Make Ahead Christmas

Making Christmas dinner is daunting. Our make ahead and freeze guide is here to help.

Mince Pies Cooling

Making Christmas dinner is daunting. Fortunately help is at hand with this make ahead and freeze guide so everyone can relax and enjoy the big day.

PREP THE MAIN EVENT

Turkey

Uncooked turkeys can be kept continuously frozen for up to a year after they have first been frozen. When you're ready to cook, remove the bird from the freezer and defrost in the fridge for 1-2 days. A fresh turkey that's been frozen will keep for up to a month. See our turkey recipes for the ultimate Christmas centrepiece.

Stuffing

Cool your stuffing completely then store in a sealed container, before freezing. Defrost completely before heating for use. You could also just freeze breadcrumbs to get a head start on the stuffing. See our stuffing ideas.

MAKE AHEAD SAUCES

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to one month. To thaw, defrost at room temperature overnight and stir well before serving. See the star-studded cranberry sauce recipe.

Bread sauce

Make the sauce then fully freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight at room temperature, then reheat and add a little milk to loosen the sauce. See James Martin's bread sauce recipes.

Gravy

Gravy can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Just leave it to cool, pour into a resealable container and make sure the lid is on properly and store. Another handy tip is to freeze gravy (or stock) in ice cube trays so you don't have to use the frozen stuff all at once.

AFTERS CAN BE MADE BEFORE

Christmas cake

To freeze, wrap the cake in cling film and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Only freeze the cake uniced. If the cake has been made (and fed) with plenty of booze, there should be no need to freeze as the alcohol will preserve the ingredients. See our Christmas cake recipes.

Mince pies

Uncooked mince pies can be made then frozen just before oven stage. Allow about 10 minutes extra cooking time if heating from frozen. See our favourite mince pie recipes.

Christmas pudding

Most don't need to be frozen due to their alcohol content and they keep well in a cool place. Check out our favourite Christmas pudding recipes.

Brandy butter

Make then freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, move to the fridge to thaw overnight. See Clodagh McKenna's brandy butter recipe.

For more festive food inspiration, see our Christmas recipe collection.