Best ever Christmas recipes for ‘anything but turkey’

In case you don't fancy turkey this Christmas, we have fifteen recipes for festive mains - roast beef, goose, guinea fowl and classic chicken, as well as ham and salmon are all festive feasts.

Choose from our foolproof recipes for Christmas turkey alternatives – from goose to ham to beef. We also have a selection of show-stopping vegetarian centrepieces for the festive season here.


Maryland stuffed ham

A traditional Thanksgiving favourite in southern Maryland, this unusual recipe from Felicity Cloake stuffs brined ham with a piquant mix of highly spiced greens. Not only does this cut through the rich meat beautifully, but it looks great on the plate. Choose a long, thin gammon joint rather than a wide, fat piece as this will be easier to stuff. You’ll need cheesecloth and butcher’s string for this recipe. The glaze is less traditional (and optional) but will give the ham a nice finish.

Maryland stuffed ham

Beef filet with spiced pears and chestnut pickle

This recipe for beef fillet with spiced pears and chestnut pickle is easy to make but offers something a little bit different during the colder months. Buy chestnuts ready-peeled for ease.

Dill and sugar-cured roast salmon

This is a really light cure unlike, say, gravadlax, which takes a couple of days. The sugar and salt will firm up the flesh slightly. You can marinate this overnight if you like, but rinse off the cure first thing.

Herb-roast chicken

The easiest roast chicken ever! Simple-to-follow instructions guarantee the perfect roast every time – just five ingredients, including your favourite herbs.

Rolled ‘nduja-stuffed pork belly

’Ndjua is a spicy spreadable salami from Calabria and it adds a special twist to Tom Adams’ pork belly recipe. This festive recipe is worth the effort.

Duck cooked like a pig

This slow-cooked duck is meltingly tender and full of flavour from the Italian fennel and pancetta. It takes a while in the oven but the prep is so easy and you can put your feet up while it cooks.

Sweet and sour sticky pomegranate ham

A brilliant alternative to turkey, goose and lamb on Christmas Day. Or something for Boxing Day, if you’ve run out of meat by then! The aromas while cooking this ham are sensational; leave the kitchen door open so that everyone can enjoy it. 

Best ever Christmas recipes for 'anything but turkey'

Mustard roast beef

There’s nothing like proper roast beef, pink and juicy. Serve as a centrepiece and carve at the table for a real showstopper (listen out for the gasps as you carry the platter to the table). This mustard beef with a wine, beef stock and redcurrant jelly gravy is a great Sunday roast recipe, or one for entertaining during the festive season.

Pot-roast guinea fowl with parsnip roti

This recipe for pot-roast guinea fowl with parsnip rosti is a great idea for when you want the comfort of a roast but there’s only two of you. Go for evenly-sized, not too large parsnips for a consistent texture.

Sumac and olive oil-roasted salmon spiced carrot salad

Christmas is a time when sides of salmon can often be picked up on special offer. In any case cooking a whole side is much cheaper than buying 8 separate pieces.

Roast chicken with garlic and thyme croutons

Everyone loves a Sunday roast, and this roast chicken with garlic and thyme croutons makes it even better. Big chunky pieces of sourdough make a trivet for roast chicken and soak up all the delicious juices while it cooks.

Baked ham with negroni glaze

Our glazed baked ham recipe is inspired by the classic Italian negroni cocktail. The spices infuse the meat for a fragrant flavour and the glaze gives a sweet, boozy hit. This ham works really well for a Sunday roast centrepiece or an easy entertaining dish.

Dan Doherty’s duck with lavender honey, and spinach, ricotta and pine nut dumplings

This recipe from Dan Doherty is a great alternative to you usual Sunday roast. The lavender honey is subtly floral but not overpowering, and is used as a glaze. The dumplings, resembling a light gnocchi, are a lighter alternative to traditional roast potatoes.

Capon cooked in spiced mead wine with roasted carrots, sprouts and croutons

Capon, large chicken, is a really special meat to cook over the festive season. The spiced mead gives Ben Spalding’s show stopping recipe a wintery edge.

Roast rib of beef with horseradish breadcrumbs and duck fat potatoes

Jason Atherton has given this roast rib of beef centrepiece a special festive twist with horseradish breadcrumbs and crisp duck fat potatoes.

Ham with pedro ximenez, fig and almond crust

Sherry, figs and almonds make this ham über Christmassy. Serve with roast potatoes or with brioche buns to stuff thick slices into.

Other Christmas ideas you may like…

Best ever Christmas turkey recipes

Best ever pâté and terrine recipes for Christmas

Best ever edible Christmas gifts

Best ever Christmas canapés

Best ever roast potato recipes (and more) for Christmas

Best ever veggie sides for Christmas

Best ever Christmas trimming recipes

Best ever Christmas puddings and desserts


Best ever Christmas baking recipes