  Stuff your turkey with the mixture (which should, by now, be fully defrosted).

Prepare your veg (takes: 15 mins)

  • Peel and cut up your potatoes.

  • Prepare your sprouts by cutting off the base of the Brussels and peeling off the outer leaves.

  • Put your potatoes and sprouts into sealable sandwich bags and put the bags in the fridge.

  • Don't store your chopped veg in water overnight.

Prepare you

pigs in their blankets (takes: 5 mins)

  • Put in the fridge, ready for putting straight under the grill the next day.

Make your cranberry sauce (takes: 20 mins)

Christmas day


  • Take the stuffed turkey out of the fridge to get it up to room temperature

  • Set the table (you'll be glad you did it this early, trust us!) and make sure you don't forget to put your jar of homemade cranberry sauce out.


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. As soon as the oven is on, start getting your turkey ready by pouring on the stock and wrapping it in foil.


  • Put your butter-basted turkey in the oven on the bottom shelf (you'll need the top shelf for your roast potatoes).


  • Remove the foil from the turkey, baste and return to the oven without the foil.


  • Fill a large pan with cold, salted water and add your potatoes. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 5 mins.Place your baking tray with goose fat, for your potatoes, in the oven (top shelf) to get hot.


  • Drain your potatoes, leave them to steam (and therefore dry out a bit) for a few mins, then shake them in the colander to give them fluffy edges that will crisp in the oven.

  • Take the turkey out of the oven. Check it's cooked by piercing the bird and seeing whether or not the juices run clear. Pour off the stock and turkey juices from the baking dish to make your turkey gravy.

  • Cover your turkey with fresh foil and place somewhere warm to rest.Call your guests to the table!


  • Carefully put your par boiled potatoes into the hot goose fat, give them a good coating of fat and polenta and put them back in the oven on the top shelf.

  • Make your turkey gravy and leave to gently reheat a few mins before serving.

  • Put your pre-prepared red cabbage in a large saucepan.

  • Fill a large saucepan with salted water and heat to boiling for your sprouts.

  • Plate up the green salad and smoked trout pate and serve.

2.30pm- After you've eaten your starter

  • Preheat the grill to medium and turn your potatoes while you're there.


  • Put your pigs in blankets under the grill and cook for about 15 mins.

  • Put your sprouts in the boiling water and cook for about 10 mins.

  • Begin to re-heat your red cabbage for 15 mins.

  • Put your plates and serving dishes in the bottom of the oven to warm through.


  • Take the plates out of the oven and put them on the table, get your serving dishes out ready for the side dishes. Get someone else to start carving the turkey at the table. Carve and serve immediately onto the warm plates.

  • Drain your Brussels sprouts and toss in the butter, chestnuts and parsley.

  • Take your roast potatoes and pigs in blankets out of the oven and take your red cabbage and gravy off the hob, put in serving dishes/gravy boat and let people help themselves at the table


  • Enjoy your meal!