IT'S the most wonderful time of the year and we’ve selected the best Christmas cookery books to get you through the festive season unscathed and cool as a cucumber.
Preparing and cooking food is something we all do daily, yet at Christmas the process takes on a deeper meaning, with tradition and ritual becoming ingredients in the dishes we create.
Whether you’re sharing your Christmas with your huge family, or celebrating alone, we hope you like our collection of the best Christmas cookbooks and find something to tempt you. There’s recipes to suit all tastes, drinks, festive snacks, menus and organising tips to keep stress to a minimum and joy to the max.
Best Christmas cookbooks at a glance:
- Best for a traditional Christmas: Christmas at River Cottage
- Best for vegetarians: The Veggie Christmas Cookbook
- Best for gifting: The Christmas Movie Cookbook
- Best for families: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection
- Best for parties: Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities
Pinch of Nom: Enjoy
- Pinch of Nom: Enjoy (December 2022), £10 from Amazon – buy here
This isn’t technically a Christmas cookbook but from past experience with the other Pinch of Nom books there will be loads of options for your festive table.
Fans love Pinch of Nom because the recipes are tasty, usually simple, and great if you’re watching your weight. The authors also offer different cooking methods and alternative ingredients if you’re veggie, vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free, for many of their recipes.
With New Year’s resolutions just around the corner this is bound to be up there with its predecessors in terms of popularity.
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook
- Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook (2016), £22.50 from Amazon – buy here
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Everybody’s favourite cheeky chappie has put together a collection of recipes to cover all bases at Christmas.
It contains party nibbles, food gifts to make, fantastic festive desserts – the Winter Bombe looks amazing – and of course the main meal itself. Vegetarians and vegans are catered for too, and Jamie also offers a good selection of cocktail recipes.
There’s more than 400 pages in this book, so there’s plenty to keep you cooking throughout the year, not just at Christmas.
Vegan Christmas Cookbook: Christmas Classics With A Vegan Twist
- Vegan Christmas Cookbook: Christmas Classics With A Vegan Twist by Lena Cardone (November 2022), £12.99 from Amazon – buy here
Now I’m partial to a nut roast and it is my dish of choice for the main event on Christmas Day, but I know a lot of vegetarians and vegans feel pretty short-changed when it comes to Christmas dinner. So it’s great to see more books specifically for this way of eating and living.
There’s a choice of appetisers, entrées, mains and sides to make sure your veggie guests feel loved, as well as the all-important desserts, and there’s even a few drinks recipes.
Root Vegetable Mini Pot Pies and Sweet Potato Wellington are sound alternatives for the main event, while the Pastry Wreath looks lovely – and manageable, thanks to its ready-made vegan puff pastry base.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection
- Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection (2013), £9.48 from Amazon – buy here
If you’re entertaining over Christmas, or the designated cook for your wider family this year, then Mary’s book is for you. She never seems to get flustered while she’s cooking and with any luck, that unflappable calm will rub off in your kitchen.
There’s more than 100 recipes for mains, sides, starters and canapés, as well as a collection of traditional puddings and festive desserts, cakes, biscuits and buffet ideas.
She supplies a shopping list for Christmas dinner, a countdown to the big day and even timings to keep you on track!
She really is a national treasure.
Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities
- Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities (2014), £20.25 from Amazon – buy here
Nigella Lawson has become very much part of Christmas with her laid-back cooking style and original spin on classic recipes (who didn’t brine their turkey in a bucket a few years back?)
She also looks like Christmas won’t faze her even if her gravy’s lumpy and her roasties soggy – and we could all do with a soupçon of that attitude during this stressful season.
Her food is delicious, her writing even more so. This is definitely one for your Christmas list.
The Veggie Christmas Cookbook: 60 Vegan and Vegetarian Festive Recipes
- The Veggie Christmas Cookbook: 60 Vegan and Vegetarian Festive Recipes, by Heather Thomas (October 2022), £9.64 from Amazon – buy here
Another new addition to the vegetarian bookshelves, which can only be a good thing for those of us who choose meat-free.
Dishes include Christmas Filo Crackers, Baked Truffle and Parmesan Fries, Snowy Vegan Salted Caramel Cupcakes and Tofu Christmas Salad.
There’s also a festive wreath for Christmas lunch and a Parsnip Tarte Tatin that looks amazing!
The Christmas Movie Cookbook
- The Christmas Movie Cookbook by Julia Rutland (October 2022), £10.72 from Amazon – buy here
The subtitle of this cookbook is Recipes From Your Favorite Holiday Films which sounds like great fun if nothing else!
Try the chicken, broccoli and cheddar cheese soup from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, followed by Christmas pudding from A Christmas Carol and washed down with Really Rich Hot Chocolate from Polar Express (or a whiskey-pomegranate sour from Bad Santa if you prefer).
There’s over 65 recipes to try – a great gift for movie fans as well as cooks.
Christmas at River Cottage
- Christmas at River Cottage by Lucy Brazier (2021), £16.49 from Amazon – buy here
Life always looks so peaceful at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage, the seasons passing in all their glory and dishes prepared with the best produce each offers. It’s a glorious glimpse of rural England, but also an education into eating sustainably, ethically and environmentally.
As well as festive recipes, there’s edible gifts to make, homemade decorations created from nature’s materials, folklore and Christmas traditions.
This is a joyous book, not just for cooking, but for slowly savouring while sitting in front of a log fire with a hot chocolate, during the build up to the big day itself.
Delia’s Happy Christmas
- Delia’s Happy Christmas (2009), £20.25 from Amazon – buy here
As far as I remember, back in the day, Delia’s cookery programme was one of only a few on television and her books were bestsellers as everybody clamoured to cook her way. Supermarkets even ran out of cranberries at one point thanks to one of her dishes.
This book presents 150 Delia recipes, including her classic Christmas cake, which has been around for more than 40 years. Delia being Delia, there’s also homemade chutneys, Christmas pudding, menu plans and a chapter for those of us leaving it all until the last minute.
I have the forerunner to this Christmas cookbook – and I was shocked to learn it was published in 1990! I’m still a rubbish cook, but it’s not for want of buying cookbooks.
Potato: Baked, Mashed, Roast, Fried – Over 100 Recipes Celebrating Potatoes
- Potato: Baked, Mashed, Roast, Fried – Over 100 Recipes Celebrating Potatoes by James Martin (November 2022), £16.99 from Amazon – buy here
Now I know this isn’t a Christmas book as such, but it is a celebration of a vegetable that though in its raw state is pretty boring, is elevated to icon status through cooking. What else can be transformed into so many different and yummy variations?
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And you have to have roast potatoes at Christmas!
So with those provisos in place, I’m including this book in our festive flavoursome roundup. The book contains more than 100 recipes for chips, potato bread, croquettes, pancakes, souffle, crisps, mash and much, much more.
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