These Italian Christmas dinner menu ideas include flavorful and festive recipes that you would find in any Italian holiday dinner spread. To build your ideal Italian Christmas menu, simply choose one (or a few) of the recipes from each section. Appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and even desserts, you can find it all right here!
Italian Christmas Recipes
The key to a true Italian celebration is to have food, family, and friends, all gathered at one table. That's even more true around Christmastime when they begin the festivities on December 8th and keep on partying right into the new year!
If you ask me, there's no better way to get into the spirit. Celebrate this Christmas Italian style by serving these traditional Italian and Italian-American holiday staples!
- Italian Christmas Recipes
- Italian Holiday Dinner Ideas
- 1. Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread
- 2. Oven Garlic Bread
- 3. Italian Chicken Pastina Soup
- 4. Bruschetta
- Main Course
- 5. Veal Scallopini
- 6. Lasagna
- 7. Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 8. Frutti di Mare
- 9. Caprese Salad
- 10. Butternut Squash Risotto
- 11. Garlic Green Beans
- 12. Ratatouille
- 13. Burrata Salad
- 14. Italian Ricotta Cookies
- 15. Panettone
- 16. Spongata di Natale (Italian Christmas Cake)
- 17. Tiramisu
- 🎅 More Christmas Menu Ideas
- 📋 Recipe
Italian Holiday Dinner Ideas
Use these Italian Christmas dinner menu ideas to build your own Italian dinner spread by choosing a recipe or two from each of the sections below. There are appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. Each of these recipes will pair wonderfully with anything else on this list.
If this is your first time hosting dinner for the holidays, check out my Christmas guide for a step-by-step timeline for preparing Christmas dinner!
1. Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread
This skillet focaccia bread is soft and warm with plenty of flavor from rosemary and basil. You can even make the dough in advance so it's ready to go on Christmas day!
2. Oven Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is the appetizer that goes with anything! With this easy oven-baked version, you control just how soft or crispy your garlic bread gets.
3. Italian Chicken Pastina Soup
A warm bowl of chicken pastina soup is a great way to start your Christmas dinner. The flavorful chicken bone broth will have your guests slurping up every last drop.
Bruschetta is a classic Italian starter that is easily customizable and well-suited for any special occasion! Fresh, sweet tomatoes with garlic, white wine vinegar, and a drizzle of balsamic on top of a slice of crusty sourdough is about as Italian as it gets.
Be sure to see my Feast of the Seven Fishes dishes collection to make your Christmas Eve meal fantastic!
5. Veal Scallopini
Veal scallopini consists of crispy veal cutlets served on a bed of angel hair pasta that's been tossed in a delicious piccata sauce made of white wine and lemon. It's filling and flavorful, not to mention you can have it on the table in just 25 minutes.
Lasagna is classic Italian comfort food that has grown in popularity all over the globe. Layers of pasta, meat sauce, and melted cheese will have your family rushing to their seat at the dinner table.
7. Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant Parmesan is a vegetarian entree that even your steak-loving family members will enjoy. What's not to love about crispy, breaded eggplant over a
8. Frutti di Mare
What time is better than Christmas to indulge in a decadent pasta filled with all the seafood your heart could desire? This dish has mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, and squid, all tossed in a spicy arrabbiata sauce with tender fettuccine noodles. Yum!
9. Caprese Salad
Sometimes it's nice to balance carb-heavy dishes with a light and refreshing side like a Caprese salad. The slices of juicy tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are topped off with a drizzle of balsamic, olive oil, and a sprinkle of sweet basil leaves.
10. Butternut Squash Risotto
All risotto is good risotto, but this butternut squash risotto is particularly superb! It's creamy and cozy, perfect for a Christmas night in.
11. Garlic Green Beans
Buttery pan-fried green beans with crispy bacon are one way to get the kids to eat their veggies. It adds a nice pop of color to the table and will help balance out some of the heavier components of your Christmas dinner spread.
Ratatouille is made with a rainbow of thinly sliced veggies that are covered in a flavorful tomato sauce and baked to tender perfection. It's much easier to make than the movie makes it seem.
13. Burrata Salad
A burrata salad is almost the 'fancy' version of a Caprese. Tender, baked summer tomatoes are topped off with a hefty ball of burrata cheese (it's like mozzarella but with a soft and creamy center) and a light dressing of vinegar and olive oil.
14. Italian Ricotta Cookies
The ricotta cheese in these cookies keeps them delectably moist. They are almost too easy to snack on, you may want to make extra.
Panettone consists of sweet bread that is speckled with rum-soaked dried fruits. The bread takes some time to rise, but it is time well spent.
16. Spongata di Natale (Italian Christmas Cake)
This Christmas cake is made with a crisp sugary pastry shell that is filled with honey, nuts, and dried fruit. Traditionally, it is given as a gift to friends, neighbors, or loved ones, and enjoyed with sweet dessert wine or espresso.
Soft ladyfingers are soaked in Italian coffee and then stacked in layers between a creamy filling made of eggs and mascarpone before a sprinkle of cocoa powder tops it all off. It's the most popular Italian dessert of all time for a reason.
🎅 More Christmas Menu Ideas
- Christmas Breakfast Casserole Recipes - Crowd-pleasing casseroles that will get your Christmas morning started off right!
- Easy Christmas Desserts - You don't have to be a professional baker to make some memorable desserts this Christmas!
- Christmas Brunch Recipes - A late breakfast, lunch, or whatever you call it, these brunch recipes are perfect for sharing with loved ones on the holidays.
- Easy Christmas Dinner Menu - Whether you are short on time or short on skill in the kitchen, you can still pull off an epic holiday feast.
- Holiday Pie Recipes - The most beautiful (and delicious) pies to add to your holiday dinner spread.
- Christmas Casserole Recipes - Save some time on Christmas by making a one-dish meal that will serve the whole family!
Did you try any of the recipes from this list of Italian Christmas dinner menu ideas? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below!
Italian Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas: Baked Eggplant Parmesan (+More Holiday Recipes!)
- 3 medium eggplant (peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick strips or rounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature, beaten)
- 3 cups Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 cups marinara sauce (or spaghetti sauce, or arrabbiata sauce)
- 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded - divided, 3 portions)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated - divided, 3 portions)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Slice the peeled eggplant and arrange your slices in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet or working surface. Sprinkle with salt and allow to set for an hour while releasing the excess liquid from the sliced eggplant.3 medium eggplant, 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- Setup your dredging station: In 3 dishes that are shallow enough for easy dipping, combine these ingredients. 1) all-purpose flour with salt and pepper, 2) beaten eggs, and 3) finely ground Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs. *Use a food processor to get a nice, fine consistency on the breadcrumbs.2 large eggs, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper, 3 cups Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
- Dip your eggplant slices in the flour first, then the beaten egg, and finally in the finely ground Panko breadcrumbs and transfer them onto the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until nicely crisped and golden brown. Make sure to flip the eggplant slices half way through the cooking time to get nice, even crisping.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and spread enough marinara sauce (no more than ¼ cup) to cover the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of the baked eggplant then top it with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, repeat the sauce and layer on the eggplant and cheeses again for 3 layers. Sprinkle dried basil over the assembled dish.4 cups marinara sauce, 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- Peeling your eggplant is optional, but do take the time to salt and remove excess moisture for the best texture in your eggplant parm!
- If your eggplant seems like it's kicking out alot of moisture, wipe it clean and sprinkle with salt again.
- Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan to the Panko breadcrumbs and pulse in your food processor to a fine consistency for the very best breadcrumb coating.
- Allow your baked eggplant parmesan to set for 30 minutes before serving for best results.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!