Best Italian Christmas Dinner Menu

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Easy Italian Christmas dinner ideas for an elegant and delicious holiday meal for your family. Lots of festive Italian pasta recipes, easy Italian breads, and classic Italian desserts for a memorable Christmas feast.

A Christmas plate has a serving of lasagna and garlic bread on it. Photos of tiramisu, Italian bread, and sautteed spinach are on the side.

Our family's favorite Christmas dinner usually involves a satisfying Christmas pasta dish like lasagna along with fresh bread and a salad.

We love this solution to the Christmas menu because it is widely popular with the whole family, easy to make ahead and serve, and the clean up after is nice and easy.

With all the festive colors that red tomato sauce and fresh green basil or spinach bring to the table, these Italian Christmas recipes are the perfect choice for your holiday dinner.

If you want our family's annual menu, you'll want to make:

  1. Make Ahead Sausage Lasagna
  2. Homemade Garlic Bread
  3. Caesar Salad

And then add either the easy tiramisu or my husband's favorite panettone bread pudding with amaretto cream sauce.

But if you're looking for more options, I've gathered all my best Christmas pasta, side dishes, and desserts to help you plan the perfect Italian Christmas dinner.

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Make Ahead Sausage Lasagna

This is the classic Christmas dinner my mom and I have made for many years.

I prepare the sausage lasagna on Dec. 23 and cover it in foil in the fridge. Pop it in the oven on Christmas Day for the easiest dinner ever.

Easy Sausage Lasagna
This delicious make ahead lasagna is perfect for beginners to bake for a holiday feast or Sunday family dinner. Several easy shortcuts make this classic dish quick to prepare.
4.50 from 2 votes
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A slice of lasagna sits on a festive holiday plate with a green salad and slice of garlic bread.

Make Ahead Lasagna Roll Ups

The ruffly edges of these lasagna roll-ups make a pretty presentation for your Christmas dinner.

The recipe is still so easy to prep ahead and just bake and serve for your meal.

Easy Lasagna Roll-Ups
This easy lasagna roll-up recipe is filled with a delicious spinach and cheese filling and rich meaty tomato sauce. It's the perfect make-ahead meal for busy families since you can assemble and freeze it for an easy dinner later.
5 from 49 votes
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A serving of beef lasagna rollups is next to a simple green salad with a fork.

Classic Beef Bolognese Sauce

This classic Italian beef bolognese sauce simmers on the stove top for a few hours and the meat gets so tender and rich.

It is the most delicious topping for your favorite pasta shape, served over gnocchi, or even eaten with fresh bread for dunking.

Bologonese Sauce
This stovetop classic bolognese sauce features ground beef with fresh vegetables cooked slowly to enhance the flavor. A hearty meat sauce for serving over pasta, this recipe can be split and frozen for future meal prep.
4.41 from 5 votes
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Bolognese Meat Sauce has been served over large rigatoni noodles and a fork is stirring them together.

Slowcooker Tuscan Chicken Pasta

This rich and delicious Tuscan chicken pasta dish is filled with the colors of the season. Red and green and so festive!

It's perfect if you want to have dinner kept warm for when you come home from church or you are welcoming family and friends Open House style.

Slowcooker Tuscan Chicken Pasta
This creamy Tuscan chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes and baby spinach tossed together with tender farfalle or penne is an easy dinner for a busy night.
4.72 from 7 votes
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A CrockPot has a batch of Tuscan chicken with sundried tomatoes and spinach.

Baked Cheese Tortellini Skillet

For a smaller crowd, this crispy baked cheese tortellini skillet has a rich tomato sauce with bits of spinach for color.

The crispy bread crumb topping is our absolute favorite!

Baked Cheese Tortellini
This easy skillet pasta recipe combines refrigerated cheese tortellini with light ground turkey and a seasoned tomato sauce. Top it with crispy panko bread crumbs and bake it in the oven for a quick take on lasagna.
5 from 1 vote
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A bowl of baked tortellini with a slice of garlic bread on the side.

Pasta Rosa with Sausage

Creamy pasta rosa with savory sausage is a super easy fresh pasta dish to make fresh for Christmas dinner.

The touch of heavy cream helps the tomato sauce to cling to the pasta in the very best way.

Pasta Rosa with Sausage
Toss your favorite pasta shape in this rich and creamy tomato sauce with sautéed sausage and onions. Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve for the ultimate comfort food.
5 from 1 vote
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A white bowl holds curly pasta coated in a creamy tomato sauce with crumbled sausage and parmesan sprinkled on top.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

My chicken parmesan recipe is a make-ahead dinner you can prep up to 24 hours in advance.

Use my special baking tricks to ensure the breadcrumb coating bakes up perfectly crispy in the oven.

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Baked chicken parmesan is a comfort food classic made easy in the oven. Coated in savory bread crumbs, the chicken bakes up moist and juicy with delicious tomato sauce and melted cheese on top.
4.71 from 17 votes
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A dinner plate has a serving of baked chicken parmesan, farfalle pasta, and a green salad.

Italian Sausage Pasta Casserole

When we're not serving lasagna, you can bet this recipe is gracing our Christmas table.

My mom has made this sausage casserole for years and years and it is always a hit.

The trick?? Serve it with fresh pineapple! It's a unique choice but is perfect with this dish.

Italian Sausage Pasta Casserole
This delicious Italian sausage pasta casserole mixes Jimmy Dean bulk sausage with fresh spinach for a perfect make-ahead dinner.
4.60 from 45 votes
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A pan of baked Italian sausage pasta casserole has a pair of oven mitts in the background.

Pesto Chicken Casserole

Creamy pesto chicken casserole is another prep-ahead dish that is fun for Christmas.

Red and green veggies are sprinkled throughout and who could resist that crispy crumb topping??

Pesto Chicken Casserole
This rich and creamy pesto chicken casserole can be prepared in just 20 minutes for an easy weeknight dinner. Simple enough for a weeknight, but festive enough to serve for the holidays.
4.56 from 29 votes
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A blue baking dish filled with alfredo pesto pasta and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. A slotted spoon has scooped out a serving.

Christmas Charcuterie Board

Plan a variety of Italian meats, cheeses, and olives for this absolutely adorable Santa-themed charcuterie board as an appetizer.

Christmas Charcuterie Board
An easy holiday snack board is a perfect choice for Christmas Eve or a holiday party.
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A snack board with fruit arranged to look like Santa's face.

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Bread Machine Focaccia

Once you have your Christmas pasta chosen, pair it with a yummy fresh bread.

This bread machine focaccia will help soak up all the delicious pasta sauces from your plate. Top it with fresh rosemary before baking for a wonderful aroma.

Fluffy Focaccia
If making dough in your bread machine and baking it in the oven worries you, this is the perfect recipe to start with because you simply pat the focaccia dough out into a pan and bake it -- no roll forming required! This recipe is featured in The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook.
4.94 from 32 votes
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A focaccia bread on parchment paper with several squares cut and scattered.

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

My favorite ciabatta bread is the heartiest bread for your richest sauces. It also makes amazing toast with butter if you want to make a chicken parm sandwich.

Easy Ciabatta {Bread Machine}
Bake fresh ciabatta bread with your bread machine. This hearty Italian bread is great for making grilled sandwiches or dunking in your favorite pasta sauces.
4.80 from 5 votes
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A sliced loaf of fresh ciabatta bread has been prepared in the bread machine and baked in the oven.

Homemade Italian Bread

Bake a loaf of this Italian bread and cut it into wedges to serve alongside olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. It is the easiest starter to your Italian Christmas dinner.

Bread Machine Italian Bread
This delicious Italian bread is the perfect partner for a hot bowl of soup or a simple sandwich. It will quickly become your favorite bread machine recipe.
The recipe is featured in The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook.
4.70 from 30 votes
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A loaf of bread machine Italian bread sits in a basket next to a few sample wedges near a plate of olive oil for dipping.

Homemade Garlic Bread

Homemade garlic bread with a perfectly crispy buttery top is always a family favorite for a holiday dinner. Cut it into wedges for the bread basket.

Homemade Garlic Bread
Easy homemade garlic bread is the perfect quick side dish for a busy weeknight dinner.
5 from 1 vote
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The baked garlic bread is on a cutting board and has been cut into wedges for serving.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

You can buy a bottle of the Olive Garden Italian dressing and make this simple copycat salad right at home.

BONUS: This is easy to scale for a large dinner.

Garden Salad
Prep a large batch of garden salad for an easy dinner side dish all week long or for easy prep ahead work week lunches. Set out your family salad bar every night with your favorite salad dressings and toppings. Be sure to see my fun seasonal variations in the notes below.
5 from 1 vote
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The fresh garden salad is served in a white bowl. You can see lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and cucumber.

Caesar Salad

Toss together a simple Caesar salad for your green vegetable. Everyone will be so happy with the pasta and bread, but it is nice to have an easy vegetable to go with it.

Caesar Salad Dressing
This Caesar salad dressing does not use anchovies but boosts the flavor with garlic, dijon, and fresh lime juice.
5 from 2 votes
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A salad spinner basket holds freshly washed lettuce leaves.

Caprese Salad

While typically a summer recipe, caprese salad is so festive for Christmas with the bright green basil and pretty red tomatoes.

Serve it with fresh mozzarella and your family will forgive you for serving a summertime classic.

Caprese Salad
Tomato caprese salad is a classic Italian appetizer or side dish that is best made during summer when the tomatoes are at their peak season. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze for an elegant dish.
5 from 2 votes
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A sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze on a plate with a fork.

Panettone Bread Pudding

The classic Italian Christmas bread panettone makes amazing bread pudding that works for a Christmas dessert for after dinner but leftovers could hang out for Christmas morning, too!

Make-Ahead Panettone Bread Pudding
This delicious panettone bread pudding can be served as a Christmas breakfast or a holiday dessert. Warm and fresh from the oven, dust it with powdered sugar and drizzle each serving with a bit of easy homemade amaretto sauce or vanilla creme anglaise.
4.98 from 43 votes
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Sweet Amaretto Sauce

Top the panettone bread pudding with this sweet amaretto cream sauce or stir it into your after dinner coffee for a special treat.

Homemade Amaretto Creamer
This rich and creamy amaretto sauce can be used as a coffee creamer or for drizzling over a variety of holiday desserts. Whip up a batch in under 10 minutes and keep in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
5 from 2 votes
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A small pitcher is filled with creamy amaretto sauce. It is on the counter in front of a panettone bread pudding.

Easy Tiramisu

The classic Italian dessert tiramisu is the perfect ending to your Christmas dinner because you can make the whole thing the day before and let it rest in the fridge. The lady fingers will soak up all that lovely espresso.

Easy Tiramisu
This cool and creamy no-bake recipe is a classic Italian dessert. Tiramisu, or "pick me up," is so easy to make ahead for your party.
5 from 35 votes
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A slice of tiramisu is on a white plate, a spoon has a bite on it showing the cream filling and spongey cookie layer.

Easy Cannoli Dip

Pile up the butter cookies and dunk them into this rich and decadent cannoli dip with chopped pistachios and mini chocolate chips over the top.

Cannoli Dip
This is the best cannoli dip ever! The authentic cannoli cream base has mini chocolate chips folded in and chopped pistachios for crunch. Serve it with buttery waffle cookies and fresh strawberries for an easy dessert dip that your family will love.
5 from 7 votes
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A ruffled bowl of cannoli dip has mini chocolate chips and chopped pistachios on top. A waffle cookie is being dunked into it.
The photo collage shows several Italian pastas and side dishes for a Christmas dinner.

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